Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Flight Of Dragons 1982 Animated Film

Been revisiting one of my favourite animated films from when I was a kid as I'm thinking of doing a cosplay from this for Kitacon 2015, gotta think ahead lol! Looking back on it now the animation has really aged badly but the voice acting is still a cut above. This really deserves a remastering!

 Magic is dying in the world and the green wizard Carolinus calls his 3 brothers for help as he has a plan to create a safe place for magic to exist.

Unfortunately his brother the red wizard Ommadon decides it would be a much better plan to just take over the world with greed and destroy it to preserve magic. The only way to defeat Ommadon is to take his red crown, the source of all his powers so a quest is started to this end. Carolinus finds the scientist Peter to help the quest but he gets turned into a dragon by Ommadon. Peter has to be taught to be a dragon by Smrgol an old and grumpy dragon, I really loved Smrgol's magic explanations vrs Peter's science explanations in this bit.

They meet some friends and enemies along the way and lots of dragons of course.
( Pictured - Sir Oren Neville Smythe, Danielle of The Woods, Giles of the Treetops, Aragh the wolf and Sandmirks)

 The final battle is lost by our heroes but then Ommadon is destroyed by the fact that Peter can beat magic with logic and science. Alas for him this also means that he is lost to magic forever and is banished back to the real world.

Here is the final battle scene, which in my opinion is one of the best bad guy monologues in any film ever! James Earl Jones (see also Darth Vadar) is such an awesome bad guy :D

"I am the world, and the world is Ommadon."

Friday, 4 April 2014

Cosplay Storage Ideas and Tips

Ok so one of the things we all can probably agree on is that after a few years of cosplaying, storing it all sucks! I have a costuming habit that goes back to circa 1994 so I built up A LOT of stuff. Sadly I moved house many times to increasingly smaller houses. Houses in the West Midlands are TINY compared to back in Wales. I used to have a spare room back home with a room just for music and costumes and it was full! That's pretty much the only thing I miss about Wales though lol! So sadly most of my costumes like Excaliber ended up in the bin *sob*.

Four years ago we managed to scrape enough money together to buy our own house and now there are 5 of us squeezed into a small three bedroom ex-council house. We all have hobbies and there is simply not enough space to store everything we want to. The house was beginning to look like an episode of Hoarders so a mad binning everything spree went on for a while. Then I had the idea of putting in a big loft hatch! This cost me about £300 with installation fees. I did this a couple of years back but when we had the house rewired the electricians ballsed up and didn't put a light up there so it's just been used for Christmas decorations since then.

However I figured it was time to make use of the space! One day I hope this will be my cosplay HQ...but that costs a lot of money so meh. But I headed to B&Q and bought a single pack of loft boards and stuck a few down. I, of course, did this all wrong....learn from my fail folks! You are supposed to cut the boards down so that they end on the middle of a joist, so the next ones are also starting on the middle of a joist. Seems bloody obvious now, eventually I will pull them up and do it properly but for now it's going to have to do. I just laid and nailed 4. The rest I've just stuck over the joists to store boxes on.

But just these 4 boards allowed me to put a rail in the loft. I got a rail from Ikea for £6 and some dress bag covers and hangers for a few pounds too. I also bought an XL dress bag on ebay for my red ballgown as there was no squeezing it in a standard one, this cost me about £8 but was well worth it to have the dress stored properly. Having everything on a rail is so much better than having everything squashed in bags on top of the wardrobe! I need to get a couple more long bags for coats though.

I also saved this chest of drawers that was getting thrown out. I have accessories and masks in the top drawer, wigs in the second, corsets in the third and the bottom one for skirts. 

I've also put some hooks up for weapons and other bits and pieces. A good tip is to save the zip up bags from pillows/bedding ect for cosplay items, these are really great as they keep the dust off, have a handle for carrying and a clear panel so you can see what's inside. 

The last thing was I picked up a clip on light from Asda for under a fiver so I can actually see everything without finding a torch.

This space is definitely not pretty and is a little on the hazardous side but it does make everything organised and easy to find. It's like my own personal cosplay shop.

I'm going to work on eventually boarding the whole attic floor and once I've done that I can put a table up there and have my sewing machine on there. Once I have this little bit of dedicated space in the house I'd be able to do some big projects so the sooner the better!

Top tips for storing cosplay

First think if you really need to keep it - if space is an issue and if you are not planning to wear it again it's better to stick it on ebay and use the money for your next project. 

Keep all the parts of your costume together where possible- I put little bags with the accessories in on the hangers inside dress bags. 

Make sure your storage area is dry - be careful with attics or garages that are in any way damp, natural fibers and papier mache love to rot and grow mold if there is moisture. 

Keep it organised - no point keeping stuff if you can't actually find anything. If your stuff is in an awkward place consider taking pictures of what's inside the box or bag before it gets stored away. 

Team Neko video of my performance at Kitacon 2014

Team Neko's video of my Kita's Got Talent performance, much better quality than my video. Thank you so much for filming me guys!

You can check out their brilliant videos of all the Kita's Got Talent 2014 performers on their you tube channel here

Must remember to stay in character next time though. I was trying to be all grrr and badass then did a happy little skippety skip after I finished *facepalm*

Onwards to the next convention!!

So for five minutes there I was all "I'm not going to the next Kitacon" as there was too much bad organisation, the food/drink/parking is too expensive ect ect grumble grumble grumble. Then I had an EPIC idea for next years cosplay and realised that I just can't not go to this convention which is right on my doorstep :D Also it's more than a year away so there is plenty of time to save up some money. Also I will go much more prepared next time. Will pack more food and drink to take with and will also make sure to bring a sheet or something so I'm not stripping off in the car park in full view of the world lol!

I'm going to try and drag even more of my friends along next time as that's what really makes a con fun! I'm going to try and persuade my extremely talented friends to actually do the live performance event with me for a change, just need an brilliant idea that will use everyone's talents and be amazing! Roll on 2015!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Hellsing Cosplay - Kitacon 2014

Another incredible cosplay!! Hellsing is one of my favourite animes so this was a real treat!

Majora's Mask playing the flute - Kitacon 2014

Nipped out to the car and found this amazingly talented cosplayer just sitting playing the most amazing tunes!! This is the kinda thing you go to cons for!! Absolutely brilliant!

Kitacon 2014 Attack On Titan AMV

] Brilliant anime music video my hubby made, set to Land Of Confusion for the Kitacon 2014 AMV contest. It's the best one he's done so far!

Kita's Got Talent - Princess Mononoke - The Evil That Men Do - Kitacon 2014

Would like to say a massive thank you to the people who stayed for Kita's Got Talent despite the delays!! Here's my performance, it was really good fun!

This was a performance about anime bad guys! I will try and get the AMV on youtube as it's ace!
I was cosplaying Princess Mononoke, the song is the Evil That Men Do by Iron Maiden but I'm singing the version by After Forever

Kitacon 2014

I had a great time at Kitacon, this weekend but I really have to admit that the organisation was facepalmingly bad! 
AMV set - We turn up hoping to watch the competition entries, my hubby entered one so we brought a bunch of friend along to watch too. First we have to sit through an auction for things we can't afford....this goes on for like an hour. Then finally we are looking forward to getting on with the set! Alas by now the party is just starting in the main room, but we figure this won't take too long. So they just switch on VLC player ....and announcement, no rounds of applause for each entry, nothing. Maybe we've all been spoiled at previous cons, but this is what I was expecting. So we sit and watch....two hours later we've not seen hubby's AMV or any others that look like they might be competition entries but zillions from other WTF. So we finally leave to go party ...really disappointed, having missed two hours of the party and not actually seen what we were hoping to see. *sigh*

So we line up for the masquerade on Saturday, this is always a highlight for me so I was really looking forward to it. With this in mind we get to the queue a bit early to get good seats. After waiting an hour we finally go in and get seated.....then wait another hour until it starts. For some reason we ended up behind rows and rows of empty seats! By the time it actually started about a third of the audience had given up and left!
This awesome costume really deserved to have more people appreciating it, so many empty seats! Would have been nice to have been able to get a bit closer too!

On Sunday I'm in the Kita's Got Talent show. I'm really nervous as my backing video went wrong last convention. Rehearsal starts at 2.30pm so I'm there on the dot. Hour and a half later no one has spoken to use about what is going on and we've not actually had any rehearsal at all!!! Finally an hour and a half after it was supposed to start the closing ceremony kicks off with a packed room. 2 hours later after a painfully painfully slow charity auction, everyone is grumpy, thirsty and tired, so 95% of the audience heads to the bar!
They start the show and other than being put in a line, I've had no chance to discuss technical issues or what I need for my performance so I'm getting a bit stressed. There is also no backstage area to change and I've not been able to get a drink or get to the loo since 2.30 and now it's 6.30. I hop off and change in the bloody car park. Try and buy some water - cash machine is out of order and there is a £5 minimum at the shop...fine. I buy lots of £2 a bottle water.
Once it's my turn to go onstage I am getting yelled at to go on...despite the fact that there is 30 seconds of video before I go on. If I'd had a chance to discuss this with someone I wouldn't have had to argue with someone trying to shove me on the stage before my cue...not fun!! Luckily it all went well and I got a nice round of applause from the very patient and dedicated 5% of the audience that are left.
I go watch the show from the audience and there are so many really great acts! Kita really does have talent!! As you can see from the picture below it's really empty. So sad as everyone puts months and months of hard work into preparing for these events and to perform to an empty room is just shit. They were even packing the room down with the acts still on stage which just seemed really rude. *sigh*
This was down to scheduling problems, people need to eat and drink Kita folks! People also need to get ready for big events like the ball, I really don't blame the audience for leaving.
As it was I won an honorable mention announced to all 10 people that were left in the room, the guests did a great job of keeping it together though and giving me a nice hug on stage despite everything being taken down around them.

Kitacon is back next year and it's 5 mins from home but I'm really not sure whether it's worth participating, unless they really are going to change the schedule. I feel really bad for some of my friends who were attending a con for the first time, I just kept telling them it's not normally this bad!! We still had an awesome time with awesome people but I really hope they make changes! Really feeling the loss of Ayacon now :(
I'd love to volunteer to look after everyone doing the live performances as there just didn't seem to be anyone to ask about what was going on, must have been so daunting for the newbies! Will see if I can find someone to discuss it with before the next con.

To be fair though the panels we went to were brilliant, the parties were great and the cosplayers were epic! I really enjoyed the FATE series, the Hentai panel was hilarious and we kicked ass in the build-a-mecha contest.

Jay and Silent Bob cosplay - Kitacon 2014

My lovely husband as Silent Bob and our friend Nic as Jay!

Wildstyle Lego Movie Cosplay - Kitcon 2014

Really loved this film and was bowled over by this brilliant cosplay, great work!! There was an Emmet running around too but I didn't manage to get a picture, gutted!

Afro Samurai Genderswapped Cosplay Kitacon 2014

My best friend rocking the Afro Samurai look! 

Finished Princess Mononoke San cosplay for Kitacon 2014

Pretty happy with how it turned out :) Worn at Kitacon 2014

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A budget steampunk hat with light up goggles!

More bits towards my ball costume. I've had this hat for many years now, it's just a basic fancy dress one I got for a few pounds ( Same as this Top Hat £3 including delivery)

I had a pair of silver goggles from a halloween costume, these ones £6 from ebay. You can actually get these in a brass colour already but mine were silver. I gave them a coat of black acrylic

Next I did a very light coat of bronze colour with a very dry brush. I also switched the lenses to black (they came with a selection). They came out pretty good!

My friend Lisa gave me these beautiful peackcock feathers, I glued these onto the side using a glue gun.

Next I covered where they were stuck on with a few metal clock charms. These ones are from Tim Holtz (papercraft brand you can find in Hobbycraft ect) I used a brad to attach the clock hands - they move! The brad just pokes through the hat as it's fairly thin. Easy! I also had a scrap bit of organza that I tied into a bow, sewed it in place ten use the glue gun to attach to the hat.

To make this hat super awesome, I got some of these little LED lights (£1.99 from Aldi or any bike shop) I pinched these from my bike lol! They fit just perfectly inside the goggles and they set to either flashing or static. Although the light is white they glow green through the black lenses! I am so looking forward to wearing this :D 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A Super Cheap Steampunk Jacket!

Nearly have a costume together for the Kitacon Ball on Sunday - really hope I get to wear this as childcare issues are getting in the way! Fingers crossed I will work something out by Sunday.
I really wanted to get a jacket to finish off the outfit and my lovely friend Becky suggested I chop up a charity shop jacket. So I found this brown linen jacket for £6.99 in my local charity shop (I spent ages deciding as it was expensive for a charity shop one!)

Looking in the mirror I stuck cellotape where I wanted the jacket to be cut then just chopped away with scissors along the line.

Then I got some lace that has been hanging around since about 2005! Glad to finally use it lol!! I sewed it around the cut edges then pressed it so it lay nice and flat. 

To finish it off I added these little clocks which I picked up from the papercraft section in Hobbycraft. These just poked through the fabric and clipped into place. 

I was messing around with the bottom of the jacket and figured I could make it into a pocket belt. I turned and sewed the raw edge then used one of the buttons to fasten on the inside and a hook and loop on the other side to secure! Added a bit more lace and another clock and done! Very happy with this mornings work :)

Will post a few pics of the finished outfit when we are back from Kita!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Princess Mononoke Cosplay - San's Mask and Spear

In an ideal world I would have liked to have made this with Worbla, a thermoplastic that has a lovely smooth finish, but alas my budget allows for newspaper and PVA so there we go lol! I'd not actually made anything with papier mache since I was a kid but figured it couldn't be that bad. First I covered a big bowl with cling film and did layers with newspaper and a water/pva glue mix. Must have done about 20 layers, putting on a few layers and leaving it to dry overnight. I left it to dry between layers on top of the fridge without the bowl underneath and it got a bit distorted! Eek! But luckily when I put more layers on it kinda rounded itself out again.

I cut out the holes with a pair of scissors, I didn't cut the eyes out the same size so wished I'd done it properly with a template rather than just doing it by eye, ooops! Then I made a paper clay using kitchen roll PVA and flour which I stuck in a blender. I put too much liquid in though which made it take an absolute age to dry.

The trouble was that it was really quite a bumpy finish so I used a bit of polyfiller I had lying around to smooth it out a bit 

Next the painting

This is much to bright and cheery, so I did some layers to distress the finish a little bit. Using some brown paint mixed with the original colours and stippling it on.

I also used the sides of a coke bottle for the ears, which got a layer of two of papier mache and the same paint treatment as the mask. 

Now just to figure out how on earth I am going to attach this to the pelt and make it wearable!

For the spear I took the handle off an old rake we had in the garden and painted it black. Then I cut out 2 identical spear shapes from the side of a cardboard box (thank you Amazon!) sellotaped them over the top of the handle, covered in papier mache and then painted. I used silver and then a little bit of black and raw umber to make the sort of rusty effect. Then I used the leftover leather lace from the necklace I've also made to wrap around the handle. Just need to add some more red details to this and it's finished!