As if I didn’t like Minecraft enough already, now I like it even more. Watch Craig Ferguson’s interview with Minecraft creator Markus Persson (aka Notch) on the Late Late Show.
Now that Pokémon X and Y is out, I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of this…
Have you seen the new music video by the Barenaked Ladies? If you are familiar with the cast of Roosterteeth, you might see some familiar faces. The Barenaked Ladies teamed up with Roosterteeth to create the music video for their new single “Odds Are”. The song comes from their latest album Grinning Streak, which was released back in June.
With all the new game consoles coming out in the coming year, I couldn’t help sharing this.
How many consoles did you grow up with from this list? I counted 14 myself.
San Diego Comic Con is one of the many things I look forward to when summer comes around. This year I was fortunate enough to get a 4 day pass with preview night! After putting the finishing touches on my Princess Leia costume and replenishing my makeup supplies for my Cortana costume, I was ready for anything.
Preview Night (Wednesday)
Preview night was just the beginning of the craziness. This was my first time going to preview night, and I was not prepared. It was a lot like shopping on Black Friday… only there were freebies left and right. I didn’t stay long knowing that Thursday would be a long day. After walking the show floor and finding all my favorite booths, I was ready to go.
Day 1 (Thursday)
343 Industries was holding a Halo Panel Thursday morning, which meant Cortana had to make an appearance. Unfortunately that also meant getting up at 4:00am to make sure Cortana made it out the door in time. But it was well worth the lack of sleep.
At the panel I ran across a whole section of 405th members dressed in armor. The panel itself was good, although sadly there was no information about Halo 5 or the Halo TV series planned for Xbox One (guess we will just have to wait for news on that). There was a lot of discussion about the new Spartan Assault game as well as the new Halo comic book series being produced by Dark Horse, both of which look incredible. After the panel, the people dressed in Halo costumes were invited to take a group photo with Frank O’Conner and the other panel members.
At the end of the panel, we were informed of a Halo Scavenger Hunt occurring at Comic Con. On the show floor there were various booths with exclusive Halo pins to collect. Each booth only had 500 to give out each day. After taking photos, I joined a group of 405th members who decided to go as a group (and in costume) to collect all of the pins. Imagine 15 Spartans, 1 Cortana, and about 7 handlers, trying to stay as a group on the Comic Con Show Floor. It was nuts! But totally fun. The Spartans who had weapons held them in the air for those in the back of the line to follow. After successfully collecting all but 1 pin, we took a much needed break outside (although not all of us seemed to need a break…).
Day 2 (Friday)
Friday was a pretty laid back day. Traditionally, Friday is Star Wars Day at Comic Con, so it was the perfect day to showcase my Slave Leia costume. The costume was a huge success (and no major wardrobe malfunctions!). The big agenda for Friday was attending the Assassin’s Creed panel. To make sure we got seats for the panel, we got into the room early and planned to sit though whatever panel was set just before Assassin’s Creed. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was a panel for The 100, a new TV series set to come out later this year. It looks really good! Imagine Lost, Lord of the Flies, and Battle Star Galactica all mixed into one show.
Day 3 (Saturday)
Saturday was another jam-packed day. The 405th was having a group photo shoot, which meant Cortana had to wake up at 4:00am again. It worked out perfectly because Major Nelson was hosting a Xbox One panel that morning (how could Cortana miss that?).
The panel was full of new information about the Xbox One which got me even more excited to play one. First and foremost, it was confirmed that the Kinect has been improved and will work in considerably smaller spaces (which is fantastic seeing as you need an empty house to make the current Kinect work…). Kinect will also be able to use face recognition to adjust the games controls to your specific needs. This means you won’t have to go into the game settings to switch off inverted after a friend uses your controller. One final announcement at the panel was the ability to record and upload in-game footage. Simply say “Xbox Record” and the Xbox One will record the last 30 seconds of gameplay footage and save it to your hard drive. You can then upload the clip to Youtube or other social meadia sites.
After the Halo Panel, the 405th members met up outside of the convention center for the group photo shoot. While there, we also had the privilege of be shot by a few other photographers passing by. One such photographer was Deb Anderson from DebShots who took a fantastic photo of my Cortana costume next to another 405th member dressed as Master Chief. The photo was later posted on Halo Waypoint as well as Halo’s Facebook Page where it received over 25,000 Likes!
Day 4 (Sunday)
I was sad to see the last day of Comic Con come, I wasn’t ready for it to end. Sunday is Kid’s Day at Comic Con, so there weren’t any panels I was interested in attending. Instead I got in touch with DebShots and asked if she would be interested in taking photos of me in my Slave Leia cosplay. She was very interested and arranged to meet me in the morning. I also had the opportunity to take photos with a few other photographers as well.
After taking photos, I made one more lap around the show floor to see any last few things I had missed and then it was back to the Xbox Lounge for the Project Spark demo. Project Spark is a game which allows players to build and create their own video game. Players can construct their own world, add animals and characters, program how they move or interact with the world, and create game objectives and a background story. Worlds that players create can then be shared with others players. The demo was fun to watch and I can’t wait for the game to be released.
There was plenty more to see and do at Comic Con this year. To see my full adventure, be sure to check out the pictures in my Photo Gallery!
I put off finishing the bikini as long as possible because the last step involved sewing (my favorite….), but as the last weekend before Comic Con approached, I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. Thankfully my favorite seamstress (my Mom) was willing to help.
She did however refuse to sew the skirt for me (darn it!). She insisted that I was fully capable of sewing it myself with a bit of help. Her confidence in my ability however was misplaced. That became apparent when, just as we were finishing the skirt, the sewing machine began to smoke and the smell of melted plastic filled the room… I swear, I didn’t do it! The costume was just too hot for the machine to handle.
Thankfully after opening the machine up, nothing looked permanently damaged and it was still able to run. So we quickly closed the machine and finished sewing the last few seams before it decided to catch fire again.
The skirt was made using a burgundy satin material which we scrunched up at top to give it a ruffled look. To attach the skirt to the plates, we sewed on a strip of Velcro to the front of the skirt and epoxied the other half of the Velcro to the inside of the plate. I also sewed elastic between the plates to hold them together.
And of course my Princess Leia costume couldn’t be complete without her hair accessories. To makes these, I used craft foam as I had done for the bikini bottoms. However, in the movie the hair pieces have a slight curve to them. Instead of gluing wire to the back to hold the curved shape, I decided to try a different method. After cutting out the shape, I heated the foam over the stove until it was hot and floppy. I then molded the foam over a glass bowl to give it a curve. Once the foam cooled, it held the curved shape. I then continued to add detail using Mason Line, 3-D fabric paint, and hot glue. In order to keep the piece in my hair, I epoxied a hair clip to the back after I had finished painting.
And after 6 months of planning and 2 months of work, the costume is done! Check out my Photo Gallery to see addition pictures of the build process and look for my next post with pictures from Comic Con!
Having finished the bikini top, I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to make the metal plates for the lower half of my costume. I had already ruled out using polymer clay, so I looked for alternative ideas. After a bit of searching I ran across a tutorial for how to make costume armor out of craft foam. It seemed like a great idea and the materials needed were cheap enough that I could afford failure.
I started by cutting the plates out of foam. I found a printable tracer for the plates on the Slave Bikini Builders Yahoo Group (listed under Files). The tracer wasn’t quite big enough when printed, but it gave me the general shape I needed.
To add detail to the armor, the tutorial recommended using 3-D fabric paint, but after testing it out on some scrap foam I decided the detail wouldn’t be raised enough for the look I wanted. So instead I used Tacky Glue and Mason Line to give the detail more height and then traced over lines with the 3-D fabric paint to give it a smooth finish. Once the paint was dry, I filled a few sections with hot glue and texturized it just as I had done with the bikini top. To finish the piece, I painted any exposed parts of foam with watered down Elmer’s Glue. This smoothed out any uneven spots of glue as well as sealed the foam to making it ready for paint.
Once all the detail work was done, I got started on the strapping. I took a piece of the sturdy wire used for the bikini top and formed an oval shape to fit the width of the plate. I then hot glued the wire to the plate, leaving the two ends exposed so I could attach the straps. But after testing my idea a bit, I realized that there was a flaw in this plan. The hot glue was not strong enough to keep the wire attached to the foam. After a few test runs, the foam began to separate. Thankfully the problem was solved with a bit of epoxy around the areas with the most tension. After that, the pieces were done and ready for paint
After about a weeks of work constructing the frame for my metal bikini, I was done and ready to paint the top. I had a hard time deciding what paint to use for the costume. I was looking for something that would stick well to plastic and be flexible. I ended up picking Design Master’s Premium Metallic Spray Paint in their bronze color. I had read that this paint is typically used to spray paint flowers and it sticks to almost any surface, so I figured it must be good enough for my costume.
Although I am happy with how the color tuned out, the paint itself did not work quite as well as I was expecting. With just a little bit of flexing, the paint has already begun to crack and small bits are flaking off. It’s possible that it is my fault, I did not paint the frame with a primer first (what do I know…). The paint is sticking well enough to make it through Comic Con, but I will likely repaint it again later.
After painting the frame, my next step was to add the fabric. My original plan was to sew something that I could easily take off to wash, but as I have said before I am terrible at sewing, so that idea was a failure right from the start. Time for plan B… more hot glue! I found Lycra Spandex in a dark green color at my local fabric store. I then cut 2 pieces of fabric large enough to fit on the inside of the frame and began to hot glue around the edges (I did not hot glue the center squiggle in place because I was afraid it wouldn’t look right when the material stretches). I made sure the fabric was a bit concave so there was enough room for “the girls”. This step was a bit tricky because I didn’t want the fabric to look wrinkled when I wore it, but if I made it too flat I would have a wardrobe malfunction for sure. Thankfully I bought plenty of fabric that I could redo it a few times until I got it right.
I’ve wanted to cosplay as Princess Leia for ages, and how could I not pick her iconic look in Return of the Jedi. But buying a premade costume from Leia’s Metal Bikini was just too expensive. Plus it is much more rewarding to make my own costumes. And so I set off on my next big project.
But before I could get started making the costume, I had to figure out what the heck to make it out of. As always, the internet is full of ideas, but nothing I found satisfied my needs. I needed something that would survive Comic Con, which meant the costume needed to be sturdy and flexible. Polymer clay would snap too easily, foam clay would crack and fall apart with use, using actual metal would just be too difficult… nothing seemed to work. So I put my costume plans on hold until I found a solution.
A few months later, I came across a tutorial for how to make Harry Potter Wizard Wands out of hot glue. After a little thought I realized that hot glue would be the perfect material to use for my metal bikini. Its sturdy and flexible. And if I make a mistake I can just melt it and redo it.
I started to make the bikini top by creating a bra frame. I used 1/4″ clear plastic tubing with a sturdy wire in the middle. This allowed me to create a frame that would hold its shape as I hot glued the exterior.
I visualized Leia’s top as having 4 distinct sections (the outside frame that wraps around Leia’s boobs, the bottom frame which wraps around to her back, the U shape in the front for her cleavage, and the two squiggles that are in the middle of each boob). With that in mind, I created each section one at a time and hot glued them together to create the final structure. After forming each part with the tubing and wire, I encased the whole frame in hot glue. To make sure the pieces did not move as I was hot gluing them together, I tied each piece in place with a bit of craft wire (I removed the wire once there was enough glue to keep it from moving).
As I was hot gluing each section, I would then take edge of my hot glue gun and melt any uneven spots. Once the hot glue was more or less even, I began to texturize the glue by repeatedly melting the glue with the tip of my glue gun. I did this to give the surface a more hammered look (and because there was no way to get the hot glue to look completely smooth).
All that’s left to finish the top is to paint the frame and attach the fabric. Look for my next post to see more of my progress.