Saturday, January 23, 2010

Strider Hiryu Cosplay – WIP 4

So it's been a while since I posted any update on the cosplay progress, but I have in fact been diligently working on it. Since last time I have been mostly working on adding many many layers of papier mache to the belt as well as making everything else such as the grappling hook with accompanying sheath. I also adjusted (had to resew it) the shoulder straps so the horizontal part across the back would be up higher.

Cypher Sword

I was not completely happy with how the cypher sword turned out from before since I could still see some of the wood grain on the blade near the hilt. I put on a few layers of gesso on the entire sword including the large block-like hilt. After layers of gesso I then proceeded to sand the entire thing using a nail block (yes, the ones found in the cosmetic aisle of the store) and then wet sand with 400 grit sandpaper.

The gesso actually becomes easier to sand when using water; I just needed to constantly wipe down all the surfaces. After this I primed the entire thing using gray Automotive primer and then coated it with about 3 layers of the metallic paint again.

My biggest mistake was at this step. During the third coat I thought the paint coming from the can wasn't going to be flat enough when dry so I sprayed a bit more on in hopes that it would self-level. At this point I noticed that I had put so much paint on there that it was starting to run down the thin edge of the blade. I ended up having to sand down one entire side of the blade, re-gesso it and do the whole painting of that side again. The second time I learned to just spray one layer and walk away no matter what I thought about it. This resulted in a nice smooth finish without any problems.



The belt had about 7-10 layers of papier mache painstakingly applied to it. I had said before that I wanted to use magnets for the belt so I ended up cutting the belt in two places and used a pin vise to drill out holes for magnets.

I used neodymium magnets from K&J Magnetics (Grade N50, 5.4mm x 4.5mm disc magnets). These magnets are very strong and will not hold with just duct tape so I had to add two layers of papier mache on top of that to make sure they would stay.

I've left off a lot of detail about the trial and error into constructing the area where the two parts of the belt attach and even now it's not completely perfect. The entire thing was covered in gesso which is where it stands right now.
[UPDATE] I would not recommend the above method as the magnets were able to tear through the duct tape and paper mache after a few hours of walking around at the convention.This rendered the belt nonfunctional because the two halves would not hold together.

Grappling Hook + Sheath

The grappling hook was made to be a static object, not like the one in the game that is constructed of three pieces to extend. The compressed version looks like a dagger with a curved hand guard. I made the dagger using 4 layers of cardboard duct taped together with a piece that extended into a piece of 3/4" PVC pipe. The hilt was made using pieces of cardboard in the shape of a box.



The hand guard was made using a piece of aluminum foil since it would be able to hold its shape fairly well. The entire thing (grappling hook + hand guard) was covered with a few layers of papier mache. This was then covered in gesso, primed, and painted using metallic paint.


The end of the handle for both the grappling hook and the cypher were made using a cap for 3/4" PVC pipe that was cut and placed on.

The open end was covered with a piece of cardboard and then coated with gesso. The handles were wrapped with brown ribbon from Michael's. They are currently secured using scotch tape looped to crate double sided tape. I just simply wrapped the handle in one direction with a constant diagonal motion.

The sheath was made using cardboard using the dagger as a template for size reference. This was also covered in papier mache and gesso.


I initially had some white cloth from the discount bin at the fabric store, but it will be hard for it to stay in place when I use it to wrap my forearms, legs, and feet. I will be getting some gauze from the store that will stick to itself instead.

To Do

  • Paint the sheath for the grappling belt

  • Paint the belt

  • Make zori sandals

  • Buy some gauze

Here's a picture of the final cosplay:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Strider Hiryu Cosplay – WIP 3

I constructed the base for the belt last night using cardboard and duct tape. I ordered some neodymium (rare earth) magnets to be used for various parts of my props.


I took a look at all the reference pictures along with what other people have done for their cosplays. From what I can tell it seems like the belt is a series of connected boxes, the purpose I'm guessing is to store things. I decided to do a total of 14 segments to the belt. I also plan on making two functional compartments to carry around my cell phone and stuff from my wallet. My waist is 28 inches so this construction will not work for everyone. Based on my waist size, I made the boxes to be 2.5 inches square on the face and a depth of 1.5 inches.

I cut out all of the necessary pieces out of corrugated cardboard to make sure it's strong enough (corrugated is significantly thicker and stronger than the stuff for cereal boxes). I cut out a total of 28 2.5 inch squares and 56 1.5 x 2.5 inch side pieces.

While watching various TV shows I assembled all 14 boxes using duct tape. Since I wanted to have 2 functional compartments and each of the boxes are fairly small, I will be combining two boxes for each of the functional compartments. Initial testing shows my cell phone can fit, but my wallet is too large. I should still be able to put the stuff from my wallet in there, just the actual wallet is slightly too large. I connected the remaining 10 boxes into two sets of 5 and then temporarily connected everything together into one chain to do a test fit. It ended up being just enough to fit around my waist, but in all the pictures it is actually lower on one side. I ended up constructing one more box to add on.

 The hard part was getting the shape of the entire belt to be set and not have it flop around. I put the belt around my wait and placed strips of duct tape around the outside to secure the shape. Then I layered duct tape on the top and bottom and then covered the entire thing in one more layer of duct tape. 
At this point I realized that I would have trouble making the lid for the compartment hinged since it's a curved section (pretty much all the sections are curved so there's no way around this). I debated for a while whether or not to use magnets to attach the lid and have the entire piece be able to come off, but my main concern was whether it would destroy the magnetic strip of credit cards and similar cards. I found some neodymium (rare earth) magnets online from K&J Magnetics that would be small enough such that they are strong at small distances, but would have a small magnetic field at even an inch away (magnetic fields drop with respect to distance squared). The price of the magnets was holding me up since I didn't want to spend too much more, but I decided I would have to have at least some magnets since the belt is rigid and I will not be able to put it on if it doesn't come apart in two halves.

Fabric Paint

Spent about an hour painting the 飛 character onto the shirt, which took about 6 coats since it's red paint onto blue fabric. I used Scribbles 3D paint from Michaels which cost me about $1 for an 1 oz bottle. Hand brushing it yields much smoother results than squeezing it from the bottle in my opinion. I first traced the design and then cut it out of paper. I pinned the design to the fabric along with a piece of cardboard under it to prevent the paint from bleeding to the back of the shirt. I then used the fabric paint straight from the bottle but brushed it on instead of using the applicator bottle. After drawing in the outline using the pinned cutout, I removed the cutout and painted within the lines. The first layer or two looks crappy since it doesn't cover well enough. After 3-4 layers it actually looked a lot more like a true red. The trick is to paint in thin layers. By the time I finished the entire design for one coat the first part was ready for a second coat. By going in the same order every time I ensured that it was dry before the next coat.

Full drying time is listed as 24 hours so I'm leaving it overnight before I attempt to do anything to the fabric.

To Do

  • Make the grappling hook/dagger thing along with the holster for it

  • Finish the construction of the belt

  • Gesso and paint everything

  • Probably will redo the sword even though it's already painted (not completely happy with how it turned out so I might try to gesso it since I didn't do that the first time)

  • Make the sandals

Still quite a few things left to do so I hope I can get it all done in time.