Wednesday, March 23, 2011

525 Tailoring: Becoming a Mage

Here's a shot of Jaimi and I (Rob) at JoAnn fabrics.  We were just starting to get materials for our PAX East costumes.  My plan was to build a Mage costume that was modeled after the World of Warcraft Tier 11 Heroic Mage or "Firelord" set.  My last attempt at cosplay was a warrior and had a hell of a time with armor.  I figured this would have it's own set of challenges, but nothing like building a suit of armor.
Before I started, I made a few decisions:  I wanted this thing to glow.  I found a place to get Glowire, which I would use for the shoulders, hood, and wrists.  I would change as little about the costume as possible, but I wasn't going to have giant, bulky gloves.  I ended up opting for no gloves and I embellished on the cuffs of the robe.  Finally, I made the choice to do whatever it took to ensure those shoulders would allow arm movement.  My costume from last year basically pinned my arms to my sides.
I found myself a basic robe pattern and some textured cloth on clearance.  I also got some plain gray cloth and a bunch of gold trim.
I guess I didn't account for how much sewing I would be doing on this project.  The gray was cut out and fabric glued to the red cloth.  This was temporary, as the gray was sewn to the red when I did the trim.  And there was a lot of trim.  There's not much more to say about this step.  I sewed a lot.  Then I sewed some more.

I was very happy with the results.  I wasn't worried about the middles section where the top and bottom gray sections met.  This would be covered by the extra wide belt.
The hood was from a different pattern.  I gave it a couple inches along the edge for the glowire.  The cuffs were given a healthy section of the gray cloth to make up for the lack of gloves.  I also have to modify the patterns on the cuffs.  Sew more.
Here's a shot of the nearly complete robe.  The belt was just a section of gray cloth with Velcro in the back.  I got some yellow/goldish cloth for the highlighted areas.  Also, I got some really cool buttons to add here and there for details. 
The shoulders.  The problem with World of Warcraft costumes is the shoulders.  They're designed to be overly large in game.  The problem is that virtual characters don't have to worry about lifting their arms and stabbing themselves in the ear with their shoulder pads.  I tried a few methods for turning a flat piece of gray foam into a rounded shoulder pad.  I ended up using a papercraft pattern for a poke ball.
I added red cloth to the bottom.  Super glue worked well for this.  Also, I put a layer of fiberglass along the inside of the bottom section.  I left the fiberglass to set overnight in a form to hold the shape I wanted.  Throughout the process, the shoulderpads remained light, yet somewhat durable.

Same shoulderpad + spikes.
Bondo time.  The bottom sections were taped off and the spike area was slathered in bondo.  I was worried that the Bondo would eat the gray foam.  I've had that kind of trouble in the past, as Bondo is pretty nasty stuff.  Luckily, it wasn't an issue.  I used my mouse sander to smooth out the rough Bondo finish.  Because of the final texture of the shoulderpads, I didn't have to be too picky about this step.  I then cut my "lava channels" with my trust Dremel tool.  Then a couple layers of stone spray paint and clear coat.

I ran glowire in and out of the shoulder pads to match the shape of the lava and the "runes" along the bottom section.  The glowire process included a lot of soldering and super glue.  Also, I sewed pockets into my robe.  The left pocket had a hole in the back that let my glowire circuits in.  I had all the sires sewn into the robe on the inside and down to that pocket.  This let me change the 9V batteries and turn the circuits on and off easily.
This is the final product.  The hood and cuffs got the glowire treatment as well.  In lieu of boots, I got long, black socks and put them on over my Sambas.  Thus, my foot comfort was assured.
The staff was almost an afterthought.  It was modeled after the Gladiator's Staff.  I took a long piece of dowel and chapped it up.  I cut it at scaled lengths at an angle and screwed the pieces together.  This left me with a rather wobbly staff.  I fiberglassed the hell out of each joint to fix that.  The gray stuff came into play again.  The pieces were beveled and sandwiched around the dowel.  The gems are chunks of quartz from Ithaca's MUSEUM OF THE EARTH.  After some paint, I wrapped the handle in electrical tape and added some more of the the buttons for detail.

PAX East was a lot of fun.  We met some great people and I got to fight a monster from Bioshock Infinite.
I also polymorphed Mike.

1 comment:

  1. You did a wonderful job of identifying real-world issues with the costume early on.

    Looks badass too :)