Aerrow - Storm Hawks

StatusIn Progress
Worn AtMCM London Comic Con May 2015




I have been a Storm Hawks fan for a number of years, and I feel that I now have the skills to pull off one of my favourite characters from the show - Aerrow. He's the Sky Knight of the newly reformed Storm Hawks squadron, and the last descendant of the original team's leader. Despite being too young for a pilot's license, he's one of the best flyers around and a skilled fighter.

His costume is made up of many different elements, including sewing, armour, wig and electronic prop work. I aim to create a realistic look to this costume, while still staying true to the more stylised areas too. It's likely to prove a challenge to make some of these things believable. Apart from that, this is a relatively simple design, and should work in my favour since I will be able to concentrate my efforts in smaller areas, and (hopefully) create a more polished outcome.

This one I can't wait to work on, and I may just have to rewatch the entire series as I do. The sky's never the limit!


Koiice posted on 11 January, 2014 - 01:55
Omg!!!! I had completely forgotten about this show!!! What a blast from the past! ;___; I used to watch it religiously as well D8 Can't wait to see the progress of this!!!

gxgirl-93 posted on 11 January, 2014 - 15:53
love the show. looking forward to see the progress

Amy-Lou posted on 29 April, 2015 - 19:29
That wig is amazing! It's really interesting to see all the effort you've put in through the journal too :D

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Progress Journal

Make up test: attempt 2 (Posted 28th April 2015)

I've never spent so long on a pair of eyebrows in my life.

Wig done! (Posted 25th April 2015)

Here's the wig complete!

Frankenwig Progress 20 (Posted 24th April 2015)

*sobs* the hardest part so far, also the last. Why won't you be neat?!

Frankenwig Progress 19 (Posted 20th April 2015)

I think I'm getting the hang of this spiking malarkey now...

Frankenwig Progress 18 (Posted 20th April 2015)

It's starting to take shape, you can see the gunky spikes here too.

Frankenwig Progress 17 (Posted 20th April 2015)

Then with lots of hair spray, I brought the hair into a rough point, then coated the underside with glue. Sometimes it took a few tries for more stubborn spikes.

Frankenwig Progress 16 (Posted 20th April 2015)

Each of the spikes was cut to length, then the tips were thinned out to create a sharper point.

Frankenwig Progress 15 (Posted 19th April 2015)

Running low on styling supplies, but I'm going to see how many spikes I can get done with what I have...

Here you can see me learning the best technique. Instead of coating the entire spike tip with fabric glue, I'm only coating the underside, and then blasting smooth the top with hair spray. At least then it means less of the gunky look that sadly two of my spikes now have. But I managed to save another two that I experimented on before hand.

Shoulder pads - Segment redo (Posted 15th April 2015)

I made a mess of the other shoulder piece so I'm going to remake some segments. You can see the pattern I made too.

Shoulder padding formed (Posted 15th April 2015)

One pair of shoulder croissants!

They're only taped and strapped together with rubber bands but it should be a little clearer to see how they will be going together in the end. I want to be sure about the rivets before I wrap them, but that's pretty much all I will have left to do apart from attaching them.

I'm pretty happy with how all the padding's come together so far, but I'm going to put it aside while I have a think about how to do these rivets as I get on with something else.

Worbla is pain, pain is worbla. And carpet burns. (Posted 14th April 2015)

Back to worbla work. The shoulder croissants are taking shape but are causing problems, and I've only got one made up so far so it might be a few days until I can test fit them properly ughhhh

Frankenwig Progress 14 (Posted 13th April 2015)

Matted bald patches appearing e'rrywhere! GRRRR

*furiously patches with more wefts*

Frankenwig Progress 13 (Posted 11th April 2015)

That came out well.

Frankenwig Progress 12 (Posted 11th April 2015)

Folding over a weft onto the patch pieces. These tuck in nicely into the base of the 'fly away' spike on the side, so it should look pretty seamless. Just need to finish heat taming them flat!

Frankenwig Progress 11 (Posted 11th April 2015)

Pretty sure that fixed it. There's still an exposed weft but I can still fold another one over that before I sew it down. Ughhhh I'm glad I started this when I did.

Frankenwig Progress 10 (Posted 11th April 2015)

I'm using the bottom tab of the leftover Jaguar to patch in the bald spot. I probably won't need both, but I'm sure I'll need the spare one somewhere else.

Frankenwig Progress 9 (Posted 10th April 2015)

Don't do wigs kids. I've been staring at this thing for a week not knowing how to fix it until tonight.

I wasn't happy with the left side at all, so I've moved things around to fit the reference better. Sadly this means I get a huge bald spot in the parting. Thankfully I have a ton of spare fibre to create a faux part to sew/glue on. It's going to be tricky to decide which way the hair will sit, but I'll figure it out.

My sanity is going to go down the toilet soon!

Frankenwig Progress 8 (Posted 6th April 2015)

It took some time but I slowly managed to get all the hair into hair bands as I got more and more confident with the placing.

Frankenwig Progress 7 (Posted 4th April 2015)

Distributing the hair with bobby pins to start with.

Frankenwig Progress 6 (Posted 3rd April 2015)

Wig beast is sewn. Time for blocking out the spikes!

Frankenwig Progress 5 (Posted 1st April 2015)

This thing is fluffy

Frankenwig Progress 4 (Posted 1st April 2015)

I cut the crown piece from the Jaguar, and I'm sewing it down to the back of the wig. Because of the placement and need for volume, I won't be cutting back the hair underneath it (I'll be able to use this later for added volume).

That stitch marks the new parting (three rows from the nape), and I'm slowly tacking down the rest. It's a slow process because I'm sewing a stiff piece to the stretchiest area of the wig, I have to make sure there's going to be enough give for me to put the bloomin' thing on when I'm done.

This is a really good shot for the colour too!

Frankenwig Progress 3 (Posted 27th March 2015)

This weft is what was shown after bringing the hair forward. It's too high up to match the parting in the reference art, but it will later become one of the anchor points for the next piece.

Frankenwig Progress 2 (Posted 27th March 2015)

The Jareth is the main base of this wig, I brushed forward the hair on the entire crown piece, to expose the weft at the back.

Frankenwig Progress 1 (Posted 27th March 2015)

For Aerrow's wig I'm using a pair from Arda, a Jareth and a Jaguar in Maroon. I chose Arda because not only is the colour a perfect match, but the fibre quality and volume is exactly what I'm after to make this job go smoothly. I also bought a pack of spare wefts just in case I need them (I'd rather have too much than too little, it'd be more expensive to get it shipped over later if I needed it)

Shirt progress - main form (Posted 26th March 2015)

Whew! Got a lot sewn tonight, the creases are just from where the seam allowances aren't clipped, that will smooth out once that's been dealt with. Collar is next to go on, after that I just need to sort a few of the shirt patches, then I can sew the side seams, sleeves and the big red side patch last. These fabrics are wonderful to sew.

LED adventures! (Posted 26th March 2015)

This project is going to be my first real crack at circuitry for costuming, and I'm playing about with different LEDs. These ones are 10mm, and are fairly bright. I might try getting my hands on some 5mm ones since they emit the same amount of light, but from what I remember they distribute the light better.

Each sword will have a total of 3 LEDs in them (I can't be bothered to faff around with resistors at the moment, and plus it means more light!). I have all of the materials I need now to start experimenting when I have the chance.

The sewing begins... (Posted 25th March 2015)

I haven't been able to make much progress this week because I didn't buy enough fabric for one of the shirt patches and had to wait for a replacement to arrive. Now that everything's here I've been getting the cutting done. Sloooowly...

Shirt patchwork patterns (Posted 21st March 2015)

The shirt patchwork is patterned now, the rest are duct taped and ready to cut on fabric. I don't want these to look too planned, they need to look like repair jobs, so I'm sewing as many as I can on in that way. The exception though is the largest one that takes up the armhole. That will be the first to be sewn in, and that has to be done before the red chest pieces. This has been directly applied to my shirt's pattern.

I've got to separate the red piece patterns now, I was meant to do that a while ago (oops). The trousers won't take long to do, they've already been marked out and just need duct taping. I have the sleeve patches to worry about after this is done, and they can be done as real repairs because they're just rectangles (and are mostly covered by the gloves).

Patterning the patchwork (Posted 19th March 2015)

My fool proof, ultra advanced technique to get patterns for Aerrow's patchwork... I've used so much duct tape for this costume it's kinda scary.

Fabrics are here (Posted 19th March 2015)

I nearly have all the fabrics for Aerrow now, I'm only waiting for my stretch vinyls from Korea now for the gloves and joint pads (the brown pleather here is for the cuffs of the gloves, it'll give them more support). Everything that needs prewashing has been done, so once I've finished the patchwork patterns I can finally crack on with sewing at last!

Shoulder pads - Vinyl test (Posted 13th March 2015)

Here's roughly what I have planned for covering the padding. I love this stretch leather vinyl, and it shapes over armour really really well. Of course there won't be any creases or bubbled edges when it's glued, it's still making me pretty happy with my choice of avoiding real leather.

Shoulder pads 2/3 segments shaped (Posted 11th March 2015)

Yay 2/3 of the shoulder pad segments are shaped! The middle ones are left, and will be the trickiest to put together. Once they're done I can assemble them and test their movement, then start taking steps to attach them to the shirt. I think it's a good time to pattern the knees and elbows with the trusty old duct tape.

Also I'll sort that finger print on the top left piece when it's cooler, that's a pet hate for me ;_;

Shoulder pads - Worbla smoothing (Posted 11th March 2015)

Taking the time to really neaten the edges is really paying off, it’s something I normally skip over for most of the times I’ve used it, but it looks so much better with the extra effort.

Shoulder pads - Switch to worbla (Posted 11th March 2015)

I decided leather would be too expensive and too difficult to pull off for this project, so I've switched to covering worbla with vinyl. I've got far more experience with worbla and I feel I can create a better effect this way.

I ran out of material for one of the undersides so I had to piece together scraps. Thankfully it's not going to be seen so I'm not too concerned with it being uneven. I made a little booboo by not adding darts in the top segment pattern, but I was able to add it after I shaped the formed pieces. Dilemma fixed!

Blind hemming test (Posted 3rd March 2015)

Aerrow's clothes are going to be blind hemmed, something I've never done before. It's taken a few attempts to figure it out, but I think I'm getting the hang of it now...

Radarr: Head - Scale! (Posted 26th February 2015)

Selfie to show the scale of Radarr's face! ;D

Radarr: Head - Ears pinned (Posted 26th February 2015)

He has ears! Well, pinned and taped... I can't fix them until I fur him, I need to open them up to add wire supports and such... They may look a little big at the moment, but his neck will soon fix that...

Radarr: Head - Poseable eyebrows (posed) (Posted 26th February 2015)

Here are the eyebrows posed, they are quite flexible, it'll take some practice to achieve the expressions I want him to wear quickly.

Radarr: Head - Poseable eyebrows (Posted 26th February 2015)

Some little sky monkey has a pair of poseable eyebrows! :DDD This was quite an experiment, and it took me two attempts to get this. All it is is craft foam and wire, and I'll be using the same technique with his mouth after furring (his lip needs to be exposed, whereas his eyebrows aren't defined in the same way)

(here they are in a neutral state, this is how I will be working with them until I finish the project)

Radarr: Head - Sculpt complete (Posted 26th February 2015)

Radarr's head is pretty much fully sculpted! He needs a fuller brow yet, a little patching in areas, and I'm going to be changing his eyes soon, but he's coming together pretty well! I'm not too worried about getting him completely smooth, he's going to be covered in fabric anyway so it's be a waste of time going too far.

I have to admit seeing him slowly come to life is really exciting <3

Radarr: Head - Slooowwwlyy (Posted 26th February 2015)

I'm sloooowllyyy chipping away at it

Radarr: Head - The derp stage (Posted 26th February 2015)


Radarr: Head - The start of the sculpt (Posted 26th February 2015)

I've trimmed away all the differences in the templates and started having a go at rounding areas off. It's very much a brick still, but as I chip off more and build up confidence to move away from the templates, it'll start to look more like the sky monkey I'm aiming for <3

Radarr: Head - Templates Marked (Posted 26th February 2015)

Got the templates done, now to start hacking off foam (aka the hella messy bit)

Radarr: Head - Templates Down (Posted 26th February 2015)

I scanned, printed and cut my drawn reference to create a set of templates to mark up my foam.

Wooooo it's been a long time since I've done a head sculpt... Let's see how rusty I am haha

Radarr: Head - Dummy run eyes (Posted 21st February 2015)

My trial eyes for Radarr, cast out of hot glue. I've never cast with hot glue before, but it's the /perfect/ shade of off-white for the job. This set is covered in ridges, so I'm using them just to help me with my foam build until I get the real ones done (also why this is such a crappy paint job haha).

I'm not sure when I'll start on the foam build yet, but I want to see if I can get more of Aerrow done first (I need to heat form some craft foam to cut the shoulder pad patterns).

Radarr: Head - Drawing (Posted 21st February 2015)

Using this as reference for my sculpt, it's actually a little over a year old now, I originally drew it back when I first started planning on making Aerrow, until Smaug took priority.

You'll probably notice that I've made his eyes a little smaller than in the show. I think in real life it'd look a little too bug eyed, but they are still pretty big on the head. I've rounded a lot of things off style wise to make them translate to real life a little better.

Incoming Radarr! (Posted 21st February 2015)

It turns out I need a bag for when I have my Aerrow costume at cons (pockets can only do so much), and since I've found a way to incorporate him into my May MCM performance plans, I've decided I'm going to make Radarr. Besides, what kind of Aerrow would I be without a Radarr hanging off my back!? He's going to be quite an experiment that's for sure, but there's a lot of techniques involved that I have got experience with (by the looks of it, his clothes and bag are going to be the hardest). Fortunately I can make him mostly out of things I already own, or will do as I progress with the costume (which takes priority after all).

There are tests to be done!

Shoulder pad patterns (Posted 19th February 2015)

Shoulder croissant-- I mean, shoulder pad patterns are done! I duct taped each segment individually so I can get the hidden areas in too. Foam tests next.

Shoulder pad shapes (Posted 18th February 2015)

This delectable loaf of duct tape is my shoulder cast, now sporting the shapes I need to make the pattern for my leather pads.

Dark blue is the outline, red is the middle segment, the yellow marks the overlapped areas of the top and bottom segments. The mark in the corner of the middle segment marks the pivot point, there's one on the other side of the arm too. The bottom segment is fused to the middle piece, connecting it to the sleeve. Originally I was going to have the top be fused to the shoulder, but depending on how restricting this is for my movement, I might only fuse it to the sleeve seam.

I need to duct tape out each piece individually next, then I can trial it in craft foam. I'm surprised I've made it this far haha!

Damn shape! (Posted 18th February 2015)

My dilemma at the moment with my shoulder padding pattern. I have to be careful how I alter it or it'll just fall flat against my shoulder and lose the shape I had padded out.

Messing with reference art (Posted 17th February 2015)

What started out as a joke to see how much I need to change Aerrow to make his outfit fit me went a little further than I thought, and became a potential reference. In some way this is a lot more tangible to make now, but it's really weird for me to see these two next to each other haha. (yay for about 45 minutes in photoshop with nothing but a mouse :P)

Shoulder pad template (Posted 15th February 2015)

Huzzah, a pattern! (Modelled by my mock up of Haruhi's dress haha)

I've still got some altering to do to get it to match the shape of the reference, but it's coming close. This stage is to get the perfect resting shape, then I can use the pattern to draft the individual segments to increase my range of movement. Hopefully I won't have to go into such heavy drafting for the elbows and knees, they cover smaller areas...

Cheap duct tape is a fantastic thing.

Shoulder pad mock up progress (Posted 14th February 2015)

This was so hard to do without help, but with patience, a lot of cling film and three small reels of duct tape, I finally have a base for my shoulder pads done. I do admit, I've been worried about the width of my shoulders for this costume, but if the pads look anything like this I should be perfectly fine. It even came out to a point like in the design! Haha

I'm going to make a pattern and trail it with foam on the mock up. I might need to do some tweaks to my plans for the movement, since I'm a little anxious about how it'll distort the jumper... I'll have to work on that.

Needless to say I'm pretty happy with this!

Boots! #3 (Posted 12th February 2015)

(a better view of the nail polish remover stains)

Boots! #2 (Posted 12th February 2015)

(a better view of the nail polish remover stains)

Boots! #1 (Posted 12th February 2015)

My boots arrived! The colours are spot on, and they fit amazingly (minimal breaking in, yay!). The seller put them up for auction because she'd spilt nail polish remover on them, but the don't look half as bad as I thought they'd be, I can play around with different weathering too if I want them to blend it in a little better. I also might make them shorter to match the proportions in the reference art, depending how hard it'll be to sew haha.

Shirt mock up progress (Posted 8th February 2015)

Whew! I got the red sections sewn in last night, I just need to tidy up the seam allowances so they lay flat. Like I said before, the method I used for the mock up meant I wouldn't get a perfectly symmetrical piece, however I do have a pattern now and will be able to make it even for the final attempt. Everything still needs hemming and the waistband of the trousers still needs to be sewn on. After that's sorted I can worry about the leather shoulder/elbow/knee pads.

Death by bright colours (Posted 8th February 2015)

Hissss this is trickyyy...and these bright contrasting fleeces are killing my eyes! ;-;

Smaller Collar (Posted 8th February 2015)

New collar trial! I'm much happier with the fit now, it's much snugger and much harder to pull over my head, but it leaves far more room for the shoulder pads and the holsters :DDD yay for stupid o clock progress!

The Red Patch (Posted 8th February 2015)

Robin redbreast jokes incoming...

The red jumper patches are ready to have the collar sewn in. The neckline's about a centimetre snugger, but I can still get my head through (albeit with some force while the seam allowance is unclipped). I'm a little annoyed I could get the mock up completely symmetrical, but it means I can get the final thing to sit perfectly.

Testing the sleeves (Posted 7th February 2015)

I'm fitting the sleeves tonight~ Pretty happy so far, I just need to sew in the left one now. I'm a little sceptical about the collar fitting, I've planned to take it in a little to fit a little more snug. Only a tad though. I still need to decide on how I'm going to hem it...

Sorry about the crappy binding effort here haha, it'll be a lot smoother for the real trial runs. I can work in my binder but not the vests as well (I like breathing).

Pattern Alterations (Posted 29th January 2015)

Getting these bloody alterations done at last. It's probably going to need more than this, but we'll see how it looks.

Mock up leggings (Posted 24th January 2015)

I managed to transfer the alterations but I don't trust the pattern at the moment, so I'm going to do another attempt on cheap fabric to make sure it's going to work. It should do, but I'd really rather not risk it. I also need to put on the waistband, but I might not bother until the redraft to save my elastic.

Also, the second two pictures are why we have with-nap layouts ;) I only did it cut yardage costs for the mock ups, the final thing will be done correctly.

Leggings Alterations (Posted 23rd January 2015)

I'm currently working on his trousers, though with how tight they have to be, they're closer to being leggings haha. I still have a long way to go to get these to fit perfectly, I won't know 100% until I put in the waistband, and that can't happen until I finish the legs :')

Patterns Patterns Patterns~ (Posted 22nd January 2015)

I'm drafting my own patterns for Aerrow.

Shoulder pad planning (Posted 21st January 2015)

I've spend my day doing armour research, trying to find a way to get as much movement as I can Aerrow's the shoulder padding. I think I've finally found something that's going to work.

Looking at the way spaulders work - several overlapped bands (called lames) joined by straps of leather or rivets - it gave me an idea of how to engineer this. I was able to find a purpose for the little rivets in either side of his shoulders too. The way I have drafted it out so far is that there are three lames, the two lower ones overlapped normally and fused together (this doesn't need the movement, and will make attaching the piece to the jumper easier). The top piece covers the shoulder underneath the larger middle lame. There's a curve in the middle lame that will pass over the shape of the piece it covers, which will open up a huge amount of movement if it works.

This part has been incredibly hard to sort out, I don't want to sacrifice too much accuracy, but the design as it is wouldn't be able to work in real life without distorting. The plan I've drawn out could work, or not at all. I'm going to have to do a mock up out of foam first before going onto leather. All I really need to worry about now is how much movement the knees and elbows will have, and if there's anything I can do to make them have a little more range without any visible attachments.

Whew this is a tricky part ;____;

Wig Research (Posted 20th January 2015)

Oh boy has today been busy. With Coscraft opening up again, I've been making more definite plans for Aerrow's hair by comparing potential styles and colours I want to use.

Aerrow has a lot of spiking work to be done, a huge amount of ventilating/franken-wigging, and no visible parting in the back (how I'm going to get around that is going to be the most fun...). The wig is possibly the biggest thing that I want to get as accurate as possible, since it's one of the most defining part of his silhouette. I have a fair bit of experience with styling wigs, and a lot of the techniques I want to use, but I've never used them at this scale in the same project. It's going to be a lot of work, but I want to be certain that the materials I want to use will be right first, so it's going to take some time.

I'm almost tempted to call this build Project Hedgehog at this rate hehe

MyFabrics Samples (Posted 17th January 2015)

Ahaha my new samples arrived! I think I have most of the fabrics I need now (a mixture of cuff knits, fleeces and sweatshirt fabrics). It's very hard to photograph without proper daylight, but the colours match as much as I hoped (<3!!), and I should be able to order what I need once I have the mock up done (I need to get the correct amounts).

Aerrow Colour Palette (Posted 17th January 2015)

I've made up a colour palette for Aerrow to make my fabric matching a lot easier.

Sword Template #2 (Posted 14th January 2015)

Second attempt at the sword template. This time I stayed true to the reference art, and only shortened the length of the hilt. Hopefully between the two drawings, you should be able to see just how different they are in shape, and I certainly prefer the new one. The blade looks a lot bigger with the guard being smaller, and I prefer the deeper 'cut out' sections. The overall size I'm going for with this is just under a full arm's length from tip to pommel, so these are going to be pretty big daggers.

Next I'm going to draw up the rough interior arrangement, though I won't be able to make anything final until I know the dimensions of the EL wire drivers. It's still going to make things a little easier to understand if it's drawn up, and I'm probably just going to have to change a little bit of the scaling that's all.

Make up test: attempt 1 (Posted 14th January 2015)

I hate doing make up tests without the wig to match, but I've made so little progress today I couldn't resist seeing what I could do. I'm definitely going to have another attempt another day, but it more than likely won't be until the wig is done. I generally know what I want now so it should quicker next time (ie the eyebrows, eyes, contouring).

Ugh make up I hate you so much ;-;

Sword Template (Posted 12th January 2015)

Here's my first attempt at my Aerrow sword template! Woah SAI is so much easier to outline with than illustrator. I might have to go over my Buccaneer arm again in there.

Quick history lesson: Storm Hawks was going to have an MMO called Storm Hawks Skyrace, and they hyped it up quite a bit. After the show was cancelled, the game quickly followed suit. However, a lot of the models and artwork were released by the artists for their portfolios. One of the things released was a full view turn around video clip of one of Aerrow's swords, and his is going to be incredibly useful for my own build.

I've had to alter the proportions for my version. In the show and artwork, the swords lights up and make a more impressive look. But because I'm having to use EL wire to create a live edge, I'm going to have to make the blade a little larger, and the handle smaller. The official merch does this as well, but I've not altered it that much, this is more of a balance between the two. This is still only the first attempt, I might still have to alter them a little more, but I'm pretty happy with the way it looks for now.

Calico Fabric Samples (Posted 3rd January 2015)

My fabric samples from Calico Laine arrived today! The top two are samples for Haruhi (the best colour matches I could find in 100% cotton), and the other eight are for Aerrow.

The fleeces have incredible amount of stretch (far more than the fabric I used on Smaug), which is going to be perfect for Aerrow's range of movement. So far I think the dark petrol fleece is the closest colour match with the jumper (second to the left bottom left) the rest are a little too purple.

I'm definitely going to be hunting for sweatshirt fabrics too, especially for the red portion on his front. The padded look will be really effective against the fleece, and maybe make it look a little less like a set of pyjamas haha. If I can't find the pale red I want, I'll have to experiment with acid dying. If that doesn't work, I'll have to find another way around it.

Project Aerrow! (Posted 30th December 2014)

After years of putting off, I've finally gotten the guts to start this thing.

I still have a lot to sit down and plan out thoroughly, but things are slowly becoming more and more tangible. I'm very glad I've waited to start this project, I've picked up skills and experience that I will definitely need for it to run smoothly. Each part of the costume is going to need a substantial amount of attention to bring it up to a standard I want to compete in, some more than others. And by others I of course mean those swords. I've devoted the entire day planning how those things are going to be dealt with, and they are going to need plenty more in the weeks to come.

The goal is to get him finished in time for May MCM. Whether or not I can pull it off is another thing entirely.