Thursday, July 28, 2011

Barriss' belt buckle

As a padawan, Barriss Offee doesn't have many accessories, only the detailed belt buckle. Our version was made mostly from materials we already had, except the gold acrylic paint and embroidery thread had to be bought.

The main materials were thick poster board and craft foam. It's good to remember while drawing on craft foam that every line you press on its surface will be seen. So, note to self: draw on the backside.

After successfully drawing the shapes it was time to cut them off. A scalpel or a thin utility knife works well while scissors are too clumsy, except while cutting bigger shapes like in Luminara's leather cloth and gauntlets. I also trimmed some foam from the boarders of the patterns so that the pieces would fit in nicely.

Note: this wasn't the frame I used in the finished buckle.

An old hair pin proved to be an excellent choice for scraping, poking and dragging different textures to the foam. The Karelian pasties texture on the inner edge of the 'heart' was made by first pressing down then dragging the pin down.

That pin must be over ten years old.

Then it was time for the paintjob, and acrylics never fail you, unless you put too thick layer of it and cover all the textures you made earlier. Note to self: don't take too much paint. Gold, copper, brown, dark grey and their mixtures were used.

The surround was made from four strands of embroidery thread. They were "twisted" twice [due the lack of better term] and clued to place then painted with gold. Finally the parts were clued to the poster board base and weathered with black paint.

This one hasn't been weathered yet, but can you see were the ends of the thread are?

-yoki out

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Luminara's headgear- The crest

The crest for Luminara’s hat was bit of a challenge. I first tried making it out from cushion board the same way as I did the dome. It didn’t work too well. The shape was really hard to achieve and it would have needed supporting structures to hold the shape, especially after applying the clay. Also it would have been heavy because of clay coating and I wanted to keep the thing as light as possible.

Then I tried paper, thinking that paper mache would work as some hats I’ve seen were made from it. But I lost my temper with floppy paper pieces and trashed them. I was close to giving in to chicken wire, which was the last possible choice because it’s heavy, bumpy and my least favourite material to date. Then it hit me; mosquito net! The net can be sewn, it’s pretty sturdy but light. First time I used mosquito net on Mayuri’s hat. I wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner.

I started shaping the thing by making a tube from foam and mosquito net. Then I took pieces of net and shaped them around the tube on a wig head. I’m sorry I can’t describe the process any more detailed, because it was mostly done by staring at references and cutting and shaping free-handed. I think there are four layers of net on the thickest parts of the crest. It’s enough, because against presumptions the wool isn't heavy at all.

I made the trumpets one at the time and then copied the shapes and cut the other side. This way I got identical shapes. I sew the pieces together and after modelling the crest on the dome I covered the parts I thought to be fragile with gauze and glue. To fide unwanted bumps, I finally covered the crest with fleece.

After the glue had dried I took out my scaled pattern for the textile part. I cut the wool and started to stretch it on the crest. Different to the dome, no water was needed. The wool I used was woven, so there was enough stretch to the shapes. I only had cut one slit on the base of the crest. I hand-stitched the wool in place and glued the sides inside the trumpets. The draped part I stitch around the tube to cover the inner structures. Finally I put the hat on and checked that the hem part was the same length all around.

After I had trimmed the hem I started with the ornament ribbon. The ribbon is not the final one. I didn't find suitable material for the outer edges, so I only did the middle part of the decoration ready. It’s likely that I will spend some time with embroydery in the near future.

The base of the ribbon is satin bias and the black is regular satin ribbon. When you sew together two materials that tend to act differently, I recommend you use steady base while sewing. I sewed the ribbons with a piece of paper underneath to avoid uneven stretching. After you’re done sewing you can rip the paper out. You can wash the ribbon to get the tiny pieces of paper off the stitches.

I sewed the ribbon on the hem by hand. I showed the result for Yoki who was really exited, but still pondered the size of the crest. I told her that with the costume it looks just fine. Note to self: Try on the costume with accessories before blazing assumptions as truths. The hem was too long, so I had to rip the ribbon and sew it back again. But now I’m happy with the headgear, even if it’s not properly finished.

Cropped from a photo by Santtu Pajukanta. Note, that everything in my head, including my mouth is crooked.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Megatron, Starscream and mini shorts

All photos are taken by Karan.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Finally, a report from Tampere Kuplii and our first competition

We have been cosplaying as a pair for five years now and just recently we participated in a competition at Tampere Kuplii comic festivals. The cosplay competition was our main focus, so my report will mostly circle around that. There were two lectures we would've liked to see, but the other clashed with competitors photography session and the competition itself and the other was on the next day when we had to claim our car and leave. So we just hung around, which actually was really fun. We got to meet other cosplayers, talk about costuming and share thoughts. We actually met two other Star Wars cosplayers by chance! Both of them where members of 501st and the Rebel Legion.

Photo by Mikko Lintula. Creative Commons Attribution 1.0 Finland.

We arrived to Tampere on Friday and checked in to our hotel. It was close to the convention centre, just few hundred meters away. We warned the clerks that we are not moving in, even if we would soon carry few cardboard boxes inside. We also mentioned that we would attend to the comic festivals and thus look bit different next day. I think it's polite to inform the staff if you are going to stroll in the hotel in costumes. Actually the hotel was really costume friendly, minus the leaking steam iron which peed on my shirt. The child quests were thriller every time they saw us and Yoki even got her picture taken with bride-to-be.

As expected, we still had some things to do before Saturday. Tired from four hours drive, stomach full of Chinese I glued the last details on our packs lying on the bed as Yoki went through next days plan. We also "rehearsed" our short skit on the hotel room without costumes or props. The " ", because it was more like a walk through than an actual rehearsal. Most of the time we just argued where we would enter the stage. Too tired and exited we trusted to the saying that bad dress rehearsal (without the dresses) would guarantee that the show itself would go well.

The next morning we got the costumes on including light make-up and assembling in hour and a half. While it was our first wear with the full costume, it was also the first test run for the backpacks. We had finished the fastenings on Thursday evening. They worked, but for next wear they need little tweaking. Then we were off to the photographing. The second take gave a sneak peak from our performance to other competitors. As usual, we went with humor.

Photo by Jussi Sorjonen. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial 1.0 Finland.

Slight excitement was in the air as we waited for the competition to start. We had a chance to check the stage before hand. We also informed the host that we would not speak, because we didn’t have voice amps. We did speak while at the convention, but wanted to keep the illusion of radio audio while at stage. Then we waited. First the audience was let in, and then there were some problems with the mikes. After everything worked the host went through the competition format. The competition was in two phases. After all the competitors had been on the stage the judges would choose ten finalists to be part of an open voting on local newspaper. The competition itself was catwalk typed, but it was allowable to do a short skit.

About our skit… The part we had planned went really well and I think the audience also got the idea behind it. But the second half of our stage time was probably more entertaining in all it’s unluckyness. Like I said before, our backpack fastenings worked great. I can’t say same about our armor fastenings. It just happened that the gluing on Yoki’s crotch piece failed at the crucial moment!

Note the threateningly tilted crotch piece on the left. Photo by AG.

For a moment I froze totally thinking how we could possibly save the situation. Gladly Yoki saved the day! She glanced down, pulled her hands to cover herself and finally pulled the flag she was carrying in front of her. The audience laughed, I was able to breathe again and Yoki earned applauses. The host also stumbled in her words and finally just drove us off from the stage. We have some video footage from the event. Yoki will probably include it on her next transmission.

The rest of the competition went in a blur. I remember I tried to fix the crotch fastening while in the audience. After everybody had had their moment in the flashlights big group shot was taken. While the judges deliberated who would be the ten finalists the audience enjoyed trailers from upcoming movies. Conveniently the competition was held in a movie theater.

Photo by Santtu Pajukanta. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial 1.0 Finland.

When the results were announced our costumes were called first. I remember I took the flag and tumbled down to stage and Yoki somehow managed to follow me trying to keep her armor together. We both were so exited and confused that we didn’t hear what the judges said about our costumes.

And then after group shot of the finalists, it was over. While we were leaving the area one of the judges stopped us and asked was it part of the show that the crotch piece fell. We laughed and told that is was just an accident. Thank goodness for helmets! I bet that there wouldn’t be any doubt about it being an accident if the audience had seen my expression the moment I saw the armor piece lying on the floor!

The winner of the competition was group of three from movie Despicable Me. We landed the third place after Black Rock Shooter. Thank you if you voted for us! And big thanks also to those who stopped us and gave positive comments about our costumes! Now the pain feels worth it.

Photo by Jussi Sorjonen.Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial 1.0 Finland.

Next wear for Snowtroopers will be at Desucon Frostbite 14-15.1.2012.