There comes a time in every bloggers life when simply taking photographs just won’t due, especially when you’ve spent hours meticulously perfecting a particular craft only to have it blurred out in photographs. This revelation came in January for me. Stefan had just received the Star Wars Imperial Assault board game and would soon receive Cthulhu Wars, which came with amazingly detailed figurines all just waiting to be painted. He spent hours setting up layers, working on toning, highlighting, and shadows, and was simply just doing some amazing work with some impromptu paints and spare time. Continue reading Lighting Solutions: DIY Lightbox/ Ikea Hack→
Like most of this project, I had yet to decide how the shoulder cap and back would actually connect. Having reached a satisfied point with the front, I knew that the strap in the back would be essential for not only continuing the quality of the costume, but also providing necessary support to the structure in the front, and before finishing or even adding to the front, I knew I would have to resolve the back. I started by simply creating a 2 row chain of scalemail, hoping that this would be a quick solution for attaching the back pieces together. When I did this however, the angle that I needed to support the front caused the new strap to twist and stick out instead of staying flat, in addition to simply not looking great. So, the next solution was to go thicker and strengthen the connectors underneath to prevent it from twisting. To accomplish this, Stefan created a mock strap with extra scalemail with a 4 in 1 weave method, (found in Danny Ace’s PDF entitled, “A Brief Tutorial to Crafting Armor from the Ring Lord’s Scales”), which naturally expanded the strap to 3 rows. This strap wasn’t absolutely atrocious, and certainly was a more logical solution than the thinner strap. However, this method used significantly more resources than I was prepared to use, needing at least 4-5 extra scalemail per side, plus additional scalemail to blend the strap into the back to make it Continue reading Dragon Queen Bodice Construction Intermission- Back strap exploration→
This post discusses the construction of the front bodice scalemail plate, and work on contractions. Please note, that the current scalemail plate is being held together with giant rings as it has been more convenient for testing, modeling, and fitting.
I knew from the start of my project that I did not want a clunky, unfit bodice as I feared it would look sloppy and unfinished, in addition, I also wanted the bodice to be more like “skin” and less like armor. A tighter fit, I reasoned, would not only look more attractive, but by staying closer to my body, and even resting on my hips, it would possibly help with weight distribution to the top. During my initial research as to when to implement tailoring, I came across several forums (listed below in resources) which discussed the process of tailoring through contraction, but there was no definitive conclusion on the best time to implement contractions. Some comments pointed out that if you know where the contractions would be, it is easier to put contractions in as you went, while others recognized that it wasn’t much harder to include contractions after the piece had already been created. There seems to be a difference, however, in large scalemail and small scalemail, and there seems to be more repercussions for post construction contractions with the small scale.
Since our full scalemail order arrived in the mail, I have temporarily suspended work on the horns, and began construction the bodice for my costume. Although excitement is the primary reason for temporarily leaving work on the horns, equally to blame is the fact that the scalemail is much cleaner (in terms of workspace upkeep) and easier to work on at a moment’s notice, in addition to the fact that I might have to create a replacement for the horn I botched during sculpting, and I’m possibly delaying the inevitable. Although seemingly more straight forward, the scalemail has been equally challenging in its own medium, and there are an equal amount of assembly questions to address in the near future.
For now, however, I have been simply creating basic shapes that presented themselves during my initial diamond (100 scalemail) trial. Pleased by the diamond shape on the shoulders, I decided to incorporate dual diamond shoulder sleeves/ caps, into my design. This section would not only be the easiest to complete first, as there was no technical skill involved in creating the shapes, but it was also a necessary step for transitioning into the chest/ breast area, which Continue reading Dragon Queen Scalemail Shoulders→
When I was first browsing the web (more notably Pinterest) conceptualizing the design of my costume, I was instantly drawn to the idea of using scalemail within the design, as the scale would be perfect for portraying the idea of a dragon. I was particularly inspired by a variety of bodice designs that appeared on the runway and in couture fashion, as I imagined the dragon being regal, majestic, and very queen like. Although it took me quite a long time to identify the medium, it did not take long to find a distributor. Although Etsy would like you to believe that you should spend an exorbitant amount on 10 individual scalemails, I found that The Ring Lord was a better retailer where you could by bulk cases of scalemail, connectors, and patterns if your heart desires. In addition to being one of the cheapest, the colors available leave little limitation to achieve the design I most desire, even though I still had yet to determine what that is.
Instantly I recognized that I did not want a purely dark bodice, as I feared it wouldn’t show well in photographs, or the scalemail detail would be lost. So I decided to stay away from black altogether, and instead actually stick with brighter colors, primarily towards the stomach region which is traditionally depicted as being lighter if not Continue reading Scalemail Torso & Bodice- Purchase→
For the horn construction, we used 7- 5” wide x 12” long (.5” thick) construction foam that we had in the house from a previous project. In retrospect, I would absolutely recommend a thicker foam, as the more parts you have to glue together, the more that might come apart when pulling and prying pieces off. For the adhesive, we tried four types of house adhesive (because we had a lot around and it wouldn’t cost us more money) to see what held the best, which included Hot Glue, Tack Glue, Elmer’s Glue, and Rubber cements. During our initial glue tests, we were looking for good strength in the bonding, the ease in which our tools cut through the glue, and the rate at which glue dried (the sooner the better for us). For our initial tests, we glued together 4 small planks of construction foam, and actually found hot glue held surprisingly well, was capable of being cut through relatively easily, and was ready to be cut within minutes. We were initially concerned with the hot glue melting the Continue reading Dragon Queen Horn Construction Pt 1→
In 2011 I had found myself in a sticky Halloween situation. I was in the middle of my term at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (distance ed), and I was preparing to go to Champaign, IL for a four-day required trip to campus one week prior to Halloween. Thinking that I was not going to be celebrating Halloween because of my workload, the trip, and no party plans, I had not prepared a costume, although Stefan had been preparing to go to work as an Aperature Scientist for quite some time. So, when the invitation to a Halloween party came from some friends, I was torn as to whether to attend. On the one hand I wanted a break from school and a chance to socialize, but on the other hand, I was not prepared, and I had no clue what I should dress as being that my preparation time was limited. Giving the thought some consideration prior to my trip, I came up with the ingenious plan of going as a character from my all time favorite video game (at least the one I play most frequently, and I’m pretty sure I was playing it at the time I thought of my costume), the Sims (at the time it was 3), which would be not only incredibly easy to construct, but would also tie into Stefan’s video game themed costume.
The premise of the costume was quite simple, as I was going to go as myself just as a Sim. So the most essential part of the costume would have to be the iconic Plumbob that glows over the Sims heads. Originally I was planning on creating one myself with just green paper, but while searching around on the internet I actually found an amazing rendition of the Plumbob by Deviant Artist Killero94, who had created one and allowed users to download the image for their own use. Having this design, I was able to get more creative, and I decided that I would try to take my costume one step further and get the plumbob to glow. Continue reading Sul Sul! [Hello!] DIY Sims 3 Plumbob→
Since Halloween of 2013, Stefan had been contemplating what to do next for a costume, and by mid-February, we had yet to come to a conclusion on what to do. Being that Halloween 2014 would be the first Halloween neither of us had academic obligations prior to and during October, we were trying to come up with more complex costumes compared to our costumes of the past. We also wanted to make Halloween an opportunity to start gaining skills sets in costume design and construction that would build up our repertoire, and prepare us more advanced cosplay costumes in the future. On our very small eventual to-create list, we had large projects that included more complex metal working and sewing skills, such as a more traditional Queen of Hearts and a fully armored knight, but we were most limited in space to do this work in. Although we we’re not yet pressured into making a decision, we recognized that the opportunity was prime to develop a costume as I had the available time to kill and Stefan needed all the time he could get.
By “available time” I mean that I was still unemployed and spending much of my time indoors due to incremental weather, and I was starting to suffer from a bit of cabin fever. Leisurely activities, like video games and reading, lost the ability to captivate me, and despite the fascination of both mediums, neither intrigued me greatly nor kept me mentally stimulated for any significant period of time. Admittedly, I started relying on incredibly mindless tools to distract me, and increasingly became more dependent on Pinterest for passing time. I would occasionally look for costume ideas, but understandably there were no new Halloween suggestions in February with the search terms I was using. So when Pinterest came out with their new “Interest Explorer,” I found a temporarily renewed interest in searching for costumes again as they combined all costume designs together into one stream, and allowed me to explore concepts I would not really search for.
Surprisingly, I was most inspired by the Martha Stewart Knight and Dragon Costume which I had actually seen before, but never had considered twice given that the image depicted children in costume. Strangely, it took only a second to be struck with inspiration of my own, and it dawned on me that we could go as a dragon and dragon slayer, and be able to develop any designs as complex and unique as we could imagine. Playing on the idea of an eventual knight, the dragon slayer would be a perfect segway into developing a full metal costume, but would still be within his skill range and space limitations. I, on the other hand, became inspired by the various dragon costumes online, but even more so by runway dragon scale dresses, that instantly inspired me to create a regal and elegant dragon. And thus, a costume had finally been set.
Stay with us as we continue to post about our progress on the Dragon Slayer and Dragon Queen and the eventual costume reveal.