Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Deathwish: Cosplay for a Cause, Paine and Vincent Valentine costumes

The Deathwish for March happened to be a benefit for Tsunami and Earthquake relief fund, the tsunami devastated japan in many ways and we wanted to help out, so what better way than to take some of the proceeds of a night where people can go out, dress up, have some fun, and still be giving to help people in need. The entire thing was based on anime, which for those that may not know, was a term developed specifically to describe "animation from Japan" this includes everything from movie, series, and video games.

Figuring out costumes.
As I've said before each Deathwish has a theme and as me and my girl have gotten more involved with the night it has become more important that we actually dress for the theme. Sometimes this is an easy task and sometimes it takes a lot of thought to figure out how we can pull it off. Most often it falls to one major factor for both of us, ironically our hair. So with anime it was actually rather simple for me as most anime has at least one male character with long hair, for her it was more trying to pick one that was both notable and something she could comfortably dance in.
So for her she finally settled on doing Paine from Final Fantasy X-2.
After I had been trying to figure out what it was I was going to do, I came to a face palm moment of realizing a perfect fit... Vincent Valentine.

It's a costume I had actually been thinking of doing for some time now and it just hadn't really crossed my mind, until she had decided on hers.

When I started looking over the costumes they seemed like for once they wouldn't be THAT hard... well this wasn't exactly the case, while they were relatively simple the time crunch was the biggest factor in getting them done, on top of that I had flyers to make, gloves for a friend to work out (you can check those out here :)) and honestly just our normal odd schedule (she works very early mornings so my day usually starts around 3am). Oh and then there was making hers comfortable to dance in while still getting it as accurate as we could. After all the considerations, I got to work.

Piecing them together.
So where I usually start is collecting up materials, for this one we got pretty lucky that all I really needed was some material and a few accent pieces. Most of the rest I had on hand.

Paine's top
This turned out to be a big challenge as I couldn't really just do the wrap that it normally is as it would have to stay put while she danced, so we changed it a bit after the inspiration from a second life model of paine. So the top turned out to be basically a tube top and some arm bands, over all the impression looked right while still allowing her free range of movement.

The straps themselves... wow made getting it on much more difficult but worked out just fine. The "stomach straps" were made and then attached to the red straps so that they would stay in place all night.

The red straps originally only went to the shorts but as a last minute change ended up going under the shorts to the stockings, worked out pretty well.

Paine's over all costume.
We decided to somewhat make do with the bottom half of the costume primarily due to time, so we went with some shorts and some stockings instead of going with the straps all the way up the legs, we left them as they were. This decision was mostly so that she wouldn't have to worry about things falling out of place while up on stage dancing. As for the boots we honestly thought her normal tall boots would both make it comfortable for her dancing and would also adapt the look for the night a bit.

Vincent Valentine

Vincent Valentine's Capelet/cloke/cape
This piece I had thought would be fairly easy so figured i would start there and get it done first. turned out a bit more complicated than I thought, only in so much as getting the right look to match the actual character. Lots of research on this one... but i think it turned out pretty close.

One big consideration was getting the form right so instead of doing the normal capelet kind of pattern (a simple wrap around) I went with a more tube like pattern.

I quickly realized though that it would be a pain as it would restrict my arms a lot and likely try to buntch around my shoulders, so I added a little bit in the back to help with that. Worked out wonderfully :).

Next getting the collar to stay up, effectively two layers of interfacing helped this A LOT even though i still had to adjust it all night long.

The straps I tried to get as close as I could salvaging from an old belt, but didn't have the time to get the silver accents molded but overall still looked pretty close, I'll add them in due time :).

The back I took the time to get the look of the "tattered" ends right and then sealed the edges with fray stop. Though I should have done the same for the edges going up, oh well kind of added to the worn look.

Vincent Valentine's Gauntlet.
As usual, I love and hate working on gloves or gauntlets, mainly because it takes time to get them right and yet still be able to use my hands. I have to say though it turned out wonderfully from being made of 80% recycled bits and pieces. The only parts that were not recycled bits were the base glove and the bells on the elbow and wrist of the bracer, which were made from craft foam as I had a lot of issues getting the shape right with strait plastic.

The rest of Vincent Valentine costume.
As for the rest of my costume, well honestly some things I just didn't have the time to get done. The boots I went with my normal tall boots and didn't have the time to make the shiny boot additions as well as thought in a place so crowded the wouldn't likely have lasted the night. I already had leather pants so that wasn't really an issue, his top I decided to go with a black button down that I have, it had the right "flowy" look to it and gave me an extra pocket for the night.  The right arm was a last minute (literally hours before we had to head out) make shift set of straps that turned out pretty well.

Vincent Valentine's Cerberus Gun...

Now this was the one part that I wish hadn't fallen to the "if I've got the time" category I had started work on it at the beginning and had a mad rush near the end to try and get it finished in time. Alas I stopped working on it for two main reasons, one there was no way it was going to be complete in time (not as much as I would have liked it to be at least) and two I hadn't even started on a holster for it, and there was no way I was going to be carrying it around all night in how packed that place usually is. So, It will be done but I will save that for another post all in itself. :)

Over all I think for a bit of a rush job on them I think they turned out pretty well. Just wish we had gotten more pictures of us in the costumes, but who knows some other people may have taken some and we can always dress up again :) I'll add them if I find them.

February Deathwish, Seven Deadly Sins costumes

February Deathwish turned out to be theme after the Seven Deadly Sins. As we started in to figuring out what we would dress up as we ended up realizing that it would be a challenge to noticeably embody one of the sins. My girl honestly knew what she was doing right off the bat...Wrath, which also works well considering there are 6 dancers so at least 6 of the sins were going to be done up on the stage. As for me it took me a while to settle on one and then to think up how I could add my own spin on it. After a while I finally settled on Vanity, mostly because I thought it would be one that I could pull off.

Her Seven Deadly Sins Costume - Wrath.
She already had some ideas on what she wanted. So she drew up her ideas and we tried to work out what we would need and how to do it. This one was fairly simple comparatively, we made a battle torn and "blood stained" tank top for her to make it look like she had gone through a bloody battle with some other wordily creatures. Then a ripped "all to hell" petticoat which the cats gladly help rip up with me, to go under one of her skirts. I also made her some fuzzy boot covers to give her the demon hoof look to her boots. A few accessories, spiked collar, bone necklace, studded gloves, and fuzzy bracelets helped finish off the look. Once her make up was done and her hair spiked she looked amazing.

My Seven Deadly Sins Costume - Vanity
This one was a bit harder for me to envision but in the long run I went with one of my many jackets, a very shiny button down i made just for this costume and basically just dressed up for it. The things that I made to give it the costume feel was the mirrored accessories :). I wanted to go for the look of shattered mirrors on my ankles, wrists, and a mask. As I didn't think they would look to kindly on me showing up covered in shattered glass, I went with light weight aluminum instead. The cuffs were fairly easy and I still usually wear one out to clubs now. The boot covers were almost as easy just a bit bigger, the mask however I took the most time with. Amazingly after working with all the metal I didn't cut myself once on it. Here are the few pics of me out in the costume.

The Runaways, Talkback or Chase Stein's Fistigons

So, out one night at club, enjoying the night, we have a friend of ours come over to us.
"So I was thinking about something and as I thought about it you came to mind, considering I've seen some of the prop work you have done."

Now generally when a statement like that comes up I have two thoughts, one "Oh great what is this going to be", and "Hmm i can't help but be intrigued as to what your thinking of making." So of course I hear him out :).

"Do you know the comic The Runaways?"    
Off the top of my head not really I think I flipped through one once. But, already I'm curious as to what in a comic world he would be talking about. So we chit chat for a bit about these gauntlets that he is thinking about. I already like the idea as I honestly love the challenge of making functional gauntlets... it's just always fun when your done sitting there and flexing your fingers and such they always tend to put you right in the roll of who they are made for. The next day I do what I always do, research :). I find as many digital copies of  "The Runaways" as I possibly can and start reading them. Specifically focusing on Chase Stein a.k.a. Talkback. Right after I see him get his "Fistigons" I'm intrigued, for those of you out there that aren't verse in what these fistigons are here's a bit of info.
"The Fistigons were metal gauntlets with built-in flamethrowers. The gloves allowed the wearer to mentally shape the produced flame into any form the wearer desired."
The next day he catches me online and sends me this picture.

My first thoughts are, "ok well two ways I could do this 1 I could make them technically accurate to the comic, but there goes the use of your hands since they would have to be worn over your hands and the fingers would be way to thin to put a hand in. The other way would be to screw being exactly accurate to it and making them close to it."

So, I kept researching a.k.a. I read more comics :). As I read on I found out that the original ones basically get destroyed and then later on get replaced. When I see the second version, aha that is a bit more like it, that I can make work. At the same time I'm trying to crank out some flyers for the next two months for deathwish... and make a costume for both me and my girl for the one that is only 2 weeks away at this point. (which you can go see here :), Paine and Vincent Valentine) So I've got a lot sitting on my shoulders and yet don't want to disappoint. I have him over and we get to talking about a few ideas on what he's thinking, which always helps. The original thought was I would just be helping him make them, help him work out the technical aspects of how to make them work and look good.  After that i crank out the flyers, get the costumes mostly done, and get everything starting to settle down a bit. At this point there is only 1 week left before he needs them, looking over the time I've got to realizing it's going to be kind of hard to get our schedules to match up and get enough time in to actually get it done, so instead I decide "you know I like this guy and honestly have been trying to make this work for a good 2 weeks now and only have a few days left, screw it I'm going to get these done in the next two days and surprise him with them." So I sit down one morning and start to work on them, I had already had tons of thoughts on how I was going to do them, so really it was just getting it done. I worked up some templates, since I was going to do both gloves it's much faster to get yourself some template that are easily modified to make sure everything works before going to work on the finished product. So after I got them all done i quickly took some pictures of them before I went out to deliver them.

I took them out tucked under my coat started chatting with him bout how things were going and if he was still going to do chase.
"I don't know at this point"
"Well how much do you have left on it?"
"Pretty much everything"
"Well I think I have something that will help with that" and I pulled them out of my coat...He was very happy and wore them most of the rest of the night :)

So with out further ado, here are some pictures of them before I gave them to him (literally right before i left the house :)
 Fully articulated fingers.
 Covers over the back of each hinged at the knuckles

 Mock barrels to try and match the Fistigons flame barrels

 Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera with me when I gave them to him. If I ever get a picture of him in them I will have to post them here. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July Deathwish, The Time Machine, Steampunk Promenade

So I have kind of been updating as I go with developments with my girl and I being more involved with Deathwish in various ways. Well, this last one was a pretty big one. It has been planned and delayed a few times now but this last month's (July) theme was steampunk :). We were very excited to be able to dress up, but on top of that I got to do the decorations for it. It was pretty daunting to begin with, primarily because I only had about 3 weeks to try and get enough stuff done to decorate a club. Now, to be honest, I have done this in the past with roughly the same amount of time. It's not that I couldn't but it has been a very long time. This time, to begin with, I didn't have help. Toss on top of that: making costumes, helping the other dancers with what they would wear... oh yeah and making a flyer for next month. Yeah, quite a bit on my plate. However, it's a theme I love so I was pretty confident I could pull it off.

After coming up with some ideas for how to decorate (on a slim budget, mind you) I managed to enlist the help of two awesome friends and my girl in her rare free time :). They offered it up and I, gladly, accepted. After a few supply runs and a couple of thrift store runs, I gathered my materials and got to work. It started out pretty slow, a lot of trial "lets see if this works" kind of planning but once the ball started rolling it went pretty well.

As far as the Deco went I didn't get a lot of great shots of it up but there are a few.
Here are some shots of it out in my backyard LOL :)

In total ended up with:

21 thick small gears

4 thick large gears, one of which was the logo for Vendetta Music

10 thin small gears, 2 thin Large gears (for wall mounting). We made these so that they would be lighter and hopefully stay on the wall better :). They are VERY Shiny.
The Material we used to cover them has a near mirror finish, the lights played very well off of them :)

A Prop Tesla Coil: Given all the electronics and lighting in the club, a real one wasn't really an option. Besides that would have blown our budget right off the bat.

13 copper coils (basically spirals of copper wire kind of hard to get photos of though)
A 24" steampunk-ish clock

And 2 "Steam Stacks"

And Here is the Video of them in action ...

After a long day (and night) of setting up and tearing down, the sneaky Photo Ninja of Studio Apocalypse got this picture of me. By the way, if any of you are interested in the decorations I have posted for your own Steampunk themed party, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than willing to offer my services at an affordable price.
This is probably the best shot of the deco. You can see many of the hanging gears on the right, a few wall gears on the left and the Tesla coil just behind my girl (and in the mirror :)

As far as costumes went, the Girl provided me with a good idea of what she wanted to do. And I happened across some awesome materials to work with. So I did my best, in my early mornings, to make it happen. Over all it went pretty smoothly this time around. At one point a friend of ours (my Girl's dance partner) came over looking for fashion advice and asked what I was wearing... Now, my girl had asked me a few times so I had put some thought into it. While on the spot I went to my closet and pulled out stuff that I thought could work. Turns out I really didn't have to really do much for mine :). I did something anyway at the last minute. But hey, that's the way things tend to go around here: get everything else done and rush for my own costume at the last minute. After a lot of work and a lot of day-in-day-out trying to make things move forward here are the results... Enjoy!

The lovely Deathwish dancers Mine is the 3rd from the right. I also made the spats for the second from the right :).

The lovely dancers all posing with my Steampunk Guns :) Awesome

Me, my Girl and the Deco Crew. Thank you for all the help guys!
My Girl up one stage dancing in her steampunk attire.

Me and the Deco Boys posing in our Steampunk finery.

Very cool silhouette shot of me

Thank you to Studio Apocalypse and  Gothic Monk Photography for your awesome photos throughout the night.