Showing posts with label dragoncon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dragoncon. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Catch-Up Time

I haven’t written a blog in forever.  Sorry about that.  This one will just be a mass update on everything that has happened since the last post, and a lot has happened.

First up, completed builds!

Colonel Stars and Stripes Ol’ Hickory of Justice from KickAss 2

This was a lot of fun, and thanks to the fellows over at the RPF, I was able to get a lot of good details and ideas before the movie was out.  This started as an ax handle, but was too long.  I cut it down and then glued it back together.  The stars in the field of blue were masked off using foam star stickers from Jo Anns, and then red and white electrical tape to finish the handle.  I added a line of parachute chord under the tape just to improve the grip.


My finished Stars and Stripes costume.

I also continued my Team Fortress 2 build kick.




I named the grenade launcher Brienne and the sniper rifle Shelia.

Brienne was for my Demoman cosplay, and Shelia was a commission for my friend’s Sniper cosplay.


Around this same time, I was commissioned to build a 22 shot, double barreled pistol.


I named her Grace.

Grace then inspired me to build Mercy.  A quad barreled shotgun pistol.


Mercy will be a big part of my Post Apocalyptic Mad Hatter at DragonCon 2014.

I also really got into the anime Soul Eater, and have even caught up on the English translated manga of it as well.  As such, I needed a Dr. Stein cosplay.

dr__franken_stein_s_coat_and_shirt_by_tn_scotsman-d6r36su  death_scythe_from_soul_eater_by_tn_scotsman-d6r36t7 dr__franken_stein_s_bolt_by_tn_scotsman-d6r36sj


One of my new favorite costumes to wear.

For the bolt, I used a hair band that I can wear under the wig, and then rare earth magnets to hold everything in place.  This also allows it to turn.

DragonCon 2013 happened, and I needed a Bioshock costume for my wife and myself.  None of the Infinite characters really appealed to me, but my wife came up with the idea of a female motorized patriot, so this happened.


And this,



We marched in the parade in these and it was a blast.  Yes the barrels of the peppermills turned.  I’ve actually rebuilt one to make it lighter and more stable, and I’m working on the second.

Another friend of mine commissioned me to make her a set of classic Disney Maleficent horns. 


I sculpted the horns out of pink insulation foam, and again used a head band and rare earth magnets to hold everything in place.

I’ve been on a Deadmau5 kick lately.  I really like how everyone just comes up with an original spin to the standard Deadmau5 head.  So, I created Subject Delt@mau5, a Bioshock 2 Subject Delta inspired mau5 head.


And a Ruckus Service Radio

I’m making 4 more mau5 heads.  Two are commissions and two will be used at DragonCon by me and my wife.  This is one of the completed commission pieces.  They requested the ear and eyes to light up.

Deadmau5 Head 1 Collage

You can see a video of the LEDs in action over here.

I think that about catches up on everything that I have built since the last post.

Other happenings since the last post:

My Motorized Patriot won Fall Showcase Male over on Southern Cospitality, and then shortly after that, I was named Prop Builder of the year by Southern Cospitality.  Two massive highs in about a week.

Currently, I’m participating in the Days ‘Til DragonCon podcast series over on Word of the Nerd.  Its an awesome little series that follows nine cosplayers as we build and sew our way to DragonCon.  What’s it like to be a cosplayer?  Watch and find out!

As such, I’ve got my DragonCon 2014 line-up pretty well set this week.

Thursday Night – Kevin the Awesome Now with More Awesome and Less Fat
Friday Day – Dr. Stein
Friday Night – Post Apocalyptic Mad Hatter
Saturday Day – Peach Wilkins from Bioshock and marching in the parade again.
Saturday Night – DeadDaftMau5Punk
Sunday – Destro from G.I.Joe

I’ll try to post more as things go along, or at least not wait 9 months in between posts.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012 Report–Director’s Cut Redux


Alright, let me start off by saying that this is going to be a rather personal blog entry.  So, if you don’t want to read that bit just scroll down to the really cool part.  You’ll know it when you see it.

In my original report on Dragon*Con, I had a lot of positive and negative experiences.  I thought I had gotten a handle on everything before I wrote that entry, but apparently I had not.  Thanks to a lot of help from my wife and my best friend Maria, I’ve gotten a much clearer picture on why Dragon*Con felt so rough for me this year.

I put way too much pressure on myself.  Plain and simple.

2012 was the first Dragon*Con for my friends, and I wanted to make sure it was the most awesome experience they’ve ever had.  I was also bringing Subject Delta back for the girls, and I wanted to make sure it was just as awesome as it could be.  How anyone could go to Dragon*Con for the first time, and not have a blast, had not entered my head.  How someone could bring any kind of a Subject Delta costume and not have fun, had not entered my mind.  I simply put the weight of 8 or so Dragon*Con experiences on my shoulders, and quite frankly, I cracked. 

My friends all had so much fun taking my advice of “Now, don’t feel like you have to stick with me the whole time.  If there is something you want to do, go do it.”  The problem with that advice, they took it, and I didn’t see them as much.  Without seeing their faces, expressions, and being able to watch them watch Dragon*Con, I had no idea if they were enjoying it or not.  Sure they told me they were, but they’re my friends.  I don’t think any of them would say, “Dude, this sucks.” to my face.

Now, add to that pressure worry about my paying job (I tried to fight it), costumes breaking and technology that just wouldn’t work, and you have a very frustrated geek.  That allowed for my depression to kick in and nearly ruin Dragon*Con.  I do not take any prescription meds for my depression.  The side effects frighten me, and honestly, it doesn’t get that bad, in my opinion.  It has never crippled me.  It ruins my mood, and often the moods of those around me, but my close family and friends know this and do what they can to lift me up.  Thanks everyone.

After talking to Melinda and Maria, and letting the fog clear, I have come to realize that 2012 was probably the best Dragon*Con yet.  I met some amazing people that I am now calling friends.  I never knew there were other cosplayers here in Tennessee, and now I’ve found a whole group of them and we’re already making plans for next year.  I met an amazing photographer and I really hope to see next year and hopefully work with him too.  My friends had an amazing time and are already planning to go next year (memberships have been purchased).  They’ve even convinced me that I had enough fun to go back again next year.  Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to go back, but I also said that could change, and it did.  Rather quickly too.


Told you you’d know it when you saw it.

If you read all the above, thanks.  I think what is coming up will be worth it.

If you didn’t read the above and just scrolled to here, it’s still cool.  Thanks for just reading.

Costume Plans for 2013

IDW Comic’s Cobra Commander


Yup.  I think it is about time for this.  I made the Destro costume for my first Dragon*Con and my first attempt at real costume making, so I think I need to do a Cobra Commander costume now.

This will involve making another helmet.  I’ve made a few now, and I know I could make this using similar methods to the Night Guard and Delta helmets, but I’m going to try the Volpin Props method of casting the whole thing.  I’ve been studying the video below, and I think I’m going to be able to do it.

Volpin Props Skyrim Helm of Yngol

This will also involve more body armor work.  My last attempt at armor for the Night Guard didn’t turn out too well, but I learned a lot from it and I’ve learned a few new tricks since then too.  I’m excited to try and see what happens.

Beyond that, I think this will make a really cool costume and also be something easy to wear.  I just have to remember the diver’s mask defogging solution this year.  I would really like to be able to see out of the helmet for once.


Bioshock Infinite’s Songbird

Yup, you read that right.  The group of us that did the Bioshock cosplays at the aquarium have been talking and it’s time to do an Infinite cosplay.


The very first time I saw Songbird in the trailer, I knew I had to make this costume.  After Delta, I swore off big heavy bulky costumes, and I think I can keep that promise and do Songbird at the same time.  It is bulky, but it can’t be heavy.  He flies for crying out loud.  If I can get the wing mechanics right, I think this is something I can actually do.  I’m just going to be taking it in small steps at a time.

I’ll also be helping out some of the other cosplayers with Handyman, Mechanized Patriots, and hopefully Boys of Silence builds too, but Songbird is for me.


There will of course be changes to all this.  New costumes will be added.  Some might go away.  Prop and commissioned prop builds will hopefully be coming.  Upgrades to existing costumes will happen.  We will be going to other local cons.  Like all things associated with Dragon*Con, it is very fluid.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012 Report


Before I start, I’ve picked up a fourth watcher!  YEAH! and Thanks!

It’s been a week now.  I’m recovering from my post-con sinus infection and have been reflecting on my third and possibly last Dragon*Con.

First and foremost, here are some pictures:
Jedi Costumes
Bioshock Costumes
Bioshock Costumes – Photos by Nathan Carter
General Costumes and People Watching
Parade Pictures

OK, on with my report.


Dragon*Con was a series of highs and lows this year.  I arrived on Wednesday without major incident.  Except for playing “Dodge the shredded tire on the interstate at 80MPH”.  That was fun.  Then on my way out to the Wednesday night cocktail party, my phone died.  My phone was a thorn in my side the whole weekend.  So, back to the room and watch it charge.

I did stop by the new CVS at Peachtree center.  How did we ever get by without this?  It is an amazing store and staffed with good people and well stocked for Dragon*Con.  I did pick up a purple hair dye kit to give me something to do later.

Thursday or the New Friday

I slept in.  Late.  Thought I was stocking up on sleep.  Headed out to try and pick up my pre-reg badge and my friends’ badges.  I started on the backside of the Sheraton where the line usually is by this time.  It wasn’t there.  Around to the other side, still no line.  Did they move badge pick up and I missed the announcement?  Finally on the uphill side, I found the end of the line.  45 minutes and two new friends later, I had all the badges.  That was a record, or so I thought.

When my first round of friends arrived later that day, I went back through the line with them and we were in and out in less than 15 minutes.

It took Dragon*Con 26 years, but they seem to have developed a fantastic badge pick up system.  Why it took 26 years is a mystery.

Thursday night is now the new Friday.  People and costumes everywhere.

I did get to meet Harrison Krix, aka Volpin Props.  We spoke for a few minutes and he was very polite and quite awesome.  Not as tall as I expected, though.  Did I get a picture with him?  No.  I was too busy fanboying all over the place to think about getting a picture.

Friday or the New Saturday

I overslept again and missed the first panel I wanted to attend.
Then my phone started screwing up again. 
I spent most of the day on the Marriott steps watching people.

Friday night is the new Saturday.  I met up with my friends a little late for the Bioshock photos.  While trying to get into the hotel, someone ran right into me and broke off one of the tanks from my costume.  Did they stop or apologize?  No.  Did they even notice they had hit someone and damaged a costume?  Doubtful.  If you are in a crowd with people in costumes WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING.  We met up with our friends and the girls looked great and we were even approached by a group doing a cosplay documentary.  When they asked us “Why do we cosplay?” my answer must not have been interesting enough.  “Well, the last part of the word is ‘Play’.  I do this for the play, for the fun.  It’s just fun playing a character like this.  Making the costume and going through the process and then getting to play with my friends.”  I really don’t think he liked that answer.  Too normal sounding, I think.

Saturday or the New WTF?! Where did all these people come from?

Saturday started with the parade.  We got a pretty good spot.  I had to take my pictures blind, holding the camera over the heads of people in front of me.  Overall everyone was very polite, except for two different groups of people that came late (after the parade had started) and tried to excuse themselves past me, and closer to the front.  My response each time was  a polite “Where would you like me to go?  We’re pretty packed in here.”  They would grumble and then go away.  The parade seemed short and missing a lot of my favorites.  Still, an enjoyable start to the day.

After breakfast, I put on my Wonderbolt costume and as we were walking to the hotel, my wing tore off.  There were some people outside one of the restaurants that seemed to enjoy my anger and frustration, laughing and making snide remarks.  That pretty much ruined my entire day.  The crowd was just unbelievable all day.  I’m not a big crowd fan, so I was even more uneasy.  This was not a good day for me.

That night at the aquarium, I met up with Nathan Carter.  Nathan is an amazing cosplay photographer and was joy to work with.  His pictures came out just amazing.  This helped to end the day on a high note, but I was still kind of dumpy feeling.

Sunday or My Darkest Day

Some of you may know that I struggle with depression.  If you didn’t, now you do.  Sunday started off nice enough.  We people watched, tried to get into the Walk of Fame, but they were limiting the number of people in at one time because of AC issues.  No autographs for us. 

We went back through the Art Gallery and bought a few pieces.  Ran into my friend Chris and talked for a bit.  Then met up with other friends outside the area for the LOTR panel.  I wasn’t too into that panel and I was really getting tired of the volunteer yelling at people that may or may not have been lining up early to “Go Away!”.  Not “Please move along.  We’ll start the line soon.” but “Go Away!”.  Even standing on a table to yell at people.  But what else would you expect from some of the Dragon*Con volunteers?  80% are really nice, but the 20% that are jerks are really loud jerks.

I decided to walk through the crowd and take pictures.  I got two pictures and then my camera battery died.  That was it.  I just went straight back to the hotel.  At this point my depression was really kicking my ass.  I decided the best thing was to self medicate with Bourbon and take a nap until dinner.

After dinner, we got into our Star Wars costumes and went to watch the Masquerade.  Again, they had a lot of sound issues, and Grant just wasn’t that entertaining of an MC, but the costumes that won were simply awesome.

After that, we just wandered around in our costumes.  A quick impromptu lightsaber battle in front of the Marriott and then pictures at the Hyatt.  My friend Maria Hudnall got some amazing pictures of us and I am really happy with them.  We were even approached by representatives of The Dark Empire and were asked to join their costume club.  Again the day ended on a higher note than it started.  Although I did get corned by drunken hoochies that wanted a picture with “Darth Vader” and wanted to “Hold my lightsaber”.  Ugh.


We came back home Monday and sinus issues were the order of the day.

Since then

I’ve got most of everything unpacked.  I’ve spent some time recovering, cleaning and upgrading my workspace.

All in all, it was a good time, but an expensive time to just hang out with friends.  The crowd just felt too crowded at times and I’m not really sure if Dragon*Con is for me anymore.  I think the new con experience smell has worn off.

Especially now that the Dragon*Con office has made the laziest decision that they could possibly make.  For 2013, Dragon*Con memberships are non-transferable and non-refundable.  So, if I lay out the $130 for two memberships right now, and then something comes up, I’m out $130.  They had a process in place for years to transfer memberships, but it was not very effective and apparently put a heavy strain on the volunteer staff.  So, they’ve just done away with it completely.  Lazy.

Did they try to improve the process?  No.  Did they try to cap the number of pre-reg memberships any one person could buy?  No.  Did they cap the number of memberships that would be sold (allow for a sell out attendance)?  No.  Did they do away with one day only passes?  No.  Did they do anything to try and improve the process?  No.  It’s just easier to do away with it.  Nice move.  Now, they’ll continue to raise the price of memberships, like they always do and people will either be out of pocket money or have to shell out more once they know they can make it.  Seems like someone on Dragon*Con staff needs to go back to community college and take Business 101 again and listen on the topics of Process Improvement and Customer Satisfaction.  Either that or they are trying to make the con smaller by just ticking off small sections of their customers.  Could work.

As of right now, there are no plans to attend in 2013.  We are looking at other cons instead.  But as with all things, that could still change.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Time To Suit Up – Part 2 – Subject Delta


Subject Delta builds always have a lot of pieces and parts.  Typically just when I think I’m done, I look and see that I have more to do.

Helmet – Check
Drill – Check
Backpack with tanks – No-Check
Suit Patched and Weathered – No-Check
Weight Belt – Are you kidding me!  I completely forgot!  ARGH!

After I got over my fear from the failed Night Guard build, I tackled the backpack and tanks.

The 2011 model had the tanks and pack were bolted directly to the frame inside the helmet.  This added bulk and weight and made traveling with it a pain.  Since the new goals were easier and lighter, I decided to make a real pack that could be bolted directly to the helmet and removed for transport.  Given the helmet is fiberglass and Bondo, it should take the weight, as long as I keep it as low as possible.

Let’s begin with the backpack base.

Yup.  That’s a popcorn bucket lid.  It’s tin.  It’s light.  It’s just about the right size.  All I had to do was add the PVC frame and some lights.

Two of these battery powered LED strips I got on sale at Home Depot will be mounted behind the lid and provide backlighting for the Eve and health tanks.

The other tanks simply needed to be tubes.  If I could store things in them, like water bottles or spare batteries, that would be a plus.  I tried a couple of different methods before settling on:

IMAG0829                                      IMAG0830

Two Folger’s coffee cans glued together.  Light and provide storage.  I used a little fiberglass and Bondo to smooth out some seams and details, but mostly it was glue and paint.

The smaller tank is just a piece of poster board that I soaked in resin and then added a band of fiberglass to reinforce the area where the nozzle would be.

These tanks are on my back.  Very few will actually even see this.  I’m not going to waste a lot of time on these kind of details, unless I was doing this for a contest.  This is for fun.  I’m going to keep it fun.


Results after painting.  I used my same technique from last year in painting these.  Age and rust effects are fun.

Now for the Even and health.  Again, I went through a couple of tests before getting to the final version.  Mainly leak tests.

DSCN0820 (2)

Most people use hair gel for the fluid.  I’ve talked to one person that used Gator-Aid in his build (brilliant!), but I’m kind of hung up on corn syrup and food dye.

DSCN0821                          DSCN0822DSCN0823

Now time to mount the backpack.  This I couldn’t get wrong.  I had to plan it out carefully and execute it once.  There's not a lot of weight, but enough to make me a little nervous.  I epoxied a piece of 3/4” MDF to the helmet to make up the hollow in the lid and provide a little more support.  The method I chose for the actual attaching was spring hollow wall anchors and washers.  Works great.

Oh, and I did have to cut the bottom off of the PVC frame so it would all fit in the trunk. I added two PVC couplings so I can attach it and remove it as needed.

I used much hot glue in attaching these things, and they’re holding well.

Backlighting looks too cool.



Now for the suit and weight belt.  The 2011 suit was a bit small.  I ordered a Tall, but got a regular.  The 2012 is a Tall, thank heavens.  Still, I was able to recycle a lot of the bits and details for the 2011 suit to the 2012 suit, like the patches, elbow and knee pads.

One piece I really wanted to upgrade was the Eve tube that runs down Delta’s left arm.  I had it last year, but you couldn’t see it.  Blue tube on blue suit.  It should have glowed, so let’s make the 2012 upgrade glow.

I basically made a foam pad for the tube to rest on, hollowed out the middle, and filled it with LEDs.


Now the belt was going to be easy.  Foam rectangles glued to a belt and weathered with shoe polish.


There was one more piece to add.  Something to the inside shoulders of the suit:
These are two pieces of foam rounded over my shoulders.  I call it the “Notman Device” after my friend Megan Notman.  She was concerned about the weight of the helmet on my shoulders and recommended some sort of frame or padding.  This also helps raise my shoulders and takes some of the weight off my head.  Turns out using a hard hat for the base causes the weight to be transferred right to your head and neck.  Joy.

The final suit turned out really well.  Just needs some weathering.

Weathering by coffee grounds and shoe polish.  It’s subtle, but just what I was after.



All I have to do now is pack it up, travel it to Dragon*Con, and have so much fun wearing it.  If you see me, come up and say “Hi”!

Time To Suit Up – Part 1 – Wonderbolts


One of my costume plans for this year was going to be my interpretation of Princess Luna’s Night guards (a.k.a. Bat Ponies).


I had a lot of the elements built, including the helmet, which I LOVE, but things just kept going wrong with the build.  Paint not drying correctly.  Pieces warping and cracking.  Me knocking the helmet across the room.  The wings just not working no matter what I tried.  It even rained on the last build of the wings that I attempted.  If it could go wrong, it was going wrong.  I lost close to 6 months off and on work and a good 3 months solid work for all these issues, and I was still no where closer to getting it done.

Now lots of people will tell you, I am not good at taking subtle hints, but after it spontaneously rained on the wings, I started to wonder if I wasn’t supposed to do this costume.  I finally decided that I wasn’t and I shelved the whole project.

After that I was kind of frozen in place for a day.  I had messed up every part of the Night Guard.  I had some critical areas on other costumes that I had to get right.  What if I screwed them up like I did the Night Guard.  I could ruin everything.  I eventually sucked it up and moved on.  I even replaced the Night Guard with another costume:

Unnamed Wonderbolt #2
(Well, that’s what I’m calling him  Sounds better than Generic Background Wonderbolt)

This would have to be a fast and cheap build.  Time and budget are almost gone.

First, who/what are the Wonderbolts you ask.  Basically think of them as the MLP version of the Blue Angels, but they are Pegasus ponies.

Wonderbolts_Poster_S1E01     WonderBolts

The materials list was pretty simple:
Blue Jumpsuit
Yellow something for trim and detail
FunFoam/Foam Sheets/Foamies for wings

The yellow something for the trim and details would be provided by Duct Tape brand tape.  They actually make “Fashion colors and prints” of duct tape, and the yellow was actually spot on.

My process was just to lay a strip of tape onto a sheet of plastic and then use an Exacto to cut out the lightning bolt patters.

After that, it was cut it into sections, peel it off the plastic, and place it on the the jumpsuit.


The center or “belly” detail was just multiple strips of tape and then a jagged detail to make the lightning bolt look.  It was really hard to find a good reference of what the actual show look was supposed to be.  It tended to change in each image (stupid low budget show ---- I’m kidding!)


This whole process took less than two hours, and I had a pretty decent costume.

DSCN0033           DSCN0034DSCN0037

The goggles are simple a pair of ArcOne Fly goggles I picked up from Amazon.  They actually fit over my glasses and are a lot of fun.  May just have to wear them around for the heck of it sometime.


Lastly I needed the wings (oh, God, more wings!) and the mark on the hip.

Let’s start with the mark.

Now I had never paid attention to this before, but do you notice there are two different marks?  One is for a male and the other is for a female!  OK, that is a unique attention to detail.


The bolt with the wing is for a male and the lightning bolt itself is for a female.  Who knew?

Craft foam to the rescue!  Using a sheet of yellow and a sheet of white foam, I traced the outlines, cut the shapes and glued them onto the suit.  Now, yes, I could have use foam for all the duct tape details, but that time and budget thing just got in the way.

DSCN0839         DSCN0840

The cool accident here is that the glue didn’t hold well over the pocket seam, so I can still get to my front pockets.

Alright the wings…ugh.  Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Drew the shape of the wing, traced, cut and glued.


There are two layers on the front, for stability and a little depth.

Hey for about 3 hours worth of real work, I’m going to have a blast with this one.

Oh and I do have ears
courtesy of Yaya Han

A tail
courtesy of Pandora-onii-chan (actually this was for the Night Guard, but I can’t let it go to waste)

And I have a special surprise that I won’t show off until Dragon*Con.

Don’t forget to like The Real Redneck Geek on Facebook.  I post lots of WIP pictures there all the time.