Okay! Updates. Let's see, in the past year and a half that I haven't blogged, I...
- was part of teams who competed on a reality TV show called Battlebots!!!! In both Season 1 and Season 2
- created RWBY scythe version 2.5
- went on our annual 20-some hour roadtrip to Dragon Con to compete 30lber bots (and cosplay)
- cosplayed as female Hanzo and an anthropomorphism of Overhaul (our Battlebots robot)
- among other things
...You know, the weird and yet stangely normal out-of-office life stuff your coworkers never entirely find out about you.
Since there's a lot of updates, I'm breaking up these things into separate blog posts. Starting with the most current development: Dragon Con cosplay!!
This year, I did two:
Overhaul from Battlebots!
(An anthropomorphism of)
The female version of Hanzo from the game Overwatch!
(I am on the right with the bow)
We found a Mercy! So we posed with her. : D
Jamo as Young Genji, Lucy as qipao Mei, Hanna as Victorian Tracer, and me!
There were some excellent shots by Zach Ernst!
I will be posting only a few of them (his photos have his signature
on the lower right!), but you should totally check out his other photos!
Not sure who the other Hanzo is, but HANZO BROS!!!!
Another awesome Zach Ernst photo!
Posing with a female McCree, another Hanzo, and a Zarya!
Pic thanks to Charles who had to chase after me when I ran off
to greet the female McCree (tehe).
Me, Hanna, and Lucy!
We are female Hanzo, Victorian Tracer, and qipao Mei!
I couldn't readily find a model of the bow, so I just decided to model my own, haha. Both the gourd and the bow were modeled in Inventor, 3D printed with PLA in multiple sections, and assembled with gorilla glue, and finished with sanding, crevice-filling, priming and painting. Fully assembled, the bow measures 58 inches in length.
....Like, this thing's a head shorter than me. I'm not sure if it's actually to scale to what it is in-game, but HEY - I like big weapons. Initially, I wanted the bow to be even BIGGER, but ultimately scaled it down when I factored in my printer bed size and print time. And finishing time.
Full build report of the bow is below the fold, and is broken up into 3 sections: Outfit, Tattoo, and Bow+Gourd.
Cosplaying with the crew
Also, since I was also a contestant with team Equals Zero this season of Battlebots (with Charles, Paige, and Matt!), I wanted to cosplay Overhaul, the bot! There was a mascot for Overhaul that I already drew for the bot (and stickered on the back of the bat, haha), so I did a version close to that. I whipped up some quick easy-to-do designs for fellow Battlebots girls Lucy (SawBlaze) and Hanna (Roadrash) so we could do a group cosplay!
Again, build report down below! I'm hoping bot-cosplaying catches on, haha - I definitely have 2 other friends who want to cosplay Bombshell and Nightmare. Here's to the next con!
(Click below to read the build reports and see more pictures!)
Build reports below are in the following order:
The Hanzo costume
The Hanzo tattoo
The Hanzo bow + gourd
The Battlebots cosplay
The Hanzo costume
First off, you might notice that my female version of Hanzo doesn't really have any of the original armor pieces. Why is that? I wanted to make a lolita-inspired female Hanzo outfit. And for whatever reason, I got super excited about making a lolita-esque outfit in Hanzo's theme when I first thought of that idea.
Seriously, I literally went and typed in all caps to a few friends (in different variants) as we were plotting cosplay: "LOLITA HANZO. OMG I AM DOING THIS. YES."
So I broke the outfit up into parts and modified them to be more lolita-esque - the black top would have longer sleeves, instead of pants the outfit would have a skirt with the Japanese wave fabric, and instead of prosthesis legs, the outfit would have thigh high white socks and black sandals. After consulting a few of the fanarts of female!Hanzo, I kept the yellow hair fabric the same, and instead of a bared breast, I subbed it for a wrapped chest.
I took inspiration from watching this cute little video (Yumi King, Kawaii DIY) on making a lolita yukata, and modeled my black top closely to it. Using newspapers, I tailored the top to my size (measuring neck, shoulder, armpit), and cut out 3 pieces for main body of the black top - the left, right, and back pieces.
After that, I cut out two very long rectangles for the sleeves and sewed it on to the main body, following how the video portrayed it. I tried it on to test fit, and it actually fit quite well the first time around, so luckily I didn't have to go back and adjust any lengths or widths. Be sure to leave holes for your hands to slip through in the ends of the sleeves! I went a little overzealous on the sewing pedal on one of the sleeves and had to take out a few stitches.
For the skirt, I wanted a specific Japanese wave print on dark fabric. Which I found that none of the fabric stores around me carried. So I did a little googling and found Fabric Tales (Check out the wave pattern I found there!) - They had a nice dark navy with yellow wave pattern that was the closest to what I was envisioning. After buying, I cut a simple circle skirt and added elastic to the waist area for fitting.
The fabric with half of a small test print of a gourd.
Perhaps the most hand-intensive (and tiring) part of the outfit part was the little pouch that no one ever really saw in my cosplay, haha. But I knew that it would be a vital part of my costume, for the sole purpose that it would hold my wallet, phone, Dragon Con pass, and cash. Every con so far, I've been pretty bogged down by any backpack or purse, so this time, I knew I wanted to make it a part of my cosplay. I took some inspiration from the actual Hanzo game outfit for the pouch, modified it to the size that I wanted, and hand-sewed it in some thin glove leather.
Leather, twine, leather needles, scissors, and buckle.
I taped the leather down onto a wood board, and used a hammer
to hammer through the leather to make holes.
I made tick marks on the newspaper below it to help
me keep track of where I was putting the holes.
Sewing leather is quite hard without the right leather tools
and knowledge! But it was cool experience!
Maybe I'll make more leather things in the future.
Using pliers to pull needles through multiple layers of leather.
Using the hammer to make holes for the buckle attachment.
Finished piece - fits phone, wallet, con pass, and cash snugly!
Comes with a patch in the back that allows me to slide it onto
the blue sash of my cosplay outfit.
For the sleeve pattern, I vectorized the image off the reference image, scaled it up to the size I wanted, printed it out onto transfer paper, and then ironed it on to the sleeve. I'd recommend using something that is for dark fabric!
Here it is, in all its cut out glory.
And here it is, slightly burned from my ironing, haha.
I actually didn't mind the aesthetic, since it gave an interesting
faded/worn-in/battle-scarred sort of look.
The Hanzo tattoo
Aaah, the tattoo. Dear old Hanzo tattoo. Such a trial with this one.
I had a great plan to start off with. Make a pattern of my arm, vectorize the reference tattoo image, scale/skew it to my size, and print it out on temporary tattoo paper before applying it to my arm.
Flawless plan, right?
Unfortunately, not as smooth a road as I would have liked, haha.
It started off great: I first made a rough newspaper "map" of my arm, with help from Charles (since I needed 2 more hands where I had one).
The vectorizing of the image was fine too - though I probably was bit more meticulous in detail than I could have been. And the fact that it took a bit longer than I wanted it to take. Ah, well - at least it's detailed now and can be scaled and skewed in any way now!
Here's where it kind of all fell apart. And it was entirely my fault. The tattoo paper I bought only had 2 sheets in it - a fact that I overlooked. Why? Because I didn't read the label, and assumed that it had the standard 5 sheets in a pack that usually transfer-ons (located in the same aisle) have. But you're not here for excuses.
I needed 4 sheets of the tattoo paper. So I spent the night before I had to wear them adjusting them to fit on 2 sheets, since it was all I had. I was so sad that my tattoo was going to look so small. :'( But I packaged it all on 2 sheets and thought, OK at least the application will go easier with fewer sheets.
WRONG. 8D;; While I was applying the tattoo paper with the wonderful help of Hanna, I forgot to take off the film that I had used to apply the adhesive to the tattoo paper. IE. I missed one instruction, despite the fact that I re-read them 4 or 5 times before applying. For whatever reason, I was so focused on placement of the tattoo that that step must have just slipped out of my mind.
SO. Dear Hanna, who had come over to get ready for the con together and was helping me apply the tattoo (when I realized my derpy mistake), rushed us to the nearest Hobby Lobby so I could buy more tattoo paper. I thought, YES maybe they'll have enough for 4 sheets!
NOPE. They only sold temporary tattoo paper in sheets of 1. One. And there were only 2 in stock. With shipments of a week in advance. I was just grateful they had any at all and just thanked the store and booked it back with Hanna. Printing it out the second time, we were careful to take the film off before applying, and the result is what you see in the photos. Not bad, but next time, I'm doing the full 4 sheets.
TL;DR Lesson: READ THE LABELS. AND READ THE INSTRUCTIONS
The placement of the tattoo on 2 sheets
Cutting it out the first time (the time I made the mistake a step later).
I didn't actually need to cut it so close to the design, so
the second time I printed it out, I roughly cut it close enough.
More up-close shot of the tattoo.
Thanks to Zach for the photo!
The Hanzo Bow and Gourd
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to cosplay Hanzo (besides him being a badass guy with a ponytail and tattoo) was his bow. Originally, I was trying to think of ways to modify a nerf-bow, or regular toy-boy, or a cheaper competitive sports bow - generally, something that could draw and work. Buuut, realizing that this prop was going to a convention with rules that have explicit instructions on weapons, I decided static would be better.
Since I couldn't readily find a model of the bow, I used Inventor to model one up myself. Using a game reference image of the bow, I calculated the size of the whole bow I would be printing by measuring the distance between the handle and bow, and making sure my hand could fit through that gap.
Like I mentioned earlier, I actually wanted a bigger bow initially, something that measured up to 65 inches tall (basically my height). But after considering the 3D printer bed size and how much time I had left to print, assemble and finish this thing, I
Initial ideas on 3D modeling it.
I eventually went with the method that would maximize
my time most efficiently - model the whole thing and
cut it up from there.
The first shaping blocks.
Complete! Now to slice it all up.
A glimpse into a a few of the planes I was using to make the bow.
A lot of the reference geometries are turned off usually.
Breaking up the bow into 3D printable sections.
The gourd was much easier to model.
The only 'difficult' thing was the cuts on the lid,
which was made using 3D lofts.
The dragon emblem was vectorized in Illustrator, exported into DXF,
and then embossed on to the bottom sphere.
Small test gourd print, to make sure the dragon details came out ok.
The start of the gourd farm.
After attempting to print the actual-sized gourd, the printer started to print funny. And this marked the start of a period that I call "3D printer hell." A period of debugging where the answer to the question "why is my 3D printer not printing correctly" always 1 more fix away.
I use a Powerspec Ultra, with Miku-Blue PLA (a custom color
PLA that you can buy! Contact Charles)
You'll notice the beginning of "3D printer hell" starting from
the little strands flaking off on the embossed dragon design.
Yep, something's wrong.
Trying to flush the nozzle.
The first step to debugging.
I think I went a little overboard though.
Not sure if you can tell, but the strands were
actually thinner than what they were usually,
and their exit speed was slower as well.
Clear sign it was an issue surrounding the nozzle.
Everything we tried afterwards pretty much was trying to
fix whatever clog or jam had happened.
(Charles ultimately just switched around nozzle parts
from both to the right nozzle.)
Extra foamy prints that I could break in 2 really easily!
Those were definitely not supposed to do that.
Enlisting the help of Charles, whose "shop senses were tingling."
Slowly printing and checking...
(Notice the 3D print graveyard on the upper part of the desk?)
YES. Finally all printed!
With a measuring tape for scale.
Also, the gourd finished printing as well!
After the 3D printing eras, I slipped into the Glue-aceous period. Where things got messy and I started to really dislike glue in general. After doing some research online and talking with a few cosplayers and prop people, I decided on gorilla glue. Super glue would have been fine I think, but I was worried about the weight of the bow stressing on each of the glue joints if I carried the bow around for a few days posing.
Stay, gourd, and dry.
Picking off all the dry gorilla glue pieces.
Not a very fun process, haha.
Because of their weird shapes, I had to come up with weird
ways to clamp the bow pieces together.
Like propping it up against a wall using rolls of tape as stabilizers.
Or like this.
This just chilled upside down, clamped to my table for a day.
Yes.... my space is always a mess around con-season.
I super-glued the two halves of this arrow notch piece first,
then attached the fishing line to a thin wire and used that
to pull the wire though.
Throughout priming and painting, I kept the string on
there, to avoid the primer and paint getting into the hole.
After painting, I would just pull the string through to a new
unprimed/painted section before cutting to length for the bow.
Almost... done.... gluing......
That is the face of someone who's just now realizing
she probably made the bow too big, and that sanding/filling
the whole thing was going to take much longer than she
BUT OMG BIG BOW.
After gluing, I was ready to start the finishing process. I was recommended several things, from wood filler to Bondo. I eventually settled on a Bondo glazing and spot putty, and got some at the nearest Ace Hardware store.
I was recommended this by Rocket (the Cosplay-repair guy)
and took a pic of the tube in his hand.
I think at this point, I didn't really that much time to finish to the level of
detail I would have liked before Charles and I had to ship out.
So I focused on the creases and cracks inbetween the major pieces.
Sanding for dayssssssssss.
I think I made some of the people who worked in the
studios next to me unhappy. : (
Good thing I was made aware of a down-draft table soon after!
Same treatment for the gourd.
I believe usually the filler goes on everything,
but I focused on the big noticeable cracks
due to time constraints.
First layer of primer going on after the filling and sanding.
A few layers of priming later, it was ready to paint!
Hand-painting with Acrylic.
Pretty streak-y, even after the 2nd coat, but mostly
because I didn't smoother over the entire bow with filler
before painting on top.
I'm wondering if next time I'll have a better design
that allows for spray painting lego-like parts...
With the first coat on to the bow just finishing drying,
Charles and I had to ship out.
We had a long drive - from Boston to Atlanta!
The bow was wrapped up in newspaper for the trip.
And it luckily survived all the bumps in the road!
For sure the biggest time expenditure was just on waiting - Waiting for prints to finish, waiting for glue to dry, waiting for filling to dry, waiting for primer to dry between layers, waiting for paint to dry between layers. I thought I had alloted enough time for all that waiting, but it seems next time, I'll definitely have to allot even more time.
-Read all the labels of anything you plan to use
-Allot enough time for things to print / glue to dry / primer and paint to dry
In the end, the bow broke in half the last cosplay day of the con, at the part that I knew was going to be the weakest link. So I'm going to make some mods to how I print the bow, and add some dowels in the middle for alignment and strength. After that, if you're interested in buying a Hanzo bow print off me, I'll be putting it up the design for sale!
In the meantime, onwards to more cosplay:
The Battlebots Cosplay
I had a blast on Season 1 and Season 2 of Battlebots. It was definitely a drain on finances, but I wouldn't trade that experience for the world. Season 1, I was on team JACD with Overhaul, and on Season 2, I was on team Equals Zero with Overhaul (upgraded!). You can see the whole build report of both bots on our team captain's site (Click to read The Overhaul 2 Design and Build Series part 1).
A lifter, clamper bot.
Yes, with functional ears.
(They help the bot self-right).
Overhaul has a mascot.
I drew her as an anthropomorphism of Overhaul,
with elements of our team uniform in there as well.
I thought it would be neat to cosplay Overhaul at DragonCon this year, so I took Haru-chan's outfit and modified it a bit. I roped in Lucy (SawBlaze) and Hanna (RoadRash) as well. We had 2 other friends, who couldn't make it to Dragoncon unfortunately, also interested in cosplaying Bombshell and Nightmare!
Amg quick sketches.
These are literally what I gave to Lucy and Hanna
to get across my idea, haha.
So I quickly drafted up a design for their outfits:
Elegant SawBlaze, in a black dress, green shawl, dragon tattoo, chain belt with their robot logo, holding the bot's Dragon-saw arm.
Spirited Roadrash, in an orange tank with their team logo, shorts, boots, and fingerless gloves, holding 2 pincer-swords.
This round of Battlebots cosplay was designed to be easily assemble-able - we were in 3 different states with different job priorities and already working on our Overwatch cosplays, after all. I consulted with them a bit to see what they had, but otherwise, Lucy and Hanna took that sketch and worked up their outfits to match it while I worked on the props. Very cool!
For me, I just made a quick newspaper template for a dress
and used that to cut the fabric. Winging it!
Since there was no fabric that matched our Overhaul color,
I used 2 fabrics - one sheer fabric over a more solid blue
to create a color close enough to our Overhaul teal.
For the props, it was one of those moments where I just designed it all in my head and just slapped it all onto Illustrator without even sketching them out, haha. I took the DXF profiles of Overhaul and the Dragon from SawBlaze and scaled them up to match our sizes, and then created auxilliary pieces around them for support, covers, and other attachments. I didn't have Roadrash DXFs, so those I freelanced from the Roadrash photo on the Battlebots site. Lucy also pointed me towards the saw they used, so I made a DXF of that as well, complete with chain, tehe.
These pieces were going to all be cut out of foamboard, and assembled slightly differently: Sawblaze would have dowels for hand holds and saw support, Hanna made a 3D printed case and belt harness for holding the Roadrash swords crossed against her back, and I 3D printed out an attachment to connect back of the scythe to the staff I was using.
I actually wanted to the Overhaul scythe to be bigger (surprise!) than
what could fit on a 24x36" board, but ultimately what became
the deciding factor was the size of the laser cutter bed I was using.
I printed one more of the scythe profiles in
addition to what you see above.
The pincer swords were modeled after the pincers of
Roadrash, and the grip was inspired by their tire tread.
Initally, the blade of the sword was going to be 2 foam board
pieces thick, but we ended up going with 1 board thick.
I cut more guards and grips than depicted above, as well.
This screenshot actually shows a mistake that I later corrected.
The upside dragon head was an unmodified version - I had
changed it slightly to accommodate for dowel hole placement.
The saw was made with a foam board base, and 2 poster
cutouts of the chain and wheel on each side, to give it
depth and detail.
Laser cutting is awesomeeeeeeee~~
All the laser cut pieces, ready for travel!
They were assembled when I got to Atlanta.
Alsdfljaldsjfg I really like this shot. (Props to Zach!)
This also got instagrammed by Battlebots. <3
Posing with Greg!!! One half of the creators of Battlebots!!!
The past year and a half held some big changes for me, but all in all, I'm glad for how it's helped me grow. There was a lot of self-reflection and self-doubt, but in the end, I'm kind of proud that I have the ability to just... make things, in spite of everything. Good friends and good projects always ease the heart and soul. : )
I had a great time at Dragon Con this year cosplaying with friends that have moved further away, and I hope we can make this a yearly get together! Here's to Season 3 of Battlebots, and making all the things! <3
Also, look out for the next few posts, where I regale you with more Battlebots and RWBY scythe!