So. Many. Chocobos. And all shiny.
As is usually the case, I did actually intend this to be... simpler. I really don't know why at this point, but I'm also extremely glad that I continued on with new and different wild ideas. And sparkly yarn! Very important, that. Obviously we needed well-fed racer legs, yes? The open mouth is a kweh (or wark, as the case may be) of sheer exuberance, ready to be an uplifting inspiration... and totally not just waiting until someone turns their back to take little nibbles out of their sandwiches. Just little ones! The tail feathers, first primary feathers and wings, legs, and front toes are all wired for poseability, but I tried a little something different with leaving the back toes reinforced but soft to allow for an easier time with Lotus actually standing properly no matter how the weight is shifted. Experiments. The eyes are raspberry pink-purple dyed agate. They stand at a purely accidental 12 inches to the top of their crest, with an 11 inch wingspan and currently 5.5 inches from their chest fluff to the base of their tail.
Amongst other things, the lotus flower often represents hope and determination. From the muck and mud comes life and color. Look forward to hearing about how you can get hold of this awesome chocobo at Desert Bus for Hope 2022!
Welcome to the Chickobo Shift Parade! For those not in the know, this 24-hour week-ish-long charity marathon has four daily shift changes to allow folks to actually get something called "rest". On the left side, we have the banners for Dawn Guard (orange and yellow) and Alpha Flight (red). Over on the right side, we have the banners for Night Watch (blues) and Zeta Shift (purples). In the center... that is the land where time no longer makes sense at the very end of this marathon, and we call that Omega Shift. These very specific banners were inspired by JonDale1's work here.
Seeing as how this is the tenth year (I recounted three times) I am making prizes for this magnificent marathon and delightful charity, I decided we needed a little extra celebration. I also decided that surely making five smaller chocobos would be easier and take me less time, right? Well, the chocobos did. ...The layered felt banners with clearly hand-stitched embroidery and then stands to keep them on, which I ultimately decided they ought to be able to be removed from and so decided that magnets were obviously the best solution, however... Yeah, let's not talk too much about that.
Well, we can definitely talk about how the banners can be refrigerator magnets. Or just stick to metal things, because that's fun. The chocobo chicks are also up for some fun, but mostly they just really like to be adored. They're all acrylic yarn and polyfill, with wired poseable feet and semi-precious gemstone eyes (green jade, obsidian, tiger's eye and ametyst). I also decided to fancy up the mostly wood (with some clay and iron wire) banner stands with a little bit of gold paint at the bases and super tiny green Desert Bus trees on the front "foot" to indicate what side the magnets will best stick to. There's also some dark green real silk velvet at the bottom of each for extra fanciness. And also extra green.
Despite taking a little longer than intended because I just had to have Brilliant Ideas, I'm really happy with the result. I hope whoever wins them will ultimately be even more happy. As per the last nine years, it's an honor to be a part of something so joyful and hope-instigating.
This give-away raised a grand total of $2,331. THANK YOU, and congrats to obladerek!
I felt an exceedingly bright rainbow chocobo to be extremely necessary for the Desert Bus for Hope Craft-Along this year. I had not actually planned on doing fully wired legs, but that just kind of happened. And then a simplistic wired tail to go along with it... and while it doesn't necessarily look like it, simplistic wired wings for a few poses. There, see? Simplicity! With a few very small beaded accents that are actually ridiculously rainbow, but photographs just do not show them off. And some iridescent pigment that is almost too subtle for the camera, which is a surprise but also the intent, so score there.
I am pleased that I did not accidentally lie about the size, because she's less than 15 inches in all dimensions. 12.5 inches tall to the top of her head (just under 15 inches including crest), with a full wingspan of 12 inches, and just under 7 inches from chest to tail.
Sold for a much appreciated $2,350 to duaiwe!
Look, I legitimately did something simple. ...Simpler. No wire, okay?! But really, I wanted something simple and straight-forward and succeeded even though I gave in and did more for the tail than I was intending, but it all worked out and became one piece eventually. I wanted to revisit some old styles while applying techniques I'd learned over time, and a sitting chocobo seemed like the best way to do that. Plus I got a discount on the yarn and the polyfil, so bonus.
Congrats to sheikun07, and thanks to everyone for raising $1,842 for this chocobo!
I have to admit... she was kind of an accident. I'd meant to do a regular Play Art Kai-scaled chocobo! And then I just... made the feet too big. And thought, "Well surely putting the claws on will take some length off the toes." ...And it did. ...And it did not matter that much. I spent a good couple of hours considering starting over with smaller feet, but then I just sort of. Didn't. And here we are. I needed this, long story short. Even if the work took way, way longer than I could have imagined, and challenged me much more than I was prepared for. No sob stories here, folks; it's been A Year, and it's my most sincere hope that Sable will make people happy and do a lot of good. And before anyone asks, no never again. (A fabric one, maybe, someday. But not soon.)
The skeleton/armature is comprised of several wound heavy gauge steel wires and occasional flexible plastic rods. The armature itself was covered in felt to make the structure lighter, with the crocheted acrylic yarn more or less being built up around the structure and stuffed with polyfil as I went. Her beak and claws are made of epoxy clay, the beads on her tail are hemalyke, and her folding wing structure is composed mainly of plastic-coated wood, wire and steel. Her collar was an old bracelet of mine, but the tag was etched by EngraverSteve on Etsy. Her eyes are dichroic cabochons made by WillowGlass on Etsy.
Side notes: in Episode Duscae (the first FFXV demo), occasional encounters with black chocobos made them appear to have "sparkly eyes", I believe in part due to some light/reflection error. (Then again it might have been intentional, and that would make me happy.) So yes, I based the design more or less on the FFXV art book's "ancient black chocobo" concept art, with my own little touches. Her feet and legs are poseable, as well as her neck, and all of her tail feathers are wire with either soft or solid heavy gauge wire cores. Her jaw is hinged, the top of her crest is wired, and of course her wings either hang a bit loosely folded at her sides or opened; but due to the nature of the heavy yarn and the stability of the smaller materials needed, her wings can't stay in place when they're raised. That's why I'm including a very simple "wing support bar" that enables the wings to raise at her sides and stay supported. It must be said that her legs are made from a very solid but lightly "springy" wire, and getting her to stand just right may take a few little toe and leg adjustments. The tail itself is designed for better weight distribution, but sometimes she tilts a little. let her stand next to a friend when possible, okay?
All told, Sable wound up about 25 inches tall to the top of her head, and 17 inches from her chest to the very start of her tail. 28 inches long, including the tail. Her full extended wingspan is 27 inches, and she's about 16 inches wide with folded wings at her side. She also weighs in at roughly 6 pounds, so I'm pretty sure any effort made in lightening her frame is definitely looking like a good decision now.
This girl was auctioned at Desert Bus for Hope 2018 for an enormously generous $2,641.94 from ekimekim.
I played with various types of similar-weight yarn, getting the basic body shape down. Then I promised myself that I would attempt some form of simplicity. I... mostly succeeded there, though each remains a multi-day process. The details aren't too extreme, even though they each took a great deal of time because I insisted on wired legs, feet and wings, as well as tail feathers and little bitty head crests. Making the wings a little smaller than they technically "ought to be" was a purposeful choice, because I was determining how large the wings should be, holding them up to the very plump bodies and... I mean, can you blame me? Adorable fluff-ness won. Their eyes are all artificial pearls, and I attempted to incorporate a little bit of their character's hair styles into the crests. Which was about as difficult as it sounds.
In presenting the chocobo chicks to each VA, I insisted that they pick the names themselves. I could not be happier with the results. The yellow chick was named "Orinthall" by Robbie Daymond, Prompto's VA. A good and fine name for a battle bird. The blue chick was named "Orin" by Ray Chase, Noctis' VA, which was entirely too smooth but appreciated. The purple chick was named "Purple Verve" by Adam Croasdell, Ignis' VA, after asking for an additional day to come up with a name. I remain pleased. The green chick was named "Ray" by Chris Parson, Gladiolus' VA, which will continue to make me laugh. The black chick was named "Henlay" by Keythe Farley, the English voice director, having taken up until the last signing to choose. I spotted the chick on his table at that point and was hopefully able to make words goodly at that point because hg;afljghfjdg.
So. Wow. This year's Desert Bus for Hope donation is. Bigger. Than I'd planned. I hadn't quite realized this until I was halfway through the body. I mean, I'd made the legs and feet a little bigger than usual, sure, and so compensated with the body... and started to realize when I was getting to the details that he was more than just a little larger than last year's chocobo. It wasn't until I'd finished the wings and was halfway through the tail that I realized 1.) I'd run out of yarn, and 2.) the color was not readily available at any retailers near me and I would have to wait for a mail order. Time was a bit of the essence, and so I decided to embrace the space punk way, grabbed the closest rainbow yarn I could find, and finished him up with that. ...It worked out really well.
Apocalypse here has a stainless steel wire frame comprised from six (6) to eight (8) individual round wires for stability. His neck, top and bottom beak, all five crest feathers, wings, first four primary feathers and "thumbs" of each wing, legs, toes, and eight of his tail fathers are all wired and poseable. His extended wingspan is a whopping 21 inches, and he stands at 15 inches to the top of his head, 16 inches to the top of his crest. His eyes are large green glass beads, and his claws are comprised of incredibly hard but smooth (not sharp, in other words) Apoxie Sculpt, because I really wanted to try it, and had great success. He can clearly support not only his own weight, but that of a PAK figure. And, most importantly, he is still soft and squishy.
This guy is a great triumph. The extra size took quite a bit more time than I'd anticipated, but this is nothing new in the realm of my projects. I'd been wanting to do a "rainbow space chocobo" (see: old FFVII rumors) for years now, and when the yarn ran out... yeah, I decided to go for a punk space chocobo because that's how we do things around here. The fact that my housemate had suggested I give my next chocobo a "mohawk" only helped matters, and so there's that slight cockatiel thing going on. I'd also wanted to make it quite clear that, despite a "soft wrist" (the first four primaries of each wing have a much wider, softer range of motion than previously), he's still able to hold things thanks to the wire itself.
Congrats and a great big THANK YOU to mflGrMp for the strangely appropriate winning bid of $567.89!
So let's talk about Lucius the chocobo first, yes? He’s my biggest poseable chocobo to date, all 1 pound, 5 ounces of heavy stainless steel wire armature, yarn and polyfil. I was inspired mainly by FFXV chocobos this time around, but I'm sure the other influences can be seen. Each feather of his tail and crest are individually wired. Along with his top and bottom jaw/beak, neck, wings, first four primary feathers on each wing, legs and toes (which I'd really wanted to make "traditional", hence huge claws). Fully extended, he has a wingspan of 15 inches, which also happens to be about how tall he is with a “relaxed crest”. He likes dancing, greens, and going maybe a little faster than he ought to when pulling the party bus. You didn't hear that from me, though.
And then matters got a little more complicated. This is kind of a concept piece, so hang with me here folks. What I'd actually wanted to do was make this with real working wheels and bike chains for tractor treads with optional flip-out "rockets". Yes, honestly. And I'd gone about testing how to get that to happen, but. Admittedly, a whole bunch of real life things got in the way. It just wasn't going to be possible to see through the way I really wanted, not in the time I'd allowed myself to devote entirely to the Craft-Along project. So, I gave myself another challenge. I'm an old. I remember the '80s. Specifically, I remember action figures and playsets from the '80s. And how we couldn't really afford them, so I made my own out of cardboard and paper.
This started out as cardboard and paper! Then foam, more cardboard, layers of things and fabric and finally a top coat of glossy acrylic medium to give it a plastic-y look. I, uh. Kind of went all out. I suppose. I've been working for years on combining lightweight materials and techniques to allow them to be flexible and sturdy while still being reasonably lightweight. Success! I even managed to experiment with texture so that it looks a little like the rough papery cardboard that some of the commercial playsets used to come with, long long ago. I'm... not sure who would ever actually pick up on that besides me, but that's not the point. While I was working on the initial base for this, right as I was cutting things and evening them out, I suddenly had this delightful image in my head of someone who found an old piece of junk bus abandoned in the desert and just decided to slap on a new coat of paint, re-upholster the interior, and let a chocobo pull it. The image clearly stuck with me, because uneven (but alarmingly strongly reinforced) surfaces abound.
As for the interior itself, it was partly inspired by real Arizona buses. But mostly I had the fabric laying around and I thought it was hilariously "party bus-like", hence. The seats are even cushioned, by the way. Only the best for the toys. Plenty of room for luggage too, I'll have you know.
Then of course I am me, so that couldn't be the end of it. I made real silk velvet curtains in dark blue, then decided what I really needed for the back wind was an assortment of Desert Bus shift flags! All hand-painted with a slight sparkly sheen, to be expected from me. Both the curtains and the shift flags all attach to the bus via magnets. I then added a little makeshift pine tree air freshener insignia to the front, with the tree obviously covered in glitter (sorry Tally!)... and then somewhat painstakingly made a harness for Lucius. I mean. This is my life now. I may as well embrace it.
Sold at Desert Bus 10 for $499! Thank you for your generosity Geisterkarle!