Tag Archives: props

Haven Editorial: Cosplay is good

Cosplay is to me a wholesome activity, that promotes creativity and fun. For people of all ages. Children love to play dress up, Halloween promotes it and we have a similar tradition in Norway, only with singing for candy on new years eve. Not to mention that people love to host costume parties and masquerade balls. There is also a lot more kinky ways to use a tantalizing costume. Cosplay is short for costume fun and that’s the main point.

However there are also several unintended benefits in the recent and increased popularity. A lot of old crafts was about to die out, due to mass production and few career prospects. It used to be a common profession to sew custom clothes, such as fancy, frilly party dresses and such. There is only so many tailors and seamstress the community can keep aloft, when anyone can buy a suit at a mall. Mass producing cosplay is virtually impossible. Since there are millions of characters to pick from and they all have something unique about them. Which is quite awesome indeed. There is an old saying that goes «If you want something done right, do it yourself». Creating a costume is hard work and a real mental challenge, that forces the one making it to think about the best approach. Both when it comes to picking materials and when it comes to assembly.

Let’s face it. Everything is possible on a 3d model, or in an animated show. Because it is not real. Creating cosplay is all about making it real. Which requires a sound mind and some insanity. Since it is a common fact that big shoulder plates will never stay in place and that female clothing is not designed to stay on. Personal I use the term practical problem solving. Challenges is a part of life, but creative crafting is a way to overcome that. Most costumes includes many intricate sewing patterns, fancy fabric and a lot of armour pieces. Due to the decline of old professions a lot of the knowledge needed has to searched for online, due to a lack of good mentor figures. Sure a lot of it can be searched for online, but for the most of us we learn by trying. On a side note, its a very common thing for people being too hung up on collecting reference materials, you know downloading a ton of character pictures onto a hard drive. Then to never interact with the pictures again. Anyhow, crafting armour, making weapons and intricate , all requires crafting. Which also teaches people to use tools and think for themselves. This in turn makes a person more independent. Apparently a lot of people does not know how to do minor maintenance at home, or own a hammer.

Another positive effect cosplay has on people, is the ability to make friends and boost self confidence. It is quite a challenge to walk around in a costume, where everyone will look and admire you. Meeting new people is also easier when one have something in common. It breaks the ice. Plus all the professional venues has a zero drug and no alcohol policy. let’s face it, many people have a very difficult time being around other people or initiate a conversation, it’s a surprisingly good ice breaker. Cosplay is also starting to become a viable way to sustain oneself. Such as winning price money. Live streaming the prop making progress. Which is what I do. There is also a market in selling products to people who lack the patience or the skill to do it themselves. On top of that there is a huge market itself in selling materials to create a costume from. Most of the more exotic martial I use is only sold online and shipped from abroad.

Personally I love crafting costume props and make them work. Which is why I stream the creative process several times during each week.
https://www.twitch.tv/zaceron

Njål Sand

Haven Editorial: Xin Zhao Cosplay and Photo Shoot

Xin Zhao Cosplay

River gank! http://www.photo.yngvehegreberg.com/Archive/Cosplay/Xin-Zhao-June-2016/

 

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Make a paper measurement!

I have come to the conclusion that I suffer from chronic creativity. After a while I just have to make things, I just cant help myself. Incidentally this is why I also draw comics, game art and do cosplay, which is the topic of this post. League of Legends is a game with many colorful and unique heroes, Xin Xhao is one of those. He is a man whom likes to stab people in the face as he comes leaping from the jungle. However more often then not, he dies brutally. The reason fro this is that most Xin players are very inexperienced at playing ranked. People whom die a lot, never climbs to the top.

Evafoam is cheap and handy!

Copslay is a slow and meticulous process of converting an absurd game character into a costume that works in the real world. However most such characters are just too insanely improbable to actually bring anywhere, if I somehow succeed in making them. Ergo I went for the cheap solution. One of Xin’s skins is called Secret Agent. The name says it all. He runs around in a snazzy suit with a collapsible spear, that looks like a real mean trident if anything. So I made his spear. Which is mostly what I will be covering in this post along with my photo shoot.

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The pointy part of the spear!

A spear is a long staff with a sharp point at the end. Normally this is just a single triangular point made of metal. However designers such as myself think this is to simple and not very visually interesting. Therefor they made this thing!

The skin ingame!

In order to replicate this creation, I managed to salvage an old traffic sings I found in a ditch, after all an appropriately large iron plate is needed. Due to wear, tear and rust, most such signs are made from aluminum, which make the material easy to cut with a jigsaw and at the same time makes it a nightmare to polish.

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The iron part on each side!

Which brings me to another problem. A spear like this is not convention friendly at all. After all it is considered a weapon and will probably poke someones eye out, though I have to admit that my foot is more dangerous that this dull poker. Unless I want to introduce blunt trauma to someone. Originally I made the tip in eveafoam, but it became to flimsy, due to the insane size. Which meant that I had to shrink it a lot.

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The first version was huge and squashy!

The recall animation shows him collapsing the spear into a suitcase, this is rather improbable and cumbersome to achieve. But the tip does fit into a case and I made a staff I could screw together, however that one still needs a lot of work in order to knock out the kinks. It will not be covered in this article.

Due to the materials and tools involved some patience and elbow-grease is needed.
Such as a jigsaw with metal cutting blades, they are the kind with flat teeth.

 

* A rotary tool, with a cutting disc bit and an iron drill bit.
* Wooden staff, such as a long broom handle.
* Evafoam
* Metal plate
* Ducktape
* Screws
* Styrofoam
* Fridge magnets
* Spray paint
* Glue

naturally the first step is to measure everything to make sure it adds up. After going over those measurements at least twice on a sheet of paper, I cut it out and made it stick to the metal surface, so that I could trace it with a marker pen. One wrong cut is all it takes to ruin the material. After I cut out the shape. I covered the edges in tape, so that the color would not spill. The next part was to cut out a metal plate for the left and right side, in order to sandwich the pole and the tip in between. Then I had to drill holes for the screws. For all intensive purposes the spear is most real. As seen on the picture there are two blue things on each side. The only thing I found that would fit was some refrigerator magnets. Those got painted blue and was glued with superglue onto the surface.

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The collapsible version!

The evafoam was made into several triangles to sandwich between the thin metal and the wooden staff. Later I proceeded to cover the pole in ducktape in order to simulate iron, The black parts are ducktape as well. At the bottom I made a square made of Styrofoam, which I painted black. In the original there are two sharp pointy bits at the bottom. But I deemed those too dangerous, the idea is indeed to use it on stage and I would not dare to give it a twirl with those on.

The most dandy and handy tool to get!

For more cosplay and props, here is my cosplay page
https://www.facebook.com/SandCos/

A photo shoot gallery of the cosplay so far, it was a novel experience!
http://www.photo.yngvehegreberg.com/Archive/Cosplay/Xin-Zhao-June-2016/
A
ll cosplay photos are taken by Yngve Hegreberg!

Njål H Sand

Nerd Editorial: How to Make a Chainsaw Sword

How to make a chainsaw sword in several steps

chainsaw sword
There are many like it, but this one is mine!

Since this is a page about Otaku related content, I have decided to make a tutorial on how I made made a quite decent prop from eva foam. First of all, evafoam is a lightweight spongy material that is wildly used for training maths. So it is easy to find in stores. Due to pricing and availability it’s become the favorite material to make cosplay props in. Another benefit is that the only way to kill someone with the material is to choke them to death. In other words, it’s very safe, soft and quite convention friendly.

Usefull tools of the trade:

Scissor

Knife
Multitool machine

Sandpaper

Ruler

Glue

Ductape

Feltpen

Paper

Craftfoam

Evafoam

Cardboard Cylinder

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Polishing away the studs on the back.

Step one is to get some good reference pictures such as this one. Also depending on your skill with a pencil, it’s often very practical to sketch down the idea first and think of a way to assemble it. Paper is a very good place to figure out the size and what goes where. The felt marker I use to draw on the foam, since it leaves no indentations in the surface and is easy to cover with paint. One important thing to know about most evafoam mats, is that underside is filled with studs. This is where the multi-tool comes into play. I simply polish them away, leaving behind a clean and straight surface, which makes them stack better. To make edges and make objects round and smooth I utilize knives to cut diagonally, then proceed to clean up the edges with sandpaper.

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Initial sketches!

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Initial sketches.

As you can see here, I start off with various hand drawn illustrations to get the size right. Then I cut out the pieces and put them on top of the material. Where I then circle the cutout with the marker so that I know where to cut.

Craftfoam is not quite unlike evafoam, only thinner and comes in smaller sheets.

The concept I work around is to make the frame and then sandwich the saw teeth inbetween. In order to make sure the coat of glue I added will stick, is to put something flat and heavy on top. Putting downwards pressure for an hour or so.

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My version of the saw teeth.

The most sensible thing to do that I don’t do often enough is to paint each piece by themselves, before I assemble. This usually makes the result better and I don’t have to cover up other parts of the surface with tape, in order to prevent the color from bleeding. Blue is after all supposed to go where blue goes and gold where I want it to go.

Another very important thing to note I found out the hard way. Washing ones hands and waiting for the paint to dry is a very good habit. Paint will get stuck on various surfaces and nothing annoys me more than unwanted gold fingerprints on my blue paintjob. Plus it sticks to clothes and leather/ pleather, that I use for the grip. Besides the surface needs at least 3 or 4 rounds of coating.

Here is a clue when it comes to using glue. Gluegun is an all time favorite, however it is very messy and will probably dissolve in heat. Superglue just gets absorbed into the material and stick to the fingers. Its also expensive and comes in small tubes. Though I recommend combining various types of glue.

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A cardboard tube used as a grip!

In order to assemble this construct I based it on sword smiting. A sword is composed of the cutting part, a hand guard, grip and pommel. In order to do this I put a bamboo pole in the middle, then I attach the armguard. After that I put some foam pieces into cylinder and wrap the leather strips on the outside. The cylinder in questions I got from a grocery-store, when the plastic bag dispensers are empty, there leave behind a solid cardbard tube

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Leather wrapped cardboard tube and arm guard.

 

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Bamboo pole as the core.

Then comes the hard part. I decided to cut the armguard as one piece, which I bent in two places. However in order to make the glue keep the foam in place, it has to be wedged between a heavy thing and the wall. The pommel is the object on the bottom that work as a tightening screw. I’m not happy with the shape yet though. This is only the second prototype.

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An assembly test, to see if it comes together right.
Engraving and small details I do with the multitool, I had the misfortune of having the first one die on me, so I had to replace it with a bigger and slightly better one. So far the Dremel is not too shabby. As you can see here I have engraved some bastardized Latin onto the side, it roughly translate to the Empire is eternally vigilant.

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Engravings on the side, i’m not skilled enough for that yet!

 

 

 

 
My cosplay page!
https://www.facebook.com/SandCos/

Njål H Sand