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18 Dec 2013 - 04:22109675
Does MCM's cosplay props rule kinda annoy anyone else?
I mean purely from a cosplay perspective..I'm not talking about if it's good from a con/safety perspective or not.

It's just annoying, mainly because of most wooden props being outright banned. I don't know how long the ACTUAL rule has been in place but it seemed like they were really enforcing it hard in October.

Wood is just such a great material though. If you're making a sword, sometimes foam or cardboard just doesn't cut it. Wood gives a nice weight to the piece that translates well to pictures. Say if you're holding a piece of foam in an action pose, it can look a little awkward if your arm obviously has no tension because it's practically weightless. A tall, heavy prop being held will naturally lean in a realistic position, but it's hard to get that right with the safe alternatives without risking confiscation from MCM officials.

Also wood is so great for paint, it just absorbs in a way more authentic way and so many other liquids you splatter at it will stick or stain, which they won't on stuff like PVC. And then of course there's wood treatments and different ways to sand/batter the prop in order to make it look natural.

Has anyone else thought about/had problems with this? How are we meant to go about dealing with it? I was thinking about maybe using some kind of dense rubber replacement but it seems like it could be costly and difficult. I feel like I'm just ranting but I'd like to know if anyone else who particularly enjoys making props has thought about this and how they're gonna deal with it.


18 Dec 2013 - 09:16109677
I can't comment on the rules their staff were actualy enforcing (there's always some who don't know the rules) but I was under the impression that wooden props aren't banned outright, just that they can't be too big (like all props) and that they have to be stored safely. So a wooden sword in a sheath is ok.
Nonetheless, yes, I can see why people get annoyed. Wood is easier to get and work with than the foams and latexes used for Larp swords. I gather the firearm rules have annoyed a lot of people too. Ultimately though, as I once had someone accidentally whack me over the head with a prop while I was standing and minding my own business, I don't begrudge the rules too much (at least not yet).


18 Dec 2013 - 09:17109678
Yeah its a pain, but unfortunately we can't isolate perspectives and just think from a cosplayers point of view. The fact remains that (some) people are idiots when paired with a prop.

Luckily there are ways we can get around making props without wood, so really I remain unphased by the fact that wood is restricted as it wouldn't be my first choice of material anyway - for the sake of transport and how heavy it would be for me to carry around all day. And this is before I even consider who I might hurt or what damages I could cause to the costumes of other attendants.
I'd probably go for foamboard layered up and sanded for a sword, or use worbla for various other props. I use resin often too so I don't feel as though my hands are tied and I'm doomed to walk around propless because other things are available to me. I don't see it as a restriction, I see it as a challenge to be more creative in the ways that I make my props.

Also other cons have had these types of rules in place way before MCM and as a result MCM came across as very lax to me considering the younger crowd attend whereas other cons are 18+ and are likely to have more common sense/maturity, what have you.
To be honest with you I'm not sure why MCM haven't cracked down on these rules sooner.



Last edited by Angel Tear (18 Dec 2013 - 09:19)
18 Dec 2013 - 11:51109679
99% of MCM's prop rules come down to this;

The Law

And

Morons who abused the rules in the past. Such as Wooden yaoi paddles which people 'i call these children because they act as such' went along smacking random people really hard without asking if its okay. Of course ALOT of people complained. The thing with MCM is because its for any age alot of people act like morons ruining it for everyone.

if they where all abit more adult maybe they wouldn't have to be so strict but unfortunately these past events have ruined the props leeway in some form.

Also, aslong as your not swinging it about like an idiot and everything the security dont really bother you. Unless its massive where they have to check it for safety. Plus the security are just that, security, they are not cosplayers, con goers, volunteers of MCM. They do that job no matter what event it is. So to them a weapon is a weapon.


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18 Dec 2013 - 12:02109680
Loads of people where having wooden props taken from them in october because there was a large group of people going round pretending to be security, taking anything that looked good under the pretence that it was against the rules and then selling it/keeping it etc. Hardly anyone was asking for there security badges when they were approached so they got away with it and the venue/MCM organisers weren't notified until the event was over.

According the the current rules the only wooden things that are banned outright are bats and paddles. I believe because many people got hit. Wooden props such as swords and such aren't banned. You can use wood as long as you can secure you prop to you while your walking around to stop people from taking it from you. So i'd make your props out of all the wood you want.




Last edited by CraftyNinja (18 Dec 2013 - 12:07)
18 Dec 2013 - 12:17109681
It's not something that's ever bothered me. I have to transport any props via public transport and several train changes, so large unwieldy props have never really been an option.

From a personal safety standpoint foam/pvc/thermoplastic are betetr anyway as anyone who's ever stumbled and landed on their wooden prop can tell you.

*glares at my old kendo bokken*


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18 Dec 2013 - 14:35109683
Eh, rules are in place so no one gets hurt. I understand why you sound annoyed, but think of it this way, would you want someone to come in with a live loaded bb gun or even worse - a proper sword/knife/spear or gun? I wouldn't. That would put a real bad name on the world of cosplaying and cosplayers.

I have gotten annoyed by getting the same questions asked all the time and when I asked a question about the dragon dagger, I had to actually go through the same questions - "is it gonna be holstered?" Yes - "Is it breakable" Yes! etc.


18 Dec 2013 - 14:44109684
They're pretty standard rules. Most cons and events have rules along the same lines. It's not really that annoying. There are alot of materials that can be used to get around it. There are health and safety concerns as well as the fact that one of the venues is next to an international airport.

I've never had problems with it. It kind of sounds like you're trying to stir shit...


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18 Dec 2013 - 18:37109694
Quote Ice-climber:

I've never had problems with it. It kind of sounds like you're trying to stir shit...


wow rude much??? I already made it clear that I wanted this thread to be about materials and heavy, substitutes to wood. I've seen way too much discussion of the rules to want to read more of it tbh

Also Shorty that sucks :/ MCM management has always been a mess but you'd think they'd prioritize people posing as security officers (which is REALLY sketchy) over some of the other stuff they flip out on.

And Angel Tear, as I said..foam isn't really a great solution. Heavier is better for reasons listed, yes it's pain on public transport but then most cosplays are anyway. I was thinking about filling a hollow plastic pole or something with wet sand to get some weight but not every prop has something you can hollow out effectively.


18 Dec 2013 - 19:40109695
to be honest i am glad of the rule enforcement over 80,000 people went in october i would rather feel safe in a crowd than be allowed to bring a weapon.

Also after Dummer being killed it is nice to know i can go somewhere and feel safe. If you want weapons with your cosplay you can always go on a private photo shoot.

Plus one more thing it's silly carrying heavy objects around when your trying to look at stuff or go on games they just get in the way lol

Also i have worked for MCM under a few job titles, what you see on the surface is only part of everything they have to keep under control, when the con is on they don't sit back and relax they are there from 7am till 12pm making sure things run smooth. I think people shouldn't judge how mcm works till they have actually helped out and seen it in action. Not as easy as you think.


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18 Dec 2013 - 20:00109696
I'm from the Netherlands and over there ALL props/weapon are disallowed on con grounds
its sucks, but they have to abide to the law.

The only time props are allowed is during an act etc.

It sucks, definitely, but there's not a lot you can do about it and it's understandable that they have to make these rules, i guess.



Last edited by Greenstar88 (18 Dec 2013 - 20:00)
18 Dec 2013 - 20:07109697
It's worked perfectly fine for me and other cosplayers that I know of. The way you handle the prop in photography is no different than your standard pose, facial expression and backdrop - you have to make it believable and it can be done. Got a sword that is meant to be heavy, even double handed? Dip your shoulders forward, bend your knees a little. One handed weapon? tip your body to the side your prop is on to make it look as though you're being weighed down - the ability to show this isn't hard to pull off and is generally a credit to the cosplayer. Not everyone has the talent, or the care to make photos believable, but if you work with your photographer you can get stances that pop and look convincing.

Nothing about anime or video games are believable if you translate it into real life physics or reason - I mean you only need to look at the hair styles and colours, which is the beauty of cosplay and breaking the boundries of the reality we know for our appearances.
Kirito is a good example; he's a 14 year old boy at the beginning of the series and uses what look like heavy blades single handedly for a boy of his age, later going on to wielding two single handed. He's certainly not ripped, but being in a video game it becomes perfectly believable to us as viewers. As long as a cosplayer has a solid pose then they cannot go wrong. Posing in front of a mirror or copying poses from reference art can help you with this.


18 Dec 2013 - 20:22109698
Quote J-Po:
to be honest i am glad of the rule enforcement over 80,000 people went in october i would rather feel safe in a crowd than be allowed to bring a weapon.

Also after Dummer being killed it is nice to know i can go somewhere and feel safe. If you want weapons with your cosplay you can always go on a private photo shoot.

Plus one more thing it's silly carrying heavy objects around when your trying to look at stuff or go on games they just get in the way lol

Also i have worked for MCM under a few job titles, what you see on the surface is only part of everything they have to keep under control, when the con is on they don't sit back and relax they are there from 7am till 12pm making sure things run smooth. I think people shouldn't judge how mcm works till they have actually helped out and seen it in action. Not as easy as you think.


That's ALWAYS been a problem with cosplay though, unless you're LARPing (and even then, public transport) there's always going to be something to do at cons and doing it in cosplay is always going to hinder the experience, I don't really think that omitting a prop from a costume is a worthy tradeoff for mobility in a place packed with 80,000+ people. The safety issue of being possibly clouted with a prop pales in comparison to being dragged off for 'interrogation' by strangers posing as security guards.

But anyway, can we PLEASE keep on topic and talk about worthwhile wood replacements? I know this is about MCM but I'd much rather this thread leaned towards what prop materials that they will and will not tolerate as opposed to the morals and ethics of the rules. Which, let's be honest is a broken record at this point.


18 Dec 2013 - 20:26109699
Quote Angel Tear:
It's worked perfectly fine for me and other cosplayers that I know of. The way you handle the prop in photography is no different than your standard pose, facial expression and backdrop - you have to make it believable and it can be done. Got a sword that is meant to be heavy, even double handed? Dip your shoulders forward, bend your knees a little. One handed weapon? tip your body to the side your prop is on to make it look as though you're being weighed down - the ability to show this isn't hard to pull off and is generally a credit to the cosplayer. Not everyone has the talent, or the care to make photos believable, but if you work with your photographer you can get stances that pop and look convincing.

Nothing about anime or video games are believable if you translate it into real life physics or reason - I mean you only need to look at the hair styles and colours, which is the beauty of cosplay and breaking the boundries of the reality we know for our appearances.
Kirito is a good example; he's a 14 year old boy at the beginning of the series and uses what look like heavy blades single handedly for a boy of his age, later going on to wielding two single handed. He's certainly not ripped, but being in a video game it becomes perfectly believable to us as viewers. As long as a cosplayer has a solid pose then they cannot go wrong. Posing in front of a mirror or copying poses from reference art can help you with this.


I think part of it is just down to good craftsmanship, I know obviously actors have to act properly when they hold supposedly heavy props and get poses right but I just think that holding a plastic axe or something just feels cheap in comparison to heavier materials, I much prefer the idea of having something that feels solid than kind of having to pretend. It'd probably end up ridiculously expensive but memory foam for example would be a better foam to use because it's a lot more dense, heavy and still porous enough to absorb paint.


18 Dec 2013 - 20:49109702
Foamboard can be pretty good if you layer it appropriately and make sure the layers are glued together. It depends on how you prime it too, so for example I use car body filler and then sand that down and that can definitely get pretty weighty - so you could try giving that a go.
It's been a lifesaver for me though after I fell on ice some years back and I think I managed to fracture my wrist...it still makes an interesting clicking sound. (never got it looked at back then because nobody was convinced I'd done enough damage)but it can still cause me a lot of pain if I'm grasping something heavy constantly for a day in costume. Even holding a power sander for an hour can cause it to twinge.

The paint job is really important too and only in the last year have I heard of dry brushing in order to get that perfect metallic finish. I'd have no idea how to get a convincing wooden look however without slaving over paintwork for hours.

Anyhow, every method has its pro's and cons, just like buying versus making costumes themselves. It just depends what you make of it and end up having fun in beautiful costumes


18 Dec 2013 - 21:46109705
Um... Expo has rules now? Man, I missed a lot in the 2 years I didn't go to any... But good, because I actually have a friend who got quite badly injured by an idiot attacking him with a Yaoi paddle back in the day. And it was not funny at all.

And, also, balsa wood (which is allowed and is a wood) and upholstery/modelling foam is great for making weapons. You just have to seal it with glue or layer some papier machee over it first and then it takes paint like a dream. You're actually not supposed to paint directly onto it. I forgot that when I was over-tired and making my Lady Loki horns, the spray paint melted them!

A lot of the time you can use aluminium wire and modelling mesh or embossing metal (which btw, you can cut open old pesto tubes for) can be used with papier machee, mod-rock, eva/craft foam, lightweight air drying clay like fimo soft, foam board and/or cardboard to add strength and flexability to weapons.

Plus, you can learn resin or silicone casting for weapons. It's a lengthy and expensive process, but you get more realistic weaponry that is still considered con-safe in most instances. Unless you're an eejit and swing stuff about, hitting people with it, which you'd not want to as it'd be fragile anyway.

I have a bad habit of forgetting about weapons rules at cons and not getting stuff checked at ops because I make all my props con-safe on priciple that I don't want any accidents or some fool running off with it and doing damage to themselves or others if I left it unattended by accident. And my friends and I don't act like idiots with them, so I've only ever been questioned about a prop once ever by a gopher who reminded me to go to Ops at Kita with my Redglare staff which is made out of a real walking stick; the entire thing had been padded with both tape and a stuffed/plushie handle though and I did the "hit yourself quite hard with this, does it hurt?" test before I even considered taking it to the event. It was well enough padded and I kept it folded in my bag when I wasn't using it, so I got away with it.

If you can prove you are sensible (and have not brought any bb pellets, or nerf darts and have made sure you cannot or will not fill a water pistol, etc.) and are only going to be using you weapons for photographs and masquerading, keeping them safely peace-bonded on your person, leaving them checked at the cosplay desk or in ops when not in use, then you can safely enjoy your time at a con or Expo with cosplay weapons.

These rules are, as others have said, a result of the idiocy of people breaking the law in the past and causing harm and injury to others, thus making it unsafe to run events without them in place. If you want to use "proper" replica weapons and wooden swords, then go LARPing in the woods. It just shows a lack of imagination to not be able to come up with alternative ways to make safe, con-friendly weapons than hard woods and metal. There are so many tutorials out there to get you started. I have seen amazing weaponry made out of little more than cardboard tubes, papier machee and some really killer paint jobs!


19 Dec 2013 - 07:45109713
Quote ThePrinceOfSkittles:
Quote Ice-climber:

I've never had problems with it. It kind of sounds like you're trying to stir shit...


wow rude much??? I already made it clear that I wanted this thread to be about materials and heavy, substitutes to wood. I've seen way too much discussion of the rules to want to read more of it tbh


Case and point I think. Trust me when I say there was nothing rude about that. You haven't seen me rude.

Quote Pudding:
These rules are, as others have said, a result of the idiocy of people breaking the law in the past and causing harm and injury to others, thus making it unsafe to run events without them in place. If you want to use "proper" replica weapons and wooden swords, then go LARPing in the woods. It just shows a lack of imagination to not be able to come up with alternative ways to make safe, con-friendly weapons than hard woods and metal. There are so many tutorials out there to get you started. I have seen amazing weaponry made out of little more than cardboard tubes, papier machee and some really killer paint jobs!


Nailed it.

I have to say I don't get the obsession with weight the OP has. I mean why would you want to make a broadsword the same weight as real one? Most people wouldn't be able to lift it... Also heavy weapons are dangerous.

It's not that difficult to make props that fit rules and pose with them effectively. Someone is just lazy.


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Last edited by Ice-climber (19 Dec 2013 - 07:57)
19 Dec 2013 - 11:46109716
I guess the only frustrating part for me is the size restrictions? Which means one has to make props collapsible, being a good and bad thing imo. Easier to transport but having to actually conjure up how to do this can be tricky.


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19 Dec 2013 - 19:11109719
I'm annoyed with the rules regarding RIF's (realistic imitation firearms) as it says they are not allowed but I saw plenty of resident evil cosplayer as umbrella corps with G36 rifles and no one said anything about the rules.


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19 Dec 2013 - 19:13109720
It is a confusing one, what props can you take in or not, I do not blame the banning of these weapons, part of the regulations, depends on what weapon it is


19 Dec 2013 - 20:22109723
Quote adamphillip:
I'm annoyed with the rules regarding RIF's (realistic imitation firearms) as it says they are not allowed but I saw plenty of resident evil cosplayer as umbrella corps with G36 rifles and no one said anything about the rules.


This has been rehashed a lot in the broken record discussions about the rules, but a good rule of thumb is to not base anything on what props you've seen people with at Expo. Plenty of people don't get caught as there's so many attendees, but that doesn't mean they're not breaking the rules, which are in place for good reasons.


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19 Dec 2013 - 21:15109725
Quote diphenhydramine:
This has been rehashed a lot in the broken record discussions about the rules, but a good rule of thumb is to not base anything on what props you've seen people with at Expo. Plenty of people don't get caught as there's so many attendees, but that doesn't mean they're not breaking the rules, which are in place for good reasons.

I'd have took my G36 replica if it was not for the rules


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19 Dec 2013 - 22:10109732
Frankly, there are plenty of weapons out there that look the part that aren't made from wood. We made my friend's wooden staff for Vivi from newspaper, papier mache and paint. Yeah, it takes more time to make it out of those materials, but it will always be accepted, it's lightweight so doesn't hinder you, and it won't hurt someone. You can make weapons from pretty much anything, with different prices. Quick youtube search; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6eVmeizL4I

All you need to do with lightweight materials is pose, as Angel Tear said. If you dislike doing that, that's your problem, not the rules for MCM and pretty much all conventions across the UK and Europe. You know, cause they've gotta abide to laws and shiz?

Quote ThePrinceOfSkittles:
But anyway, can we PLEASE keep on topic and talk about worthwhile wood replacements? I know this is about MCM but I'd much rather this thread leaned towards what prop materials that they will and will not tolerate as opposed to the morals and ethics of the rules. Which, let's be honest is a broken record at this point.


This comment, btw, I found really rude in regards to J-Po's comment. Her point was 100% valid to your original comment and opening topic. If you wanted it to be about materials, why this topic name? You're encouraging a "I think prop rules are [x] because of [y]" answer.


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19 Dec 2013 - 22:18109734
Quote adamphillip:
Quote diphenhydramine:
This has been rehashed a lot in the broken record discussions about the rules, but a good rule of thumb is to not base anything on what props you've seen people with at Expo. Plenty of people don't get caught as there's so many attendees, but that doesn't mean they're not breaking the rules, which are in place for good reasons.

I'd have took my G36 replica if it was not for the rules


Which is good! If you had taken it, it may well have been confiscated, and you might not necessarily have gotten it back again, depending on whether it was taken by MCM volunteers, ExCel staff, or the police. Personally I don't think it's worth the risk, either to yourself or to others!


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19 Dec 2013 - 23:47109739
Quote adamphillip:
I'm annoyed with the rules regarding RIF's (realistic imitation firearms) as it says they are not allowed but I saw plenty of resident evil cosplayer as umbrella corps with G36 rifles and no one said anything about the rules.


If you look at the latest version of the prop rules it explictly says that there are some circumstances where MCM will allow exceptions under very specific limited conditions to authorised attendees (often members of the UK Garrison or invited guests).

It also very, very specifically says that the only guide is the rules, and you should not presume what is allowed or not based on anyone else's props.


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