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→
My custom aluminum pommel needed a bit more texture and something was needed to cover the preexisting hole in its side so I decided to design a little dragon emblem. 22 gauge aluminum sheet metal was cut using a Jeweler’s Saw fit with a 2/0 blade. I original gathered all my sheet metal tools in prep for my next project of steel gauntlets which is still in the design phase. I knew I’d need some sheet metal shears but I discovered the jewelers saw and how it could create the small details I wanted without distorting the sheet metal in the way that snips tend to. One of resources that helped guide me was from Rings & Things: Tips for sawing sheet metal with a jeweler’s saw.
A great help came from Polly in the comments section when I got confused about which blade size of the dozen or so sizes would work best for my different applications:
Forme d’Art blades: Size #0 – 53.5 teeth per inch – Use with 18g to 22g metal Size #1 – 51 teeth per inch – Use with 18g to 22g metal Size #2 – 43 teeth per inch – Use with 16g to 18g metal Size #2/0 – 56 teeth per inch – Use with 20g to 22g metal Size #3/0 – 61 teeth per inch – Use with 22g metal Size #4/0 – 66 teeth per inch – Use with 22g metal Size #6/0 – 76 teeth per inch – Use with 24g metal
In both brands, more teeth = finer blade. So if you’re doing fancy cuts with lots of wiggles and switchbacks, get the finer blade that’s recommended for your preferred sheet gauge. But if you’re doing simple straight cuts, the more generic size #0, #1 or #2 blade works fine.
After drawing up a pattern and gluing it to the sheet I got right to cutting.
After a bit of fussing with the saw to figure how sharp of and angle I could cut with the saw it turned into a simple task of keeping my sawing motions smooth as to not break the blade.
The Result after adding a indent for the eye mark:
Iwanted the brand new emblem to not look so new to better match the age of the sword at whole so I used a bit of acrylic paint and some dry brushing to add a bit a real life experience to it after I filed down and rounded the edges.
I am now the proud owner of my very own two handed sword. No more running around the back yard with a red sheet secured to my back with two stick lashed together as my mighty Excalibur.
I was able to take this off the hands of an local individual on Craigslist for a low $25. Its a bit beaten up, the blade is spotted with rust, mini nicks, and the metal has dulled from sitting unused and un-oiled for some extended period of time. Time to put a bit of life into it!
Since this is a cheaper stage prop sword it is assembled with a top screw so disassembling it was rather simple. After about 2 hours of sanding, buffing and polishing the blade to return its clean shine the first thing that needed a change was the handle. Holding this thing feels like I’m holding a baseball bat at the wrong end so the handle diameter needs to be reduced so I can later add a nice leather wrap to it. This will be a job for my Dremel since my dreams of a lathe have yet to be fully realized.
After reassembling it I feel that the pommel was also oversized and a bit odd looking. I cant just modify this piece since its a hollow bronze cast object that can be ruduced in size by removing material. I do have some extra 2″ diameter aluminum bar stock from another project around that I can hack saw my way through and see if it work aesthetically.
After an upgrade from a coping saw to a proper hack saw and a bit of machine oil to prevent the blade from binding I was able to remove an piece of the aluminum bar stock to become my new pommel. Unfortunately the end that i cut off the larger stock which had a diameter previously reduced, which I felt was a better size, had a hole in the center which I will need to find a way to hide later. The next step is to drill a hole through to accept the blades threaded end. This will be done with a hand drill as I’m yet to find room or funds for a drill press at the time.
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.