Hallowe’en has rolled around again, and my eldest is developing more refined tastes. No longer is it sufficient just to be a wizard; now he wants to be a steam robot, sidekick to Doctor Steam. And so it shall be.
This mask took a little longer than last year’s, partly because I didn’t have a suitable hat to make the top from, so the whole thing needed to be crafted from scratch. And partly because I didn’t want to copy the eyes from Doctor Steam, so needed something a little different. What better for a steam robot than a scanning eye, similar to a Cylon from the original series. The electronics are built on veroboard, hidden in a small boxy bit on the back of the neck. They’re based on a slightly simplified version of a design from EvilMadScientist Laboratories (where else!).
Everything except the shoulders are built from cardboard. The mask is very lightweight, which it needs to be if it’s going to be worn for hours by an eight-year old. The shoulders are two ends from plastic guttering, fastened together with a short piece of wood, with added cardboard between the shoulder blades to stop it falling off. The chest piece was supposed to hold one of those plasma disks, which give a lightning effect. Unfortunately my youngest son dropped it on the morning of Hallowe’en, and broke the back of the glass where the electrode attached. As a quick substitute, I rewired the plasma disk to be lit by one yellow and one orange LED. It glows nicely, and serves as the robot’s heart/firebox. In the end it probably looks better than the plasma disk did – at least more in keeping with the rest of the mask.
My original mask did good service again; many children screamed and ran away when I stared at them. There’s something unnerving about those yellow glowing eyes. The robot also scared a few smaller children, but it’s hard to be really scary when you’re only four feet tall. All in all, a good time was had by all. Even the scared children usually crept back for a second look.