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Latest Cosplay Shenanigans

I really shouldn't be on LJ.  I should be frantically painting and gluing things, or in lieu of that, maybe working on fic or perhaps reading up on the latest loudness metering standards in preparation for upcoming mixing sessions at work, or hell, playing some more FF13-2 or Virtue's Last Reward. Or sleeping, which I have not been doing nearly enough of recently.

But none of that would count as procrastinating!  Which is all I apparently want to do currently, and making posts on LJ is at least marginally more productive than trawling Reddit.

Anyhow, I thought I'd share the progress of my latest attempts at cosplay!  The deadline for this one is quite close, I have until Wednesday to finish, although I really need to be done by Monday night since I expect I'll be working late Tuesday and Wednesday (and will need to pack it Wednesday night).

So!  Context for those not in the know.  Because clearly Kain wasn't exercise in insanity enough, I somehow got convinced into Caius Ballad for a FF13-2 group cosplay.


This guy.

This is actually sort of exciting because Caius is pretty much the best Final Fantasy villain since Sephiroth, and has the theme music to prove it.  The fact that he's voiced by Liam O'Brien (Kain Highwind and Akihiko Sanada) is delicious delicious icing on that cake.

It's also kind of painful because the more I've worked on this costume the more incredibly impractical it strikes me as being!  I mean, the guy has little guide rails n his collar for his ultra-long headband thing.  What the hell?! And don't even get me started on his arm or knee armour.

2013-01-01 21.10.04

His headband is just... ridiculous.  Ridiculously long, that is.  And I had to pain both sides.  It took the most of a five-set tennis match to do this.

2012-12-27 15.17.09

I couldn't find the right kinds of feathers for his... I guess you could call them head decorations?... so had to actually dye them.  And the pendants, too - I can't buy those anywhere!  I first have to make the pendants, then string them together.  :|

2013-01-21 01.52.38

And can I just say, screw you Caius, and all of your stupid back detail that no one is going to see and isn't going to show up in hardly any photos.

2013-01-03 21.40.41

Here's a shot of the front piece WIP.  This part is actually complete now, thankfully.  I had to adjust the dimensions a little since I am not actually a six-foot tall olympic male gymnast, and I also have t move n it which magical CG materials don't need to take into account.

I'm going to absolutely melt in it, considering it's 80% vinyl and craft foam.  Great choice of summer cosplay!  Seriously, where was my brain?  So I invested in a cooling vest with gel ice packs in the pockets, like what suit actors use.  In my kind of half-test wear it sort of had the unexpected side effect of chest-flatting and making the vest part fit better, so hooray for happ accidents there.  (Although maybe now I'll look a little fat).  It's actually turned out kind of awesome because I wound up using it in the heatwave we had recently.  My only concern is the extra weight and suitcase space it will take up - the gel packs alone add about 3kg.

2013-01-26 00.31.09

The most ridiculous and impractical thing of all, of course, is his sword.  I mean, what the hell, Square.  Seriously, what the hell.  I am going to have to take so many shortcuts to finish this thing in time.

Given its size, weight is a huge consideration for this thing.  I had to completely rule out paper clay or gesso any heavier materials - I've stuck mostly to cardboard and craft foam, which is probably going to rob it of a little bit of its three-dimensionality.  It's actually too big to transport so I've had to make it in pieces.  I'm kind of praying that it will still fit in my suitcase (especially considering I have to fit the rest of the costume, and, you know, actual clothes in there too.)  I'm making it into its relevant pieces, but I may yet me forced to saw those into even smaller pieces and just... hotglue it back together at the destination. :/  Which will look a little ugly and compromise structural integrity, but a little weak and ugly is probably better than not having it at all.

I got the colours all wrong on the handle too, if I have time I'll repaint.  Hahahah as if I'll have time for repainting.  My wood-painting methodology leaves something to be desired, I checked out some tutorials but it somehow just didn't work for me.  :/

Left to do:

-    The sword, obviously.  I've got it mostly all cut out and a good chunk of the structural detailing done, sans the very middle part, but I seriously need to be painting this like a madman tomorrow.  Paint takes time to dry!  And you can only paint one side at a time!  I might have to skip the weathering and the varnish at this rate.  :(
-    The thigh armour.  I've got it mostly cut out but am struggling with the topmost part.
-    The goddamn arms.  This is the part I am most concerned about.  I've been putting them off, admittedly, because I hate working on sleeves and have no idea how to make it so I can actually bend my elbows.
-    Wig needs to be cut and styled.  I am not very good at cutting and styling wigs so this is scary.  :|
-    Need to string up the beads and feathers and attach to the headband and wig.  I might have to do this on the plane or at the destination, but luckily it shouldn't take more than an hour.
-    Have to add fasteners to everything to make sure it stays in place.  I might do this at the destination too since it will only require bringing along some more glue and velcro probably.

It has the dubious honour of being the most expensive cosplay I've made to date - outstrips Kain comfortably (although to be fair, Kain was 90% cardboard and craft foam, which is not exactly expensive building materials).  It was mostly due to the metres and metres of vinyl and beads, which turn out to be crazy expensive even when you take pains to try and buy mostly plastic and wooden ones. A lot of the little incidentals like feathers and metal snaps and fake fur added up too, not much on their own but all together...  The scary part is I actually made some good savings on the cosplay thanks to craft foam I had left over from Kain, boots pillaged from another cosplay, and the wide variety of paints and varnish and glue also left over from Kain!

I always feel very guilty when any cosplay breaks the $100 barrier though. It's the same sort of feeling I get with formal dresses - so much money on something you're probably only going to wear once!  Of course, you get the fun of actually making the cosplay too.  But then, I have since found out how much some fellow (admittedly awesome) cosplayers spend on their costumes, and then don't feel so bad anymore.  Apparently I'm actually quite budget, lol.  (Although any money savings sort of disappear out the window when you consider I travel halfway across the country to those cons. *coughs*)

Even though I've actually been cosplaying for a while now, and have graduated to  fully making my own costumes ever since Riesz last year, this will actually be the first time I've entered any of the comps or gone on stage.  A little terrified, not gonna lie!  Especially since we won't really have much time or opportunity to rehearse, since interstate actors and all.  How the hell did we wind up in the advanced skit section?  I've never been in a skit in my life.  A bunch of the other members of the group are quite experienced at skits and stage cosplaying in general, they have perhaps not noticed I am awkwardly standing on their coattails and haven't figured out how to step off.

Luckily my part looks pretty simple, let's just hope I can move in my costume!  Should be easier than Kain was, at least.  (Kain is my new cosplay metric for 'uber-uncomfortable').


If the next chapter is late, this is why.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
Lol trust you to have the crazy ambitious costume, but it looks really good as usual *bows down to your skills*

That is some epic villain theme though!

The huge ass sword with the eye reminds me of Nightmare in Soul Caliber.
Jan. 27th, 2013 02:06 am (UTC)
Yeah, I really need to stop overreaching and start getting talked into picking costumes a little bit more practical and within my skill zone. Though to be fair, Lightning's and Chocolina's costumes are just as insane so I'm not alone in my angst right now! :D Thank you though! Fingers crossed it turns out okay.

Ah, yeah, it does a little bit! Mind you Nightmare still looked like a sword with some actual utility beyond 'looking complicated'. XD
Jan. 27th, 2013 03:16 am (UTC)
I know next to nothing about cosplay, but just your own comments on what you're having difficulties with and how you're putting details into parts no one will see gives me confidence that you will pull this off.

Bah, this is so pretty that I don't even care if your fic is like a month late. Get this show on the road!! (and bring pics plz :V)
Jan. 27th, 2013 03:31 am (UTC)
Thank you for your faith anon. ;__;

Heh, I will certainly have at least a couple of pictures! And I'll let you guys know when to expect the next chapter, it'll be late but hopefully not by too much.
Jan. 27th, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)
Oh Sin, always have to jump in the deep end right? ;) But I like it. Hope you can move around in it. Unlike your previous cosplays and looking forward to seeing all the photos. :)
Jan. 27th, 2013 01:41 pm (UTC)
;___; I have poor cosplay-picking judgement Des, rescue me! Thanks, lol, I've got a bad track record for moving around in cosplays, don't I? I keep discovering new parts of the body that need to bend and flex! This shouldn't be too bad though, it's looking like it will only really be the arms that will be a bit stiff at this stage, seeing what I can do to fix that...
Jan. 31st, 2013 01:06 pm (UTC)
But But Sin, the finished product always turns out fabulous. So it's worth the pain. ;)

How is it faring? Did you end up fixing up the stiffness?
Feb. 4th, 2013 11:44 am (UTC)
There were big problems with attaching the thigh armour parts and had to ditch them :( (though that was mostly because we ran out of fabric glue). Arms were still a little stiff, but for once I could actually move reasonably easily! LOL, the most annoying things were the giant spikes on the end of my arms... made opening doors or holding the sword fun!

I'll probably make a giant post in a couple of days talking about everything and with photos though! We did win best skit in the Advanced Category, so yay?! (All credit to everyone else, lol).
Jan. 27th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
Haha, I bow to you. I tried going as Marluxia from KH one year and about died in the leather coat. I only go to about one con a year though.

Actually going to try Genesis this year, and decided not to go with actual leather since its mid August and I'm from the states. (Trying to convince my husband to go as Cloud, he'd actually be perfect at it.)

Anyway I hope it goes well!
Jan. 28th, 2013 02:38 am (UTC)
Hahaha, Marluxia! I take my hat off to you. Cosplay=suffering.

Good luck with Genesis (and Cloud too hopefully!). Be sure to let me know how to goes, there are far too few Genesis cosplayers around.
Jan. 28th, 2013 06:42 am (UTC)
I'm hoping, I do have several months to talk him into it XD. He knows I'm a Gen/Cloud fan though and while he's tolerant of it, its not really his thing (I don't blame him I guess, I might be a bit concerned if he did really get behind it lol). He does like Cloud as a character though. He's a little shorter then me, blonde and has the right build. (He'd make a better Cloud then I would gen by far )I think he's just worried I want him to do it so that I can do horrible things to him as Genesis.

Edited at 2013-01-28 06:42 am (UTC)
Jan. 28th, 2013 04:28 am (UTC)
Yep, I see you always go for easy cosplays... not.

Quick question. What did you even dye those pretty feathers with? Because the one time I tried to dye feathers with non-natural products the result was this lump of no-longer-feathery stuff...

*curious Ria is curious*

Also, even if you take shortcuts, that sword's bound to look EPIC :)

Oh Sin. This looks ridiculously hard. I'll begin preparing myself for being amazed at the final result, though - best of luck! <3
Jan. 28th, 2013 05:19 am (UTC)
I seem tragically drawn to characters with needlessly elaborate/impractical costumes, it's true. :(

I used Dylon, it's a powder-based dye you mix in with hot water and salt. I did have a few feathers kind of... collapse, I guess you could say... but once the water cooled to merely hot instead of boiling it seemed to happen less often, so maybe the temperature was a factor. Also I found stirring with the feathers to agitate was a bad idea, better to let them just sit for several minutes.

Thanks~! Hopefully it turns out ok, I haven't done a test wear yet so it's a little nerve-wracking. It's actually easier than Kain was to make though. XD
Jan. 28th, 2013 08:01 am (UTC)
Yep, you do. The day you announce you're doing someone easy we'll all know aliens have finally kidnapped you and put a doppelganger in your place. Or something. =P

Oh. Yes. I hadn't thought of that! But it would make sense, esp. with sythetic feathers - they'd go all meh in the usual hot dyeing mixes, which is what happened to me. AHAH!

Also, I found stirring with the feathers to agitate was a bad idea, better to let them just sit for several minutes. I'll keep that in mind next time I go for feathers. Thanks =)

When's the con, btw?
Jan. 28th, 2013 08:56 am (UTC)
I am seriously putting a moratorium on extreme cosplays after this. :| If my first thought is 'holy shit', my new plan is to say 'no' instead of starting to problem-solve the construction of it in my head.

You're welcome! Hope it helps. I'll ask our Chocolina how she's dying all of her feathers, she might have better advice.

Ahahaha, Saturday.

Jan. 30th, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
You are insane. I admire that.
Feb. 8th, 2013 07:32 am (UTC)
I was wondering if you saw a wookie when you came to wai-con? Cause the person wearing that costume is a good friend of mine XD
Feb. 8th, 2013 09:21 am (UTC)
I didn't! What a bummer. :( Was it on the Saturday? I didn't see much of anything on the Saturday.
Feb. 8th, 2013 04:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah she always goes as the wookie on Saturday then spends Sunday wandering around as her lovely self! XD You can see her the next time you go to wai-con cause she goes every year.

Edited at 2013-02-08 04:02 pm (UTC)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )