|Awards :||2nd place, Konami Metal Gear Solid Cosplay Competition at October Expo 2012 (Saturday)|
|Time Taken :||A LOT|
|Obviously, I don't treasure my sanity.|
YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW GOOD IT FEELS TO PUT THIS UNDER "COMPLETE"
Finally finished it :) I am *mostly* very happy with it, as ever with costumes there are a few things I'd do differently if I were to do it all again (and if I ever decide I hate myself enough, maybe I will redo a few parts), but this is the most ambitious thing I've ever made and I feel I acquitted myself fairly well.
I apologise to anyone I was grumpy at. It's not comfortable to wear - I'm pnygophobic (fear of suffocating) so wearing the zentai suit hood made me panic a little bit, and the head/backpiece was a little heavy so compressed my spine slightly when I wasn't concentrating on standing properly.
I also apologise to anyone I gave nightmares with my masquerade performance ;)
Favourite discovery: TheKillingDoll remembering that there were high-strength magnets in the ends of the tentacles and working out that the big metal statue was steel :D
|Armour on suit||High||Complete|
|Lycra tentacle covers||High||Complete|
|Ribbed areas of suit||High||Complete|
|Punch in eyelets||Medium||Complete|
|Straps on suit||Medium||Complete|
|Re-hammer that *()%*&£)*& eyelet into the )*&%£)*"$" suit so it stays in||Low||Planned|
|Apologise to the poor shredded remains of my fingers||Low||Planned|
|Spray paint (bronze)||£6.00||Bought|
|Viper modular P90 pouches||£36.05||Bought|
|Buckles, sliders & d-rings||£2.00||Bought|
|Tabi boots (already owned)||£0.00||Bought|
|Olive green webbing||£4.72||Bought|
|Witch fingers 3 packs||£5.50||Bought|
|10mm eyelets & pliers||£7.25||Bought|
|Foamex sheets x4||£28.00||Bought|
so I lied (Posted 17th August 2011)
One more picture.
I was dreading this as I have very, very unsteady hands and painting is a weak point. I took a lot of time and care though and I am so proud of myself, this is the fiddliest thing I have ever painted. The reference is below.
By the way... a couple more letters to paint and I am DONE :DD
So close! (Posted 15th August 2011)
I am so close to finishing now... I am excite :)
Basically all I have left to do is painting and some cosmetic touches. I did a test of the back/headpiece with all the tentacles in and I'm very happy with it. It rests on my head a bit more than planned so I may get a bit of a headache wearing it, but since I already know it will be a bitch to wear I'm going to minimise the time I spend wearing the whole thing... so if you want pictures you'll have to get in quickly :3
At this point I'm not going to put up any more pictures until I wear the whole thing - purely so I don't spoil the surprise.
Tentacle ends! (Posted 30th July 2011)
This is the bit of the costume I've possibly dreaded the most, and also the part I'd be most likely to remake if I qualify for Euro or even have enough time. Getting the foamex to angle right was tough and I'm not totally happy with it, nor with some of the glue gun work. But for now they are done. Hair curlers, witch fingers, and led circuits in foamex.
Please please no more sewing (Posted 26th July 2011)
I'm on what should be the final round of handsewing now. Just the leg straps (2 down, 6 to go), the final odd piece on the armour, some magnet pouches and some individual staystitches on the tentacle segments. Then it's all glue, paint, engraving and wire.
Latest pieces of equipment used: a lighter and an electric drill!
boo (Posted 24th July 2011)
Had to put it on to pin on the pouch straps so I took a picture.
It is basically the most horrible thing to wear ever.
I hate it.
But it looks pretty cool, huh?
Tentacles (Posted 3rd July 2011)
Headpiece progress with bonus tentacles. Currently only one tentacle has the segments pinned on. Since taking the photo I've sewn most of them (more hand sewing, WHY), just the other three tentacles to go!
I have also since glued the back and top pieces together and attached them to the harness so it's one complete unit. The tentacles will be removable so that they can be transported more easily and attached to the headpiece at the event, probably with a combination of wire and magnets.
I've also rechecked my reference images and found that there are 5 more LEDs that I need to wire up. Not sure yet whether to just add them in to the circuit I've already built for the headpiece or to make up separate circuits, although thinking about it I don't have any more switches so I'd better add them in.
Backpiece (Posted 3rd July 2011)
Foamex/Sintra, heat moulded. The domes are cut from kid's ball-pit balls, sprayed and glued on. The two at the top aren't glued in this picture so you can see inside one of them.
;____; (Posted 29th June 2011)
Welp, just broke the £250 mark on this costume. It's because of the pouches. Originally I was going to make them myself, but I just couldn't find a material I was happy with, and research indicated that they were P90 pouches. The Viper pouches seemed the best fit so I ordered those - however, there seems to be a supply problem as the first two suppliers I tried couldn't get them, so I've had to go somewhere more expensive. Big sads! :(
Also found out that I might need to put resistors in my circuits after all. Boooo. I've already soldered them all together so will have to chop and insert them. Thankfully we almost certainly have the correct resistors at home.
Chemical Failure! (Posted 26th June 2011)
Now the sewing is almost completely done I'm down to the prop-making. This is not my favourite part, but hey ho. This is the biggest prop-type costume I've ever made (and indeed may ever make).
I've soldered together the circuits for the lights, which went pretty well. I may manage to burn myself every time I cook or iron, but soldering irons and heat guns are just fine XD
Also started on the tentacle "segments" and I might end up doing some more sewing D: It's either that or holding it the entire time the glue takes to cure, no thanks. I can sew part and then it'll hold it while the glue sets in the other areas.
I've had to re-prime the fingers to take away the stickiness, and I'll just have to paint them with acrylic, or possibly PVA them and try spraying again. It will take more time, but it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Still, irritating!
>_< (Posted 14th June 2011)
I was all ready to go "YEAH! SUIT FINISHED! NO MORE STITCHING!" as I did the last bit of leatherette...
.... and then I remembered that there are straps on the thighs underneath the pouches ;______;
Need to buy the webbing for those. Very tempting to just glue them on, I am so tired of sewing this suit. We'll see.
Nonetheless, ALL THE ARMOUR BITS ON THE SUIT ARE DONE. Happy days. Pic possibly forthcoming.
Tentacular (Posted 6th June 2011)
Tentacle on the right is the plain foam with the wire running through it (you can see the wire poking through at the top). Tentacle on the right is with the base lycra cover, over which I'll be gluing PVC "segments".
Making the lycra covers for these takes an absolute age, because I have to pin the entire 2 metre length quite tightly around the foam and then hand-sew it all with a strong backstitch. I've done 3, one more to go!
I've been worrying about the headpiece being strong enough to hold them but doing the covers has reminded me of just how light foam is. It shouldn't be a problem. I do need to get some decent superglue though as apparently it's the best thing to use on foamex.
Gimp suit ahoy (Posted 18th May 2011)
I'm about 90% done on the suit now. When I was putting it all together in my head I didn't even conceive of how much hand sewing would be involved; I thought I'd be able to machine most of it. In the real world, that's not possible when it's being put onto a pre-made suit.
I tried it on as best I could last night - I was alone in the house so I couldn't do the zip up all the way, but I got it done far enough to put on the harness/codpiece ensemble so I could work out where the last pieces need to be sewn on. I have to say I'm pretty darned happy with it! It is not comfortable but I can at least move around in it as long as I don't need to bend down too far.
I need to add on black leatherette pieces on the upper arms, calves and groin area, all of which also need eyelets punching in (oh joy). Once those are done and the leg straps are on the suit is basically finished short of things like the barcode detailing, which will be one of the last things I concern myself with.
I have realised, however, that the leg pouches I made are actually far, far too big. I was so obsessed with making sure they had the right structure and shape that I went overboard on size. I'll have to remake those but I might be able to take apart the ones I've already made and shrink them down a bit - if not, I'll need to buy more of that leatherette.
Hey look a progress picture (Posted 22nd April 2011)
I know I've been super-lax on putting up any pictures. My camera's gone walkabout (and is on the fritz anyway) and I keep forgetting to borrow my boyfriend's. But I did nab it for this shot, which is not very exciting, but people demanded some pictorial evidence :P
This is the cardboard mockup I made of the backpiece before starting to heatmould the foamex. There is actually a foamex version now, but no picture of that yet! I'm hoping I'll be able to keep it up with the harness, though I might need to put in some other way of keeping it in one place - maybe a hook system on the back of the suit.
Abort, Retry... FAIL (Posted 6th March 2011)
I'm about 70% done on this costume.
Unfortunately, a severe cold followed by a sinus infection has knocked me almost out cold for the last week, which was a critical week in terms of being able to finish this costume for Minami. In theory I could get it done, but it would be rushed and there's no guarantee I'd manage it, plus with ME you really need to allow recovery time after a bad infection and not suppress your immune system by having unnecessary stress.
So yes. I'm so far along now that there's no question of not finishing this costume, but it most certainly won't be for Minami. Instead, the GiggleSquid will be making its debut at Ayacon.
What the hell (Posted 17th February 2011)
WHY IS THERE SO MUCH HAND-SEWING ON THIS DAMN COSTUME I DON'T EVEN
Wire and ribs (Posted 8th February 2011)
Aha! Whilst I refuse to use the to-do list on here while mine remains so huge, what I WILL use it for is to mark off things that are complete ^_^
Putting wire through 2 metres of foam causes my CFS pains to flare up :( I've managed 2, so halfway there, but I'll have to take the last two more slowly or I'm out of action.
The eyelet punch I bought is also completely useless... it doesn't fit the eyelets correctly. Thankfully we already had one of the basic punch sets for the relevant size of eyelets, so I can still set them, it just takes longer (especially as my hammer's gone missing and I'm using a pair of pliers!). I've patterned and cut all the armour pieces, so they need eyelets putting in and sewing on to the suit next as I've finished sewing on all the ribbed pieces.
Ribbing (Posted 2nd February 2011)
I do most of the journal updates at work - at some point I promise I'll take photos and add them to the relevant entry.
My foam tentacles are waiting for me at the post office. After trying out the fabric I intended to cover them with, I realised it wasn't the best match, as it's rather thick and when bending the foam massive creases appeared, as well as it warping the shape. In a way it's a good thing though; I've decided to switch it with the fabric I intended to make the armour pieces with, and that actually works in my favour.
The thin fabric still bunches up where the foam bends, but really this is unavoidable. In the REAL WORLD, Mr. Game Designer, solid things are not entirely elastic! Even just the foam on its own crinkles somewhat at bends, and to get the right shape, it needs to bend reasonably sharply at points. I'd rather have the right shape than better smoothness, so crinkles there shall be. I do have one final idea on how to combat it, which I'll be testing later this week, but if it doesn't work I'm not going to tear my hair out over a few crinkles.
The last couple of weeks have mostly been dedicated to the ribbed areas on the suit. I'm ribbing the fabric myself, with a very fine zigzag stitch so it retains some stretch. First I have to measure and draw dozens of parallel lines on the back of the fabric, and then I need to sew them all, as absolutely close to straight as possible. I've done probably 70 of these lines, on pieces of varying width, and will have done over 100 by the time I'm finished! You'd think plain straight lines would be easy and quick to do, but because it's so important that they're straight and parallel, it takes a fair bit of care. There are ribbed areas on the front, back, calves and bicep areas.
I'm stitching them on the suit with a combination of handsewing with a backstitch and machining with a zigzag before cutting off the excess. The edges are largely covered by the armour pieces so I've also zigzagged the edges to stop the straight lines from fraying.
You can't put me off that easily! (Posted 28th January 2011)
Hit some snags in the purchasing stages this week!
The first discovery was that the company I intended to buy foamex from (Seawhite) is actually a wholesaler and won't sell me less than £100 worth. They have a regular outlet, but it's 50% more expensive. I'll get it from Flints instead - I can actually go to their store and have it in my hands, provided I make it there before 2pm!
The second discovery *really* threw a spanner in the works. It's my intention to make the tentacles from soft upholstery foam covered in rubberised fabric and with a wire core to make them fully mouldable. Experiments with foam and wire worked out well, and I was all set to go ahead and order them from one of the companies that offer foam cut to shape. "Any shape you want!" - unless it's 2 metres long and cut as a thin irregular hexagon, it seems. One company said they could do it, but quoted £135, which is a LOT steeper than I'm willing to go. The others have all just outright said they can't do it ;_;
The tentacles are the part of this costume that have thrown up the biggest headaches, easily. They are also the part I am most determined to have look decent. I really want them to be hexagonal rather than cylindrical if I possibly can, and I really want them to be shaped well and not just hang down limply - plus I want them to be the right length. This is why it's a bit disheartening - I really though I'd found the solution.
HOWEVER. I will not be discouraged! I've been offered square-cut lengths which I can attempt to cut into hexagons myself if I can manage to fashion a kind of clamp to hold them while I cut. It adds to my already terrifying to-do list (currently far, far too long to post up here) and the hexagonal shape won't be precisely accurate, but I was never kidding myself that this was going to be an easy costume ;)
First part complete (near as) (Posted 17th January 2011)
Thought I'd kick things off by making something relatively simple, so I started with the harness thingy. The more I looked at it, the more I realised that it didn't really fully conform to any kind of commercially available harness. I therefore decided that since I'm hoping for decent accuracy I'd be best off making it from scratch.
The hardest part was working out how it was structured - it's actually a single continuous piece of webbing looped in a very particular way, which is a pain in the bottom to keep untwisted when creating it! I had to draw out a diagram with arrows to keep it worked out in my brain while I was fitting it to myself.
The codpiece is a piece of foamex, heat-shaped to myself with holes pierced into it to sew it on to the webbing. There are also two dog clips which connect to D-rings and a buckle fastening on the chest strap. They all needed sewing together, which I decided to do by hand as I had to go through several layers of webbing to make sure it didn't fray.
On its own it's possibly the kinkiest-looking thing I've ever made :P
I'll take a picture at some point and add it to this entry.
hello again... (Posted 11th January 2011)
Project: Laughing Octopus.exe ERROR
Back on the squiddy bandwagon me hearties!
Last night I took out the foamex board I'd ordered to play about with and had a go at shaping it with a heat gun. Bad smell aside, it's very easy to shape if you're careful about not gripping it hard enough to leave dents (and even those can be removed with more heat and holding in place). It also has the benefit of coming in black, thus removing some of the need to paint it.
I'm looking at using it to construct the entire back/headpiece as a hollow structure to keep it light but strong - the other advantage of the foamex over, say, plastazote is that it's stiffer and stronger, so will keep a structured shape very well as well as being harder to damage.
I've also got an idea on how to make the tentacles. The tentacles have been my main bugbear throughout planning this costume for a variety of reasons. However, now that we've bought a house (with a garage) the issue of storage becomes less difficult as I can wrap them in plastic and hide them away in the attic or garage where they won't get in anyone's way. Transporting them will still be a bit awkward, but the plan I'm currently working on will mean they have some flexibility so can be adjusted to the space available for transport.
I've started work on the ribbed areas of the bodysuit; just need to experiment with something to put under the fabric for the more "armoured" areas.
Finally, though my plan to actually make it last weekend failed miserably, I do now have all the necessary materials to make a duct tape dummy of myself, which will make construction far, far easier given that it's a full body suit. It will also allow me to get a better idea of proportions, particularly important for the back/headpiece.
Currently, my to-do tasks are: Make duct tape dummy, make a cardboard/paper mockup of the back/headpiece, experiment with the tentacle method and sew on the first bits of ribbing to the suit.
Crisis :( (Posted 14th June 2010)
I did actually start pinning things onto the catsuit (whilst wearing it) on Saturday, but...
I'm postponing her again. Sorry to anyone who was looking forward to this at Ame, but between other group members being unable to complete, having to move house AND perform some refurbishment, and a return to poor health, completing this for Ame would be unbearably stressful, and I want it to be fun.
This is something like the 3rd postponement, but I want to do it justice and not kill myself over it. And I can assure you it WILL be done, it's been officially started. Current date next Minami.
Octopus-head (Posted 10th June 2010)
Alright. With the help of some excellent-quality screencaps, I've been sketching out exactly how that octopus-thing on her head is constructed. The first thing to note is that it isn't actually on her head at all - it might rest on it slightly, but it is in fact a construct based off her spine and held on by that harness, like a backpack or parachute. That means I can construct it a bit like a backpack and it will be relatively easy and comfortable to put on and wear. It also means that the weight is much better distributed - but I still don't want it made out of anything heavy, so I'm looking at materials. My initial thought was plastazote, but I'm not convinced I can get it to look angular enough, so I'm going to order some test pieces of other materials and see what they're capable of. It needs to be able to curve as well as angle, so foamboard's no good, but foamex might be.
I suspect a wire frame will be in order to keep things hollow and light, so I'll be needing some decent garden wire, clippers and garden gloves!
On inspecting the screenshots, there is a LOT of tiny detail on this costume, like rivets, barcodes, and clips, that I doubt I'll have time to fully do with the whole moving house thing, so this costume will probably be a work in progress.
I'd post up my dreadful sketches, but no scanner :P
Harness (Posted 3rd June 2010)
None of the full harnesses I'd seen so far were quite right, but my research has now shown me that it appears to be a variation on the US army ALICE system - the top part appears to be the same, but instead of attaching to a belt, LO's connects to a kind of thong-knicker arrangement. I've also decided it's olive green rather than black, so I've now an idea of how to go about it - I'll purchase the ALICE shoulder harness, and add in the knicker bit with some olive green webbing I've had lying around for ages with some purchased clips.
Being a proper harness, it will also make it easier to support the headpiece, which as I recall actually comes from the spine rather than being a helmet. I'll need to get some backshots though!
Fabric gets! (Posted 1st June 2010)
Went scouting for fabric to see what was available, and struck super-lucky! I was after something with a rubber rather than a leather texture, but that kind of fabric is hard to find - you see it sometimes, but there's no guarantee it'll be in stock. I also had the issue that Octopus's suit doesn't look pure black - it's sort of dusty and has a greenish tinge, and everything I had seen was very black and often too shiny.
Serendipity was on my side yesterday, however, and I found a PVC that looks like rubber, is greenish tinted, AND (megabonus!!!) 4-way stretch! What's more, it was on special, reduced from £8 to £6 a metre :D I think I'll still have to back it onto something sturdier for the more armoured-looking areas, but gets nonetheless.
The zentai suit has also arrived (bought 1pm Wednesday, on my doorstep Thursday), so I can actually get started on this mofo. I'll be starting with the ribbed areas, I think.
As my partner has his own costume to work on, this will be pretty much entirely my own project, which is scary as I have much more limited prop experience, but I'm also quite excited to give it a try. I'm phasing back to less ambitious cosplay projects after this, so I want to go out with a bang!
Our ride to Amecon is also considering a large costume so we may be renting a bigger vehicle to fit it all in, which means I don't have to be quite so concerned with things being too large to fit in a tiny car. I may still make the tentacles in segments though for safety.
Commence pain. (Posted 25th May 2010)
OK, I'm going to make this.
The first stage will be the main suit, since getting that done will hopefully inspire me to continue with the harder parts. I'll be using a full-coverage black zentai suit as the very base, to which I'll add fabric on top to make it ribbed where visible. The hood looks like leather or latex, but since I want to be able to see out of that mofo, I'm taking a little artistic liberty and keeping it lycra. If I get obsessive I'll make an overhood with eyeholes.
The outer suit depends on what materials I find. I'm considering using sheet latex but I'm unsure how much of the undersuit will show through, so I may end up with either leatherette or a leather-look lycra.
I own a pair of ninja tabi boots already, which I plan to use for the shoes. They're not entirely the right fabric but it saves me from having to make a pair suitable for walking in (ie not just socks).
The parachute harness will likely be purchased, though I may need to paint it black since the ones I've seen for sale so far aren't.
The "claws" will probably be fake "witch nails" painted and cut to shape.
As for the tentacles, those still need experimentation. I currently favour plastazote as the material for the entire head/tentacle section as it's light and reasonably hardwearing. I'm not sure whether to have them loose or mouldable, though I'd like to be able to drape them on things. Depending on transportation they may need to be made in collapsible sections, but this is currently under discussion! I'd like to have the LEDs in the bottom tentacle sections light up, which shouldn't be overly difficult.
I've got the tentacle section designs sketched out, so I know how they're *meant* to fit together, but... game physics >_> they do seem to move in a way that's not really plausible. So they will probably look more angular in the real world. Still looking into the best flexible method of connecting the segments together.