Saturday, January 24, 2015

Maleficent, Part 1

After having this costume in my "Blue Sky" file for several years now, I've decided to tackle a Maleficent costume. To be specific, I'm talking about the original Mistress of All Evil, taunts the prince with old age, turns into a giant fire-breathing dragon Maleficent. The animated Maleficent, not the Angelina Jolie one.

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Compared to some of the projects I've taken on lately, she should be a relatively easy build, but she does present some interesting challenges. My first challenge is her horns.

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Look at that magnificence. But I want them to be symmetrical and hollow. I'm going to have to wear this headpiece all day, so I want it to be relatively light weight, which is something my Loki helmet was not. I know I'm not going to be able to sculpt two horns that are the same, and I don't have the resources to cast the horns and helmet. In light of all that, I've decided to use what I know and add in a little experimentation. I'm going to start with a pepakura of Maleficent's head, build it out with clay, then mold thermoplastic over it. The only problem is there are no pepakura files for Maleficent's head.

I had to start one step farther back, and look for a 3D model of her that I could then unfold and build. I found one that I liked!/search?q=3...j%20maleficent, and began the editing process in Blender. I did away with the staff and Diablo, and set about deleting everything below the base of her neck, effectively turning the full body model in to wig head with horns. I did a little bit of shaping to make the head a little wider since my face is not nearly as thin as the model's. In the end, it looked like this

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I went over to Pepakura Designer, and started the unfolding process. It took forever to get the pieces in to a manageable arrangement. I haven't unfolded an object in a long time, and I've never unfolded something as wibbly-wobbly as this, but after lots of connecting and dividing faces to make it printable and at least somewhat manageable to build, it looked something like this

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I ended up leaving the little fiddly bits of the eyes, noes and lips off the piece layout, since I don't really need those for the helmet, and they would just take more time to assemble. After I was somewhat happy (or at least I didn't hate the pieces) I took it over to Pepakura reader for Silhouette to print it out. Next session, I'll be cutting and assembling the head.

On the fabric front, I've acquired 10 yards of magenta taffeta for the under dress, so I'm going to start with that while I look for the robe fabric. The under dress is fairly straightforward, since I won't be lining it. I used Butterick's B4377 pattern as my base, and after a couple quick modifications, the pattern was ready.

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Depending on how it sews up and how much fabric I have left after cutting, I might add in another set of godets for extra fullness. Or I might go crazy and put some horse hair in the hem. I won't make that decision until I've got it sewn though.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Loki Build, Part 2

Continued from my last post.

So after I applied the rondo to the horns and some bondo to the helm, I got down to sanding. I hated sanding. The shape of the horns and the size of the helmet made it very difficult for me to get in to some areas with my palm sander, and there was way too much sanding for me to do it all by hand. This led me to the acquisition of....

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... this beauty. He made my life so much easier through the build process. I'm actually not sure how I was intending to complete the helmet on time without the belt sander. So with the additional power, and a few more rounds of bondo and sanding, the helmet looked like this:

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My face was also covered in dust in the places my mask and goggles didn't cover, but that's the price I had to pay for the awesomeness. I did a lot of detailing and beveling with my dremel after the bulk of the sanding was done on the belt sander before I moved on to painting.

I didn't take pictures of the painting process, but it was fairly simple. I used black automotive primer on the inside and outside of the helmet. I did a few rounds of priming and sanding to perfect the exterior before the metallic paint went on.

I got an airbrush to help with the painting process, but that ended up causing a whole other set of problems, mainly that I couldn't find the right color of gold. I ended up having to blend three different colors of gold and bronze airbrush and acrylic paints with an airbrush medium to get the color I was after. Once I got the color right, I ended up laying down 7 to 10 thin coats of paint and clear coat. The final product looked something like this

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Once I finished with the helmet (and went on a trip to Emerald City Comic-Con) I tackled Loki's scepter. I went back and forth on which model I was going to use, since there were only 2 pepakura files for the staff available when I started my build. I built one out of paper before I decided that I hated the way it was constructed and I switched to the other. The second build was much better for me, and ended up being more to scale. I decided to keep the head and shaft separate until the end of the process, so I sat about the stiffening process.

Because of the shape of the staff, I knew I wasn't going to be able to use fiberglass effectively, so after the resin coat on the exterior, I pour rondo inside the model. The head of the staff took me 4 pours, and the staff took 5. I had to pour extra rondo in to the base of the shaft to counter balance the weight of the head. I also poured rondo in to the blade models, but after they cured, they were far too warped and sharp for me to use. I decided to make templates for the blades and cut them from wood instead. I did the bulk of the shaping on my belt sander, with the detailing done with the dremel. Once I had the new blades finished and set in to the head, it looked something like this

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I was actually very happy with the way the wood and rondo bits looked together. I was worried that the blades would be too bulky, but they came out nicely. For the little details, I actually used the pepakura struts and supports (which were hell to assemble, but ended up working nicely). The glowing orb at the center of the staff was a bit of a puzzle for me, but I had a moment of brilliance when I found a light up key chain and some plastic Easter eggs. I cast the orb in blue resin inside one of the eggs and embedded the key chain in it. The overall effect was just what I had wanted. In the end, with all of the detailing and weathering, my staff looked great.

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And I think we did too

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Loki Build, Part 1

Hi guys! I'm new around these parts, so allow me to introduce myself. I go by Jo, I'm a nerd by birth, and an accomplished seamstress, so I cosplay quite a bit. It was with my recent costumes of Thor and Loki that I realized that the sewing just wasn't enough for me any more. So I started my first experiments with Pepakura and fiberglass with a simple Mask of Truth build. Once I learned the basic techniques, I started in on my first major project: Loki's helm.

I started with KaiserLee's model (Loki Helmet Finished by KaiserLee on deviantART), but after the first round of building, I realized how ridiculously big my head is. I ended up having to scale it up over 20% to get it to fit on my big noggin.

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This is the bare paper after I got the sizing to my liking. I still felt like it wasn't quite right, but I decided to move forward with it anyways.

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This is after the external resining of the helmet. I ended up going over the horns twice for extra reinforcement since I knew I wasn't going to get in to fiberglass them. I ended up filling them with expanding foam (oops, didn't take any pictures of that phase) to stabilize them. I considered an aggressive rondoing, but I thought it might get too heavy in the horns.

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This was the fiberglassing from the inside. It's going to take a fair amount of cleaning up around the edges, but that's nothing a little time with the dremel can't fix. I showed it to my Thor at this point, and she was thoroughly impressed with the sturdiness of the fiberglass, so I decided I'm going to make her a helmet too. But back to Loki. I filled the horns, but I accidentally put a little too much foam in, and they over expanded. I took off the inside of the horns and carved them down to size earlier today, and added a layer of rondo over the top earlier in the night. I'll be sanding them down tomorrow, and starting work on sanding down the body of the helmet as well.