Monthly Archives:March 2014

Crafting a Shield

28 Mar , 2014,
Crimson
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With Diablo being one of our favorite series, we were really excited about trying our hands at building something related to the new Crusader class. So when Vaeflare, who also featured our Demon Hunters awhile back put up some incredible visuals by Hungarian digital painter István Dányi, we were sold.

István Dányi's crusader, which was featured on the Blizzard site, became the inspiration for our shield project.

István Dányi’s awesome crusader art, which was featured on the Blizzard site.

This amazing piece, titled ‘Crusader – Unbreakable Warrior’ and the shield that the righteous knight toted soon became the inspiration for Crimson’s Crusader shield, which he lugged to the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls launch on Tuesday.

What you’ll need:

1. A large sheet of PP board (also known as corrugated plastic board)

2. EVA foam rolls

3. Leather belts (for strapping)

4. Drawing implements e.g. markers and tracing paper.

5. Cutting tools (usually a box cutter and sharp nosed scissors) and contact glue

 

Step 1:

Make sure you’ve got a good idea for the shape and design of your shield. First, draw the base shape on a piece of tracing paper, followed by any possible adornments on the shield onto a separate piece. You will need these templates for later.

Replicate the base shape of the shield on a piece of PP board. Cut it out using a box cutter.

Make sure you’re cutting it along, rather than against the grain.

Locate the middle of the shield shape, and crease it in half down the middle. This ensure that your shield is capable of bending and conforming to shape later on.

Finally, cut slits into the PP board approximate to where you intend to mount the shield straps. Make sure you cut three pairs of slits!

The PP board base, after folding and with slits cut from the base form.

The PP board base, after folding and with slits cut from the base form.

Most cosplayers don’t often realize that you don’t just have a pair of straps affixing the shield to your forearm, but also an additional strap that functions as a handle, so you can hold onto your shield firmly and to keep it in place while fighting. It’s incredibly important, especially if you want your shield to be stage ready!

Step 2:

Now, it’s time to incorporate the straps into your shield. Thread the leather belts (Daiso belts are okay) through the slits.

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Make sure the belts loop through the shield like so. The buckle of the belt should be on the lower of the two slits.

Make sure to give it enough allowance so the strap can fit snugly around your forearm. Be sure to leave enough space for any bracers or gauntlets that you might also be wearing with the prop.

Here's how it looks like on the side that's going to be the back of your shield.

Here’s how it looks like on the side that’s going to be the back of your shield.

Trim off any excess lengths from the belts after.

Step 3:

Cut out a large enough piece of foam to cover the front of the shield.

Apply about 1-inch (approx. 2 cm) of contact glue all along the edges of the PP board, and also on the foam cutout.

With the PP board held slightly bent along the middle crease to create an arch, start pasting the foam down. Once the glue is dried, the shield will retain a slightly curved shape.

The thickness of the EVA foam and it's inherent rate of curving will help your shield retain it's shape once it's properly glued on. How cool is that?

The thickness of the EVA foam and it’s inherent tensity will help your shield retain it’s shape once it’s properly glued on. How cool is that?

Cut out any adornments and filigree you may have intended to add to your shield design, and paste them on using contact glue. We also added paper fasteners to create ‘rivets.

We'll normally also duplicate the artwork onto the shield base, so we have handy guides for where to paste individual pieces.

We’ll normally also duplicate the artwork onto the shield base, so we have handy guides for where to paste individual pieces.

Start creating shapes out of foam and pasting them on. You can vary the thickness of the EVA foam you use to create differentiation and add variety to your design.

 

Step 4:

When all the elements of the shield are pasted down, it’s time to prime and paint!

Three coats of PVA should be sufficient.  If you'd like to find out more about priming armor and props, check out this tutorial.

Waiting for glue and paint to dry is always the most boring part. XD
If you’d like to find out more about priming armor and props, check out this tutorial.

We usually coat our props with three layers of PVA. If you expect your shield to see a lot of stage use, consider using five.

And done! A lot of prop-making’s really about the finish and the paintwork. ^^;;

Finally, give it a nice, shiny coat of paint and weathering, and you’re done!

What do you think of our shield tutorial? Be sure to leave us a comment here or on Facebook!

Strife: Angelus’s Minerva Cosplay

22 Mar , 2014,
Crimson
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We’ve been working on new costumes non-stop this year, and two of our most fun and challenging ones are from American developer S2 Games latest 2nd-gen MOBA title, Strife.

The game recently entered Closed Beta, and boasts an array of impressive character designs reflective of it’s meta world – five different planes with varying thematics ranging from the medieval to the technologically advanced.

We were invited to help S2 Games bring some of these characters to life when we won the cosplay competition at Campus Game Fest last year, and these costumes will be making an appearance at PAX East in Boston this April where we’ll be guest-judging the cosplay competition and also participating in a variety of promotional events and activities.

Here’s a quick look at what we’ve done for one of the game’s iconic characters – a psychic assassin from the plane of Vorbis named Minerva.

Minerva design by S2 Games.

Minerva design by S2 Games.

The design for the character meant that we had to get creative with not just body paint, but also a different variety of materials and fabrics. We’d also have to utilize LEDs to get the effects with her weapon prop just right.

Because we’re most experienced with foam, we decided to tackle the armor pieces and Minerva’s tail first.

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The tail was segmented out of individually cut foam triangles.

We planned for the tail to be reticulated, so it can move freely and naturally while Angelus moved. The effect was accomplished by having each individual segment slide into each other, and securing with velcro.

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Bracers, Pauldrons, and other assorted portions of the armor. We’ve also painted the tail segments too!

Minerva doesn’t don as much armor as we are normally accustomed to, but that’s also a good thing. It means we can create a more mobile and flexible costume, so Angelus can push her poses.

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A closer look at the headdress.

Like Kerrigan’s wig, Minerva’s hair is a mass of organic tentacles. We decided that we’d build a headdress out of foam tubes layered over one another, joined to a knit mesh that’s normally used for sewing wig wefts.

As for Minerva’s body suit and jacket, they were built as separate pieces. The jacket was crafted from pleather, with additional panels to create the cape-like structure behind her.

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We thought the inspiration for Minerva was a little bit like a manta ray…

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With additional colored panels added.

Then there was Minerva’s polearm. It was made to be detachable so we could ship it over to PAX in a supply case, and LEDs were inserted to give it a cyan glow.

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The base was also crafted from foam to keep it lightweight. XD

Then there’s also the body paint, which we think is probably the hardest part. ^^;;

Getting a finish that doesn’t run in a convention (which requires a lot of dabbing and powdering down) is hard work. The make-up alone takes about an hour! 😮

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Using an airbrush to apply body paint is tricky, but it creates a more even tone compared to hand brushing.

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Here’s a close-up. Getting the right shade also requires blending of multiple different pigments. 😮

And here’s the completed ensemble from our studio preview.

Angelus cosplaying as Minerva in our studio preview.

Angelus’s Minerva cosplay.

Don’t forget to leave a comment so we know what you think of Angelus’s costume.

We’ll also be blogging about our work on Crimson’s MidKnight cosplay, an armored warrior who made his debut in the Strife comic book next week!

More production images of this costume and our other cosplays can be found at: www.facebook.com/neotokyoproject

To register for the S2 Games Open Cosplay Contest, click on the link here

Quick and Easy Tattoo Sleeves

9 Mar , 2014,
Crimson
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If you’ve got a hankering to cosplay a character with tats, but don’t want to go with body paint or more painfully, the real thing, we’ve got some news for you.

Angelus was working on some new costumes recently, and chanced upon a pretty quick and easy method for making some fairly credible tattoos out of, get this, old body stockings and permanent markers.

Executive Assistant Iris - Just one of our geeky part-time warrior's newer cosplay projects.

Executive Assistant Iris – Just one of our geeky part-time warrior’s newer cosplay projects.

So if you’re like her and have some tattooed characters planned for an upcoming con, or just want to sport some funky custom tattoos in general, here’s a method you can try:

What you’ll need:

1. Skin-colored stocking material or body stocking (purchasable online)

2. A printout of the artwork/tattoo you want to create

3. Permanent markers

4. A body form or mannequin

5. Hair dryer to accelerate drying of the ink

 

Step 1:

Make sure you have a clear printout of the tattoo you want to replicate for your cosplay. Affix it to your body form so it doesn’t shift or move from where it’s supposed to be.

In this case, we'll be using Shanoa's glyph as a reference. :3

In this case, we’ll be using the glyph on Shanoa’s back as a reference. :3

Step 2:

Stretch your stocking over the body form. Make sure the body form conforms to your relative body size. Be sure to pull it taut so there are no unruly bunches or creases.

Make sure you pull the body stocking taut.

Make sure you pull the body stocking taut.

Make sure you position the stocking over the image, because you’ll be tracing over the image next.

Here's how it looks like.

Here’s how it looks like when you’ve wrestled the body stocking into place.

Step 3:

Using the printout as a guide, draw out the tattoo onto the stocking with a permanent marker. We’ve discovered that both Copic markers and Zebra pens are great for this.

Color in all the areas carefully.

Color in all the areas carefully.

Go over the edges of the artwork first, and then color in the insides. Don’t worry about smears or excessive ink seepage, because the paper printout will absorb most of that.

And we're almost done...

And we’re almost done…

Step 4:

Once you’re done, you can either leave the freshly tattooed stocking to air dry, or speed up the drying process with a hair dryer.

Carefully remove the stocking from the body form, and it’s ready to wear!

How's that for a temporary tattoo? It photographs pretty well too!

How’s that for a temporary tattoo? It photographs pretty well too!

Don’t forget to let Angelus know if you think the tutorial is useful by leaving a comment!