A few years ago a rather sub-par strategy RPG, Namco X Capcom, updated a whole bunch of nearly forgotten Namco and Capcom video game legends. The game never made it out of Japan and as already mentioned, was pretty sub-par. Some of the updates were really interesting however, my favorite being Dig Dug - proper name Taizo Hori. Masuyo "Kissy" Tobi from Baraduke was also updated as she and Taizo are the parents of Susumu Hori from the Mr. Driller games. As free time has allowed I've been building prop versions of Taizo and Masuyo's equipment while my girlfriend has been working on adapting their jumpsuits. About a month ago we pretty much finished up with Taizo and after I pulled on all the gear she took a few quick pictures before realizing how late it was with the workweek looming a few hours away.

The core idea was a re-imagining of Taizo Hori from a more practical and real-world angle. The design was most influenced by his appearance in Namco X Capcom but reworked to pay homage to the design of the character from over the years. I also wanted to take a more practical stance on his equipment, especially his helmet. While the Namco X Capcom design is great, I've never liked that his headlamp was on the top of the helmet where it could get damaged - so mine is placed under the helmet brim / debris shield. Additionally the debris shield is open on the sides to prevent small rocks from accumulating atop the helmet while also providing areas to hold onto the helmet. They eye shade retracts up into the helmet via a slide on the outside, so it can be flipped up for better indoor visibility without removing my helmet completely. This also better combines the look of Taizo's helmet between Namco X Capcom and his Driller series appearances. It also allows me to quickly get back into "drilling mode" without having to add or remove any pieces. The helmet began, incredibly enough, as a relatively stock helmet I found and was subject to much modification and painting to get it to where it is now.

I designed the shoulder patches and then had them printed on Velco-backed vinyl. One patch is my interpenetration of an "official" Driller Council badge and the other patch commemorates Taizo as the hero of both the Dig Dug Incident (1982) and the South Island Incident (1985). On his left hip are four Class-3 AIR (Automatic Instant Resuscitation) medical supplement capsules - again, a re-interpretation of the air capsules in the Mr. Driller games. The idea of those is that a chemical reaction takes place once the pull tab is unwrapped. When the capsule is held to the mouth, the chemical reaction artificially oxygenates the lungs for a minimum of fifteen minutes, allowing for emergency escape. DRILLER COUNCIL'S WARNING: PROLONGED USE OF A.I.R. MEDICAL SUPPLEMENTS IS NOT RECOMMENDED. This utility area also has space to carry convention badges, autograph pens, and whatever other this-and-thats I may want to have on hand.

The drill is made from 99% foamular and is based on the Namco X Capcom design that incorporated all his tools from the past games: the drill and air harpoon from Dig Dug, the jackhammer from Dig Dug II, and the conventional cartridge rounds from Dig Dug Arrangement. The only parts that are not foamular are the drill cylinder (industrial cardboard tube) and the handles are wrapped with duct tape - although the handles and the drill spike is all made from the same foamular as the rest of the drill. There is a magnetic disc in the pump nozzle that can accept an air harpoon (as is the case in the pictures - loaded with a Taizo Drills Mark VI air harpoon) or many feet of expanding air hose with the air harpoon attached to the end of that (shown below).

Much thanks to my amazing girlfriend for working so hard on this ambitious project as technically this is our first cosplay project - well at least my first in such a big scale. She finished up Masuyo Tobi's space suit last week.

Aiming for a time when Susumu would be a baby, this would be right around 1989 - which puts the characters at the right age for us. This all began as the simple idea of making a "Mr. Driller" suit for the plush baby from the Babysitting Mama Wii game, which she did.

If you'll be at FanimeCon in San Jose this weekend and see me, say hi. Thinking this will be out Friday and Sunday.