Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Snow Leopard Mask

This is a real simple post. I love making masks, though I have no real idea why. Originally this was going to be part of an original costume that never came together, but the mask itself turned out wonderfully. (Original costume was going to be a Snow Leopard Goddess, btw.)

I had a bunch of pale-gray leather left over from Gaara's armor, and it's been sitting in a bin doing nothing. So, I cut out a very, very basic piece of leather on someone's idea. I cut some poor eyeholes into it, tied it not so good to my head after soaking it in water for a few hours, and slept with it on. This was, supposedly, going to mold it to my face.

...This idea didn't work so well. Fell off in the middle of the night, got squished, ruined.

So, I tried again. I bought something very simple from A.C.Moore's. Looks like this:

I cut the piece of leather into a more accurate shape, cut the eye holes better. I soaked it for about two hours in warm water, then carefully clipped it to this plastic mask (I went with the slightly more expensive but sturdier mask of the two I found at the store).... now, I have a very strange device at my house which is basically one of those fancy "sit under and pull over your head" hair dryers from a beauty salon. I propped up a laundry basket, some pillows, and whatever until this mask was sitting inside the dryer and turned it on for 30 minutes. I bet you could do it with a very low temperature oven maybe or a very long time with a hand dryer.

The end result was this:

It fit the curves of my face nicely like this. I was incredibly pleased. Now, my original design was that the mask was actually going to be over black/white/gray/blue makeup to make for a very striking face. So I went at the mask with three dry paint brushes, building up layers. White went on first, followed by black, followed by more white.

In the end, I had this:

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Blood+ Coffin Cello Case: Part 5

I am still awake from yesterday. I hurt so badly from repetitive motion and being bent over, but... it's done.

What would I do differently...

My favorite part of finishing and looking back is to figure out what I would have done differently. First, I would have used a thinner wood instead of the thick stuff I did use. Two, I would have figured out a better method of attaching the shoulder straps. Three, thicker clear coat on the final foam. Four, finer sand paper on the foam near the end.

Otherwise, I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Very true to life, and size. I believe this falls under the category of one of those anime props that's difficult to deal with IRL because of physics. So many things in anime are physically impossible, improbable, or would just be really clumsy (weapons in particular).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blood+ Coffin Cello Case: Part 4

My arms hurt, my cosplay room is a pink nightmare. I still have more to go. @_@

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blood+ Coffin Cello Case: Part 3

Basically, it is sanded. That sounds really small, but this wood is really hard to sand. So yea that look a lot. All of the edges are nice and neat, lined up with each other, smooth to the touch. My current issue is that somehow the angles got messed up between the base and the lid, and the lid is SMALLER then the base.

Basically I have to cut off large amounts of the sides of the base to get it so the whole thing is even. There are goods and bads about this. Obviously the bad is time. I'm gonna have to buy a bloody hand saw and just... go at it. Carefully saw off the parts I don't want, then sand them smooth again. Then I'll have to make sure everything lines up. Then I'll need to use wood glue to fill in any gaps in the wood between pieces and get that smooth. Oh um, the good part is that it'll cut off some of the weight. Not a lot, though, but some.

The hardest part will be over, I think, once the coffin is all the same size.

I'm going to work on the top 'domed/curved' part of the coffin between today and tomorrow. It's going to take two layers of foam sanded down into position and carved out. They I'm gonna have to gesso the foam, and then put the liquid plastic on top of the domed-foam part. I'm really nervous about this stuff, as its very difficult to use. I hope I have enough of it... a gallon looks very small compared to a 5 foot long coffin.

After that? Its ALL detail and painting. Going to carefully add molding to the edges of the case where lid and base meet. Have to sand the base's bottom to make it curve inwards a bit. Add the nail/screw/circles to the top. Add hinges and handles. Paint it black where needed, grey in others, metallic in others. After all of that (ha, shoot me)... it'll be done. Sigh.

Whew! I almost freaked out when the base and lid ended up two sizes. And in the process of trying to fix it, I managed to crack one of the ends. I DID freak out then, but I tried to figure out what to do. Purely by accident... a chisel and hammer came into play. Finally I had a way to make the coffin lid and base the same size! So that's why you see white stuff all over the base - its spackle, smoothing out any damage left behind by the chisel.

A ton of sanding and chiseling later, top and bottom are the same size! I am going to spend Wednesday night dealing with the foam top, making sure it has all the measurements marked into it so I can get it cut after work on Thursday. I can have the part of the wood I cracked re-done since I have leftover wood and I can get it into shape properly while I'm cutting the foam. I'll be having surgery on Friday, so I will be doing pretty much nothing this weekend because well I'll be drugged up against the pain.

I'm going to carve out the design on the top of the foam between Tuesday and Wednesday, then glue it on and gesso it. Hopefully I will have enough time on Wedneday night to put on the liquid plastic. If not, it'll be done the Sunday I arrive home.

Tuesday'll be sanding down any issues with the plastic and giving everything its first layer of spray paint. Detailing on Wednesday and Thursday. Any final touch ups on Friday and packaging. It'll go out Saturday in the mail, with every intention of arriving by the 26th.

As far as shipping goes. I am going to be hunting down boxes large enough to send this sucker in all week during my lunch hours. Its mostly based on the size of the box, so I'll make sure it isn't too big. Like I said when we'd started... this is gonna be a pricey ship due to the weight and sheer size of it. Its the biggest prop I've had to send to date.

Here are the pictures! ^_^

Views of the Coffin: (Note the dust in the air)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blood+ Coffin Cello Case: Part 2

Here's the lid of the coffin cut out:

Getting the sides of the lid glued and screwed down:

Lid is almost done!:

Whew! Lid is done!:

The bottom is done... as my youngest siblings offered to show:

Better picture of it being complete:
And what's left...

Lots and lots. This thing is like... indestructible as promised. In fact... it got slammed going up the flight of steps into my apartment without even a scratch. (Whew, getting something almost 5 feet long into an upstairs apartment = tough!) The only down side that I see is exactly what I warned you about when it started: It weighs a LOT. From what I can tell, it's sitting at a whooping 26.5 pounds. I mean, I can lift it easily enough (I can't wait until it has handles though... its hard to lift because of its bulky size.)

So, the plan.

The top of the coffin is going to have to be foam to keep it from weighing more then 30 pounds. I will coat the foam in a special liquid-plastic I have (it hardens to plastic) so its less capable of being damaged but it wouldn't be able to be banged around like the rest of it. But luckily the foam is way less painful to carve then wood so I can get right to work on it. About a million hours of sanding should get the wooden part of the coffin completely finished. XD It needs to be severely sanded to make parts of it flat, make it evened up all the way around.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Blood+ Coffin Cello Case: Part 1

Looks simple, I know. But...

That is exactly proportional in scale to the whole thing.

4'8" = 56 inches.

16 inches (the length of that piece in the image) x 3.5 = 56 inches. Basically every written measurement of that cardboard, if you multiple it by 3.5, will come out to the proper scale of the coffin itself.

The width of the coffin at either end is 10 inches.

The widest part is 25 inches (2.5 times the size of the top and bottom width. and slightly less then half of the total size of the coffin.)

If you pull out a tape measure and look at the inches, you'll get a better idea of the final product. And look at the cardboard, you'll see how it measured up.

I figured the widest part of the coffin is between 1/3 and 1/4 the total length of the coffin... so I went between. XD 1/3 = 18.66667 inches and 1/4 was 14... so I made it 16 inches. I worked carefully with the images you sent me to get all all of these measurements. Only thing that is tricky is that all props are tough to do from images because every image you look at of something in an anime ends up being a little different since, well... its a drawing. XD

P.S. - I know its a cello case, but for some reason... my brain is just thinking 'coffin' when I look at it so hence the name. XD)

My measurements I came up:

56 inches in length
25 inches wide
12 inches tall

Actual real cello case:

53.5 inches in length
20 inches wide
13 inches tall