Germia - gaming world

Cosplay life saver - What should be in a good repair kit?

When I made my first costume, I was very surprised, when I found out it requires much more care than clothes you wear everyday. After my first event, there were scratches, tears and chipped off color on some places of the armor, and with more wearing, there were also signs of wearing on sewn buckles and other stuff. And I realised working on clothes, that you should wear all day isn't the same as model kit building or art drawing. Everything has to be made with a plan, everything has to be made from high quality durable materials, stressed places always reinforced and even then THERE IS MAINTENANCE NEEDED AFTER/DURING EVERY EVENT (especially when you are travelling (by plane) and the costume gets handled by other people than you).

It's not because we cosplayers can't make anything good and durable. It's because we are making original and fantasy creations, to which there is no real (by generations of making proven) manual how they should be made, which materials to use or how to make all the pieces of the costume work as they do in their fantasy enviroments (in comparison to historic costumes, mainly sewn or made from different materials).

From certain time of my cosplay 'life', I carry a REPAIR KIT as my FIRST AID to every event. It allows me to be very efficient and nimble when something on the costume goes wrong just with few things in the kit.

Contents of a cosplay repair kit


The contents of your personal repair kit depend on the costume you are going to wear and it's materials.

On the picture, there is a picture of my COMPLETE repair kit I carry to events, where I compete or promote a company for more than one day.

On one day appearances and non-competing cons, the repair kit is much smaller just with basic things. But let's look at this complete one!

P.S. When travelling by plane, your repair kit should be in your checked baggage and your batteries in your carry-on baggage. If you carry spare electronics like LED's or servos, you make the chance of your baggage opening by airport security higher.


1) Fast epoxy transparent glue

On events, there is mostly no time to wait till your glue is dry, so I prefer to use faster glues than I would use for building the costume at home. Transparency gives the glue even wider spread of use.

2, 3) Soldering Iron + small solder

I carry soldering iron with solder only when I have a costume with soldered connections. These connection can sometimes break and soldering iron can make your armor and props shine and move again!

4) Electrician's tape

I carry this tape all the time. It is very good not only to cover soldered connections. In a universal black finish, you can use it to cover or connect different kinds of stuff, especially on mechanical parts.

5) Charger, powerbanks


If you use some bigger batteries in your build, don't forget to carry a suitable charger for them. If you use powerbanks instead, carry a spare powerbank to exchange during the day and a charger to charge it at the hotel room.

6) Chemoprene glue 


Chemoprene is on of the basic glues, that should be involved in every cosplay first aid. Even it requires knowledge and a little of time to work with, it cann connect foam or fabric pieces together and there is no foam build without it.

7) Superglue

I didn't have much trust in superglues for a long time, but if you really invest money in them and buy a good quality expensive superglue, you will be amazed in how many things it can help you. For me most noticeably in gluing 3D prints or fake leather. I recommend using superglues in form of gel, because you get much more control over it.

8) Denser epoxy glue

Another epoxy glue with a longer drying time and denser constistency helps you cover areas on your worbla armor or disconnected 3D prints or chipped cement. I use a quick grey epoxy, that you can use it also as a filling cement in a need. I always carry with me a spatula of some kind and a strong or waxed paper, so I'm able to work with epoxy glues everywhere.
You can carry with you a stronger epoxy with longer drying time to achieve a stronger bond as a secondary glue. In a basic repair kit you should have at least one universal epoxy glue.

9, 10) Hotglue sticks, hotglue gun

Hotglue gun should be present in every cosplay repair kit - it has universal use and I use it mainly for gluing armor straps or (almost) any repair, that needs a mass of glue to be present (filling holes). Be sure to take some more sticks of glue with you, hotglue can be consumed very fast.

11) Small pliers, spanner, small mechanical pieces

I use pliers mainly when my costume involves mechanical structures or electronics. For example for fastening nuts on screws or I use them to hold electtronics when soldering or snip wires. If you are using small pieces in your costumes like screws and nuts, take spare ones and a fitting spanner to them.



12) Feet odor spray

I know it looks ridiculous to carry something like that, but if you have a leather costume with armor pieces added to it, it is very hard to keep it "clean and good smelling", especially when you have to wear it everyday. You won't make your armor smell better with adding new smells with your parfumes. Take a odor remover and spray it with it - you won't smell like a parfume shop and feel much better.


Fury's wig requires repeated maintenance,
that you have to do even in the hotel room.

13) Strong hairspray

Hairspray is one of the key components of almost every repair kit. For most cosplays, your wig needs to look a certain way and any travelling or wear can destroy it's styling. If you want to have a good wig game, have a good hairspray near you.



14) Universal scissors

Scissors are a universally used tool, that you should not forget to put in your future cosplay kit - cutting fabric, thinner foam or different straps is much easier with scissors tahn with a knife without a proper cutting pad. I personally carry one pair of normal sized scissors in my repair kit a smaller and much sharper pair of (cosmetic) scissors in a cosmetic bag.

15) Fixing spray

Fixing spray (by Kryolan) is one of the best helpers you can take to a con, especially if you plan to have an elaborate makeup or a bodypaint. It can be involved in your makeup kit, but due to it's larger size, I carry it rather in a repair kit.


16) Screwdriver kit

Another tool similar to small pliers in a very small package. Small kit with different screwdriver heads used to maintain mechanical parts and connections - if your costume has some.

17) Acrylic colors

Set of basic range of acrylic colors, that were involved in the process of making of a particular costume.

18) Sponges/brushes

Set of basic brushes or sponges to be able to apply colors to your armor.

19) Lighter

Lighter is very useful to clean edges of some fabrics or make hotglue formable again. It should be a part of any basic repair kit.

20)  Knives

Hobby knives are also an important of any repair kit - there is no cleaner edge with a good sharpened knife.

21) Spare batteries

If your build involves small electronics, spare batteries are necessary part of your repair kit. Be careful on airports, since you can't have batteries in your checked baggage.

22) Makeup

I have ussually a separate bag for makeup and accessories, but for some bigger projects, I carry some bigger makeup parts in my repair kit to spare room or to have it ready at the con if the bodypaint gets damaged.

23) Strong duckttape

Important part of any repair kit is a strong duckttape (in black color). Thanks to black color, it can be hidden much easiser than the silver one and it can save you a lot of trouble at the con.


24) Wig styling accessories

IF your cosplay involves wig, you'd need at least a compact comb to be able to style it if necessary. On some events I carry also a mannequin head to be able to style the wig at the hotel and transport it more safely.

25) Small sewing kit

Any cosplay requires a sewing kit with threads in colors depending on a cosplay you are having on. I always take black and brown + additional colors and needles.

26) Spare cord

I wear a lot of corsets, so I always carry a spare black cord if I lose mine or I forgot it. If you don't have one I once went with two shoelaces bind together, but a spare cord is much easier!

Damage on Xena's armor caused by travelling
and fixed with Apoxie sculpt and acrylics

27) Pre-sewn straps

I carry some pre-sewn brown straps, that are very useful when something doesn't hold properly or when you make your strap too short, or get a little bigger overtime. It helped me a bunch of times already to have them with me ready to be used.

28) Velcro

Velcro is one of the basic stuff you have to have in your repair kit. I use velcro on all my builds and I love to work with it. If yomething doesn't hold, is to short or something fails, you can count on velcro straps to help you.

29) Foam

I mostly carry just 2mm thick foam pieces with me and for most purpuoses it is enough. I've used it for small decorations, that fell off, or on foam, that teared for underglueing.


30) Other

There are also things you may need to prepare for an event at the hotel, so you don't have to take them with you. It's mainly a hairdryer, flat-iron and electricity adapter (in foreign countries).

+
There are so many other things you may need for your particular costume! Think about what can go wrong, what is fragile and which materials and tools you've used  when making your costume!


A smaller repair kit

If you want to build a smaller and more "practical" repair kit, you should include (depedning on your costume):
On needle with a thread, scissors, knife, chemoprene glue, fast epoxy glue, hotglue, ducktape, velcro, basic paints (mostly black and silver) and lighter.



I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM.


And if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON, because their donations made this tutorial possible.


Yours
Germia

Pic source:http://i.imgur.com/108U7.jpg

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How to make SWORD for cosplay by Germia + Apollyon sword tutorial

Sword is that kind of a prop, that every cosplayer will work on some day in their "cosplay life" and there are a lot of ways how to make one depending on it's size, desired features, weight.

I have already made some swords, that I've already written about and you can check them out in their dedicated articles:

PALADIN COSPLAY - plywood core, polystyrene, papermache, latext cement, foam, leather

XENA COSPLAY - polystyrene core, worbla, leather

ANNA VALERIOUS COSPLAY  - foam core, worbla, velvet

And also we've made a panel about the sword topic at Animefest with Ali and Ketrin that you can check out in czech language right here:




Cut through a sword prop - red material is hard, black is soft
Sword building types:

According to the size, shape and desired properties, you can divide swords into 4 categories:

1) HARD SHELL

= Soft core and infill, hard shell
This type of construction is suitable for shorter swords and daggers, it is not ideal for longer and bigger swords.
Advantage: low weight, simple construction

Soft material: Styrene, EVA foam
Hard material: Thermoplastics, papermaché

Example: Anna Valerious sword
I started with foam, that I cit nad dremmeled into the right shape and I covered the whole thing in worbla.


2) HARD CORE

= Hard core, soft infill and no shell
This type of construction is suitable for any kind of sword with enough thiskness to be able to absorb the core.
Advantage: realtive low weight (depending on the core used), simple construction, some cores allws for the sword to be disassembled.

Soft material: EVA foam - the more dense foam, the sturdier and durable the outcome
Hard material for core: wood (stick, plank), plywood (plan or cut in shape), plastic plumbing

Example: Apollyon sword (more about this follows)


3) DOUBLE REINFORCEMENT

= Hard core, soft infill, hard shell
This type of construction is suitable for any kind of sword with enough thiskness to be able to absorb the core.
Advantage: very sturdy (but high weight)

Soft material: EVA foam, Styrene
Hard material for core: wood (stick, plank), plywood (plan or cut in shape), plastic plumbing
HARD material for shell: Thermoplastics, papermaché

Example: Paladin sword - cut plywood, styrene foam cut in shape, papermaché, ltex cement + foam decorations.




4) FULL REINFORCEMENT


= fully hard, made from the same material
This type of construction is suitable for any kind of sword with material, that can withstand a lot of damage

Material: 3D printed from filament, Resin casted

Example: Megari dagger

You always have to use certain hardness of material not to end up with a brittle prop. When 3D printing, think about the amount and pattern of infill, wall thickness and used materials (some materials can withstand much more pressure and are not so brittle - read here)






Apollyon's sword

Patterning this sword is described in THIS ARTICLE.
I decided to use the construction of hard core and soft material on the outside for this project. I really needed this super long sword to be sturdy (hard core) and I also wanted to make a lot of decorations and effects similar to the rest of the foam armor. I decided not to cover my sword in worbla to keep it lightweight and match with the rest of the armor. I was also sure that poly-props CF100 foam would withstand a lot of damage by itself because of it's high density.



I started with a wooden plank and wooden stick, that I cut and glued and srewed together. I also cut the plank on the tip into a pointed shape (but still dull not to hurt anybody)



The I cut the 5mm CF100 foam in shape of the sword and glued it from both sides around the plank leaving the spot for the base of the wooden stick out, so it merges into the sword. I reinforced the sides of the sword with papermaché and ice cream sticks, which I drilled and glued into the plank too.




I wrapped the handle in a piece of foam and 3dmodelled and printed the swirly decoration for the top of the sword.



I added a lot of other pieces of  5mm and 2mm foam to the sword for decorations adn dremmeled a lot to get the sword into the right shape. I also streamed a lot of this work on my twitch channel, you can watch it in videos below.




Then I made two leather sleeves from old scraps of leather, sewed them on my sewing machine, decorated them, glued the falps inside, turned upside down and I put them on the handle and glued them in place. For the whole project I used woodglue for glueing the wooden core pieces, contact cement for all the foam and leather pieces and ot glue for glueing the 3D printed part in place.




The 3D printed swirl was primed with gray primer and filler, sanded and glued onto the sword. I made a hat to cover this part from 5mm foam and foam clay. I also made some battle damage using my dremel



Then I proceeded to decorate the sword further with 2mm foam (moosgummi) and I also fixed with foamclay and dremmeled all the seams. More about fixing seams IN THIS ARTICLE.


Then I primed the foam pieces with SEAL PRIME by polyprops. I made the same texture as on the rest of the armor using THIS TECHNIQUE. And I painted it with black and silver acrylic colors using sponge technique.



The finished sword measures 160 cm, is fairly lightweight and thanks to high density foam withstands a lot of damage.










Here are all the videos of my progress on the sword I streamed:




Sledujte hru Apollyon sword - crafting 1 od uživatele DATgermia na adrese www.twitch.tv

Sledujte hru Apollyon sword 2 od uživatele DATgermia na adrese www.twitch.tv

Sledujte hru Apollyon sword 3 od uživatele DATgermia na adrese www.twitch.tv


Sledujte hru Apollyon sword 4 od uživatele DATgermia na adrese www.twitch.tv


Sledujte hru Making old metal look on foam armor od uživatele DATgermia na adrese www.twitch.tv




And that's it! I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM


And if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON, because their donations made this tutorial possible.



Yours

Germia



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How to fix seams on foam armor - tutorial by Germia

Seams are always a problematic spot on every foam armor. If you want to look absolutelly flawless in your armored cosplay or impress the judges at cosplay contest, you have to make your seams invisible!

And I'll try to show you today some ways how to achieve the clean "seamless" look and also how to fix different errors in your armor.




Example of an unclean edge

1) PREVENTION


First step you have to take to make your seams invisible is to prevent them from opening in first place. And how to make it?

EDGES:
The first step is to have your edges clean, well cut and well aligned, so they're not suffering under a stress and they sit stable in their position. Sharpen your knife regularly to achieve the best clean edges.

GLUE:
Second step is to use a good quality contact cement, I'm using contact cement Extreme from Pattex in tubes, sometime the contact cement is called barge.

And the gluing process should be like this:
Put a small film of glue on both glued surfaces and let it dry till it's tacky or till it looks dry. If you want to be supersure, put another thin layer of glue on both surfaces and let dry - this is done because sometimes the foam absorbes some glue inside and the surface is not glued enough. When it 's dry push the surface against each other. If you done those steps well, the connection should be very very strong. You can test your gluing skill on some scrap foam and then try to tear it. The foam should tear anywhere else but in the glued connection and then you did your job well. Also well glued connection does not open when forming the shape of the foam armor or heatsealing it.
hotglue on an edge - too much volume
to make a seamless connection

DO NOT USE HOTGLUE - Horglue is a good glue for gluing foam pieces, but it has disadvantages:
1 ) Hotglue has a volume
- it makes space between glued surfaces, so use it only for gluing pieces of foam in layers (on on each other), not next to each other and do not use a ton of it, since it can deform the surface of your foam.
2) Hotglue cannot be re-glued like contact cement
From left to right:
1) clean seams, contact cement connection - flawless
2) bad cut seams -> contact cement cannot connect it properly
3) hotglue connection - too much volume ->big uneven seam
- if you put hotglue on your armor, it stays there forever, you can't scrape it down, you can jjust reheat it and glue again, but the glue stays! Contact cement can be dissolved with color thinner - for me works Thinner S 6005, but it depends on your local supply. If you want to glue again surfaces, where you've used color thinner before, you have to let them completely dry before gluing them again.
3) Hotglue seams look messy - since hotglue has a volume, you can never do good seams with hotglue.



You can watch a tutorial by EvilTedSmith on youtube:


2) KWIK SEAL


If you've watched the tutorial by Evil Ted, you see him fixing opened connections or uneven places in the foam by using Kwik Seal.

Kwik seal is a kind of a silicone made for sealing cracks in bathrooms. But we don't have Kwik Seal in Czech Republic, so there are some alternatives like silicone Pattex for bathrooms.

It really works well for fixing seams in armor, BUT I experienced some colors are not very keen to adhere on the silicone surface and since that time I'm not using it and I'm not recommending it anymore, but if your colors work well with kwikseal, you can go for it.


3) FOAM CLAY 


When I got my hands on foam clay for the first time, it seemed like it is a wondermaterial for , but after trying some stuff with it, I've found out it's use isn't as unviersal as I thought. It is very good for making things like spikes, ornamental stuff, but not for using it alone for projects, it is very tacky when working with it and it dries rather fast from workable tackyness and very slow to finished hardness (especially bigger pieces).



But I've found this material to be very useful as a supplement material to normal foam in sheets, especially for fixing errors and seams in the foam pieces.
Sometimes it happens, that your seam opens or that you touch a part of your cosplay with dremel accidentally, or that you want to smooth out connection of different foam pieces.
Foam clay is perfect for that - it fills out gaps, behaves like foam when dried and in small amounts dries superfast.

Fixing seams with foam clay and sanding
UP: before
DOWN: after







TIP: Foam clay is supertacky, so wet your fingers in water when working with it or use some tools for smoothing.



4) DREMMELING AND SANDING


If you work with high quality foam, that doesn't make munches when you dremel it, you can use also your dremmel to better up your seams, but be really careful with it. You can also use sanding papers instead and use them from rougher to smoother till you're satisfied.







And that's it! I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM


And if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON, because their donations made this tutorial possible.



Yours

Germia










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How to be successful in cosplay contests - Germia


I got many requests to write about my experience from cosplay contests. I've been a part of a lot of very different cosplay contests with different winning criteria and I've been part of them as a contestant and also as a judge. This time, the goal of my article is to help others to get better in competing and share my knowledge of what works and what I find useful, that can eventually help you win a cosplay contest.


Keep in mind, that the article is just sharing of MY thoughts, MY opinions and what works for ME. You can learn from my experience, you can agree or disagree on few points, but I don't guarantee anyone to win a cosplay contest - the effort is up to you!



Before competing:


Performance on Eurocosplay 2016

Competing in a cosplay contest is a big step for a lot of cosplayers, because it brings new demands on them. If you decide to compete, you have to (most of the time):

- have a high quality and very elaborate costume
- have a very accurate cosplay
- make your entire costume by yourself
- fit the character you're portraying
- be able to perform well in your costume.

Suddenly the "cosplay has no rules" motto changes into a lot of rules, that fit the contest you want to appear in.

Cosplayers competing in contests have to be prepared for more than that. They will be:


Dreamhack Winter 2016 cosplay contest
- judged by a jury AND by all the people watching them perform or knowing they're competing
- more visible in their cosplay community (positively and/or negatively)

And everybody taking part in the contest have to be prepared for those new experiences. And one of the harder things: They have to be prepared they can lose and sometimes also that life is not always fair.


Types of cosplay contests:


Team Czech Republic from ECG 2018
Point distribution:
1) With performance

- Performance based - 50 % or more weight of the points is just for the performance, for example European Cosplay Gathering (50:50), World Cosplay Summit (200:100), International Cosplay League (60:40), Clara Cow's Cosplay Cup (60:40)
- Costume based - 49 % or more weight of the points is just for the performance, for example Eurocosplay (80:20)
(There is currently a trend of more performance based contests and the contests are trying to present a better show to the audience and attract more visitors like that)

2) Without performance

- mostly just short stage appearance or catwalk, for example Blizzard cosplay contest at Gamescom

Amount of competitors:

1) Solo
Solo contests are one of the most usual types of contests, it is the easiest format for an eventto manage and easiest to prepare a costume for, because her/she doesn't have to cooperate with others. Making a stunning performance alone without interaction is harder than in a group.
2) Duo
3) Group
Duo and group contests are harder to organize for events and for cosplayers, but the performances are usually better, because the cosplayers can interact with themselves.

Other types:

1) Cosplay dancing contest

2) Photocontest
3) and more


Few steps to win:

Road to Blizzcon 2015
1) Watch, learn, take inspiration

If it is about costume making or performances, you can always learn something new. Performancewise - it is good to watch past year's contestant's efforts, learn from their mistakes and see how the contest looks like and what it prefers. Also watching performances of other people can help you for some ideas for your perfomance.

Watch some of my favourite performances:
PERFORMANCE 1
PERFORMANCE 2
PERFORMANCE 3


2) Build a costume, duh


  • I don't think I have to speak much about making costumes, because the most cosplay tutorials are meant for it.
  • Just keep in mind, that the contest costume has to have a "contest potential" - that means the difficulty level of the costume is rather high, there are a lot of techniques in making it involved and it looks impressive.
  • Also, the accuracy of the costume has to be on point.
  • Find out the judging criteria of the cosplay contest yu want to attend. Some contests put much more weight into the amount of used techniques (that means you can easily lose points, when you are missing makeup work or wigwork with helmeted costumes, etc.), some put much more effort into details and accuracy, some into performance, ...


3) Make props

Your props have to have meaning and function.

- The props you make for your performance are very important for storytelling, so be sure to make them impressive and good looking. Also, each prop has to have a meaning and be important somehow to your performance - you can insure the importance by interacting with the prop (or make it interactive).
Where to learn: Winners of ECG, WCS, C4 - usually a good use of props

Watch a performance with interactive doll prop HERE


Prejudging at Dreamhack winter 2016
4) Prejudging

Prejudging is a part of contests, where contestants come face to face with judges to show them their costumes and props up-close. It happens usually before the performance on the stage and it's very important to be well prepared for it:

  • Bring a picture of the artwork/character you're portraying (+ pics of your progress)- it makes it easier for the judges to judge accuracy
    - you don't have to depend on organizers, which sometimes don't find the right picture of your    costume (and that can easily cost you a win) or don't prepare the picture at all.
  • Ask about how much of roleplaying is requested (by organization or jury members)- Sometimes it is hard to judge someone in full roleplay, or on the other side (especially in catwalk contest) is roleplay on prejudging requested and by not doing it you can lose points, so always ask and prepare!
  • Prepare what you want to show and say at prejudging, because the time is limited- Prejudging can take from 1 to 5 minutes, so the judges are able to judge everybody in a given time. And even it sounds okay to have 3 minutes to present your costume, it's hella short time to show everything, so it's good to have a plan. On the other side, judges are also tired to ask always the same questions and it is refreshing to meet someone speaking by him/herself.
  • What NOT to do:- Don't tell and point out flaws on your costume to judges. Always try to show things you're proud of, not things you don't like. You have to present yourself in a good way. You can't believe how many times cosplayers critique themselves in front of judges more than judges would actually critique them.
Performance on ECG 2018
5) Performance

There is so much to say about the performance, so let's get into it:



  • Respect the rules of the competition
    - Each contest has different set of rules about the length of the performance, making mess (using glitter, fake blood or confetti), the size and amount of the props, the lights, the rehersal, ...
  • Find out as much info about the area the performance will take place- Can you step up the stairs? Go through door? Perform on 5x2m big stage? Where are the judges based? You have to know all those things and reherse with the shape and size of the stage in mind.
  • Reherse
    - Reherse your performance with all the props, timing, music, with the size of stage in mind, so everything is automatic for you
  • Think about what can screw up and try to prevent it
    - Are your prop lights charged by batteries? Exchange them for new ones before the start of the show. Are you afraid your prop will fall on the ground? Make the base of it again or from better material.
  • The more difficult things you have to do, the more you can screw up.
    - This is the motto I use by preparing my performances - if you can do something simpler, why make it difficult? For example: Why you want to open your prop door with remote controlled servo motors, when you can open it with string or with the help of somebody else (if allowed)?
  • Prepare a music fitting to your performance 
    - Always ask yourself, what you want to achieve with your performance. For the characters I'm making I usually decide from two options - epic or funny (but there are several more styles you can go for - action, dance, ...)
    - If you don't know how to mix music, learn from youtube tutorials or ask your more experienced friends to teach you, because of two reasons - noone knows better than you, what fits to your performance, what you want to do and what you like. The second reason is, that when your music is not cut and mixed properly, it can screw the whole effort you put into the performance and destroy the feeling of the whole thing.
    - Think about all the actions you want to do and time them well to the music (or video). Look HERE for my fav cosplay performance, where the timing of the actions+music+sounds is really important.
6) Psychology
One of best people from cosplay community I know- Stickweeds
We met at Dreamhack 2016, where we competed against each other
  • Psychology is very important for every contest you'll take part in
    - Always try to be positively tuned and supportive of others. There is no worse thing than when are contestants rude to each other. Contest are the best place to find new friends and it's good to wish the others luck instead of making enemies from them
    - Don't be afraid. Appearing in the contest can be very hard on the nerves, but it's about overcoming your fear.
    - If the performance doesn't go according to plan, keep performing, keep going, don't stop. It requires a lot of courage, but if you continue, you'll still have chance to succeed.
    - If you don't win, try to go to judges and ask their opinioins and learn from mistakes you've made. Don't blame others, because every failure is experience, that makes you stronger for the success, that awaits you :) More about this topic HERE.



Eurocosplay 2016 winner
And that's it! I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM


And if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON, because their donations made this tutorial possible.


Yours
Germia
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How to make prop blueprints + free patterns by Germia



It is a while since I made my last tutorial, so I decided to make this shorte article about making blueprints and sizing your props. I also added few of my own blueprints for you to download for free!


SIZING YOUR PROPS


Before you start making any prop, you have to make sure it is the right size for you. Even you are aware, that in the game the prop measures 2 meters and it is carried by a huge orc, you have to scale it accordingly to your human measurements, otherwise the prop will not look good andit won't look convincing.
But even the scaling is on of  the most important parts of making props, it is in fact the easiest part.
You'll just need:
  • A ruler
  • Your height
  • A screenshot of your cosplayed character with the prop properly displayed - On the picture below you can see examples of what I mean by "properly displayed" - on the first picture, the sword is slightly tilted to the side, so we can't tell it's real size and the character's boots are not visible, so we can't tell the exact height of the character. The same goes for the second picture - even we can see a lot of details on the sword, the picture is not useful for measuring. On the last picture, the sword and the character stand straight next to each other, so you can compare their size easily.

Now, take the third picture, then enlarge the pic using your computer picture viewer or picture editing software, so the height of the character in centimeters respond to your height (18cm-180cm in real life) - use a ruler. Then measure with the ruler the prop you want to make (sword), multiply it by ten and you have the prop measurements in centimeters.

If you don't manage to find a suitable picture, sometimes you can use other parts of the character's body to tell the size of the prop.


MAKING BLUEPRINTS


With your suitable picture prepared, where the prop lays flat, cut the prop from the picture using freehand cutting tool in GIMP or any other bitmap editing software (but GIMP is for free) (cutting the Apollyon's sword starts around 0:47 in the video below). If you want to spare your color printer, adjust the saturation to zero and play with levels to adjust brightness and contrast.
Then there are two ways to go - if the picture of your prop has a good resolution and good visible edges, you can leave it as it is.
If your picture has bad resolution or not very visible edges, you can convert it to curves in Inkscape vector editing program (see the video for how I make it - just select convert bitmap, detect edges and adjust it however you like) and export it into png.
With curves, you can then enlarge the picture however you desire without losing resolution and getting the pic pixelated.
Sometimes I use the vector picture to overlay the bitmap to get visible edges and also fine details, that can get lost in vector conversion (I did this with Skadi spear in the video below).




























Next step is to get the right measurements of your prop - either you can count the size of A4 papers and how many you have to use for the prop to be as big as you need and export them in Word, or slightly easier way is to put your weapon into Inkscape program, where you can see the size of your prop picture (in the upper rail), so you can resize it accordingly, then you just move the picture on your A4 canvas and export the canvas by moving the picture. You can make small marks, where the paper should connect, but when your prop has enought structure, it is easy to see, where the paper should connect.

Livestream of me making blueprints HERE:


Sledujte hru Pattern making - sword and spear by Germia - CZ od uživatele DATgermia na adrese www.twitch.tv


FREE BLUEPRINTS


As I've made some blueprints already, I decided to share them with you :)
Keep in mind they are scaled for 180 cm high person (me), so I'll include the not cut versions too as pictures here, so you can adjust them by yourself if needed. You'll start the download by clicking on the text:

Apollyon's sword:




















Xena's sword






Skadi's spear








And that's it! I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM


And if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON, because their donations made this tutorial possible.


Yours
Germia

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Making Flame Fury whip with LED light strips by Germia

My cosplay of Flame Fury from Darksiders was one of the most challenging costumes I've ever done! I had to learn so many new techniques and try so many new things!
Fury's whip was one of the most challenging things on the whole costume - how to make it glow and still move like a normal whip? How to make it durable enough to withstand neverending movement and bending? How to make it convincing, eye-catching  and simply how to make a good prop? How to make the blades hold on it? So many questions!

I decided to share with you my 2 progresses, because I made 2 version of the whip together with advantages and disadvantages of those 2 options :)


1) 3D PRINTING

I added screws in Meshmixer 3D software to the model of the whip made by Vertvixen to be able to unscrew the whip on 2 places and remove or exchange batteries/powerbanks in the whip easily. I printed it out in black filament, covered the screws with tape and primed and sanded it.

I also 3D printed the gemstones modelled by Vertvixen, primed and sanded them and made 2 different types of molds to cast them from red resin. For the biggest gem I've made a border from lego pieces inserted the gem inside and poured the silicone around it. I let it dry, got rid of the border and took the gem outside the silicone and used the mold to cast my gem from red gedeo crystal resin. For the smaller gems, I've made the mold from Siligum, which is a type of rubber silicone, that you mix 2 parts together, wrap around the item and let dry for 10 minutes and after that your mold is done.

Then I casted the gems from red gedeo crystal resin and let them dry for a day. When they got hard, I took them out of the mold and sprayed them with transparent varnish for better look.




Recommendation:
I've casted my gems a little too dark red and the dark red color doesn't allow a lot of light to go through. If you plan to lighten up your gems, use only a little of red resin and mix it with transparent resin, so your gems can shine bright. You can also use resin inks, but always try to keep the color light.

In this video, I'm making siligum molds for all the gems (later I've done the silicone mold with lego pieces becuase the quality of the siligum mold wasn't good, since siligum wasn't flexible enough to take the gem out of the mold and it cracked). I'm also 3D modelling the screws into the whip and painting some armor pieces:

Sledujte hru Stěžejní scéna: Casting gems and modelling whip for Fury with teta Germi (games later?) od uživatele DATgermia na adrese www.twitch.tv

2) PAINTING THE HANDLE


I painted the primed and sanded pieces with acrylic colors and car varnishes. I've used Motip Skoda 9152 and pearl black airbrush color by Createx for dark shades on my armor and Motip Skoda 9157 for lighter places on my armor combined with Tamiya chrome for highlights and basic brown and black oil colors for weathering and shading.














Painting video:

Sledujte hru Stěžejní scéna: Casting gems and modelling whip for Fury with teta Germi (games later?) od uživatele DATgermia na adrese www.twitch.tv

3) LEATHERWORK


I wrapped the handle in some rests of brown leather I had lying around from my Xena cosplay. I bought the leather as a leather jacket in second hand store for very cheap. I wrapped the handle very unevenly, so it looks more "Darksiderish" and I glued it with contact glue Pattex Extreme. Then I used black and brown oil colors to weather the whole whip including the handle. (oil.jpg) Be careful, oil colors can do very good shading effects, but get dry very very slowly. And the handle was done.


4) LIGHTING UP

I added a small 1 LED light circuit with 3V battery to lighten up the gems. I installed the circuit into a small piece of foam dowel to be able to exchange battery easily and switch the circuit on and off easily.  When I was done with the circuit, I glued the circuit inside with hotglue and I glued the gems in the handle with transparent epoxy glue.





5) THE BLADES 

I had 3D files for the blades modelled by Vertvixen, so I remodelled and cut out the lower part to fit them onto the middle part of the whip, printed them out, smoothened them with primer and filler and sanded them. Lukoprene mold was made in 2 parts, that hold together with plaster.
I decided to use casting foam for the blades, because just 3D printed blades from hard plastic filament would be very dangerous for people around you. I decided to use the hardest casting foam - FlexFoam IT 25, because I didn't want to have the blades wobbly and gooy, but I think maybe you can go even for FlexFoam IT 14 to make them hold the shape well.
Casting the foam isn't easy, because the pot time is really short and you have to work very fast. But if you are successful, the outcome is very nice.

 I think you can also use normal foam, that you sand down and cut or print the blades in flexible filament, but both of those ways are very time consuming and not a perfect solution.

For painting, I do not recommend priming the FlexFoam with PlastiDip or similar products, because they don't go together very well and it will peel off (It happened to me and I had to scrape the paint off the blades and repaint them.) The best paint, that holds very well on Flexfoam is Tamiya modelling color - I've used Tamiya Gunmetal for mine.



In this video I'm working with expandible foam and casting it into the molds:

Sledujte hru Casting expandible foam (Flexfoam IT 25) to make blades for Fury's whip. od uživatele DATgermia na adrese www.twitch.tv




I made the final blade from Poly props CF100 foam, sanded it, primed it with black HexFlex primer and base color and painted it with Lumiere colors.  I also glued other blades from Flexfoam IT 25 painted with Tamiya colors.

If you want to make this final blade, download the pattern HERE






6) THE WHIP - VERSION 1



For my first try of the whip, I took 2,5m long red rope and I painted it orange and yellow for fireish look.
Then I glued the blades onto the whip with hotglue and sewed them inside the rope.
 After that, I added fairy wire lights, that you can buy for a small amount of money almost everywhere. You can power them with USB or 2x3V batteries. I recommend USB and small round powerbank, that you can insert inside your whip - it shines much brighter.
If you want to use more light strands, I recommend batteries, because you can hide even 6 pack of batteries inside of the whip, but only 1-2 powerbanks. I glued the lights with hotglue onto the rope.

The rope is fastened inside the handle with a ring foam piece glued with hotglue to the rope.


Advantage: Flexibility, movability, sturdiness, easier to make

Disadvantage: Not as eyecatching as LED lights strip, wire in the lights can get broken




7) THE WHIP - VERSION 2



Because I wanted to make my whip to look more like a flame and make it more eye-catching at THQ Nordic booth, I decided to remake it with programmable LED strips. I've used Arduino Nano clone for programming, downloaded the software from Adafruit website, downloaded NeoPixel and FastLED library and tried several different Flame and lava effects. Finally I installed the famous Flame effect from Mark Kriegsman called Fire2012.

I reprogrammed it a little, because it is very energy-consuming and the circuit had troubles powering it up - keep in mind, that for the best effect, you have to use 2 LED light strips.

To connect the LED strips to the Arduino, you have to solder the 5V, GND and signal wire to the LED strip and solder 5V wire with 5V marked hole, GND wire with GND marked hole and signal wire to one of the numbered holes according to your programm (in mine the programm refers to pin 6, so you have to connect it in the hole marked "6") You connect the arduino through USB to computer and in your Arduino IDE free software choose the right device (Arduino Nano in my case), the right port (COM4) and the right processor (written on Arduino), then copy the programm inside the software. You have to also install FastLED library (or Adafruit Neopixel for other effects and "strandtest") from Sketch>Add library>Manage libraries.
Then you can upload your code inside the microchip.

I've used 120 LEDS on each side and my whip is 2m long. I've used 60LEDS/m 5V WS2812B LED light strip. Be careful on the direction of the LED strip when installing it - the signal has to always go in the direction of the arrows on your LED strip! I inserted both light strips into a transparent garden hose, that I wrapped in red modistic tube - a kind of net used for making hats, so my whip is always red even when it isn't switched on.
I also drilled a hole inside the upper part of the whip handle, so I can insert a switch for the LED's, because I knew the effects is consuming a lot of energy and I wanted to be able to switch it off/on very fast and easy. Even I reprogrammed the effect to be less power consuming, I need to exchange my powerbanks 3 times/day.

 I glued and taped the circuit inside the upper part of the whip handle and the powerbank goes in the middle of the handle. I glued also a chunk of foam onto the garden hose, so it doesn't move away from the handle.

If you want to use Flame programm, you can download it HERE





















Flame Fury - Photo: Milos Mlady Photo
WATCH THE FULL PROGRESS WITH MORE PICTURES AND VIDEOS IN MY INSTAGRAM STORIES COLLECTIONS:

FURY WIP 1

FURY WIP 2



I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM.


And if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON, because their donations made this tutorial possible.

Special thanks to THQ Nordic, Vertvixen and Darksiders game by Gunfire Games!

And if you want to know more about this awesome Darksiders project, visit our #Darksiderslegion website full of useful info!


Yours
Germia



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