Category Archives: Cosplay
Hello everyone! It is as good a time as any to make my way back here and get busy again. Forgive any minor bits of craziness, suffice it to say that I just finished watching Madoka Magica Episode 3 and I am still a little shaken (coward desu). Like my friend pandamajik I am just getting finished with a busy week after returning from Ohayocon 2011. I can’t tell you how excited I was to make it back for another go around this year. Ohayocon 2010 was actually my first convention experience in the months after I truly “discovered” anime and manga for the amazing art forms they were. What was also special about this convention was that it was the first time I had the opportunity to share my passion for Vocaloids with other fans by running my own panels. It still leaves me baffled how much has changed for me in the past year…just 12 months ago I was wandering around Ohayocon ’10 in wide-eyed shock at the spectacle of 10000 anime fans and cosplayers, recognizing almost nothing and really just along for the ride. Flash-forward a year and I actually know my stuff a bit when it comes to recognizing cosplays and can easily discuss a whole variety of topics with other con-goers. Even more amazing is that this time last year I didn’t even know that things such as Vocaloids and one insanely cute Vocal-android by the name of Miku Hatsune even existed…my how things change!
After the jump I will be discussing my thoughts and opinions of Ohayocon programming, my own panels, and the con overall. I didn’t have a good camera on me this year but I do have a few pictures and videos taken by my awesome friends to share as well. There was lots of fun to be had this year but there was also a number of concerns as well, so I will do my best to address all of them. Please feel free to add your own comments at then end!
So it’s been a while since I posted any update on the cosplay progress, but I have in fact been diligently working on it. Since last time I have been mostly working on adding many many layers of papier mache to the belt as well as making everything else such as the grappling hook with accompanying sheath. I also adjusted (had to resew it) the shoulder straps so the horizontal part across the back would be up higher.
I was not completely happy with how the cypher sword turned out from before since I could still see some of the wood grain on the blade near the hilt. I put on a few layers of gesso on the entire sword including the large block-like hilt. After layers of gesso I then proceeded to sand the entire thing using a nail block (yes, the ones found in the cosmetic aisle of the store) and then wet sand with 400 grit sandpaper. The gesso actually becomes easier to sand when using water; I just needed to constantly wipe down all the surfaces. After this I primed the entire thing using gray Automotive primer and then coated it with about 3 layers of the metallic paint again.
My biggest mistake was at this step. During the third coat I thought the paint coming from the can wasn’t going to be flat enough when dry so I sprayed a bit more on in hopes that it would self-level. At this point I noticed that I had put so much paint on there that it was starting to run down the thin edge of the blade. I ended up having to sand down one entire side of the blade, re-gesso it and do the whole painting of that side again. The second time I learned to just spray one layer and walk away no matter what I thought about it. This resulted in a nice smooth finish without any problems.
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The belt had about 7-10 layers of papier mache painstakingly applied to it. I had said before that I wanted to use magnets for the belt so I ended up cutting the belt in two places and used a pin vise to drill out holes for magnets. I used neodymium magnets from K&J Magnetics (Grade N50, 5.4mm x 4.5mm disc magnets). These magnets are very strong and will not hold with just duct tape so I had to add two layers of papier mache on top of that to make sure they would stay. I’ve left off a lot of detail about the trial and error into constructing the area where the two parts of the belt attach and even now it’s not completely perfect. The entire thing was covered in gesso which is where it stands right now.
Grappling Hook + Sheath
The grappling hook was made to be a static object, not like the one in the game that is constructed of three pieces to extend. The compressed version looks like a dagger with a curved hand guard. I made the dagger using 4 layers of cardboard duct taped together with a piece that extended into a piece of 3/4″ PVC pipe. The hilt was made using pieces of cardboard in the shape of a box.
The hand guard was made using a piece of aluminum foil since it would be able to hold its shape fairly well. The entire thing (grappling hook + hand guard) was covered with a few layers of papier mache. This was then covered in gesso, primed, and painted using metallic paint.
The end of the handle for both the grappling hook and the cypher were made using a cap for 3/4″ PVC pipe that was cut and placed on. The open end was covered with a piece of cardboard and then coated with gesso. The handles were wrapped with brown ribbon from Michael’s. They are currently secured using scotch tape looped to crate double sided tape. I just simply wrapped the handle in one direction with a constant diagonal motion.
The sheath was made using cardboard using the dagger as a template for size reference. This was also covered in papier mache and gesso.
I initially had some white cloth from the discount bin at the fabric store, but it will be hard for it to stay in place when I use it to wrap my forearms, legs, and feet. I will be getting some gauze from the store that will stick to itself instead.
- Paint the sheath for the grappling belt
- Paint the belt
- Make zori sandals
- Buy some gauze
Some pictures of the painted shirt from last time:
I constructed the base for the belt last night using cardboard and duct tape. I ordered some neodymium (rare earth) magnets to be used for various parts of my props.
I took a look at all the reference pictures along with what other people have done for their cosplays. From what I can tell it seems like the belt is a series of connected boxes, the purpose I’m guessing is to store things. I decided to do a total of 14 segments to the belt. I also plan on making two functional compartments to carry around my cell phone and stuff from my wallet. My waist is 28 inches so this construction will not work for everyone. Based on my waist size, I made the boxes to be 2.5 inches square on the face and a depth of 1.5 inches.
I cut out all of the necessary pieces out of corrugated cardboard to make sure it’s strong enough (corrugated is significantly thicker and stronger than the stuff for cereal boxes). I cut out a total of 28 2.5 inch squares and 56 1.5 x 2.5 inch side pieces. While watching various TV shows I assembled all 14 boxes using duct tape. Since I wanted to have 2 functional compartments and each of the boxes are fairly small, I will be combining two boxes for each of the functional compartments. Initial testing shows my cell phone can fit, but my wallet is too large. I should still be able to put the stuff from my wallet in there, just the actual wallet is slightly too large. I connected the remaining 10 boxes into two sets of 5 and then temporarily connected everything together into one chain to do a test fit. It ended up being just enough to fit around my waist, but in all the pictures it is actually lower on one side. I ended up constructing one more box to add on.
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The hard part was getting the shape of the entire belt to be set and not have it flop around. I put the belt around my wait and placed strips of duct tape around the outside to secure the shape. Then I layered duct tape on the top and bottom and then covered the entire thing in one more layer of duct tape. At this point I realized that I would have trouble making the lid for the compartment hinged since it’s a curved section (pretty much all the sections are curved so there’s no way around this). I debated for a while whether or not to use magnets to attach the lid and have the entire piece be able to come off, but my main concern was whether it would destroy the magnetic strip of credit cards and similar cards. I found some neodymium (rare earth) magnets online from K&J Magnetics that would be small enough such that they are strong at small distances, but would have a small magnetic field at even an inch away (magnetic fields drop with respect to distance squared). The price of the magnets was holding me up since I didn’t want to spend too much more, but I decided I would have to have at least some magnets since the belt is rigid and I will not be able to put it on if it doesn’t come apart in two halves.
Spent about an hour painting the 飛 character onto the shirt, which took about 6 coats since it’s red paint onto blue fabric. I used Scribbles 3D paint from Michaels which cost me about $1 for an 1 oz bottle. Hand brushing it yields much smoother results than squeezing it from the bottle in my opinion. I first traced the design and then cut it out of paper. I pinned the design to the fabric along with a piece of cardboard under it to prevent the paint from bleeding to the back of the shirt. I then used the fabric paint straight from the bottle but brushed it on instead of using the applicator bottle. After drawing in the outline using the pinned cutout, I removed the cutout and painted within the lines. The first layer or two looks crappy since it doesn’t cover well enough. After 3-4 layers it actually looked a lot more like a true red. The trick is to paint in thin layers. By the time I finished the entire design for one coat the first part was ready for a second coat. By going in the same order every time I ensured that it was dry before the next coat.
Full drying time is listed as 24 hours so I’m leaving it overnight before I attempt to do anything to the fabric.
- Make the grappling hook/dagger thing along with the holster for it
- Finish the construction of the belt
- Gesso and paint everything
- Probably will redo the sword even though it’s already painted (not completely happy with how it turned out so I might try to gesso it since I didn’t do that the first time)
- Make the sandals
Still quite a few things left to do so I hope I can get it all done in time.
In progress pictures of the belt:
This is a shorter update as I didn’t do as much.
I got the arm straps done with the help of my mom. We used premade bias tape from Hancock Fabric (like Joann). The specific information is that it was 1″ wide brown bias tape for quilting. This means that it is a bit thicker than some of the other bias tape there. The width of the bias tape was pretty much spot on and at a cost of under $2 for 3 yards that’s not too bad. We ended up having to get a second package to finish it.
Going along the lines of planning it out first, we happened to have a piece of ribbon from a gift that someone gave us for Christmas that just happened to be the right length to measure everything. The straps consist of one long piece across the entire back, two loops from that straight piece over the shoulder, and then two loops that go around the outside of the arms.
The actual sewing was pretty straightforward since we just had to stitch the sides of the bias tape together. We were able to use the entire 3 yard length for everything excluding the loops around the outside of the arms. The forward loops and the straight back were stitched together with the tape folded over at a 45 degree angle.
In the reference images you can see two buckles in the front where the outside loops attach to the forward loop. We decided to make this an actual functional loop that would allow for adjustment of the outside loop. The buckles were bought at Hancock for about $3 and it was put together much like a shoulder bag strap.
I think the straps came out pretty nice and from a distance it actually looks a bit like leather.
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Colossalcon this past summer was my first anime convention and I had a lot of fun so I am planning on attending Ohayocon 10 at the end of Jan, 2010. One of the largest aspects of anime conventions is cosplay. For those who do not know, cosplay is dressing up as some character from a show, game, movie, or anything else. Basically people pick characters they like and dress up like them.
My planned cosplay is Strider Hiryu from Marvel vs. Capcom, an arcade fighting game a friend introduced me to back in high school. I only played the first one so I will be basing the cosplay on the character design from the first one.
The bulk of the clothing has been completed since that’s what I worked on when I went home for break. My mom helped out a lot since she has a sewing machine and a good amount of experience with it. The woodworking was done by myself with a few tips from my stepfather. This is my first time doing any sort of cosplay so there is certainly a lot that I can improve, but I see this mostly as a learning opportunity. Hopefully it will allow me to pick up a lot more skills like sewing, woodworking, and painting.
The pants were probably the easiest part of the clothing. We first watched a video on Youtube to get an idea of how other people made the pattern. Then we took a pair of pajamas, turned it inside out and took a look at the shape of the front and back piece of cloth. We decided the best way to approach it would be to cut four pieces of fabric, one for each leg front and back. The hardest part about it was to put curvature at the top for it to conform better to the body as well as account for a few inches extra when sitting down.
As far as stitching everything together, the two halves of the front were joined as well as the two parts for the back. After that, the front and back were joined and then all the edges were hemmed to make it look better cosmetically as well as prevent the edge from fraying. An elastic band was put in to serve as a waistband.
The shirt looks like it is similar to the Japanese “gi” except that there are no sleeves. Unfortunately I did not bring my kendo gi and hakama home so there was no really good template to have on hand. We ended up using a T-shirt as the base template and constructing it out of a total of 3 pieces – one for the back and one for each side of the front. The right half will fold over to the left first and then the left flap will fold over to the right. The left side will be the one that will be most visible when completed.
One of the tough parts was finding the right curvature for the two halves to make the V-cut in the front look right. We first used newspaper to make the pattern and to get an idea of what the finished product will look like.
The sewing of the three parts was relatively straightforward. The one additional detail is the addition of approximately one inch bias tape on the collar and around the edge of the two halves of the front. Bias tape needs to be cut at a 45 degree diagonal in relation to the fibers of the cloth. The other tricky part was the sleeve since it shouldn’t be too short or too long.
Strider’s signature weapon is his cypher called the Falchion. The cypher is triangular in shape but fairly long, about the length of the legs. There are two handles, much like a tonfa. I had great difficulty in getting any good reference pictures for this and spent a lot of time deliberating over how to make it. I sketched up a rough design in Solidworks but when it finally came time to make it I decided to redraw it by hand. I settled on using the sprite sheet from the original Marvel vs. Capcom as my base reference.
I am using some leftover wood we have (I believe it’s from when we finished our basement). The wood is 3/4″ thick whitewood, which comes from spruce and is similar to pine but a little less dense and is also softer. The handles are constructed from PVC pipe and I am using a T shape connector at the center. There are pictures with the shorter handle (the one perpendicular to the handle in line with the blade) both in the same plane as the edge of the blade as well as on the plane of the flat of the blade. I will be going with the handle in the plane of the edge of the blade as it is the logical way for him to execute the attacks shown in the game.
Insert picture with dimensions.
After drawing the design of the blade onto the surface of the wood, I cut a scrap piece of wood first that had the same angle as the angle that the blade is shaped. This will allow me to still use the guide rail on the table saw I’m using. The problem is that the angle is very shallow so even with the piece of wood and the guide rail it was still difficult to get the cut accurate. I more or less free-handed the second side and ended up going in about 1/16 of an inch about halfway down. It’s not too noticeable but when I compare the two sides I can see where it’s at. The faces were also cut at an angle to make it more like an actual blade, but I kept about 1/4″ thickness even at the edge to make sure it would be structurally sound.
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The handle was cut partway with the table saw and finished off with a hand saw and chisel. This is becuase the table saw cuts more of the wood at the bottom as opposed to the surface which is only important when not making a complete through cut. The handle was cut to fit inside 3/4″ PVC pipe (inside diameter) so I had to file down the corners of the handle to make it rounder (basic trigonometry in action). The PVC size was chosen because of the maximum thickness of the wood.
The next step was to cover the handle in Gorilla Glue and then let it sit for about 10 minutes. The glue will expand some during this time. During that time I secured the PVC handle to the T connector using PVC primer and cement. If you use that be sure to act quickly since it sets in about 30 seconds. After inserting the Gorilla Glue coated handle into the PVC+connector, I let it sit overnight. The next morning the glue had expanded to fill the inside of the pipe, ensuring a secure bond.
I had a lot of difficulty with building up the trapezoidal part covering the connector on the weapon. I first cut out the shape I wanted using ceral box cardboard and attached about 3 layers on each side with some Bondo to help fill the space since the connector sits at a larger thickness compared to the actual blade. This was then covered up using papier mache with a mixture of flour and water as the glue. I applied about 10 layers of papier mache using a hair dryer to speed up the process and allowing me to do more than just one layer a day. After getting the rough shape I tried to use some plastic wood (a type of wood putty) to cover the outside and provide a smooth surface to paint on. The wood putty did not go on as well as I had hoped and it didn’t bond very well since it would just break off when I tried to sand the edges. After getting it as smooth as I could I covered it with an additional layer of the papier mache glue, which actually self leveled some. The entire thing was then primed using Rust-Oleum Automotive Primer (same stuff I use for my models) and then sanded using 100 and 400 grit sandpaper. Then the whole thing was primed again and wet sanded using 400 grit sandpaper. Finally I covered it using Rust-Oleum metallic spray paint in a silver color. It’s shiny, but not quite a mirror finish like chrome or polished silver. I’m not completely satisfied with how it turned out and might have to repaint it later but for now I need to work on all the other props.
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- Paint red kanji onto shirt
- Make grappling hook and holder on back
- Make the brown straps for his arms
- Make the white belt
- Tabi socks
- White bandages for arms, ankles, and feet
- Red cloth for wrapping waist and for the face mask + scarf
All of the in progress shots of the sword: