Friday, February 21, 2014

Trials of a Prop Builder & Costume Maker?

I went to Katsucon 2014 last weekend, continuing on a tradition I've held since I was 15. I decided to break out a costume idea that I've had in the back of my mind for some time now: a soldier inspired by the Girl Genius comic. Last year, I did something similar, but more desert themed. The makeshift rucksack I threw together proved to be far too uncomfortable to wear for more than an hour, and it did a real number on my back. This year I ditched the backpack in exchange for a sling that was both functional and decorative (my lunch was in the containers).

On top of that, I changed the color scheme to be more olive drab, have a bright red undershirt (for maximum Napoleonic uniform stylings), and add a new hat.

Instead of a pith helmet for a desert environment, I went with a felt shako that I fashioned out of a cheap costume top hat and some leather scrap. The hardest part to get for it was the plate, and I ended up going with a reproduction 1833 US Dragoon's plate in brass complete with the federal eagle. The cord was hand-made, as were the epaulettes on my shoulders.

I found 3 different kinds of patches, each with some stylized lightning bolt(s) to affix onto my jacket. 2 simple yellows ones on my collar, a red-outlined arrow-bolt above my left pocket, and 2 silver and gold stars with arrow-bolts going off in different directions.

The best part of the whole outfit is my prop ray gun.  This is the second variation of it, a significant improvement over the first.  I tend to refer to it as an Æther Rifle, but that is more of a term I use for the first variation which was significantly more simple.  I have yet to give this version a proper name, but I'm sure I will eventually.  This one has taken on a more teslapunk aesthetic, adding in a lot more wires, coils, and cables. The vacuum tubes in front of the trigger guard were re-arranged, and replacements were selected based on improved look and imagined purpose.  The 3 octal tubes pictured here are a Triode/dual Diode, a full wave rectifier (2 Diodes), and a zero-potential grid Pentode.

Don't eat my chicken wing!

The complex thing on the end of the barrel took weeks to gather parts for, and only about 2 days to assemble.  The brass thing is a little vase I got for 80 cents, and the spool with the red wire is made out of lamp parts.  Magnet wire is a pain to wrap, lemme tell you.  The yellow cord running from the end of the barrel to the beginning of the valve is from an old lamp (scored it for free from a lamp repair shop). I even threw on a crude sight at the front... just a screw with some wire wrapped around it.

Anyway, this is what I wore on Saturday of the convention. If you have any pictures of me, feel free to pass them along or leave a link. I would greatly appreciate it.