Monday, September 30, 2013

Embracing Dragon Age

I won't be spittin' nerdy health truths today. I'm actually going to be sharing some progress on my current cosplay project! I've been sharing it on the Project Reroll facebook fan page, so go like it if you want geeky updates on health, fitness, and my latest cosplay projects. 

I never would have imagined that I would be creating an elf costume a year ago because I never would have thought I could pull one of the long, lithe creatures off. I'm in no way in perfect shape, but I'm close enough to my goal that I wanted to enjoy my new body and start to embody some of my favorite video game characters.

My favorite game series of all time is Dragon Age. I also loved Felicia Day's webseries "Dragon Age: Redemption" which focused on Tallis, an elf assassin serving the Qun. The costume was designed for the webseries by Greg Aranowitz and then Felicia and the costume were put into the game in the DLC Mark of the Assassin. He chronicled the whole process on his blog. She's a passionate, feisty, redheaded elf rogue with witty quips and flirtations galore. She was made for me! Plus, when I found out that Felicia was going to be attending NYCC, I figured it was the perfect kick in the pants to get started. Plus, maybe I can get her to sign a part of the costume! That would be pretty epic, I think!

Luckily they released a detailed picture of the costume pieces a while back so I've been using that, screen grabs of Felicia from the series, and screen caps from the game to create the costume. This is by far the most complicated thing I've ever attempted. The only things I'm not making from scratch are the leggings, the boots I put my boot covers over, my money purse, and the gloves. The main materials are some dark green wool/cashmere cloth for the hood and some details, leather cords, some fake leather for the boot covers, and a lot of worbla painted with gesso and acrylic paint. There are also a lot of sundry detail stuff like studs and rhinestones and grommets, etc. Everything is being hand sewn and/or hot glued. 

To start out I had to make a mold. Correction, I had to get my friend Steven to wrap me in saran wrap and then carefully apply duct tape to create a mold of my body. 

Then I used that to make my pattern and mold my worbla over it. Worbla is a thermoplastic substance that you can use a heat gun to shape. When it cools, it holds the shape. I had to make the back and front of the armor, the leg guards, the daggers, and the hand guards out of it. 

Then I added the details like buckles for the straps and grommets for corset strings to be threaded through.

Then the long arduous process of gesso, sanding, and acrylic (making it look like green leather) began. My kingdom for an electric sander. I was more sore from that than I've been from push-ups in a LONG time. 

Then came the leather work! This included some sewing and hot gluing. I'm pretty proud of the belt and the boot covers didn't come out half bad! I still need to so some dry brushing with light brown paint on the boots and the shoulder guards, which are still being broken in.

As I complete pieces, my house is turning into an armor wrack. I'm sort of fine with that!

There are still some details left to do and of course the hood, but as you can see, it's really coming together! I'll certainly need help getting in an out of it, but I'm totally on schedule to finish on time. For a while there I was so frustrated with simply molding the front of the chest plate and the back that I considered throwing in the towel and waiting to make this for PAX East this year, but after a while, I just went balls deep and got to work. I've had a lot of help from friends. Mainly Chris (who sold me his extra worbla), Steven who's helped with the mold, and my room mate Joey who's not only had to put up with a string of obscenities flowing from the living room as I burn myself, cut myself, chase the cat away from the gesso, and discover problems, but also helped out with a lot of operations that required more than two hands to pull off. It was also cool to get some support from the @dragonage twitter account when I first posted my progress photos!

Soon, I'll be given all of NYCC the full on Tallis, but for now, it's grocery shopping, my weekly Paleo cook-a-thon, and then back to my workshop to continue work on this costume (aka, my living room)! This has taken countless hours to pull off and will take more than a few more before I'm ready to premiere it  October 11th. Focusing on this project has kept me away from snacks and totally focused on Whole30, partially because I don't have time for anything else and also because I want to look good! Obviously I fit this to my body mold EXACTLY. There's no room for weight gain here! That's like, trial by fire! 

If there's anyone out there planning to attend NYCC, let me know! I'd love to meet up with any Slayers out there who want to chat! I'll be tweeting from the @projectreroll and @annerichmond twitter accounts while I'm there so come find me!

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