Tuesday, April 14, 2015

That Time John Cosplayed As A 13-Year-Old Girl

John and I just had the perfect weekend at MegaCon: the ticket line was a breeze, the crowds were huge but manageable, the cosplay was plentiful, and our Claptrap was a big hit!

Plus, last week John decided he wanted to make a (very) last-minute costume of another Borderlands character for himself, so he could wheel Claptrap around. And not just any character; this one:

That's Tiny Tina, a 13-year-old girl-turned-explosives-expert.

Why? Because we thought the contrast would be funny, and because it'd never been done before.

I told John there was no way we could create an entire cosplay from scratch in just 3 days, but somehow - somehow - we did it. It was cheap, too, since all we used was thrift store clothing, craft foam, a few leftover supplies, and paint.


We made a gender-swap variation, so instead of a skirt John's just wearing the orange shorts, and instead of a bunny apron, he has a bunny shirt and vest.

He also used this cosplay as an excuse to have his hair bleached - which almost everyone has teased him about, but he LOVES. ("My hair finally matches my eyebrows!")

John handled all the sewing and basic construction on the costume, while I did most of the painting, cell shading, and smaller accessories.

It's kind of a shame Claptrap hides the bottom half. Here's a side view, so you can see John's two different shoes and knee cuff:

Clappy making new friends. :)

John also wore lightweight sticks of "dynamite" we made using cheap plastic tubing from Wal-Mart (apparently it's used to store golf clubs?) and leftover wire from Claptrap:

I made the bunny watch, pin, and simple orange cuff all from painted craft foam and glued-on Velcro.

I'm most proud of the mask, which we made from a $3 craft mask and more foam:

John used a heat gun to smash down the mask's original nose, and then puttied over it with a little glob of epoxy putty. From there I added the foam respirator circle and new eyes, and then painted it all up using this screen shot as a reference:

Some glued on thrift-store belts finished the whole thing off. 

The final touch was black eyeshadow (which was a hilarious ordeal, since John is VERY
BAD about having things applied near his eyes) and a few lines on his face to give it that sketchy look.

John was pretty nervous before going out the first time on Friday, but within minutes of the crowd catching sight of him and Claptrap, he was an instant celebrity. I spent the rest of the day grinning like a fool and just trying to get out of the way of all the cameras:

It was a different vibe than with John's Dreamfinder cosplay; nobody wanted to hug him, for starters. :D Guys still wanted to shake his hand, though, and people would just lose their minds when we told them Claptrap was filled with snacks. (Which he was.) High-fives and enthusiastic cheering galore, lemme tell ya. Ha!

It was also fun startling people by making Claptrap talk, though the speaker was much quieter out on a crowded con floor than it was here at home. (We'll have to find a way to crank up the volume before his next appearance.) Lots of folks even started dancing with him!


On Saturday we learned there was a Borderlands meetup scheduled, so John went out again for a few hours that afternoon. I'll have more of those group pics later, but for now, here's my favorite semi-candid shot:

I love Handsome Jack showing off in the back, and how Salvatore has his face in his hands on the left. Ha!

Oh! And yesterday John had his pic with a fabulous gender-swapped Dr. Zed re-tweeted by Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software (makers of Borderlands)!

So cool.  Happily I was right next to the person taking that photo, so here's mine:

Welp, that's enough "Tiny Tony" for now. Hope you guys got a kick out of it, and stay tuned for lots more MegaCon cosplay!


  1. Oh my gosh! John looks adorable as Tiny Tony!

    Also, why would anyone say anything about John's bleached hair? I think it looks cool! (I may be biased as I just bleached my hair for the first time on a whim for something different.)

  2. That is simply perfect.

  3. John and Claptrap look fantastic! Thanks for sharing all the notes on making it - you guys are amazing doing that in three days heh. The mask is really freaking cool. Still wish I'd managed to catch you when I saw John on Saturday afternoon from kinda far off, but I'll take a sighting over nothing! :)

  4. LOVE THIS!!! You guys are amazing! Can't wait to see the rest of the pictures! (I need to figure out how to make some cosplay....and who I'd like to cosplay as)

  5. You guys never cease to amaze me. Awesome job!

  6. absolutely perfect. and in three days??? I bow down to you both!

  7. That costume is absolute perfection! Earlier I thought that your Claptrap was a hit, but now John's costume steals almost all attention from it :D ! Makes me smile!

  8. I love the costume, but I find it super irritating that the gender swapped Dr Zed is called Nurse Zed in that tweet. I mean, really?

    1. I was just coming here to post that! It caught my eye and irritated me also!

      But yay Jen and John for Claptrap and the costume! I love how cartoony/2D everything looks!

    2. That caught my eye, too, but the person tweeting IS the cosplayer - so she chose to call herself Nurse Zed for some reason. (It's hard to make out, but I think her name tag says "nurse," too.) Maybe we should remind her girls can be doctors, too? o.0

    3. My thought too! A gender swapped doctor is a doctor.

  9. That. Is. FABULOUS!!! Every time I think you two can't possibly top your last cosplay, you do.

  10. Oh how epicly epic!!! <3 i LOVE IT.. i've never played borderlands.. or well any games.. I am a N64 kinda kid...my skills stop at Mario 64 lol.. mostly I like watching other people play and going :oh why did you do that? whats that mean.. i get glares a lot lol! .. there should be a name for that.. is there?? *goes to google(can't find anything we should name it...)* Any way I look forward to seeing more pics!!!

  11. Jen, this is amazing! I bet it was so fun seeing the people's reactions! The fact that it only took you 3 days to make the costume?? Insane! You can definitely tell it's Tiny Tina (Tony), too.
    Did you get to go in costume??
    Memories for DAYSSSS. So glad you had fun, and I can't wait to see more pics!
    Thank you for sharing with those of us too far away to even think about going. :)

    --Piper P from Washington State

    1. No costume for me this round; I was having too much fun taking photos! That's the constant struggle with cons; ideally I'd like to do both, but in a pinch, I prefer being a photographer. :)

      We're talking about my being another gender-swapped Borderlands character for Dragon Con, though - in fact, we have a whole group for it, so that should be super fun!

  12. You guys are the coolest. That is all.

  13. So awesome! Glad it was such a hit (and probably super comfortable!). :)

  14. This is probably one of my favorite cosplays, and I don't even know the game! :) Reverse genderswaps are glorious.

    And while I am all for John going blond, however; if his pale eyebrows are his main reason, he really should try to match his eyebrows to his hair, rather than vice versa! It makes a huge difference on an already glorious face, lemmetellya! ;)

  15. Gah! So fun! Way to go John and Jen!

  16. I don't even know who these characters are but I am so blown away by your talent and attention to detail. I always enjoy reading your clever word play and seeing your creativity both here and on Cakewrecks. Thank you. Each time any of us do anything to make the world a better, more creative, more peaceful, more understanding place we all benefit.

  17. OH MY GOSH! I love this so so so much. You have no idea. I have such a soft spot for clap trap (my fiance can't stand him) and the one you guys have made is amazing. His Tiny Tony coplay is super cool as well ^_^
    - Sarah

  18. Friggen love the borderlands cosplays! You guys get the art style just perfectly.

  19. John is adorable, I love it!! My husband and I agree that Tiny Tina is by far the best character in the game so this is extra awesome! I wish we were close enough to have seen it in person!

  20. Dude. That shot of John and the robot under the MegaCon banner looks almost like they are cartoons dropped into a live scene. Which of course I mean in the best way possible because that cell shading is ridiculously cool!


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