Dragon Tales: Experiences at DragonCon Part 2

Cosplaying it Up

In my last post I mentioned Cosplaying at the con.  Cosplaying is a huge part of just about every kind of convention now and one of the best aspects of going to a con is seeing the effort and work participants put into their costumes and the terrific creativity on display.

Everyone is appreciated no matter the skill and everyone is there to enjoy and not judge.  it a great atmosphere, especially for new cosplayers. This was my first year in costume to a con like this and I found it to be an amazing experience.  I was stopped for pictures with con-goers and other cosplayers.  Mad Max and Nux stopped me to ask me how I made some of the material.  I got fist bumps from random strangers out of appreciation.  And most of my costume was done on the cheap!

Here are some of my favorites from the Con:

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A great Mr Oogie Boogie. That’s a deceptively difficult costume, especially to get the face right!
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This Mr Freeze was a show stopper. All those lighting effects and crafted armor pieces, not to mention the freeze ray!
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An excellent Tidus. The costume crafting and weapon were terrific!
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Dr Doom! One great thing about taking pictures of cosplayers is how each one usually has an in-character pose they use for their pictures.
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We loved this master shake. Again it looks simpler than it is but it’s still a basic idea and the simplicity of the costume matches the art style of the show.
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We saw this Penguin from Batman Returns several times and had to get a shot of him.

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I lost it when I saw this Nurgle Chaos Terminator. It was a very creative construction and looked great!
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Mugatu was in character all night and even won the prize in a costume contest.
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My best friend’s wife went as Elektra from Netflix’s Daredevil. It was a very creatively compiled costume!
She went as Psylocke on day two. She made everything herself!
She went as Psylocke on day two. She made everything herself!
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My Judge Dredd. Even though I felt it was incomplete it got a lot of positive reactions.
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I got to pose with Cobra Commander!

 

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Kylo Ren even asked me to dance!

Cosplaying is so much fun and so empowering I highly recommend it.  Even if you’re an obsessive introvert like me who obsesses about accuracy and details, you’ll be surprised how many people just love that you’re there in costume.  No one sees the missing details, trust me!  It’s all about fun and for me it was the most enjoyable part of the con.

Dragon Tales: Experiences at DragonCon Part 1

Atmosphere and Impressions

I’ve only ever attended smaller conventions.  While there are still crowds, panels, and interesting sights attending a large convention is a completely different experience.  So how about one that attracts half a million people to Atlanta in September?  This was my first year at DragonCon and it was a terrific experience.  I thought I’d share some general thoughts on the Con and then get into detailed thoughts in future posts.

DragonCon night at the GA Aquarium. One of the many outside events taking place during the weekend.
DragonCon night at the GA Aquarium. One of the many outside events taking place during the weekend.
  • Atmosphere: One of the great things about attending a broad topic-specific convention is that everyone is there because of their love of something. You might like video games, maybe comic books, maybe sci-fi TV or movies, or is it horror-fantasy?  You’ll find fans of all of them and everyone is there to celebrate these things.  Despite the general nerd/geek tendency to harp on minor complaints I saw very little negativity at the con at all.  Even in long lines, during the long walks, or amidst crowded food courts.  The only complaints I heard revolved around waiting for shuttles (which were free, so complaints were minimum) and being stuck in the parade crowd (because people really didn’t have any idea how to navigate through a crowd…)  Other than that, even with a couple of potentially big SNAFUs, it was just a good atmosphere of positivity and enjoyment.
You never know what you'll see. That's a 1:1 scale (No Pun Intended) Toothless. you could pose with him for charity.
You never know what you’ll see. That’s a 1:1 scale (No Pun Intended) Toothless. You could pose with him for charity.
  • Seeing the Sites: The first full day of the Con (we got our badges Thursday night but that doesn’t count) we spent the morning in the Sheraton watching the Friday morning crowds. Everywhere you looked were cosplayers of all levels happily posing with ecstatic fans.  The vendor halls are packed with unique items you can’t find anywhere else.  Arcade machines are set up free-to-plan, gaming tables are everywhere for every conceivable type of game.  Themed parties take place at all hours and many of the local restaurants have convention-themed menu items.  Celebrities  can be seen talking with fans and in one case even playing an RPG for fans’ amusement.  It’s not just a convention of fans it’s a convention of all the peripheral activities fans love.
Team Cosplay is amazing. This is a spot-on Tidus, Yuna, and Wakka. He even had a Blitzball! (not pictured)
Team Cosplay is amazing. This is a spot-on Tidus, Yuna, and Wakka. He even had a Blitzball!
  • Cosplay Love: I’ll do a fuller post on Cosplaying at the Con, but one aspect that shows the best side of fandom is how loved and accepted all cosplayers are. You of course have highly skilled professionals or near professionals who have spent a lot of time and money perfecting screen-or-page-perfect costumes.  But you also have creative people who have used the means they have to make great costumes, or even knowingly cheesy or goofy costumes and wear them proudly.  What makes this a wonderful experience is that all of these cosplayers receive equal love from fans.  People of all genders, shapes, and sizes playing characters they love and fans accept them with joy and excitement.  It’s hard to find a more welcoming community, especially for beginning cosplayers…but more on that next time.

I loved the Con and I’m actually eager for next year.  Next post will focus specifically on the cosplay experience!

 

Dragon Dredd: Judge Dredd Costume for DragonCon Complete!

With DragonCon this week I thought I’d share an update of my Dredd costume.  I didn’t have the money to make it as 100% as I’d hoped but with the stuff I already had plus some creativity I think it turned out pretty well!

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The helmet was the most difficult part.  Fiberglass is brittle and nasty to cut but by adding a $5 motorcycle helmet visor (which was very difficult to cut to fit, who would have thought chopping up DOT legal vehicle equipment would be so hard!?) and the padding (made from PC component packing) it ended up being pretty sturdy!

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The kneepads I got for less than $10 from a store closing.  They work well enough.  Next time I’ll add the Megacity-style ridges to them to make them more legit.  Those are East German Army Boots I’ve had since high school.  I’ve got around four pairs so I wouldn’t mind trying to modify some of those for a more 2000AD style Judge Dredd for future costumes!

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It was a lot of fun to put together and while, yes I’ll roast in the September Atlanta sun, I’m looking forward to being at least one Megacity Judge at the con this year!

 

 

Dragon Dredd: Judge Dredd Costume for DragonCon

This year is DragonCon for me.  My friend Mike has been before and I decided last year I was definitely going to go.  Not only go but go in costume as something.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I love the Dredd film from 2013.  A great take on the character and also a design for Dredd that looks reasonable while still staying true to the comic artwork.  I decided this year I’d be doing my first cosplay as Dredd.

After months of buying pieces here and there I’ve got the base for my costume.  I’m still missing some pieces I can put together between now and September and have some work to do on these, but after lots of gluing, painting, and stitching, here is the base for my Dredd:

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The helmet is fiberglass.  I got it from a UK vendor.  It came in plain grey and needed some trimming, sanding and finishing.  I used a base of Rustoleum matte black primer in a couple coats, the masked off the entire thing except the trim and used Rustoleum gloss red for the accents.  The brass badge is hand painted, I used Citadel Balthasar Gold actually, which matched relatively well with the brass I used in other parts.  I still need to gloss seal the whole thing, add a visor (I’ll use a motorcycle visor) and add an insert that will make it actually wearable.

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The shoulder pads were tricky.  All my Warhammering got me prepped for textured painting but these are bigger and took some thought on how to mask and paint.  I masked off all the black portions on the left pauldron as a test since it was an easier piece.  It worked pretty well, but because of all the manipulation some gold got under the tape and in other places the tape pulled off the acrylic paint.  I against used Citadel Balthasar Gold and Citadel Abbadon Black for touch ups and it worked pretty well.  The spray paint was more Rustoleum, this time hammered copper.

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Then there was this freaking eagle…  Masking off this eagle made me insane.  It was already primered black, but adding the gold was a process.  I put in Terminator Genysis and ripped masking tape into various shapes and sizes in order to get it into all the nooks and crannies.  It ended up working pretty well but had the same problem as the simpler pauldron, the ripped tape, because of its frayed edges, didn’t cover cleanly and some gold seeped through.  It was the same process as the other shoulder pad, using Citadel paints to touch up mistakes.  It still came out well.

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With basing done I’m hoping to finish weathering over the next couple of weeks.  After that it’s collecting the various other parts I need and finishing up the Lawgiver (I’m planning on LEDs in the display screen.)

I’ll post updates as it goes!

Halloween Flashback

We hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween! We filled our week with horror movies, costuming, giving out candy, and having fun. That’s what it’s all about 🙂

As promised in my Little Costumes post, here are two pics of little me at Halloween. These were the only ones we found, but as you can see, I still loved the season:

Lil Jem and a hologram
Late 1980s: I think I was four or five in this one. My mom says we were Jem and a Hologram – I LOVED Jem. I vaguely remember this costume, but I do remember the headband with the bow. If you’d like a seasonal blast from the past, check out the Halloween-themed Jem!
Santa Claus and a Witch
1991: This is a pretty adorable story. According to my mom, my little brother was scared of everything (except me lol), so she dressed him up as Santa Claus. I do remember him loving Santa! I was an evil witch in bright blue heels, which were my grandma’s.

We want to thank all our readers and hope everyone had a great October. We’re looking forward to writing new reviews, writing tips, stories, and whatever else we can dream up. We also celebrated our one-year anniversary of Lil’ Horsemen (on Halloween), so if you haven’t read it, we’d love for you to check it out!

Yes, that IS a Proton Pack!

Our previous posts have chronicled my costumes of Halloween past.  This year, I will probably re-use one of my previous costumes for a costume party, so there isn’t really anything new to show off.  I’d like to put together a Space Marine in the future, especially since there are so many “how-tos” on the internet now.  But that is a MAJOR investment in both money and time.  I may do a Commissar or Inquisitor in the meantime just to try something new.  I’d also like to try being a classic monster sometime, or the Predator, but the latter again costs some cash to make it look good.

This year, I had the opportunity to go to WizCon in Nashville and met up with two Ghostbusters groups (Tennessee and Kentucky). For a dollar donation (thanks, Raven!) I got to live out a dream 30 years in the making and put on a proton pack!  Furthermore, Winston Zeddemore himself, Ernie Hudson was in the building! (He looks exactly the same)

I was legitimately stoked.  Only seeing dinosaur bones comes close to this level of excitement for me.

I’m pretty happy to have a replica unlicensed nuclear accelerator on my back!

I think I'm listening to it.  It had a power switch that made the sound effects!
I think I’m listening to it. It had a power switch that made the sound effects!
Yep I'm in front of Vigo too!
Yep I’m in front of Vigo too!  For those interested I’m wearing a Jinx hoodie featuring a quote from Lucius Accius, which he attributes to Caligula, “oderint dum metuant” (let them hate so long as they fear)  You better fear!  I got a proton pack!