Coalface? In the Watch?!

'But he's wrapped up the case,' said Nobby. 'I heard about it when I went out for the coffee. He's arrested Coalface the troll. You know, captain? The privy cleaner. Someone saw him near Rime Street just before the dwarf got killed.'

'But he's massive,' said Carrot. 'He couldn't have got through the door.'

'He's got a motive,' said Nobby.


'Yes. Hammerhock was a dwarf.'

'That's not a motive.'

'It is for a troll. Anyway, if he didn't do that, he probably did something. There's plenty of evidence against him.'

'Like what?' said Angua.

'He's a troll.'

'That's not evidence.'

'It is to Captain Quirke,' said the sergeant.

'He's bound to have done something,' Nobby repeated.

'He's a nasty piece of work, that Coalface,' said Colon. A righthand troll for Chrysoprase.'

- Men at Arms - Terry Pratchett

Week 1:

A copper tube frame is covered with hardware cloth (steel screen) and held in place with plastic wire ties.

The eyes are each a half of a plastic ornament ball, painted black. A small 3mm red LED is hot glued into the center for the troll's "gleaming red" eyes.

A computer cooling fan is mounted between the shoulders to vent hot air out the top.

The lower jaw, made from a single loop of tubing, is hinged with two small nuts and bolts. Electric motor actuators are hung from the shoulder tubing with a steel rod that extends to the jaw. Small bungee straps will hold the jaw closed, the motors can open it from a button mounted in one of the arms.

Plastic mesh is used instead of the metal screen in areas where the wearer could get scratched.

Air duct tubing is fitted into copper loops at the shoulders.

Spray-on Contact adhesive  is applied to the framework, then a thin foam rubber covering applied. For large muscle areas, thick foam is carved with a razor blade and glued on, and then covered with thin foam to smooth the curves.

The rubber also serves to hold the tubing in place, since it is not anchored to the frame itself. Puncturing the plastic to use a wire tie, usually results in the steel wire coil opening up as the plastic continues to tear open from the damage.

The color of the foam is not specific to the purpose, but the firm packing foam I save tends to be blue, grey or black, while the soft, compressible foam is white, beige and pink.

A shadow loomed in the doorway. Coalface was a basically horizontal shape, a dark mass of fracture lines and sheer surfaces. His eyes gleamed red and suspicious.

'Now you're letting it go!' moaned a dwarf.

'This is because we have no reason to keep him locked up,' said Carrot. 'Whoever killed Mr Hammerhock was small enough to get through a dwarf's doorway. A troll his size couldn't manage that.'

'But everyone knows he's a bad troll!' shouted Stronginthearm.

'I never done nuffin,' said Coalface.

'You can't turn him loose now, sir,' hissed Colon. 'They'll set on him!'

'I never done nuffin.'

'Good point, sergeant. Acting-Constable Detritus!'


'Volunteer him.'

'I never done nuffin.'

'You can't do that!' shouted the dwarf.

'Ain't gonna be in no Watch,' growled Coalface.

Carrot leaned towards him. 'There's a hundred dwarfs over there. With great big axes,' he whispered.

Coalface blinked.

'I'll join.'

'Swear him in, acting-constable.'

- Men at Arms - Terry Pratchett

A helmet is created by covering a balloon with paper Mache (traditional newspaper dipped in a flour and water paste. Celluclay (commercial paper Mache) is used to cover the thin shell, then strips of a thin cardboard are hot glued in place to make straps.

The entire dome is then coated with a thick epoxy coating that has black tempera paint and aluminum powder mixed in for a metallic look. Decorative metal studs are added to simulate rivets and a lamp finial screwed to the top for a small spike.

An Ankh-Morpork City Watch badge was created in wax, then a mold made from the model. Epoxy with copper powder and fiberglass reinforcement was cast to make a helmet badge in the style of the English Bobbies. This is mounted to the helmet with two small Chicago screws (bolts.)








Week 2:

The legs and body are almost done, just some final foam work and fleshing out the skinny areas.

To get a more craggy look, firm packing foam will be cut into chunks and stitched under the spandex fabric as I work.

Finishing up the black spandex fabric covering. I had to move him upstairs before he got too large to fit though the basement doors - almost didn't make it!
First, a light spray of "stone-finish" grey speckle paint to give more uniform appearance. Three different types of black fabric were used (mostly, what I had available, but I mail-ordered more as I was starting to run low and no where near finished. The right leg is mostly a smooth, shiny medium weight spandex swimsuit fabric. The rest of the legs, shoulders, and face were done with a "sparkly" black medium-light-weight fabric. and the arms, back and chest were done with a heavy, shiny stretch fabric.
To finish the stone effect, a sea sponge was used to dab on white tacky glue, then sprinkled with glitter. More tacky glue was used to hold the moss in the groves and pockets formed in the chunky bits on the shoulder and back.

Week 3 and 4:

Black Spandex fabric is stitched over the body, inserting chunks of foam as I work.

Nylon upholstery thread is used with w curved upholstery needle. Where there is a fabric liner, I stitch through to secure the fabric tightly together like a quilt. This also works over the metal and plastic mesh of the body, anchoring the fabric tightly between the raised foam areas.

The teeth are from a clear acrylic resin. I started with a 'phoenix' casting I made a while back, and then smashed it into smaller chunks. I wet ground these into semi-faceted shapes (Discworld trolls have diamond teeth) and finished with a spray-on clear coat. (I wanted a slightly rougher look to coalface, not a highly-polished one.)

Once the body was complete, time to haul outside for some finishing touches. First, a coat of spray-on stone finish paint to help equalize the appearance of the different types of black fabric that were used. This also helps highlight the  raised areas and provides some definition.

Next, I use a sponge and pat on tacky glue (like a white Elmer's glue that dries clear.) The glue is sprinkled with mixed black and white glitter to add that stone like sparkle.

Last, some green (Spanish) moss is added to the higher crags. Trolls and gargoyles are known to have lichens growing on them, some cultivate moss, especially on their head. I just went for the hairy mossy-back look.

Since the Masquerade is supposed to be PG and 'no costume' is 'no costume', etc., etc. I made coalface a nice loin cloth from some blue-dyed monk's cloth.

Getting ready for the Worldcon in Boston and the 2007 Columbus Ohio Bid

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