Monday, June 9, 2008

Soul Calibur - Ashlotte

June 17, 2008
Well, the internet went out, which was perfect because it meant I wasn't distracted and got to focus on cosplay! The same night I posted the first update on this costume I went on to make a corset underlayer for the bodice so that I'd have the "android-perfect" torso. Instead of spending allot of money and time waiting on steel boning, I finally got to try out cable ties as corset boning. I have to say, they actually work pretty well! It's not as supportive as steel, and even doubled up in each channel it still has a bit of give, but it's definitely a good alternative to steel, and it's 100 times better than the poly dress boning you can get from the fabric stores. I had the boning channels right next to one another to give it a bit more firmness, too. I think I'll be using cable ties for cosplay boning from now on, and keep the steel for heavy duty corsetry like what's needed under court gowns and such. I definitely recommend cable ties for boned bodices, though!
Since I can't get into town to get the red floral fabric that I'll need to line the jumper, I moved on to working on the armour. I started cutting up the duct tape torso that I made as the base for the breastplate, and I attached craft foam to the base with hot glue. I was pretty pleased with the results at first, but now I'm reconsidering. I tried to give a plastic-y finish to the first couple of pieces with shrink wrap and spray-on adhesive, but the results were less that spectacular. I ended up going through at least three feet of shrink wrap, and I tore up all the craft foam that I'd originally covered the pieces with before I finally conceded that it wasn't going to work.
But, all in all I'm pleased with my progress. I've managed to complete her jointed android hands using Amethyst Angel's automail pattern and her video tutorials to know how to put it all together. I used craft foam, which I coated about three-hundred times with a 1/1 glue/water mixture to seal it for painting. To get the pearl white metallic look of Ashlotte's armour I used Dazzling Metallics Elegant Finish in, what else, "Pearl White". It's just plain ol' acrylic paint from the craft section in Michael's, which I got on sale for 20¢. The stuff's pretty thin, though, so it takes several coats for it to look good, but I really like the finished colour, it's exactly what I wanted.
I attached all the finger sections to a pair of old opera-length polyester gloves that were languishing in one of my dresser drawers. The gloves were originally white, but since Ashlotte seems to have gold joints between her finger sections, I spray painted the gloves with a metallic gold spray paint that I had on hand. The colour dulled down on the fabric, which was what I was hoping would happen since the originally doesn't seem to be such a shiny over-the-top gold colour. Since I took the pics below I've added on another section to the thumb and a large panel onto the back of the hand which the hand guard will be attached to.
As for the rest of the armour, everything is still in its base form right now, meaning it's still all made of paper and duct tape. I've managed to hammer out the left forearm and the elbow guard, and I'll probably have the right arm base done in the next few days.
Even though I kept saying that I didn't want to resort to using Wonderflex (hence all the experimenting with shrink wrap and craft foam), I think that I've run out of options. I just can't get the finish I want with craft foam, and craft foam doesn't conform to curves as well as Wonderflex would. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to wait to order it until I have a job again, because the stuff is bloody expensive and I'd need quite a bit of it, not to mention a tub of Friendly Plastic to make the whole thing smooth. So for now I'll have to be content with making molds for everything so that when I am able to order some Wonderflex, I'll be able to dive right into armour making without any delay.
Besides armour, I've also started on her weapon. I may even end up ordering some styrene to get the proper finish, since, once again, the foam board I used to make the base of the weapon won't give me the look I'm going for. I'm almost tempted to try shrink wrapping again, even though I know it won't work. I should just pack away the remaining shrink wrap so I don't consider it anymore. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the weapon, so you'll just have to wait until my next update.
Pics below, top row, left to right -
The corset underlayer. It's made from a layer of lightweight cotton that was cut to the same pattern as the bodice of the jumper and boned with cable ties cut to length, doubled up in each boning channel. And yes, one side is cut higher than the other, but since it'll be sandwiched between two layers of fabric I don't really care.
The second pic is the first piece of the breastplate that's been covered with foam. As you can see, it doesn't exactly look all smooth and sleek like armour is supposed to, which is why I'm going to start over with Wonderflex.
Last pic is of all the finger pieces for the armour hands. Each row has the fingers for both the left and right hands. At that stage they were just plain old craft foam, sealed with the glue/water mixture.
Below, the finished android hands. Each finger piece has been painted with the pearl white acrylic paint, and each section was individually glued onto the gloves. The gloves themselves are just cheap-o polyester opera gloves that have been spray painted with metallic gold. The hands aren't exactly like Ashlotte's, but I'm still really, really pleased with them.

June 9, 2008

Seeing as A-fest is a mere three months away, I've started on my biggest cosplay now. When I saw the sneak-peak screenshots of Ashlotte from Soul Calibur I instantly fell in love.
I started working on it just today, when I realized that I already had the perfect fabric for her underbust jumper in my fabric stash. It was a crinkled black latex that I bought ages and ages ago for a Kadaj cosplay that never got off the ground after I decided the fabric wasn't the right choice after all. It languished in my fabric pile for over a year before I came upon this wonderful cosplay opportunity.
I spent the better part of the day drafting out a pattern and cutting out the latex pieces. I'm still not quite sure on the pattern in the back since the costume does some weird layering thing that I haven't quite figured out yet, but the front and side are looking good, and I've already added some of the detail work.
I also started on the chest pieces to give the android look that I'll need. I made a duct tape double of my chest (which was an interesting exercise involving Seran wrap, painters tape, and duct tape) which I plan to use later as a base or pattern for the craft foam armour.
I'm actually really excited about working on the armour for the hands. I've always wanted to tackle a project like that, just to see if I could do it, and now I actually have a project that calls for it!
For her cage hoop I plan on using copper tubing from the plumbing section of Home may be a bit expensive, but I'll be able to get the write diameter, and I wouldn't have to worry about it getting out of shape like I would with another material like hoop boning or lumber strapping.
I'm pretty confident with how it's going so far. (Even if it has only been one day since I started.) Below are some in-progress pics of the jumper and the duct-tape chest armour.

1 comment:

  1. ooh... its looking good so far. i'm considering this costume too, but it might be a little above my skill level for now. good luck to you!