I pretty much decided to make Jumbo Pop as soon as I saw it when I watched Zootopia in the theater. I've always been a fan of huge props. As soon as I saw it, I thought to myself that it would be super awesome to make it for a Nick Wilde cosplay.
Throughout the movie I kept thinking that putting together Nick wouldn't be that difficult, that the biggest challenge would be Jumbo Pop. After that day, I started mentally planning how I could make it work. Just small ideas but no serious preparations since it would be months before my next convention. Summer was fast approaching and about 2 months before Comicpalooza 2016 in Houston, I decided I would debut Nick Wilde and Jumbo Pop there (very appropriate since Zootopia was released the Tuesday before that convention). I hurried to get all the pieces to Nick Wilde and buy materials for Jumbo Pop when I had some extra money. I found a great image of a popsicle online, took the measurements I needed, converted them to the size I needed them to be, and had a semi rough idea on how I was gonna make it. 2 weeks before the con, I started to measure and cut but family and work things kept me from working on it.
The week before the con, I was determined to get it done. I made sure not to have anything planned that weekend in order to dedicate the entire time to it. It wasn't long before my inexperience started to show and nothing seemed to be working. The skeletal frame wasn't gonna hold together when it was finished so I got more materials to reinforce it which meant adding more weight.
Everything from then on I was pretty much winging as I went along but I was determined. The internal padding and alternative option wasn't working out so I ended using pool noodles from the dollar store. I ended up having to rush and cut corners because of the time crunch and trying to keep the weight low. Even had to just tape over the sides and other openings instead of making a proper solid base.
By the end of that weekend, the basic structure was done but I only had limited time during the week because of work to finish gluing things, a layer of paper mache, grasp it, paint it, then a layer of Modge Podge. I wasn't sure if I was doing it right but I had hope. That week I believe I had an average of 2-3 hours of sleep a night. Was even applying a final layer of Modge Podge 5 hours before I went to Comicpalooza. I would like to remake it but now I know I'll have to take the time to do it properly and have so many more ideas on how to do it better. Two days before the debut and with it almost done I discovered a problem that I never even thought of....transport. I have a small sports car that I wasn't sure was big enough. It wasn't gonna be ready in time for me to try and test to see if it was gonna fit in my car so I ended up borrowing an SUV and I figured out a way to squeeze it in my car for my trip to San Japan. Phew!
The reactions at the conventions, but mainly how proud I felt taking it, was so very much worth all of that! As soon as I got it out of the car I was getting amazed looks. I heard people and especially kids yelling from a distance. When I entered the convention I got a lot of similar reactions, look in my direction, surprised face, slow glance upwards, and then huge smiles!
So many times I heard "Jumbo Pop!!" or "Nick!!" in the distance. Even people who didn't see the movie were fans of Jumbo Pop and a few asked who I was and said that now they were interested in watching it. So many pictures were taken that day. So many excited kids walked away with huge smiles. I loved hearing people say that they noticed me from so far away, the opposite side of the convention and even from other floors. Everyone was freakin out!! It was absolutely incredible!! Everybody was gushing. And I loved the rush and excitement. I'm getting pumped just writing about it.