Sunday, May 7, 2017

Wonder Woman?

Free Comic book day was this past Saturday, and My wife and I like to cosplay for it, it's a lot of fun!
My wife last year, so cool!
Last year we had a week till the day, and I said lets come up with an easy new costume and only take a week to assemble it... this year we gave ourselves two weeks! I thought, "Two whole weeks?! I can do something I've never done, a full foam armor costume!" Let me stop here and tell you two weeks for a nice foam armor costume is not enough! (that is to say with a full time job and a toddler). I had to work pretty late into the night the 2nd week with Friday being even later to finally finish!
But lets go over the process I took and check out what I could do better or what was pretty good (for my first time)...

To start I had to decide on a costume, First, I find that most of my favourite super heroes are actually Heroines, so when I want to pick a hero I like, I have a hard time not picking a girl, I also find that coming up with a new take on a hero (or heroine) is one of my favorite things to do. Couple those two together, and you get Genderbending. For those that don't know this is the common practice of taking a hero you like who isn't your gender, and turning the costume into you gender. It can be quite the challenge to change the gender of a female costume to male. Many of the female costumes have designs specific to the body shape of a female, but I love the challenge...
With the Wonder Woman movie coming out I thought I would be wonder woman. You may say, well you can't be Wonder Woman, you'd be Wonder Man, and on the day, all dressed up nobody called me wonder woman, they all called me Wonder Man. But when I was looking at her costume designs I ran into these old comic panels, which show when she switched from wearing the 'Eagle' design to the double 'w' design.

If you take a look you'll find that she doesn't specifically think that the 2nd 'W' stands for herself so much as it stands for Women Everywhere!

So this means that I could actually be Wonder Woman in the sense that if I went with the double 'W' I could make the backstory of my Wonder Woman that he chose to be called that to stand for Women everywhere and his main mission in his hero life was protect and serve them.
I thought about it a lot, and would take breaks and search different ideas and even found that On Earth 11, there was a Wonder Man (because on this earth everybody was the opposite gender). Further findings found a time in the comics where Mr. mxyzptlk changed everyone's gender to mess with superman. In this case Wonder Woman became Wonder Warrior! Kinda fun, either way, I decided from all of this, I wanted to keep the Double 'W' on my costume and not have the eagle...
Now on to the actual building of the costume! I started with the skirt. It's not really a big thing in our culture for men to wear bikini bottom's but many of wonder Woman costumes have her wear a skirt, even the movie version (which I referenced muchly since a real person is wearing the costume).
We found at JoAnn's fabric upholstery fabric, which I thought looked really nice. Also? I wouldn't have to sew it, I could use Hot Glue! Which since I'm only a novice sew-er, was right up my ally... 

I drew many designs of the costume, even drawing them late into the process as things changed or I got confused by how something was working, so I highly recommend keeping a sketch pad handy when working on a costume!

here you see what look I was going for...

 So I spent way to much time working on the skirt, and I'd say it's pretty good!

Here it's not quite finished but it's close to what it will look like when it's done!

Now because I have a hard time sticking with one thing at a time, I bounced from working on this to working on the gauntlets and the headpiece. 
Oh let me pause here and mention that I totally thought with only two weeks time that I was actually going to use sheet metal for the chest piece... hahaha, right um no. so I had bought a piece before I came to my senses, and I still wanted to use it, so I made the gauntlets out of metal...

They worked out pretty good, but I learned something about metal gauntlets, that will change how I draw them in the future, if not designed well, they dig into your skin a bit... not fun, but I sanded them and cut bits off and got most of the trouble spots... 
Leaving us with:

I've always liked the comic book look of her's that had the stars on the bullet deflecting bracers, really not many of her comic versions have this feature after WonderGirl gained it on her costume. But it worked pretty good, I used a red spray paint and then weathered it with silver paint... I have to say I learned the 'weathering' technique from doing transformer mods. But weathering is Always a good idea... things don't look real when they are new... or at least a cartoon looks perfect and weathering makes something look less cartoon.

I Honestly don't have any in progress pictures of the head piece because...
Though it was my first foam build, the first one I built worked so fast it was done before I started... but I had tried a technique that didn't work, so I looked up a way to sand foam and give it angles... A DREMEL!!! So I re-did the head piece. 

You may notice that, besides the star, it's pretty much the movie version. I went with this because strangely this version looks more masculine than the classic 'tiara' look. But I still wanted the classic star on it... 
I went back to the skirt in between both of these, but that took the first whole week and weekend... oops. Guess when I started staying up late and working on everything with more fervor? yeah Tuesday of the last week... Should have started sooner!

I was honestly a bit worried about working on the chest piece, and cape. I had never made foam armor before, and the cape could have involved sewing... So NATURALLY put off the hardest things to work on... right good job...
But now that I knew that a dremel would make it easier, I got started. I bought a big EVA Workout mat. They're pretty cheap at Meijer and had plenty of nice gray foam. 
in the left corner you can see the start of he head piece!

I Cut it out in the shape of me and used the stove and some rounded things to heat the foam and then push it onto the objects shaping it into a muscled chest, vaguely with the intent to look more 'roman armor' styled. This went so well, that I thought, I got this, and slowed down a small bit... smart right?? 
WELL as Wednesday rolled around I realized I needed to pick up the pace and I entered frantic making mode! 
I mod podged the chest and then started cutting out the 'w' and figuring out how to place it on the chest armor. I got it on pretty well, using the dremel to bevel the edges of the 'W' which really made It look nice, but also meant that I had to do it to every foam piece I attached to make it look uniform and cool... more time added! 

I got it on and then spray painted the back piece and the edges of the chest piece where I knew the foam pieces I'd add would end... Also I should take a moment to let everyone know that mod podge doesn't dry under things. if you look at the above picture you can see where the middle of the 'w's met the costume has yet to dry. yeah next time I'll hot glue only (which worked really well). 

At this point It was Thursday and I was no longer taking pictures of the process. I had no time! At some point I realized I wanted to paint my lasso of truth to be more golden and I simultaneously I realized that I had forgotten to add a loop to my skirt belt to hold it on!!!! So I paused on the armor (WHY!!!!!) and added a couple more skirt pieces that could then hold a couple loops (one for 'if I had time to make a sword... serious delusions going on).  Then back to the chest plate... I got the foam on and painted Friday night. My wife also helped me figure out the cape, which required no sewing,  just some ripping and safety pins! Woot super easy and it looked more like the comic version cape than the movie version, which was the way I had wanted it anyway! YAY! Oh and I totally threw together some horrible shin guards (which I plan to rework)...
Well 1:30 at night rolls in and I'm just finishing weathering it all together... I can't try it on since it's still wet, so I go to bed hoping in the morning that it all fits together! 
Saturday I wake up put it on and it all works!!!!!! But I realized, superheroes don't seem to need to hold I.d.s and money so I took some time to add interior chest pockets that you can awkwardly reach through my armpits! Ha! They worked though...
And the finished product:

Trying to be fierce, not my specialty...

my daughter held her arm up in a hero pose!

So I should have posed the other way instead of the side where I hooked my keys!!

Honestly for my first time working with EVA Foam, I think it went VERY well. So what could I do better?
Well more time would be good, but who am I kidding? More time would mean relaxing more and then the last few days would still be a rush! 
The gauntlet straps should be looser so that they are further back on my arm or at least the design needs to change so they wont bump my wrist.
The Skirt? Well it had a hole where it connects in the back... it needs two more straps to cover my butt! That's what the cape is for right? Well not when the wind blows!! 
Shin guards? Great idea, but they should be longer.
Also I wanted to make sandals that matched the costume (these are just my running shoes that look super cool).
Chest piece, this needed more time. I wanted to wrap the foam design pieces all the way around, but they only go in the visible front. Also hot glue leaves junk everywhere, that I wanted to sand down, but really didn't have time! Also sitting was harder, I'd like to shave off a bit to make it easier to sit down for awhile!
Really the cape and the tiara were the best parts that I probably wouldn't change! 

I know I didn't give much detail on process or tool use, if you are interested in that, I might be persuaded to take pictures while I fix things and make a more detailed tutorial!

All in all I think it went very well! I got a lot of compliments and a few people wanted to take my picture! If I work out the problems with sitting and such, I will probably wear it to go see the Wonder Woman movie! Maybe by then I will have added a sword and shield (that I wont know what to do with in the theatre)! 

Thanks for reading!