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/Ryomou Shimei

About Costume:

Shoes- I made the boot covers with a satin and added on the tiny trim which I painted. I can never find good looking gold trim, so I usually just paint them myself. They zip in the back.

Skirt- I created a 2 tier skirt. Each one is created with 3 different circle skirts that the circumference will equal to my waste size when sewn together. I sewed in horsehair on the bottom to create the ruffle effect. I think I ended up using 10 yards to complete the whole skirt.  I sewed an elastic band to the top for a easy fit without have a zipper.

Back Bow- I used interfacing in the bow and tail to give it more of a structure.  I ran  wire throughout it to create the shape I wanted.  This way the bow and tail wouldn't fall flat.

Shirt- This took more tries than I care to admit.  I used a foam core in the collar to give it a nice standing structure. Getting the transition of the top from front to back while also hiding the silicone body was a challenge.

Sleeves- I had created my own sleeve pattern for this. I used interfacing and stuffed the sleeve with a lining. So now they are big and puffy. Since they are so big and puffy the shoulder armor will fall and not stay up. So I created little pockets with magnets in them and also put magnets on the shoulder armor so that it will stay upright.

Front Bow- For the bow I have a structured netting added into it. I also created the brooch out of worbla and added a crystal within it. I added in a blue LED to make it glow.

Gloves- I created all the ruffles on the gloves with interfacing and pleating. I sewed in elastic bands to all of them so they can just slide on my arms.

Wig- Basic styling for me I just did a cut and added in some product.

Leg Armor- This was my first time using worbla. I created the leg armor by making a design in foam and creating a sandwich effect. This creates more of a 3D effect. All of it was primed, hand-painted, and then airbrushed.

Leg Dragon- The issue was creating the mold a certain way so that it had the bend of my leg. It sounds very simple but this is not the case. If you add a bunch of clay in the back it will only create a deep thick mold. There was many failed attempts and re-sculpting but I finally got it. I created the mold with rebound and plaster. Doing the mold process is a technique in itself. This I cast in the plastic. After getting my piece there is a lot of clean up work involved. I have to add screws into the back paneling to then make it wearable. I use white elastic bands so it blends in with my boots.

Arm Armor- There are 2 separate pieces of arm armor. I used foam also for these pieces. I used a hot tool to carve in the designs to create this effect. Added in any of detailing with the worbla. Also primed, hand painted, and airbrushed.

Hand Dragon- All the lights on the cosplay are soldered with wiring, so that 2 LEDs can work off one battery pack and switch. I also carved this from clay first then created my silicone mold / plaster mold. Cast in my dragon pieces. I drilled in holes so that the lights can fit into the eye sockets. Also added on rivets onto an elastic band for the screws to go into like I did the dragons on the legs.

Shoulder Armor- To create this worbla shape I created a structure out of cardboard first to heat the worbla on it. I also use a tool to carve in all the designs. Each scale I made individually which has foam in the inside. They change with shape as they go right from left and by row. The scales alone took me forever to do. All the trim is also worbla.

Sleeve Cuffs- I have changed these since then. They have a foam core and i did all the detailing with a hot metal tool. Everything is hand-painted.

Shirt armor pieces- There are 2 pieces on each sides of the shirt created with worbla. I also used magnet to keep these in place on both sides.

Headpiece- This was a difficult and also uncomfortable piece. There was a lot of calculations to consider. I first sculpted one segment of the head piece which had to be a certain size/length to fit the amount I needed. Then I cast a bunch of them and laid them out in a curve to fit my head.
I used expanding foam and bondo in-between all the segments. A lot of sanding and dremel were required. The segment is screwed into a headband in multiple places. All hand painted.

Dragons Head- There are 2 sculpted dragons on each side of my head. When creating the molding for these I needed to make the horns separate pieces and attach them later. Out of all the sculpts I struggled with this one the most. It took me forever to get it right. The dragon is screwed in to a headband so it will stay.

Bows Head- I used bias tape for this. I sewed in a track to run wire through. I created the bow part and the tails separately. Then I hand sewed them together and also onto the headpieces.

Swords- Created a paper pattern and cut the blades out from wood. Then I used a orbital sander to get the edge on all the blades. The design on the blades are hand painted worbla. The hilt was a plastic cast that I first sculpted. The detailing of the lines was dremeled out. The handle of the sword was lathed by hand. I screwed in the handle to the hilt. Then I created a slot the blade slides into and it is screwed in there.

Silicone Body Suit-

This was my first time very doing anything like this before the process is long and not easy in my option. I first needed to create a plaster cast of myself. I tried Alja-Safe for the first time. I just wasted it to experience the process. There was so many issues and it did not turn out. The second time we just used plaster bandages because it is the cheapest way to go and I didn't really need the details of the skin. For this part I did need help. My only job was to stand there carefully! We cut off the plaster in 2 parts and put it back together. Then filled that with plaster to get my body form.

After the plaster mold was out I had a lot of work to do smoothing it out and getting a better shape. It didn’t come out as neat as I needed it, so it was a bit of a challenge.

I think the biggest mistake I made was the type of clay i used… I wish i could have purchased better clay but it was not in my budget at all. Seeing as this costume cost me around $1,500. I had to buy so much clay just to do this sculpt. Creating the body suit alone was the most expensive and time consuming part by far! I am not much of a sculptor and have not sculpted much until this costume so I had to learn a lot of things very fast. I made many mistakes a long the way in the process. The sculpt alone took me a few months.

After I got the sculpt down I used shell-shock to create my mold. Which is in 2 parts. After getting my mold I paint in the silicone. Sadly the mold did not come out perfectly from picking up some tiny details. Getting the trim / skin to look right was the biggest challenge.

Now that I have my 2 molds, I have to paint in the silicone - but I need to mix in the pigments first. The first layering is the most important. I messed up the skin layer the first time so I had to cut all of it out create a new skin layer and add it back in with silicone. It’s still not perfect but it’s my first time doing this. There was an extensive amount of cleanup work that needed to be done. I also hand painted in all the silicone. Airbrushed the front part which was tricky because my airbrush hates silicone. I really needed a different airbrush for this but it wasn’t in the budget. If you get the wrong amount of pigment in the silicone it will not cure at all… I made this mistake and had to wipe it all out and do it over. You are also always fighting with cure times. So you need to be fast but also neat and clean. Not sure I will ever do anything like this again. I like to try everything out there and experience it. I think this makes me a more well-rounded cosplayer and judge.

Overall this costume was the most time intensive / expensive / Did many things I have never done before.
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