Category Archives: Cortana Costume


San Diego Comic Con 2013

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)
Halo Panel343 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.

After Panel

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…).

The rest of the day was spent relaxing in the Halo Lounge and testing out the Spartan Assault game on the Windows Phone and Surface Pro. It runs beautifully!

Day 2 (Friday)
Slave LeiaFriday 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.

The Assassin’s Creed panel was interesting. Ubisoft showed a bit of gameplay footage which looks fantastic. Also in the Q&A portion of the panel, there were some interesting revelations. Ubisoft clarified that Desmond’s story is in fact over and that Black Flag will take us back to Abstergo as a company employee. You will however still see some of the characters from the previous games and there is a lot of side content regarding Desmond’s legacy which can be discovered when exploring the present day world. But I think I am more excited to play as a kick ass pirate assassin.

Day 3 (Saturday)
405thSaturday 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?).

Debshot 3

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)
Leia 1 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!

Halo 4 Midnight Release

Time for the post I’m sure everyone has been waiting for! Details on the Halo 4 Midnight Release and the final reveal of my completed Cortana costume! But wait, what about the Master Chief costume? Well, unfortunately the Spartan Armor had a bit of an irreparable catastrophe right at the last minute, leaving it unusable. As heart breaking as it was, we made the decision to just use the Cortana costume for this event and try to make the Master Chief costume again another time (hopefully in time for San Diego Comic Con).

As fast as the weeks leading up to November 6th seemed to go by, those last few hours before the event seemed to drag on forever! It took a bit longer than I expected to get my makeup and costume looking right, leaving us to arrive at the Microsoft Store just as the doors opened. The store was packed beyond belief. As soon as I walked throught the door, heads began to turn and a sudden crowd of people gathered around me all asking to get a picture. It was quite entertaining.

I was surprised at how many people asked me if I had the costume professionally made or if I was paid to attend the event. Nope, I’m just a fan. Not that I wouldn’t love to list cosplay as my profession.

At the stroke of midnight it was finally game time! We quickly picked up our preorder and departed. I ordered the Halo 4 Limited Edition Console and my husband ordered the Limited Edition Game. As we walked to the car, I continued to get stopped for pictures. “But I have to play Halo!” I exclaimed and then agreed to take a quick picture.

Once home we quickly put in the game and began playing Campaign. I stayed up until 3:30am before finally calling it a night. My husband and his friends however stayed up until 5:00am playing. Needless to say, the following day was filled with sleeping, more Halo, and of course going to the polls to vote.


Cortana Costume – Part 5

Yes, yes, I know this update is a little late considering Halo 4 was released almost a week ago. That being said, I wanted to make sure to give one final update about the costume before the big reveal. So let’s get to it!

After finishing up the painting, I finally worked on the final details of the costume using the 3D metallic blue paint. My plan was to give the costume that “data-stream” look iconic to Cortana’s character. It was a 2 day process and required me to lay the costume flat on the floor to work on. I was terrified of messing up this final part. I had nightmares for days of me smudging the paint with my hands or of me not letting it dry completely before moving it. Luckily nothing catastrophic happened.

At last, the costume was done and all that was left was the fun part. Shoes and makeup! I fell in love with the shoes Hyokenseisou used for her costume and I decided it was a necessary purchase for my own costume. After a bit of research I ordered a pair of 7″ Clear Platform Heels from Amazon. Knowing how clumsy I am, I made sure to order a pair with ankle straps (I was afraid the shoes would not stay on my feet with the spandex costume on). I have to admit, the shoes are incredibly sexy! I can’t tell you how excited I was when they arrived.

The last step was makeup. Deciding on the makeup was tricky. I am not a makeup person to begin with, so when it comes to costume makeup I’m even more clueless. Thankfully Hyokenseisou gave me a few tips for how she does her makeup. She even posted a Youtube Video Tutorial which was a big help. After a bit of experimenting, I found that the Paradise Light Blue Water Based Face Paint was the closest in color to my costume. I also used Ben Nye’s Blue Grease makeup for my lips and the waterline of my eyes. To finish it off, I dusted my face with a setting powder and then a light dust of Kryolan’s Glamour Sparks (Aqua) to give my face a bit of glittery shimmer to it. I had the hardest time finding local costume makeup suppliers, so I ordered my makeup online from Silly Farm Supplies. They had all of the makeup I needed all in one shop, which worked beautifully. After deciding on makeup, the last part that needed work were my eyes. Green eyes just didn’t fit Cortana’s look, so I ordered a pair of colored contact lenses to make my costume complete. Not bad for a first go at costume makeup.

Pictures of the finished costume and details of the midnight release are soon to come!


Cortana Costume – Part 4

I know its been a while since I posted an update on my costume. I have done a ton of work since then. In my last costume post I had just finished working on the front of the costume (well, half of the front technically). I still have to work on the lower half, but I have been waiting for 343 Industries to release some new images of Cortana. When I spoke to Kiki Wolfkill at the Halo 4 Reception, she told me that Cortana’s new look was still in the process of being approved by ESRB (hence why there haven’t been many images of her). So I’m still crossing my fingers for some new images in the next few weeks. But if not, then I’ll just have to get creative. I recently found a drawing of Cortana made by DwarfVader23 which I really like and plan to use as a reference for designing parts of the costume I can’t find pictures of.

So after working for the past few weeks on front of the costume, I decided to start working on the back. This was a bit tricky because 1. I couldn’t tape up the details while wearing it (like I was doing with the font), and 2. I had to work around the zipper which added to the difficulty. Luckily it turned out ok. I couldn’t add as much detail as I wanted to, but I’d say it still looks pretty good.

Once I finished working on the back, the summer weather decided to kick into full gear and it became too hot to work on the body suit. So instead, I started to work on Cortana’s hair. I searched high and low for the right wig to match the costume. I was surprised to find the perfect blue wig on eBay of all places.

Once my wig arrived, I had some work to do to make it look like Cortana. I cut and styled the wig to the new hair style she has in Halo 4, which was harder than it looks. I learned that cutting hair is a bit addicting. At one point I had to hide the scissors from myself so Cortana wouldn’t end up bald. Once the hair was cut, something was still missing to make it really look like Cortana. The wig needed something to give it that “hologram” look to it. So I added some professional hair tinsel to the wig to give it a bit of sparkle and that “data stream” look.


Cortana Costume – Part 3

I started to paint the front of my costume this past week. It was a bit frustrating at times, but I like the way it is turning out so far. Before I started painting, I bounced around a few ideas for how to get the design on the costume. My first thought was to try a fabric pencil and draw it on, but when I tested the pencil on some scrap fabric I found out that the marks didn’t wash out as well as I wanted. After that, I decided to just use painting tap to mask off the design. This was a bit tricky because I don’t have a manikin to put the costume on while taping. Instead I wore the costume myself and taped reference lines for where things should be oriented on my body. I then took the costume off and worked on the table to make the full outline. Occasionally I put the costume back on to make sure the design was in the right place. This was the hardest part because one wrong move would stretch the fabric and ruin the tape, sending me back to square 1. Once I finished with the outline, I masked off any areas I didn’t want paint, and then started to apply the blue base color.

Once I finished with the blue paint, I let the fabric dry for about an hour and then applied the glitter paint. I then waited until the paint was fully dry before removing the tape. After that I moved on the masking off a new section to paint.

Here is how it looks so far. I’m not quite done with the front yet. I still have a few more sections to paint, and I haven’t added the extra detail with the dimensional paint just yet. I plan to finish the whole design before moving on to that step.