Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Best Cosplay of Dragon Con 2014, Pt 4

Time to dive back into Dragon Con cosplay, 'cuz there's still SO MUCH to see!

Let's start with my dear friends Robyn & Christie, who once again blew me away with new costumes this year:

 Fire & Ice Dragons!

Robyn as the Ice Dragon.

The sisters made everything themselves, but it's those elaborate headpieces that really steal the show:
The wire armatures outline dragon heads! WOW.

(I so want to make a giant feather headdress now, you guys.)

I later learned they also made elaborate - not to mention stunning - back spines that trail all the way to the floor, so I'm bummed I didn't get a shot from the back. I talked Christie into posting build photos, though, so head over to their Facebook page for more pics and to see how they did it all. (Christie's armor is made of individually cut scales of craft foam!)

Moving on, another gorgeous pair:

 Elphaba & Glinda from Wicked!

Belle, Meg, and Lilo:

 And I just realized Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts is wearing a vial of Iocane powder. LOVE. (He's the Cary Elwes look-alike from my last post.)

You see a lot of "only at Dragon Con" stuff at DC, but I thought this group was especially perfect:

Yep. That's Dragon Con.

And a close up of one of the Borg:

I was thrilled to find this: Karen Hallions' famous Haunted Mansion Leia!

 She asked me to help with the pose, but I think she nailed it on her own.

 This steampunk Wizard of Oz group is perfect. PERFECT, I SAY:

I especially love the Tin Man's design; his metal heart had a rotating light feature in it. Also check out Dorothy's little Toto & sparkly boots, and the Cowardly Lion's Courage medal!

Oh, and Glinda's staff blew bubbles! You can see some here in a later shot:

Harrison from Volpin Props in his "Marriott Chariot":

You probably remember, but I posted a group shot of the Marriot carpet ninjas earlier.

If you love amazing prop builds, btw, check out Harrison's site. His Skyrim armor is the stuff of legends.

Oh! Speaking of armor:


Anyone remember the live-action show of The Tick?

Captain Liberty & Bat Manuel! YES!!

I'm having a terrible time finding a clear reference shot, but here's a general idea:

Those two are so spot-on, it's scary. They even look like the actors!

Lady Skeletor:

 Here's a dapper twist on Jack & Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas:

 Plus a great Doctor Doom.

I was in costume myself Saturday night, and this is my second favorite shot of the night:

 My vision is so limited in the helmet that I had NO IDEA who I was posing with until afterward. Ha!

There were two or three truly amazing kid costumes at DC this year, and this Doc Oc was one of them:

It was hard to get close to him, but my dad - who loves costume hunting as much as I do, and was often right beside me taking his own pics - got a fantastic shot:

In fact, while I'm at it, here are two more of Dad's, of cosplays I missed:

(I love how everyone's headgear is different!)

And an absolutely stunning Maleficent:

You can see the rest of my Dad's Dragon Con photos here on Flickr.

K, back to my stuff! A great Borderlands group:

And I'm not sure of the character, but this girl's giant keyboard had fun color-changing lights underneath:

(Aha! Per the comments, she's Arcade Sona from League of Legends. Here's a reference:)

Not sure this counts as cosplay, exactly, but this lady had her own Mobile Virtual Presence Device, like Sheldon's from the Big Bang Theory!

If you're not familiar, it's basically a web cam on wheels that she was operating remotely - I assume from her hotel room. The device DID have a handler walking beside it for protection, but how cool is this for folks who don't want to brave the crowds in person?

Here's a classic:
Blue Screen Of Death!! ha!

 I've seen some impressive Homestuck cosplay before, but this is my new favorite:

It's a Homestuck Star Wars mashup! So, so good.

(Homestuck trolls have gray skin and orange horns. If you go to any conventions, you've probably seen the cosplay, even if you didn't know what it was.)

And another great mashup:

Iron Man Totoro!

I featured this Totoro last year, I believe, and his makers told me they planned to make different costumes for him to wear each year. I LOVE this idea; like Totoro is cosplaying, too!

One of the Iron Man armor variations:

And a spookily-lit Splicer from BioShock:

Splicers come in all different outfits, but here's a general reference shot:

My gosh that game is scary. 

(I still haven't made it all the way through the first BioShock; I chicken out when the lights go out on that second floor hallway. [shudder] For some reason I didn't find BioShock 2 as bad, though.)

A terrible shot, but this is a lovely Doctor Crusher doppelgänger!

And more loveliness: an Athenian warrior:

And... Jean Gray? I think?

Scratch that; she's Black Widow. Thanks, commenters!

Ok, THIS one I know:

Uncle Fester!

Emma Frost has a diamond form, so this cosplayer is kind of mid-transformation:


I'm not sure what to call this style of Anna & Elsa, but it's vaguely Moulin Rouge-ish, and completely gorgeous:

Check out Elsa's levitating snowflakes! I assume there's a wire wrapped around her finger - simple, but oh so impressive for pics.

I loved this Effie Trinket from Hunger Games so much I had a little fun with her photo:

If you look verrrry closely, you can see there are even butterfly shapes in her eyelashes.

And here's Effie from the movie, for comparison:

The attention to detail is amazing; she even has the little butterflies glued to her arm, and the same yellow blush!

I'm going to end there, since John tells me I've spent more time and effort on this post than I have an entire week's worth of Cake Wrecks post. Heh. I do hope you guys are ok with me dragging out my Dragon Con coverage like this. Truth is, every year I feel so rushed to get all my photos posted that I think we both miss out. This way, I can take my time, play with photo editing as much as I like, and you guys get an extended DC visit, broken up over a longer time period.

Of course, I take so many photos at DC each year that I just realized I could easily post a different costume every day for a year. Hm... now THERE's an idea... for a different blog... when I have unlimited time. Ha!

Hope you guys are having a great weekend!

{Click here for Part 5, or here to go back to Part 1.}

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Check Me Out, I'm Dancin'! I'm DANCIN'!!

New project time!

I figure John and I are far enough along now to - knock on wood - avoid the Epbot curse. (That's the one where I doom a project by mentioning it here before it's finished. :))

This will be more of a build walk-through than a tutorial, though I'm happy to answer any questions I can. It's one of the most complex things John and I have ever tackled, which is funny, considering it looks pretty simple:

 Oh, did I mention? 

We're building Claptrap.

Woot woot!

Of course by "we" I mostly mean "John," though I'm helping where I can. Plus it'll be my turn to take over soon, since I get to handle all the painting and finishing. o.0

John got the lion's share of the body done in just three days, after which I think he realized just how complex this build is. So many details and funky angles! We're around the 2 week mark now, with John working at least a couple of hours a day.

First steps: scale drawings (using measurements taken from in-game screen shots) and a quick arm mock-up.
Transferring templates to wood.

Attaching inner frame.

John used an old sample board of wood stains for the inner frame, which is why it looks so pretty. :)

Block supports & thin wood laminate to make the inner curve on the front:
 The laminate was actually my idea. See? HELPING.

Sliding in the bottom panel.

We decided on a hinged top panel, so we can access the insides later:

(You can also see the inner side panels coming along; those will be filled with wires & tubing later.)

John did a great job recessing the hinges, so you shouldn't see them at all once it's painted.

The eye flap is reinforced underneath with a wedge of wood cut to the same angle.

A quick mock-up of the eye, which is made from a stryofoam ball & PVC pipe:

The front wheel surround was a pain; John re-did it three times to appease a particularly demanding supervisor [smirk]:

In the supervisor's defense, now it's practically perfect.

The wheel is a used go-kart tire John ordered online - our most expensive piece so far, since we had to buy two for $45, including shipping. It's the perfect size, though, and the tread is close to Claptrap's.


The hubcaps are screwed into four wood supporting blocks inside the wheel, and the inset is a PVC threaded reducer. There's also an inflated bicycle tire in there, for padding.

I had John add an inner wooden ring to the hubcap, both to hide the joint & to better match Claptrap.

The wheel shaft and assembly is made from more PVC pipe, plus cast iron flanges John had left over from an old project:

Taking the new wheel assembly for a test spin!

Here I am starting my first attempt at cell-shading for the paint job:

 Adding thick, sloppy borders on purpose is really hard for a perfectionist. Had to keep going back to mess it up a bit.

(If you're not familiar with the cell-shading look for Borderlands cosplay, here's an example:

 The game has a graphic, comic book sketchy feel, with lots of heavy outlines & almost cartoony shading.)

So, after shading, highlighting, and adding some grunge:
 Eh. Satisfied enough to keep going!
The struts were harder; I initially made them way too clean & realistic. I kept going back, adding more and more "sketchy" lines to really drive home the graphic cartoony feel.

 For the finishing touch I made two faux screw heads from "Bead in a Bottle" paint:

(Pipe the paint onto a smooth piece of plastic or glass, let it dry completely, pop it off, and use a craft blade to make the screw-head indentation. Easy-peasy!)

Screws in place, and outlined with more black paint:

 We have a wheel!!

Think I'll end there for now. Next time I'll show you guys some of the fun stuff we're doing with the front panels, which light up and are looking pretty cool, if I do say so myself. :)