Night Elf Hunter - World of Warcraft

StatusIn Progress
Worn AtLondon MCM Expo October 2012




Amy and I have been wanting to do these since we started playing WoW back in our Uni days. We've got several character costumes lined up, but first off we're attempting some gear sets that we both love.

My character is a hunter and I'm PVP mad, so doing my fave PVP set that I spent ages getting seemed quite fitting! (For WoW players, it's PVP season 10, Ruthless gear from the alliance side) The set is rather cool, with a mix of armour, fabric and electronics that'll give me lots of new things to try. Compared to some of the other armour I think this design will be much more easier to move around in due to the samurai style plates, rather than full armour on all limbs.

I'll be doing the helmet, as I'm awful at make-up and can't think of how to do the eyebrows nicely! Plus, the cyborg style eye made me fall in love with this set in the first place :D

Making this for October Expo as it doesn't really fit in at an anime convention - just need to find a pet now!


Junta posted on 30 July, 2012 - 10:54
Nice looking forward to seeing it! WoW really doesn't get enough cosplay exposure given some of the fantastic older armour designs (the last few tiers have mostly sucked aesthetically imo).

Delusional posted on 30 July, 2012 - 23:33
Cheers dude! I'm really hyped up about getting this one done. I know it's a shame it's not done more, though I've seen a few over the recent years now - hoping to add a few to that trend :D One day I'll do the Dragonstalker set in all it's gold and purple glory ;)

Manticore posted on 31 July, 2012 - 05:43
=O YOU'RE making something! Omg! And it's a Night Elf too! Way to make a return!!

Delusional posted on 31 July, 2012 - 23:12
Haha, though depending on how tall Amy-Lou ends up in her heels for her costume, I might be relegated to 'human' due to my shortness ;)

Leadmill posted on 27 August, 2012 - 13:42
Looks really good!

Sephirayne posted on 30 August, 2012 - 01:13
Looking forward to seeing this. The progress looks amazing ^^.

Felixize posted on 19 September, 2012 - 23:37
Your progress on this is really, really inspiring!! I hope you can keep to schedule, because I can't wait to see it finished, and hopefully in person at Expo :0

Delusional posted on 20 September, 2012 - 20:51
@Felixize Oh god, the pressure! 0_0 Thank you so much, I'm really trying for Expo I just need to keep working on it & hope it turns out okay. I'm nowhere near as good as you guys for actually getting things finished on time ;) I'm banning myself from WoW until it's done though, so it's a start! Leadmill & Sephirayne - Thanks guys, hope I do it justice in the end!

Sephirayne posted on 21 September, 2012 - 09:34
The cape looks amazing. You are so talented.

Chibi posted on 8 October, 2012 - 17:14
It's so weird seeing it up close at your place and then coming home and looking at all the photos on here XD I am mighty impressed though, it's getting me geared up to join you two! Can't wait to see more of it done!

Sakura_Blue posted on 9 October, 2012 - 18:56
this will be amazing! Cant wait to see it

kirokitsune posted on 10 October, 2012 - 14:11
Holy Shiz! This is looking seriously amazing. I mean I knew it was gonna be awesome but HOMG! WOW! DAT CAPE! I can't wait to see this in person, going to be so amazeballs.

Progress Journal

Cape - DONE. Ish. 99%. (Posted 20th September 2012)

Okay so I'm calling this part 'done' but I actually need to glue the middle piece of armour down, I just ran out of glue this evening :( BUT it's so close, it's practically finished and from a photo you can't tell.

I had a lot of trouble getting gradients or any nice paint job on the bottom part, I'm not sure what to do with it really! So until I get a brain wave, I decided to add some weathering and battle damage and glue it on. THAT will stop me procrastinating! Then if I get time later down the line, I can see about neatening it up.

So, 5 weeks to go and just one small part finished. The 'quick and easy' part I started off with...yeah, I gotta speed this up!

Cape - Painting! (Posted 19th September 2012)

This has been one of those evenings when you spend hours doing tiny details you realise no one is ever gonna see. I.e. tiny bits of shading on a little piece of armour that'll be on my BACK. Le sigh...

But! It's been good to experiment, as this is my first attempt at painting & shading armour for this costume. I've gone with acrylics for this, to make it quick and easy to paint & to weather easily. Somewhat following the texture pattern from the game, I added various dark shading and highlights to make the pieces seem even more 3D and to give an 'older' metal effect. I've also started to add in a few scratches of battle damage via paint, not sure how good they look up close (top photo), but hopefully in a photo they'll look convincing enough.

As always, whenever I start adding shading it's never enough, so need to go around and finish off/neaten up and make the contrasts a little more stark!

Rifle - Scaling (Posted 4th September 2012)

And here's all the finished pattern pieces together! It's just under 45 inches long from butt to barrel. Having it in this form I can check that it's the right size in proportion to me, and that everything looks scaled against the other pieces.

For Expo, I'm leaving off the front blade - the ways I can think to make something thin still be that rigid (don't want a floppy blade!) could be considered against the prop rules. Also it's a very very crowded place at times, so for safety of others, and for the sake of not damaging the gun I'll leave adding that until I can have a photo shoot away from a convention or something.

So next, I've got to cut the sheets of foam, find some reinforcing plates for the handle and start assembling!

Rifle - Scaling (Posted 4th September 2012)

I've made little bits of progress with things like the shoulder armour and other pieces, and many more coats of gesso, but that's pretty boring and doesn't make for interesting photos!

So I started planning out the weapon as I'm imagining the layers of gesso and sanding on the 'wooden parts' is gonna take forever. I'm lucky with Warcraft, that there's a database of all models online, not high quality, but decent enough to see the main shapes well! I printed this out, and drew a grid over it. This makes it so much easier when scaling to get the proportions right of curves and complicated details. Transferring it onto paper with 'to scale' squares, I could then draw the design matching where it crosses the lines, and have a full sized version of the gun pieces.

At the weekend, finally bit the bullet and hunted down supplies for the rifle. This involved a trip to B&Q (where I bought far too much cool stuff to play with) and then getting a 2m pole back on the bus. It just about wedged against the ceiling :D

I needed the pole for the twin barrels of the rifle, and managed to find a really cheap PVC length at £2 for 2m which was more than enough. Using the scaling pattern, I cut the two lengths with the dremel, and another small portion for what will become the scope.

Cape - armour (Posted 29th August 2012)

All pieces of the armour are now cut out, fillered & gesso'd - horrible moment when I thought the two curly side pieces were the wrong shape as they didn't cover the gaps in the fabric...then I realised I had them upside-down. I think the edges need another layer of gesso & sanding, then I can get them painted up and glued in place. All the pieces are fairly light, so contact adhesive should do the job! Although I need a bigger surface to work on - the ironing board is too small for this now :(

Basically, what I'm saying is all I did this evening was to paint a few layers of gesso and lay things out. Why? WARCRAFT PATCH DAY! WOOO! Although I'll try and not get too involved with Mists of Pandaria, in the aim of getting this finished on time :D

Cape - armour (Posted 28th August 2012)

On the home straight with this now I hope! For the armour on the cape I've layered various thicknesses of foam, with the thinner pieces used for detail. To give the sloping edges, I've used filler around the edge of the top sheet to try and blend it in. Left is the bottom piece in progress, right is the top piece, post-filler and with one coat of gesso. It's fiddly and probably needs another cycle of filler and gesso, but it gives the effect I was after.

I've also cut and painted both of the 'gems' for the back - getting an exact gradient colour would be really hard with resin so I've just gone with a flat version for now, with acetate on top to try and make it look shiny.

Cape - weathering (Posted 27th August 2012)

To recreate the same effect as the in-game texture, I want to add a lot of shading and 'dullness' to the cape, as although there are a lot of bright colours on it a lot of them are in shadow - this should also help make the armour stand out more! So I've got the tedious job of going over all the bits of fabric I've sewn, and adding dark shadows and white highlights, like on the blue pleated part here (the armour covers the rough edges). I've now done most of it but need to wait until the armour is attached properly to finish it off to make sure I've got the shadows in the right place!

Armour - Working with the 6mm EVA foam (Posted 26th August 2012)

I'd cut things out of it, but not actually starting shaping or properly working with the 6mm EVA until now. Must admit, I'm pretty impressed - it's strong, but easy to cut with a stanley knife and shapes well. I can see me using this in the future! It is however really bulky, so I can't use it for all my layers.

I cut out the hip plates and half-corset pieces out (top left) and started to assemble the corset. For this, I used contact adhesive to glue the pieces edge on - works in principle but very fiddly when it gets to the more extreme curves, you need more than 2 hands! Once it was all put together I gave it a few layers of gesso and used filler to go over the seams. Because it's so thick, some of the seams under stress on the outside have a slight gap. I could have avoided this by cutting the edges at a slight angle so they remain flush against each other even with a curve. But hey, hindsight is a GREAT thing right?

I love filler, you can be as messy as you like, then sand it and paint over it again. Once the seam lines are hidden to my satisfaction I'll mark on the details/grooves and cut out the holes for the purple straps.

Armour - scale mail test (Posted 26th August 2012)

So, I had a thought about the scale mail type suit that's underneath. The original plan was to paint it on stretch material and give shading to make it look 3D. But I thought... why not try and make something that looks more 3D up close. Because in the game it's obviously just a texture stretched over a model it doesn't matter where it goes, but I need it stretchy still so I can actually do things like, you know, move my limbs and bend. Minor things ;)

So, I tested an idea of cutting out 'scales' and attaching them to the stretchy material underneath - in this case staples seems to be working. The effect is okay, and when the material stretches they just move slightly further apart which works brilliantly. I would need to cut out several hundred of these though and paint them separately, so I'm leaving this for the time being and seeing how much time I have left closer to Expo! As it's on the under-suit I could technically swap it in at a later date without too much hassle.

I dunno... could be therapeutic?

Cape - Getting there... (Posted 26th August 2012)

Right, finally realised I had enough of the grey left over to do the edging (with some careful patterning) so I've added the edging & bottom, and tailored the top so it sits on the shoulders right. I also found some great fringing that's heavy duty (think it's for rugs!) to put on the bottom, it's just placed there for the time being.

Now this is done, it's all down to finishing the armour details to go on top to fill the weird gaps (trust me, it all fits together somehow!), then adding the lining & fringing. The end is in sight... well, for the cape at least!

(P.S. These are totally not the true colours for the cape, the light in this room does something funny to my camera!)

Not much done, but Ebay presents arrived! (Posted 15th August 2012)

Slow progress today - all I did was cut out foam circles to embed the gems in. Not a great deal else done! However presents from Ebay arrived :D Firstly was a batch of pyramid studs I've bought in various sizes for the armour, I was going to carve them out of foam before I realised I could save a lot of time by buying studs! No more hacking and sanding foam into tiny pieces...
Secondly my wetsuit arrived! I'm planning to use this as the base for the under armour, as it's more solid that a zentai suit so I can attach pieces of armour to it (mainly the shoulders) without it stretching out of place. Where the suit can be seen through the armour, I'll be adding patches of the scales, painted on rather than full scale.

Lastly, I've finally chosen a weapon! I was going to go with the matching PVP season bow, however with the size of the shoulders I'm not going to be able to pull any decent poses with it. Therefore I decided a gun or crossbow would be better. Not exactly sticking to the same armour sets (but hey, with transmog it's all legit now, yah! /wowgeek) I've gone with the Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle from the theatre encounter in Karazhan - chunky, fun and pretty huge. Don't think I'll be doing many one handed poses with this...

Gems - success! (mostly..) (Posted 14th August 2012)

So, got home tonight and finally the resin was properly cured - time for some prodding!

All the dome versions turned out brilliant and a good colour, that was using the silicone mold. For the large discs though, we had a bit of a problem! Unlike the other silicon, the plastic that the domes were made out of (PVC) combined with the resin! I can't get it out without completely destroying the gem's surface and it's got a weird sheen to it, but holding it at arms' length and when photographing it seems to look okay! The colour is lighter than the other shapes due to the thinness of the resin, but it's not too much of a problem I think so I'm happy to go with these. Just need to back them all with foil, then it's back onto the armour :)

Ignore the smaller shapes - not going to use these on the costume, I just had spare resin and Amy had a cool shape set :D

Armour - gesso! (Posted 13th August 2012)

So some of the smaller armour parts (knee plates and hand guards) that don't need anything joined to them are done and the bottom of the boots are armoured up - finally something that I can start gesso-ing! I much prefer gesso to layers of PVA - it's thicker and fills in gaps much more nicely, and I've found that when flexed PVA has a tendency to crack, whereas gesso bends. I'll probably need about 3-4 layers on each piece and a bit of sanding to get it looking nice.

Unfortunately I'm a bit stuck on pieces now until the gems are done!

Gems - First batch attempt! (Posted 13th August 2012)

So, going with the glass paint method, I made up enough resin for all 15 purple gems and mixed in the colour. For the smaller gems I could use Amy-Lou's silicon mold, but for the larger ones that wouldn't do. I couldn't find any large round molds, but found a flexible half dome in the 4D model shop. Amy warned me never to use rigid/solid molds, but this one has a lot of give so should be easy to flex it out at the end. I'll only be filling in a small section of the bottom anyway! (They didn't have the smaller ones in stock ;_; )

I had some spare, so borrowed one of Amy's other molds and used the rest on little shapes that I may be able to use somewhere else on the costume! (Or you know, just fun)

Top tip from Amy! Always cover the molds when they are curing (i.e. with a box lid or paper like in the picture) as otherwise dust can settle, making the gems less reflective.

Resin casting really isn't for me, it takes 24 hours, 24 HOURS, to cure. I want to prod them already, but have to wait until tomorrow to see if they are all good :(

Gems - test results! (Posted 13th August 2012)

Righty, so both colour tests turned out ok! Left is the one using pigment, right is the one using the glass paint. You can see when holding it up to the light the pigment one is really clear, but the glass paint one has weird tendrils. Kinda creepy! (Good for perhaps scary eyes or something?) However when it's got silver backing (top pic) the lines don't really show at all.

I've decided to go with the glass paint, regardless of the lines, for two reasons. Firstly, as I've got to do different sizes of gems, it means that I can do several batches if need be - with the glass paint I just use the purple and it'll always be the same colour, however with the pigment I have to mix blue and red each time. Secondly, to get the right colour for the gem (the test one is a bit too red still) I need to add a lot more pigment, which will probably make it more dull - whereas the purple glass paint is already quite bright.

So, onto batch making!

Armour - shoulder plates 3 (Posted 13th August 2012)

For the rest of the plates, I could get away with just using one sheet curved to fit, with indentations for the 'edges'. I'll make these stand out more with the paint once I get to that stage.

Here's the shoulder piece, plates and bottom arm band temporarily assembled. Got to gesso these up now!

Armour - shoulder plates 2 (Posted 13th August 2012)

In order to join each piece I use contact adhesive along the edges, this is much easier with the thicker foam than thin, but still quite fiddly. I always work on a flat surface when pushing them together as that makes sure they are in line and gives a smooth surface, and on curved pieces it can help to add tape to reinforce the join until it's set fully, as the pressure can pull it apart. I find contact adhesive much better than general adhesive, as it's such an instant stick meaning you can do complex curves without having to apply constant pressure.

Armour - shoulder plates (Posted 13th August 2012)

So finally got hold of some 3mm foam, which I want to use for some of the under layers and smaller pieces of armour. I paper patterned the shoulder and arm plates and bands in paper this afternoon - here's the 4 pieces that made up the shoulder piece cut out of foam. For foam, you can completely heat shape the armour, but I find it much easier to at least get the general shape first, and then heat the final parts.

Gems! (in the making) (Posted 13th August 2012)

So I've got lots of purple gems all over the costume in various sizes, I knew I wouldn't be able to buy the exact size/colour so decided to try resin casting. Amy-Lou has done lots of this in previous costumes so I'm under her guidance at the moment! I wanted to get them all done today and whizz through it, but teacher-Amy pointed out it would be a rather good idea to test a few methods first! Booo, spoiling my fun...

So begrudgingly, but accepting her wisdom, we did tests! We have cast 3 different versions, one using resin pigment (blue and red mixed together), one using purple glass paint, and one clear that I'll try putting nail varnish on. It takes 24 hours to cure completely, so it won't be until tomorrow that I get to see the results.

I'm so impatient I've already prodded them a few times... Here's hoping one of them works well then I can make ALL THE GEMS!

Armour - paper patterns (Posted 10th August 2012)

So after the waist plates went okay, I continued with the rest of the base armour - the belt, front plate, hip plates, bust armour and the top shoulder/collar thing.

It looks a bit odd with only one side done, but I only need half for the patterning really! Next step is to start on the actual foam pieces, starting from the lower levels first, as I know the extra thickness of the foam will mean a few bits need a bit more room (i.e. the belt)

Very pleased I got this far in a day though! Was dreading patterning it all but it's been okay, lots of trial and error but with a ton of card and masking tape I got there.

Need to start sorting those gems before I can finalise all the parts though! Off to the 4D model shop tomorrow to find any decent molds and dyes! Amy-Lou's got an awesome silicone set for the small round gems, but I need something for the huge ones. Fingers crossed!

Armour (Posted 10th August 2012)

Got stuck with cape progress until I can pick up grey leatherette & sort out my gems - so moved onto armour! Various parts of this I can't do yet until I've cast the gems (easier to modify foam than resin!) but the main shapes I can get sorted.

Normally, I'd just wing it with funky foam, but as I'm using slightly more expensive (and unforgiving!) EVA foam and with all the different interlocking layers, I've gone with the pattern-it-all-out-first method. Which is what I should always be doing anyway...

So, I started with the waist plates, which when you remove the decorations and such, is just the shape of an under-bust corset with the front & back panel missing. I tried doing it out of a few panels at first, but even with card the edges were so harsh and it didn't fit correctly - so with the 6mm foam I knew it'd be worse. I kept dividing the panels up until I got a better fit - way more than I wanted, but the shape will be much smoother and I should be able to hide the seam lines in the foam with filler & gesso. (Here's hoping!)

Cape - armour (Posted 1st August 2012)

So, after checking that all my paper templates fit properly and cover all the gaps in the fabric, I've started making the actual armour. I'm using a combination of thin foam and high density EVA foam to build up the layers and then add the more chunky detailing. Although building it all out of the 6mm EVA stuff I have would be awesome, it's not very flexible and does get quite weighty, so I'm using the 2mm thin 'fun' foam for most of the base. I hope to make the shapes look deeper with shading when I get onto the painting :) I'll be using the 6mm stuff for the rest of the armour to be worn on the body though.

Lots more sanding, shaping and cutting to be done, although I can't finish off the very top bit until I've sewn the cape edging - which requires a fabric shopping trip first!

Cape - fabric parts: nearly done (Posted 30th July 2012)

Today I added the grey sections (bottom part and side strips) and finalised the layout for the rest of the shapes so it's starting to look more like the design, although lacking in colour due to the mock-ups! Using the sugar paper to check I've got everything right and that all gaps are covered, I think I've got everything in place now (I haven't cut out the extra bit at the top left, so that's why it looks odd!)

Before I can go much further on the cape I need to get some grey leatherette to finish off the side border. And you know, to actually make the armour parts...

Cape - layout (Posted 29th July 2012)

So, now I'd had fun with the pretty bits, time to get down to the base colours. I cut out the vague shape of the green and blue sections that make up the base of the cloak, and then sewed them on the reverse of the cape to the side I'd drawn the design on. This meant I could sew along the lines of the design easily using the black side as a guide, and then trim the excess blue and green material afterwards. As I add more and more layers to the cape, having the line art on the other side will help with placement a lot.

This currently looks a complete and utter mess, but will make sense once I have the grey/silver layers and the armour plates on!

Cape - decorative bits (Posted 29th July 2012)

So now with the sugar paper template, I started working on the small fabric pieces that are decorated. Using a mixture of applique, acrylic paints, and metal embellishments these parts are now ready to go onto the base cape. Since this photo I've also gone around the blue/green painting with a black outline to make it stand out more. I started playing with weathering on scrap fabric, but too scared to do it at the moment!

Picking the easy bit! (Posted 29th July 2012)

So I need to go shopping for fabric and paints for the armour, so I started with the easier part - the cape. I measured out a piece of spare black fabric, folded it in half and started transferring the design from the various screenshots. I used chalk, so that I could fold it over the other way and copy the entire design, keeping it completely symmetrical.

Well chuffed that worked, I then realised I'd been a muppet, as now I had the full design on the piece of fabric I wanted to sew onto...making it hard to get all the shapes. So I went over all the lines in chalk again and transferred the whole thing onto sugar paper too - so I can then cut that out and use as templates :)

It starts... (Posted 29th July 2012)

So with all costumes, I started with a lot of sketching which I find helps to break down the costume and also get it ingrained into your head before you start sewing!

Because of the amount of layers of this costume, I took a lot of time working out which pieces I could join to each other and what order they would be attached. This scribble is my final 'plan' for the costume order, which breaks the torso part into 5 layers: undersuit, base chest armour, neck/back brace, waist armour (joined to hip plates) and then finally the belt.