11 Oct 2014

Korra Cosplay - complete!

The last piece of Korra's outfit was completed today - the armband.

Originally I was going to represent it as a tattoo, but the latest season of Korra shows her bare arm - so it is definitely not a tattoo!

I decided to make it out of craft foam I had lying around. The colours were close enough.

Triangles cut out of the foam

All superglued together

Painted spots on

Heat formed

Crappy closure thing. :\

Close scrutiny will betray the shoddy workmanship, but from a distance it looks kinda badass.

I am so excited to run around Armageddon Expo in this thing. I might even enter the competition, because why not?

5 Oct 2014

Academy F4U-1 Corsair 1/72

It was a windy day today, but that didn't stop me from attempting to add the final clear coat to the Academy F4U-1 Corsair I bought a while back.

Since it is finally done, I thought I might compile my progress into one post.

I started with the cockpit and the engine (I don't think I got any photos of the instrument panel, ugh), then glued it all up.

Adding putty to the join between the wings and the fuselage
The fit was pretty good - it turned out to be a really nice beginner's kit. Cheap, too!

I borrowed my flatmate's airgun and had a go at spraying the paint on. Turns out a tri-colour plane might not be the easiest one to learn by, but it still came out fairly well.

The guy at the model store picked the colours out for me, but the dark blue was completely wrong - for one, it was gloss, and it was also the wrong blue. Argh!

I also did some weird masking, so there is a bit of a stripe around the cockpit where the medium blue (flat) showed through the dark blue (gloss).

The decals were fun to apply, but I think I needed to get them to settle a little better, as there were a few too many bubbles in them.

I did have a lot of fun with weathering, though. I used some panel-line ink stuff to bring out the detail everywhere. I shaved some artist's pastel onto a palette and used a big soft brush to apply it and draw it back from the exhausts. I rubbed some brown and black into the landing gear bays as well.

While I'm not one hundred percent happy with the final result, I'm certainly pleased with the experience I gained while making it.

You can see the difference in blues from the canopy to the main body of the craft, which had a flat clear applied.

I used some black-ish nylon thread as the aerial wire, which worked really well.

Somehow, during the build of this plane, I've picked up and started three other kits:

  • Academy B-17F 1/72 "Memphis Belle"
  • Academy Sopwith Camel 1/32
  • Eduard Spitfire Mk IX C (Early) 1/72

22 Sep 2014

Korra Cosplay - New wristbands and hair thingies

One of the most distinctive features of Korra's look are her hair ornament thingies. That's the technical term, by the way.

I found this tutorial on YouTube on a way to make Korra's hair pieces, and made mine based on that.

I managed to find the big straws for the front pieces, but couldn't find the cup for the main piece so I cut the bottom out of a plastic shot cup instead.

I didn't have any fabric glue, but PVA and superglue seemed to do the trick. I used white cord around the top and base to finish them off.

From the same video mentioned above, the technique for putting the things in is invaluable. You twist your hair and stuff as much as you can get away with into the tubes, then untwist your hair. Magically, the pieces stay in!

I found that the top one was a bit floppy, so I'll find a way to attach it using bobby pins so it doesn't fall out.

*serious face*
My hair is probably a bit too long and not layered enough to be exactly like Korra's but it gets the point across.

Initially I had made Korra's wristbands as bracers which looked pretty cool, but I couldn't lace them up by myself. I decided to remake them just out of fabric to save me time. They would be a little more accurate to the design that way.

I used some leftover white cotton/lycra that I used for the trim on the top, plus some of the blue fabric that currently lines the leather wrap.

I couldn't be bothered finishing the seams. I think that will come back to haunt me. Also, I only managed to sew one of the white bands on inside-out.

The result is pretty awesome actually. They are pretty tight, so I don't think they'll fall down.

I tried everything on again. I didn't know this was the most fun part of cosplay, but it is. By the way, this costume is comfy enough to lounge around in.

So what's next?

  • Remove the awkward tacking from the shirt
  • Fix the bit of the leather wrap I totally broke
  • Possibly make some more accessible pockets
  • Use velcro and/or snaps to keep the apron below the belt
  • Make a stencil for the upper arm tattoo (I'll use body/face paint)
I'm dangerously close to finishing this with about a month left till the actual con. I think I'm doing it wrong.

20 Sep 2014

Korra Cosplay - Boots

I still can't figure out which part of this costume has been the most daunting. Korra's top was a challenge in terms of drafting and construction, and the fur wrap was difficult as it used many new materials and tricky parts. The boots brought another challenge, as they had to stand up to a full three days of walking around the convention floor.

Trying to find a perfect match for the boots was a little out of the question. Most brown slipper-type boots with sheepskin inside would cost upwards of $50.

I had a look around for alternatives and discovered you could actually make a fabric cover for an existing pair of boots. I read through Sarcasm-Hime's bootcovers tutorial which was intended for stretch fabric, but would suffice for the application I was thinking of.

First step was to cut out all the pieces.

I had a vague idea of how it was going to be constructed.

Yes, that's corduroy. There was a sale on, $6/m, don't judge.

Looking good so far! The cover for the boot shaft was a little too tight around the top - I should have given it a lot more ease.

Next up was more sheepskin work.

After assembling the cuff, it was onto some very nerve-wracking gluing. The edge of the boot slip by the sole needed to be notched all around so it would fold under, then glued with contact glue (it took so long to get it all off my fingers).

The cuff was glued on as well, from the inside and the outside.

I gave that glue a workout after it had dried. The boots are a little small for me in that the ankle is quite tight, so it takes a lot of tugging to pull them on. I'm pretty confident the glue will hold. :)

I'm so glad I used sheepskin for the leather wrap instead of fur - it gives a better sense of cohesion this way.

I'm very close to finishing. I'm going to remake the bracers (so I can put them on by myself) and make the hair ornaments, then work on the finer details and adjustments.

14 Sep 2014

Korra Cosplay - Fur wrap

Making the fur wrap for Korra's costume introduced me to working with leather, sheepskin, and best of all, ADOS super glue.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what the fur wrap is for. A convenient sitting place? To keep your bum warm? Your guess is as good as mine.

Probably just to match her boots

I started by buying a leather scrap from a fabric store. I would have used synthetic, but it seems to create a bit of shine when a camera is using flash. I also wanted a more natural, water-tribish look.

I was also going to use a fur trim, but when considering what to use for the white trim on the boots, I decided on sheepskin (shearling).

The trick would be finding some - you'd think in a country where sheep outnumber the population seven to one, it would be easy. Not so! It took me a good long while browsing through thrift shops, TradeMe and souvenir stores to find a reasonably priced sheepskin rug.

Next, I needed to wash it. It smelled of old people and must. About five rinses in warm water did it. The rainy and cold weather didn't really help with drying, but it got there after about three days.

In the meantime, I began work on the leather. Since it was my first time working with leather, I was pretty nervous! Once it's cut, it's cut, and I only had enough to cut out one skirt.

I started by marking out where to cut on the wrong (right) side, then used a ruler and a rotary cutter to cut everything out.

Since the sheepskin, leather, and layers inside would make it quite heavy, I designed the skirt to have a belt hidden inside to hold it up. I would then cover it with the blue fabric belt to be more accurate to the original design.

This was probably the most enjoyable part of the process - making a belt fastening! I started by cutting a strip, then removing a slot where the buckle would go.

After I had it folded over, a mushed a belt loop in there along with a generous amount of ADOS glue. Dive weights to the rescue again!

To reinforce the glue, I pierced two holes and crushed a rivet into each. Solid!

I also cut and sewed a lining from some blue fabric, and made some pockets for holding phone, keys, and cash.

Now onto the sheepskin! I used the rotary cutter to score the leather from the back, then ripped the pieces out. This preserved the natural edges of the wool instead of cutting hard lines into it.

 More glue was used to attach the trim to the leather.

Here it is all bonded together.

Ever paranoid about it falling apart, I cut some more leather strips and glued them onto the join between the sheepskin and the leather.

The final piece of the puzzle - two fabric belt covers for the leather fastener. The wider parts are tubes that will encase the belt.

I used the last of the leather scraps to join the lining. By this point I had run out of glue, but I'm pretty confident this isn't going to fall apart any time soon.

Here you can see the leather belt peeking out of the fabric enclosure.

And the final result.

I really love how it turned out. The dark blue apron underneath sneaks out the top, so I'll need to figure out something to keep it in line.

I'm also not a fan of the bracers any more. I think I'll just make some fabric ones - then I won't require assistance every time I need to put them on!

The end is sight, though. The boots I'm wearing in the photo above need to be covered in the right fabric, I need to make the hair ornaments, and I need to sort out her armband/tattoo thing. But after that...it might be the end.