Friday, June 13, 2014

Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin - Cosplay Build - L

OK, I admit it.  My last post was a few weeks old.  I forgot to hit 'post'.  Here are details and pics.  Some of this has been discussed in other posts, but I wanted to put it all together.  And show them in action.

Jacket - I used a super easy woman's blouse pattern in a shoulder size that fit each kid.  For my daughter, I left the darts in.  I removed them for my son.  Removing darts was harder than I thought.  I also made the shoulders a bit wider since I wanted to emphasize that narrow hipped anime look.  It took 3 tries to get the collar right.  The collars are somewhat oversized and have a high stand but they are clearly NOT two part collars.  I used the collar that came with the blouse pattern, but I had to change the shape of the entire collar a little, adding more curve, but making the collar points bigger, and longer. I used transfer paper to print the emblem and ironed it onto muslin.  Then, I used heat and bond to attach it to the jacket.  I had to leave the paper on the transfer until I was done with all the ironing and I'm not entirely sure it will hold up to washing.  It took a bit of practice to get the process right.  And even with all that, Annie's collar got flattened under her hoodie.  there may be transfer paper that will iron onto dark fabrics.  I just could find it.

Eren's Shirt - long sleeve t-shirt
I removed the ribbing at the neck and cuffs, and catch-stitched the hems.  I made eyelets for the lacing and used a bit of iron on interfacing to reinforce the lacing opening.  Annie's shirt is a hooded t-shirt.
Pants and belts - pretty self explanatory, I used pleather strips for some of the belting (like around the knees) and tacked it down in a few spots to keep it in place.  I used upholstery weight thread to hold all the belts in place.  It's nearly unbreakable.

I got the real belts at Ross and got two of them REALLY long.  They go over the shoulders, cross, through the waist belt at the back and wrap back around to the front.  I sewed them by punching holes with an awl and tacking them where they meet.  'Annie' got her own pants and belts but used the same process.

Boots - I used an on-line tutorial (Sidney Eileen) for gaiters and added a shoe cover.  They close with velcro in the back.  I also added the high front as a sewn on piece, backed with felt.  I just measured the shoes and estimated the shape for the foot piece.  I made paper models before I cut the pleather.  I cut them a little big at the edges and trimmed what hung over.  A sharp curve over the toe helped hold them in place, along with elastic under the sole. It's important to measure while wearing the pants and shoes you will actually be wearing. They stayed on great and looked like boots.

3D gear -  never again.  I made 2 full sets and it was too much.  We decided early on that we wouldn't actually sheath the swords.  Made the build easier, and we didn't have to worry about wrecking the finish on the swords. When not in use, the swords tucked into the top of the gear and stayed put.  We chose the manga version as it seemed easier to me since there wouldn't be as much bulk in the back.  We deviated from 'accurate' for the little boxes/bits that sit at the hips.  Mostly, we just ran out of time.  And when I say we, I mean me.  
All the parts before construction

Boxes - made from foam rubber covered in heavy silver poster board and using silver washi tape at all the joins.  I put a piece of black felt under openings for blade storage.  It's non-reflective in photos.  I did jam a bit of painted wood into a couple of openings to look like extra blades. The boxes are light weight and look pretty good. If I did it again, I might spray paint after taping.  The vertical lines on the boxes are heavy craft foam cut, sealed and painted.  In the manga version, these vertical pieces go over the canister in the back, and under the canister handles in front.  I used a darker paint on these to increase contrast.

Gas canisters - PVC tubes with half a styrofoam ball on top.  The styrofoam was light but hard to work with and seal.  After lots of work, it's still sorta bumpy.  As I was finishing, I realized that light weight spackle would have been the best choice to smooth the surface.  I was out of time to go over them again.  Live and learn. PVC tubes look awesome but are a bit heavy.  Then again, the weight was useful to keep the gear from flopping a lot while it was worn.  I used craft foam to seal the bottom.  Eventually I got scared that the PVC was too heavy.  I drilled holes and ran heavy nylon picture cord thru them, so I could hang them from the shoulder belts.  I didn't want any dropping pants.  The cord is tied to S hooks (with one end crimped shut) and the other end hooked to split rings run thru the shoulder belts.  Easy off and on.  I shoved doweling into the top of the cans and stuck a piece of 1/2 inch tubing across the dowel for the handle.  Made them black with sharpie.  I also stuck some thin black nylon cord into the cans to look like the tubing.  I used a washer at the top for finishing.  The advantage to the anime version is the the side decoration goes over the canister in two places.  The mange version only goes over the top in one place.  This caused great fear of failure.  The cord/tubing ran from the canisters to the hip bits.  The canisters were painted with 'hammered' finish spray paint.

Swords - 1 1/2 inch pine lathing, spray painted silver and finished with rub n buff.  I cut out a bit at the handle end and made the trigger out of foam core board.  I'm not hugely happy with it, but it will do.  I made the handles out of sculpey and glued the whole mess together.  Then I covered it in pleather.  I also included the same black nylon cord to be the cables.  It was annoying to put in the cord BEFORE I was sure how long it needed to be.  That cord also attached to the hips bits.  I needed complete 3D gear to get the right length.  Made the lines on the blade with sharpie.  Because I can't costume without a sharpie.

yes, they are ugly

Hip bits -  All those cables need to attach to something.  We decided we didn't have time to make everything 'manga accurate' so I made some sculpey rectangles with round openings for cord attachment.  Covered them in brown pleather (not like wood, but the same color. I embedded wires in the sculpey which I taped to make belt loops.  These are UGLY.  My enthusiasm was fading.  Turns out, they wouldn't go onto the belt on one side so I cut off the wire loops and used velcro and two sided tape.  It's definitely not perfect, but 3 out of 4 held up for the weekend.  The 4th failed and had to be duct taped.

Barrels at lower back - These came out really well (IMHO).  They are made from 4 inch clear plastic drip trays for house plants, with craft foam in between.  I trimmed the top edges off and cut out the bottom, and primed before painting.  One end is the bottom of small drip tray painted black with the bulges painted silver to look like fans.  The other end is foam core board covered with extra silver poster board and with a narrow diagonal strip of foam core board made silver with a silver sharpy.  I used foam rubber chunks inside to give them some body.  The decoration is 6 inch ring clamps and more of the black cord, with some little plumbing fittings at the end.  It was a total 'make it up as you go' build and was really satisfying.

Putting it all together -  Before I glued the canisters to the boxes, I realized that glue and craft foam was NOT going to be sufficient.  I used heavy nylon picture cord between the box and the craft foam and tied it together at the top.  Then I glued over all of it. I'm was terrified that my son would try to do real action moves and the whole thing will fall apart.  Because 2nd law of thermodynamics.  Turns out he did, and they didn't.  I have Velcro strips at the hip and on the box for stability.  They didn't line up well and didn't get used.  And that heavy nylon picture cord has S hooks at the end that hook onto the shoulder belts.  The bulk of the weight is from the PVC tubes and they are supported by the nylon cord which hangs from the shoulder straps.  The back barrel hooks on with Velcro and a prayer.  

Cape -  The opening is off center so I needed to mess around with sample fabric first.  I started with the McCall's non-historical cape pattern (which I borrowed from a friend).  I shortened it.  I also took about 3 inches off the center from and extended it out straight for 6 inches.  That gave me the right overlap and the off-center closure.  The hood that came with the pattern is huge.  I drafted a smaller one.  

I know this isn't the tutorial I had hoped.  Once again, i put together a post and forgot to actually post it.  I blame 3D maneuver gear.    But happiness reigned supreme.  Lots of photos taken.  Lots of compliments.  Final photo before I return to stuff for ME.  Because it really is all about ME.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Of course it's about you. And I am here to praise your superior skills and dedication to the cause of costuming, especially when it's TWO of your own house-made people who share an anime interest. I see this as a total world domination win. Rounds of applause and bouquets tossed.