S:AaB News Blog
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  • Behind the Scenes

    The Chig Armor

    The suits were made in Australia by Jason Baird and James Colmer, with assistants David Renn, Phil Moritz and Wayne Nelson.

    Jason now runs JMBFX Studio and James runs Bimmini Special Effects Studios.

    I had a chance to exchange some e-mails with James (see below).

    Chig Suit - Click for larger view

    How would you describe your experience working on S:AaB?
    Working on Space: Above and Beyond was an exciting experience, partly due to the nature of the director and producers background, it really felt like we were creating something that would be remembered (like a cult show), and this was a great source of inspiration to keep working all those long tiring hours.

    Working from drawings supplied by Patrick Tatopolous, we redesigned them to suit a human wearing the outfit, and set about sculpting the creatures. David Nutter asked me if I would play the role of the Chig in the Pilot episode, which of course I said yes to (I am 6 foot 7 tall). It made our job a lot easier to be able to fit the suits as we went along, instead of having to keep getting a stunt guy or actor in all the time.
    How would you describe what it was like to wear the suit?
    Wearing the suits is hard going. The shoes were uncomfortable and tight, once the fibreglass was fitted to them, it was hard to see, or hear anything, movement was limited, and it was very heavy and awkward, not to mention VERY HOT. It took about an hour to suit up properly.

    My experience in the suit was a tough one, even with large fans, there was simply not enough air, and I recall nearly passing out at one stage after a whole day tied up on a box being interrogated, before spewing that rediculous green slime one of the other effects guys had cooked up. I remenber hearing James Wong laugh and call it "toothpaste".
    Were fleas really the inspiration for the chig suits?
    I don't think fleas had anything to do with the design, that was added later I think. If you look at Patrick Tatopolouses designs, he has his own style which is reflected in "Stargate" and independence day, (gotta love those etched lines). We just changed the configuration and some of the styling to suit a person wearing it.
    What were the suits made from?
    The suits are made from fibreglass mostly. The head is carbon fibre for weight, with small fans inside for air, powered by a battery in the backpack. Movable joints in the elbows are a soft material sponged with lated and crinkled, and resembles elephant skin.

    The other flexible parts (ribs, groin, neck etc) are urethane. The undersuit is spandex and all 36 pieces of the suit are foam backed for padding etc.
    What else has Bimmini worked on besides Space?
    Bimmini Special FX and Design Studios have just completed working on the new Wild Wild West ride at WB, but we have worked on Streetfighter, The Phantom, The Real Macaw, Casino Reef, Tales of the South Seas, Joey, SegaWorld in Sydney, The Bermuda Triangle Ride at Seaworld, plus music video's for Regurgitator (have you heard of them?) plus much more including our present project which is a theme park in Spain.
    Thanks for your time.
    Thanks again for your interest. Regards Ian "James" Colmer

    Check out Bimmini's new website (www.bimmini.com). It's got more info and pics of the Chigs and other projects they've worked on.
    Bimmini Special FX and Design Studios
    Factory 3 / 32 Brendan Drive, Nerang, Queensland, Australia
    Tel / Fax: +617 55 200 456
    Email: fx@bimmini.com

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