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THE MAKING OF HMC part 02 - BATTLE ARLEH [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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THE MAKING OF HMC part 02 [Aug. 17th, 2009|11:05 pm]


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Now where were we? Oh yeah, Alita's smugness of accomplishment and my lack of any costume at all D:

Now that's where it all changes >:D

Yes, I actually DID something. While Alita was away in China for a week I actually got up off my lazy arse and MADE SOMETHING. WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO???

Ac-tually... I had some help with this, my dad helped me with the schematics as I am no engineer and for the life of me could not figure out how to get the wings larger than what I originally had them at. Which was pitiful small. Which is why I got them done on time and at such a large awesome size. So props to parents with power drills :D

Ignore my strange deer-in-headlights look I have going on there. The wings were then shaped and attached to two metal rods that would slide into two hollow pieces of metal tubing in the harness I would be wearing, which was a modified backpack, with added extra straps to distribute the weight of the wings more evenly. Then straps would be glued to one of the wooden panels and would be able to be grabbed by my hands, so that when i stretched out my arms like so...


And because I had hinges on the attaching joints of the wooden panels to the metal rods I could also swing the wings forward a bit for extra dexterity. Here is a lame-ass video of me showing the outward and forward movement of the wings:

So while the construction of the wings was going on I went in search of feathers. I was really hoping to be able to get them in australia as I did not want to go to the trouble to shipping them from overseas and getting them through customs. Turns out theres no shop in australia that sells feathers in bulk at a cheap price. I got my hopes up with a store called Dita Feathers in surry hills, but they mostly only provided feather boas and assorted feather pieces for drag queens and party-goers. Tell you what if you ever want a top quality feather boa in a custom colour go to them, they have quite the collection :)

So I bit the bullet and ordered two pounds of Turkey wing rounds (1 pound left, 1 pound right) from rainbowfeathers.com in Las Vegas. If you ever want to bulk order feathers I recommend you do it with these guys, they are cheap and easy to work with.

And of course it was opened by Quarantine for inspection, however it didnt even spend the day at customs before they posted it to me so I was happy. 

This is what they look like. I initially wanted to order the Hen feathers (from the female bird), as they are smaller but wider and I thought they would take up more space on the wing that way. However there were no Hen feathers in stock so I ended up ordering the Tom feathers (male birds), which turned out great anyway. I had 480 feathers all up, and pretty much used all of them. I have about 30 spare but they were the rejected feathers I didnt want to use :P

This is what they looked like before I trimmed them into shape and combed out the messy ones. I was just positioning them here to see if I would have enough, which thank god I did because it was a bit late in the game to go ordering another pound, it probably wouldnt have arrived on time anyway. A lesson to all you folks out there: order your feathers at least a month in advance. That way if you need more you have at least two weeks time to order them, instead of being rushed at the end like me D:

This next bit was a pain in the arse. I had to sort them into three piles, long, medium and short lengths, so I could use the longest feathers for the bottom row of the wings and the shorter ones for the top. This took me the better part of a night, which was so tedious that by the end of it I decided I'd put the actual glueing of the feathers on hold til later and get the bodysuit out of the way first.

This was the top half of the suit, looking a bit like something Cruella Deville would wear. It was so ridiculous-looking when I had it on that I have decided not to scare you off with pictures of me wearing it.

The sleeve, which I sewed to the armhole by hand. This stuff was HELL to sew on a sewing machine, it was way too thick to feed through properly so the foot would keep getting jammed, and the thread wouldnt take. I bought a brand new sewing machine, a Brother which was on sale at Lincraft, which was a total waste of my money. That machine is now lying in a dusty corner of my room. Lucky I could use my dad's 40 y.o. Singer, it is so old and chunky that it can punch through ANYTHING. Ah, my trusty old friend... I will never trade you in for cheap imported plastic imitations ever again <3

And these are the legs after some shaving down. I left tufts of fur so that they would look like feathers growing out, which according to Alita was good thinking by my part. Like I have said before... me: creative direction, Alita: marketing department (better known as NO YOU MAY NOT HAVE THOSE THEY ARE TOO EXPENSIVE PUT THEM BACK THIS INSTANT) :DDD

I also used this opportunity to sew the legs onto the jacket and install the zipper, so that I would have a one suit I could zip up at the front. Apparently the difficulty and uncomfortability of the plugsuit I made was not a strong enough deterrant for me, as I have somehow roped myself into making another onesuit, one thats even hotter and harder to get around in *smacks head*

Then I went onto the feet. I measured up the shape of the foot based on the very few reference pics I could find, and then cut it out of upholstery foam.

I then cut out the toes and shaved them down to a rounder, more natural shape. However I could not bare to part with my classic cosplay boots. You know those generic black boots that are almost exclusively used for your cosplays and pretty much go with everything... every cosplayer has a pair XD

So I swapped them with another pair of shoes instead.

Now some time before this Alita had been looking at my LJ friend's page and saw that I had joined a fursuit community, and had no idea why I did it and thought I was a little weird from then on. But that community actually helped me a lot in making this suit, they have so many tutorials and tips and tricks for this kind of suit. Which when you think about it, is practically a fursuit anyway lol. Thats how I found out a method for making my claws, which are dipped into a liquid called Tool Dip or Plasti-Dip. Its basically liquidi rubber that you dip the ends of your tools into so that when it sets they have a rubber coating on them that is easier to grip and handle. Its really flexible and also quite durable, the only problem I had was that unlike the awesomness that is Home Depot in America Australia only has the inferior Bunnings and Mitre 10, which only sell Tool Dip in white. Bunnings actually didnt even stock Tool Dip D:

Then I glued the toes to the shoes I selected and furred the feet. This actually turned out much bulkier than I thought, and they are not a snug fit becaue I overestimated how much fabric I would need for the feet, so I will probably go back at a later date and fix them. But for now they were fine, because the suit is so bulky itself they dont actually look out of place.

I love this stuff. This is modelling clay that can be hardened in the oven, and is what I made my claws out of. First I rolled each claw into a ball, then I rolled it slightly out to become a cylindrical shape and kept rolling at one end to get a cone, which I then curved into the shape of a claw. I then baked these in the oven (along with the rings for Howl). I then painted them with black nailpolish to give them a glossy shine.

After that I glued the claws onto the gloves I had sewn out of the leftover fur I had, which was actually quite lucky that I had any left, I only bought 2 metres and at first was all OHNOES I DUN HAVE ENUFF *CRIES* but I cut some off the bottom of the coat and the top of the pants when I sewed them together, and had JUST ENOUGH :D

Now that I had all of my suit finished I could no longer put off glueing my wings. This was the most painful and time consuming part of the costume, I was bending over so much that by the end of it my lower back felt like a slab of ground beef that someone had taken a mallet to several times over. Which is why on the day of the convention I was all quiet and unfriendly. No I'm not some cold-shouldering antisocial bitch, I was just in pain. DELICOUS PAIN.

I painted the frame of the wings black and glued a piece of black material to the required panel. I had bought 4 metres of thin black cotton, the most lightweight I could find as I didnt want the wings to be any heavier than neccessary. I then sewed this into a casing that would fit over the wings, with a slit in the side for the black material handle to come out of. I then began the long arduous task of glueing the feathers on.

Believe it or not I actually had it in mind to SEW them one individually by hand, because I am crazy and have no sense of practicality. Would I have had time? With two days til the convention? I think not.

This is when I went out and bought myself my very first hot glue gun. OMG YU GAIS WHY DIDNT I EVER GET ONE EARLIER??? All this time I have been SLAVING away doing things properly when I could have been using the magic that is hot glue and making easy slap-dash FAST cosplays, where I would GET SOME SLEEP before a convention :(

So with the aid of a glue gun things went much faster. But still slow as hell. Guh. And this is when I cursed myself for the 50th time for always wanting to do "awesome totally cool technical cosplays that are full of win". That make me cry. And get no sleep. One of these days I'm going to keel over and die, and they will mourn me as being the only known cosplay-related death in history.

So after much glueing and whining on my part I give you...


And here is a short video of the wings opening and closing with the feathers, which turned out better than I thought. I was worried they wouldnt close at all once I had glued the feathers on...

This is what they ended up looking like from the back on the day:

Hmmmm not as messy as I thought. EK-SELLENT MOO HA HA HA...

Anyway, all that was left was to glue some turkey flats (the soft feathery feathers at the top) to the ridge  of the wing and I was DONE.

...until I remembered the wig.

At 3am in the morning.


This... actually looks BETTER than what it looked like before. Alita had so graciously tried to help me with my wig by spraying it into oblivion, by the time she was done it looked like Edward Scissorhands GONE WRONG. I wish I'd taken a photo, that shit was kind of funny in a desperate I'm-going-to-cry-soon kind of way. At 4am she then went up to bed to get some well-earned rest, while I was condemned to slave away the next few hours figuring out how not to make myself look like a crazy bag lady. I fixed this by chopping up the wig and glueing feathers into it, so it looked more like the reference picture and less straight-out-of-the-mental-asylum. You'll notice that it is daylight in that above picture. Guess when this was taken? Yeah thats right, 7am in the FREAKING MORNING, on the day of the convention. I got 2 hrs sleep D:<

Later at the convention I then used liquid latex to attach some small feathers to my face, which you can kind of see in this picture here. And my costume was then done, ready for me to traipse around and look like a fool :D

I pretty much looked ridiculous the whole day and was uncomfortable to boot, but it was hilarious seeing people's reactions to me. There were so many wtf faces that by the end of the day I couldnt help cracking up whenever someone would hesitantly ask me for a photo. I may look like a crazed savage but no, I dont bite :)

All in all I was happy with the costume I made, but so thoroughly exhausted by it that I will hopefully think twice about trying something like this again. Especially in my FINAL YEAR OF UNI ARRRRGH.


 I'm still waiting on waiting on alita_b_angel to post a con report for SMASH before I do a MAKING OF post for that. So if you guys are interested in seeing that go bug her! :DWe still havent taken a proper photo shoot of this costume and alita's wizard Howl, as this is going to take one hell of a photographer to not make me look like the giant fat gorilla/chicken mutant with wings that I am. So we've put that on hold till we can find someone brave enough to have a go :D however I did get one awesome photo out of the lot, and this I leave you with:

Til next time, which will be hopefully soon *looks pointedly at alita*

[User Picture]From: alita_b_angel
2009-08-17 10:40 pm (UTC)
SHHHH. Smash is coming. Sort of.

Sorttt. Of.


I liked how you phrased this bit:
This next bit was a pain in the arse. I had to sort them into three piles, long, medium and short lengths, so I could use the longest feathers for the bottom row of the wings and the shorter ones for the top. This took me the better part of a night, which was so tedious that by the end of it I decided I'd put the actual glueing of the feathers on hold til later and get the bodysuit out of the way first.


AS a witness I thought you had more trouble doing the bodysuit than the feathers on the wings personally. Since they were relatively fast.

You just didn't think to SIT properly doing that instead of bending over the goddamn table for all of the night.

We should hit up people for photoshoot. After Defqon should be PRIME photoshoot season.
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[User Picture]From: arlo_arleh
2009-08-18 03:28 am (UTC)
I tried sitting but it was more awkward than standing as the table was at an uncomfortable height and I couldn't sit properly DUH. Plus it was faster work if I stood.
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: arlo_arleh
2009-08-18 03:28 am (UTC)
Thankyou :P
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