Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Let it Begin!: Undertaker

Okay, so my last post got out a little late...but I'd like to let you all know that...the Undertaker has been started~!
I have, in fact, begun work on the bottom layer of my favorite undertaker, and I'd like to let you all in on my current progress. The pattern I used for the coat is actually for a civil war uniform.

Here's a picture of it. The pattern number is M4745, so if you ever have need of it, go get it! I'm very fond of it...even if it is a bit of a pain to make. I've had to modify the uniform a bit, but not so much that I'll get I'm confident!

So far I've purchased the material--I chose a very nice, medium weight, and super soft, black for the main material and a sleek dark gray for the lining--and have begun the long process of cutting all the pieces out and putting them together.

Because the pattern for the front is actually in two pieces--a section that goes to the waist and the panel that goes below it--it hasn't been too much trouble to lengthen. I used the basic length for the dark blue image above, and then lengthened it further by another six inches or so to optimize my chance of getting it just right.
I used the front of the second image, however, for the straight up-and-down buttons.

So its kinda a mix between the two...but the pattern is working very well with itself, so I'm not concerned. I've actually already pieced together a large section of it, and I'm infinitely pleased with how its coming out.
As you can see from this image--look at the back for either A or B, but B is the closest to what mine will look like--the back is actually pretty cool to look at. That shape helps it conform to my shape, which will give me a really nice figure when its all done. Its meant for a masculine form, however, so it won't actually accentuate more curves than it should.

Once I start working again today, I'll take some pictures of everything and post some. For now, however, just know that I've got the basic upper form done, and will be putting the sleeves on after I cut out the lining. I'll check to make sure its gonna fit before I continue though the ACE Bandages!

StalkMode: Undertaker

Okay. So I've fallen in absolute love with the undertaker from Black Butler. Yup, the psychotic, corpsetastic, laugh-obsessed loon that spends his days digging through human chests. He's my kinda guy. ;D

Anyways, even though I've promised my kidnapper that I will do a Shikamaru, I am deadset on starting, completing, and wearing the undertaker's get-up to Ikkicon. I dare anyone to try and stop me, that's how determined I am. So here's the Stalkmode! Get ready for some drool-worthy psycopath, ladies and gents!

Alright. The basic dealeo for the Undertaker is very simple. He wears primarily black, with a gray lining to his underjacket, and a gray sash over one shoulder. Most notable features include his charming grin, long silver hair, impressively black fingernails, and a rather wobbly top-hat.

Also notable are the scars around his various parts--the ones most obvious are; the loop around his left pinky finger, a circle around his throat hidden beneath his collar, and one that seems to go from the top of his left temple over his nose, beneath his right eye, and to his right ear. Those of course will have to be done with make-up. ;3 Which...shouldn't be too difficult to figure out.

Aside from body marring and a wig which will require some styling, everything else appears to be quite capable of being run through a machine. This image, which is probably the best image ever, breaks almost everything down nice and clear.

Okay. So the bottom layer on the undertaker is a high-collared, fitted sleeve, knee length coat. It has eleven buttons running down the front from just below the collar to just below the pantline. The sleeves are split to just below the elbow and have seven buttons on each side. Numbers are, of course, not too huge a deal. Lord knows the number probably changes incessantly throughout the anime and manga...but I like numbers. They give me security blankets, yo! D8

Aaanyways. From this image you almost get the impression that he's wearing another shirt beneath the lower level...but I think for simplicity's well as comfort's sake, I'm going to do a falsie. It'll be lined in dark grey, and if necessary, I'll add an extra layer on the sleeve and collar to make it look like there's another shirt there. Its just waaaaaaaay too many layers to add another shirt. And I like being comfortable and not burning my flesh off. ;D

So on top of this "shirt"..."jacket"..."thing", is what I'm going to refer to as the overcoat. It isn't an actual overcoat, obviously...but now it is. Accept my logic. ;P
The topcoat/overcoat will require the most material without a doubt. It goes aaaaall the way to just above the ankles, and has very large sleeves. A flexible but strong material will be the best choice, something that allows for various flailing but is sturdy enough to keep its shape. The topcoat has a very unique collar, and from what I can guess by looking at it, I would think it works similar to the triangular shape of some biker jackets. With a little help from my pattern-wiz of a grand-parental, I think I should be able to mimic that pretty close while keeping that nice "loop" in the back.
Hehheee. It makes me think of a rounded sailor collar.

Aside from the two jackets, there is also the gray sash. For that, I'll probably hem a long piece of fairly nice fabric, rig the knot and then either tack or safety-pin it into that position so it can be easily removed and put on without having to tie it. It looks like a fairly loose knot, and I like that I don't wanna MEGA KNOT it....if I don't have to. P: Although I might depending on how lazy I am when it comes down too it~ I am a bum.
Then there's the boots, which won't be much trouble. They basically are a pair of high-heeled, basic black boots with short brown or black belts wrapped around them. I'll get some belts, tear them up, get some buckles, and go from there. -fistpump-
The pants seem to either be tight-fitting or maybe black breeches.

Accessories...are a ring on his left hand and a series of small picture frames around his waist. The little frames seem to have designs and I'll try to look in a bit more into it.
Last but not least is his hat, which at first glance looks like a warped tophat, but what I think is more likely a tophat wrapped in fabric...which for some reason is actually a fairly popular thing to do to tophats. oxo; Go figure.
Either way, that'll probably be one of the last things I worry about...namely because I don't believe myself capable of making a hat....
Anyways~ That's the Undertaker! Look out for a new post very soon!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Back from the Dead!

Okay, so...I've been bulldozed by school the last couple months.
Literally, figuratively, and theoretically bulldozed, mind you, so nothing at all has gotten done over this last period of least not in the world of cosplay.

Currently, I've been involved in our playhouse's production of Macbeth. Its going fabulously, but because I've been working as an impromptu costumer's assistant as well as working as a stagehand, I've been veeery busy. Even my schoolwork's been put on hold in order to make and now maintain our cast's costumes.
However, with MacDaddy now moving on from opening night and onto its two weekend run, I'm able to relax a bit more and concentrate on other things too!

So now that you know what's usurped my attention and my hands, time to get onto the good stuff!
In the cosplay universe, while nothing has been done, a few things have been decided. Because I'm being kidnapped to Ikkicon in January, its been determined I need to step up my game and have a costume ready. My kidnapper and her confriends are mostly Naruto that means in order to blend in with the enemy, I have to take on the guise of a nin....and Shikamaru has been selected for me.

Now, everyone, what you've been waiting for!
Pictures of shiny things!

Have your brains been rotted out by the sheer awesomeness of this Giant. Shiny. Ball?
Yeah. Mine too.

Back to business. This, is Shikamaru Nara.
More specifically, this is Shippuden Shikamaru Nara...and this is who the infamous jackalope--coughhackyeahiknowinfamousmyasscough--is being convinced to cosplay as. While I am not ecstatic about having a pineapple 'pon the back of my skull....I do agree with the Nara's laid-back attitude and use of the word "Troublesome." Humans are troublesome. >P

Anyways~ The costume itself isn't going to be too much work for me. The fishnet shirt I can purchase...or in order to match the leg "warmers", I can make. My family owns a surger--which makes the seams you find in shirts--so it wouldn't be too difficult to manage the mesh material.

The black pants and shirt would also be easy to make...even if pants are the bane of my existence, and depending on my time constraints during this years production of Christmas Carol--we do it every year and I work on it every year--I'll either make or purchase the vest.
Of course, the wig and headband I'll have to order, and I'm not sure about the shoes just yet. If I can find a nice pair online that'll work.

Unfortunately, the need/violent forcing to do Shikamaru means that I won't be doing Colonello this time. He's been slowly pushed to the sidelines for a while...and I can only hope I'll have time to make him before A-kon. I have a busy schedule next semester though, and since I set my sights on him, there have been cosplays to come up that I feel are more in tune with my personality...and therefore are higher on my to-do list.
Gokudera Hayate, however, has not been removed from his place on my list, and I'll try to work on him after Ikkicon. What I'm really hoping I have time to work on, though, is the Undertaker from Black Butler.

I...have...recently fallen in love with this series, and the Undertaker is without a doubt one of my favorites. I would love to take him on as a challenge, and while I'm not currently sure if that's going to happen, it very well might if I can find the time and gain the assistance from my costume/clothing magician of a grandparent. xD I'm still "in-training" as a costumer, yo! ;P

I am definitely looking forward to making my attempt at him. Hes a marvelously psychotic character, which as far as I'm concerned is the best kind! And he's an /undertaker/. I mean c'mon. What's more fun than giggling madly and tapping out tunes on the skulls of corpses? Psh. Nothing, that's what. ;P~!
And I'd have a marvelous excuse to terrorize my beloved kidnapper<333

Look out for some work on both these get-ups very soon! I have to get my ass in gear very quickly if I'm going to have time to work on them and my school before January rolls around!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Well, I've been moved in at the dorms for a few days now, and have settled in nicely. I've had a lot of free time, but haven't really done much aside from sit around and watch anime. I have serious plans to work on Colonello, but funds are tightening unexpectedly, so I'm beginning to fret over whether or not I'll be able to manage what I need to manage before its too late.
Luckily, my cosplayer friends / cow prods will be arriving by Wednesday, so I'll have someone to work with soon!

A bit of an update for those who care, I've recently gotten into yet another new show. to me.

The last one I really fell head-over-heels for was Tegami Bachi.

For those who don't know, this show is a great watch! It is a bit depressing--especially if you're sensitive, or you get into the characters as much as I do--but its equally heart-warming.

My favorite part about the whole thing--aside from the plot, which I'm not gonna get into because every time I do I end up rambling for at least an hour, which would be quite a lot of typing...considering how many words-per-minute I actually type...--is the setting. Its a steampunk style set in a world split into cities across mostly barren territories. These territories are basically impossible for normal people to cross due to things called "Gaichuu," which basically look giant mechanical bugs.

Thus there are people called "letter bees" who deliver letters--and sometimes people!--across the danger-zones for the people who can't.

Currently, however, I've completed as much of Tegami Bachi as I can...which is the entire first season. The second season--which I am eagerly awaiting--will be out in the fall, supposedly.
Completing Tegami Bachi, however, meant running out of things to do in the long hours between working in which there is well....nothing for me to do.

The solution? FIND A NEW SHOW!

The result? DURARARA!

This show really made my day/week, guys. Its twenty-four episodes long, and it is probably the most fucked up show I've ever watched. Which is impressive, if you have the faintest idea of what I get up to.

Its unique, however, because while it introduces one of the main characters first, it actually stars several!
What I've decided, after watching it all the way through, though, is that it actually stars the city, Ikebukuro.

Some of the main characters, however, include:

Mikado Ryugamine, a young man just moving to Ikebukuro at the urges of a childhood friend!
Kida Masaomi is Mikado's best friend, and a total flirt who talks more than a parrot on steroids!
Heiwajima Shizuo is inhumanly strong...with a temper to match. Flying vending machines are his forte.
Orihara Izaya is the man with all the information in the world.
Celty Sturlson is Ikebukuro's "Black Rider," and is infamous for her black bike and...well...the fact she has no head!
Its hard to talk about Durarara without giving something away, so I'll be good and keep my mouth shut! Good descriptions and summaries are nearly impossible to find as well, simply because its such a complicated tale! I can only recommend going and watching it--its well worth the time!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moving Pains

Okay, so I've been a bit quiet the last few days--not unusual, considering my schedule--and haven't even so much as looked at an anime or manga since I returned from my vacation. Packing them away doesn't count.

But that's what I've been doing. I'm moving back to college in...a I've been packing up like a packrat on steroids, and almost all of my things-to-take lists have been wiped clean. Most the fact that I've already forgotten how much manga I've packed. Hopefully I didn't store away more than what can fit on my two tiny shelves.....but I'll probably be having my leaning-towers-of-otakuness again this year.

Its an attraction that keeps the locals interested.
The constant changing of the Dynamic Tower is akin to the consistent migrating of my books.

Real-life-headaches aside, once I get to my school-year-home, I'll be back in the arms of the theatre world. Which is both wonderful and sad, because I've realized this will be the last year I'll be as intricately involved in the life of a theatre I'll be changing my major in a whole new direction next year...and perhaps be taking some different classes this year.
Its a shocker...but even though I looove theatre and i love being around the costumes and the props and the 20'x20' Christmas Carol HOUSE that spins in the middle of the stage and actually took part of itself out on the cats.....I'm doing the right thing.

Zoology and Paleontology have always been my two greatest loves...and that's where I'm headed. Wish me luck along the way!
I'll need it...
Jack's Favorite Dinosaur. Kudos to anyone who knows what it is!

Anyways, things will be settling down soon...sorta. Settling to the school-year drive, anyways, and I'll be getting back to work soon. AnimeFest is on Labor Day weekend...which means I'll have to have everything done by the....fourth of September or earlier. The more I think about it...the more I don't think its gonna happen. xD;
But I'll do my best! My biggest fears, obviously, are the wig and the gun. The wig has a long road to get here, and I haven't even gotten around to ordering it...(badjackbad!!)...and the gun....I have no idea even if I'll get around to ordering it this time.
Especially since after watching the episode of Reborn practically starring our handsome blond shooting at Tsuna and Gokudera....I've been drooling n that gun so hard I've just wanted to make it myself out of wood. -dreamylook- Itwouldbesogorgeous...

Unfortunately...time's a bitch.
So we'll see what happens!

No matter what, though, I will get to work on my costume. After most of my things are packed(I drive a truck, so about 60-70% of my load has to be loaded the day I leave to avoid possible night rain), and most of Tobikuma's water is taken care of(he's my betta and he's HANDSOME DAGUMIT.), I'll probably get online and start searching some of the patterns available from some of the more big-time(cheap) pattern companies on the hunt for a military jacket.

Then it'll be a hunt to find the right pants...and maybe the right color dye...and the right color fabric.... -twitch-
That'll be work.

But its okay.
I'll enjoy every minute of it.
Even when I'm cursing the gods for making needles that stab me and get eaten by couches.
I'll still enjoy it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bit of Irrelevancy...BeachStyle!

So I got to go to the beach in Galveston, Texas, for the first time yesterday. It was a shell-searching escapade, as I'm not big on swimming period, and you'd be hard pressed to get me into water I can't see the bottom to. That's a big no-no in the Jack world.

But the shell search was a fabulous endeaver, and while one of my hip-bags now smells like ocean, I found some fabulous things. The thing that stood out the most was my Whatamajig--something my mom found! Here are some pictures of it.

My mom's holding it here--pay no attention to the pelican behind the the back ground--and is it weird or what?

The structure itself isn't too strange, there was a lot of strange "strung together" shells on the beach made by something under the sand that was spitting something out. I'm not really sure what it was or how it was being caused, but tiny holes that covered the beach were almost continuously shoving sand out, and some of them shoved this sticky substance holding shells together out.

While this is a lot bigger than those--even if we found one that was almost six inches long!--its made the same way...just...sturdier and older. The "sticky stuff" on this one was looong solidified, and almost black.

Here you can see a bit more what really confused me about this thing. See the black structure? We think its some sort of fossil! The material itself is natural, and you can see an almost spongey texture to it where the lines have been worn away. Its cool to the touch and while its impossible to tell how much it weighs with the rocklike thing attached to the bottom, its still fascinating.

I've been researching it since we got home last night--somewhere around 12am, and I stayed up for a while afterwards--but I still can't find any photographs or even sketches of a fossil like it. The closest thing I can find are the section of bone that connects a stingray's body to its fins and crinoids(sea lilies).

However, after a closer look into some other alleys, I've found an astonishing similarity to some species of fish gills...sorta.

Its not exact, and as much as I looove fossils, I'm no paleontologist and no expert, but that's what it resembles most.
Check out these tuna gills. See the white part? Looks an awful lot like my little mystery structure, doesn't it?

I'm going to try and get an expert to at least take a quick look of a picture of this thing, and maybe later be able to get someone to tell me if it really is a fossil or is something else completely.

Its awful close to that though. -stare- Too bad I can't find any images of "fossilized gill plates". For some reason, the most I can find is from a basking shark. Go figure.

No matter what it turns out to be, I'm still really fond of it. Its absolutely fascinating, and really fun to look at! Oh, and that bottom "rock"? Turns out its actually a black shell covered in what I think is coral! And the big mollusk has tiny barnacles.

I think its the greatest find since the pencil. Srsly.

Beach discoveries aside, I've actually been being good and working away at finding pieces for my Colonello cosplay as well.

After a long search through several toy guns stores, I actually found an assault rifle that was pretty much perfect!

Unfortunately, they were sold out of the model, which with only a few modifications--taking out the trigger and the "loader"...a bit of paint and some extensions--was ideal. So the hunt was on again...and this one was even harder. Having found something so good for the role, I was hard pressed to accept anything else. I did eventually find the closest thing to ideal at a completely different place.

While the coloring is really off, and the fact that it fires darts isn't ideal, the price is right at $11 and the shipping isn't bad either. The fact that I can't find it in stores seals the deal, and it'll be a top priority to get this and the wig ordered. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

CloseUp: Rifle Pommel

Okay, so I was on an online hunt to see if I could find the right sort of pommel for the assault rifle I'm building for Colonello...and I brought up some images as reference...only to realize that the back half of the gun--the pommel area--in one image, was brown. As in...wood.

This baffled I started to sketch the gun from the images that I'd found...and I realized how gosh darn strange the gun was.
Here's a good example of what really took me by surprise.

The pommel is the part right beneath his elbow, and goes up into where the trigger should be placed near his hand. Closer inspection of all versions I could find of the gun...shows there's no trigger. At all. Nothing akin to a trigger, even. That little piece that he's holding? Logistically...that should be a place to store bullets, or it could be a handle...for the trigger...except there is no trigger. Instead, he looks more like he's pressing the safety...which I find really funny.
Look right in front of the block he was "holding". See that little square? that should be a safety or something...but it looked like he was using it as a trigger. 

I know, it seems a bit like "well what does it matter?" and it really doesn't. I love details, and I was trying to find the best match when I saw this. The gun, which looks fairly accurate and plausible from the first glance...makes absolutely no sense when you really get down to it.

Its funny how things work like this.
Anyways. My original plan will still work...but I think I might just get a machine gun as a fall back, that way if I don't manage to finish the weird-totally-doesn't-make-sense gun, I'll still have something for AnimeFest. ;3

But no matter what, I'm not displeased with my "discovery". It will make the gun all the more fun to figure out!

PriceCheck: Colonello

Okay, so when I first started this blog, I started believing that--while I planned to get as many of my cosplays done long before the con--I wouldn't absolutely need anything done until May, as A-kon is in June.

But then my bestest buddy / nightmare instigator threw a wrench into my plans, encouraging me to join her to an early trip to Dallas for AnimeFest.
At first...I was smart. I said "nah...I shouldn't...I can't afford it..."
But it started to wear on me(I personally believe she was using mindcontrol), and next thing I knew I was actually upset that I wouldn't be able to go! So what'd I do? I started planning to go. And now where am I? Cosplay-less and only a month before I'd need one!

So my plans to get to work on my cosplays--especially Colonello, I was looking forward to working slowly away at my giant rifle and taking forever to hand sew my jacket in the comfort of my dorm lobby--lazily, has just been kicked out the window. That means I've got to get the ball rolling a little bit--at least push it up the hill!

That's what inspired the epic-wig-hunt.

Now I call it an epic-wig-hunt because I never imagined how long it would take me to find something I really liked!
I started out by googling 'Colonello Wig' the same way I'd done when scoping out the Gokudera wigs. To my surprise, there actually wasn't a very wide range of different places that sold one specifically like that, but I was good! I took it in striiide.

So after the failed attempt at finding a "Colonello" wig--which had actually resulted in two sites that screamed 'scam', a cosplayhouse wig that had no actual image of the wig, several "where can I find?" threads in about six different cosplay sites, and a few colonel wigs, which were white with rather fabulous mustaches--I tried looking for a blond spiky wig in some of the more famous sites. turned out to have a couple fairly nice wigs. One in particular--a styled wig for a character from Tales of Symphonia, strangely enough--actually kept my attention for a while. In the end, however, I decided that I would prefer to get a wig from a site that has a bigger reputation in the cosplay world, just for security. I will probably test out Milanoo in the future, but when I need a wig as soon as it turns out I'll be needing this one, I'd rather not risk it so much.

Next place I found myself was

For those of you who don't stalk the cosplay sites, is one of the most highly mentioned out of all of them. is another one that's constantly in the cosplay radar, but after a check there, I found nothing akin to what I needed and left it behind.
While it took me a while to learn how to navigate the site--I ended up going from cosworx to a shop based off of, which gave me many more options--I found a pretty wide variety of wigs and colors. Unfortunately, the right shade of blond was not as heavily populated...and most of its population was Squalo-length.

However, after an extended search--and a brief encounter with a wig I immediately labeled the "blond Rukia"--I came face to face with a near perfect wig.

"Blond Rukia"
Now, this wig isn't a cheap, nice little thing. Almost sixty-buckaroos, its a wallet puncher. However, it is made of a heat-resistant material, which from what I can read allows it to be curled, flat ironed, dried, and gives it more durability. I don't think I'll be curling it, but the ability to do so would make it useful for the future, and the extra durability is a plus.

Of course, I came into this knowing I'd be spending a pretty penny...and knowing that I wouldn't find a perfect wig. However, the one I've chosen--zephyr's short shaggy straight in yellow gold--is gonna be pretty damn good.

My plan is to go ahead and order it within the next week. It comes from Japan, so its got an extra week of travel to get here, and in the mean time I'll be working on other things.
By the time it gets here, I should have the bandana completed, which will allow me to work on styling it. My friend has offered to introduce me to her stylist day-before-AnimeFest if I can't finish or can't figure out how to style the damn thing.
Unfortunately, Jack is not a stylist. xD 

But I'm pleased with the results of my 4-hour hunt(I went everywhere except ebay, seriously. Ebay was my Last Resort), and I know that I'll have a good quality wig coming my why soon. ;3 

So the price check/list for this purchase is going to be the blond wig and a wig cap.

Zephyr Heat-Resistant Short Shaggy Straight - $57
Beige Wig-Cap - $1.79
Total:  (rounded; without tax/shipping) $60

Thursday, August 5, 2010

BreakingDown: the Assault Rifle

I've been doing my best to help find characters for my good buddy / minion's blog today, and all of my searches have lead to a thousand different routes of distraction--a good chunk of with were paused by drooling over awesome cosplayers!
The thing is, when I see incredible cosplayers, and look at fantastic outfits, all while the sound of HGTV drones on in the background...I get an excessive amount of inspiration. I'm a designer at heart, and while I'm not near the stage of design skill that my head would like me to be, I definitely get itchy fingers when my muse kicks in.

Unfortunately, I'm about six hours away from my stalking grounds on vacation in Houston, Texas with my mother. So while I lurk about the apartment she rented for the summer, watching tv...eating super-market sushi and hotfries...andmarshmellows'causethey'regood....while chugging mountain dew like the bum I am, I'm stuck with very little to do.

Which makes my itchy finger syndrome even worse.

Without my sewing machine, access to a pattern or my "you did it wrong fix it" grandparent, making anything cloth-related is out the window. That means that several of my would-be projects are doomed.
However, there are a very select few things that I can get a hold of the materials to make.

I have polymer clay, so I can make my little figurines...but that just makes me want to work on cosplays.
I could get ahold of the stuff to make Gokudera's dynamite...but I'm not really inspired to...and it would be easier to store an elephant than twenty-four sticks of "dynamite" in my house. Strangely enough, I have room for large objects, but not small boxed ones. xD; Talk about fail.
So that leaves...Colonello's rifle.

...and I like that idea.

So here we go! BreakingDown the Assault Rifle.

First thing we that the assault rifle is large. Very large. If you're familiar with weaponry at all--and let's face it, I came from a family of southern hunters and the only subject I flew through in highschool was the "gun safety" course in my Agriculture class--you know the difference between a rifle and any other gun. Rifles are sleek, with longer barrels, and fire bullets. Bullets, as in the cone-like ones you most likely think of when you think of bullets.
Make a note!
Shotguns are not rifles.
Shotguns are not Jack's friend.
Jack does not like shotguns.
Or shotgun shells.
Here's a great example. The gun on top is most likely a shot gun, and the red cylinders attached to it are shot gun shells. The one below is a rifle, and those are rifle rounds. A fair sized caliber too, from the size of the buggers. Remember! The bigger the gun, the bigger the caliber of bullet, the bigger hole it usually makes.

Seems a bit irrelevent, doesn't it? Sort of. Its less irrelevant if you plan on making round for the rifle...and I kinda like the idea of being able to pull out a pile of fake rounds and pretend to load them. Of course, you gotta be careful to make sure they look kinda fake. The more realistic you weapon or tool is, the more likely you'll have an issue with authorities.

Try explaining a 3' sniper rifle in the back seat and 200 rounds to the traffic cop if they look and feel real.

Past the obvious "Its a gun" and the less-obvious "Its a rifle" stage, let's look a little closer at Colonello's beautiful shoot-em-dead toy.

The very long barrel means its made for distance, which isn't unusual for assault rifles. The longer the barrel, the further the bullet can go is the basic idea. It also makes the gun infinitely heavier--believe me. I've had to carry around my grandfathers "long john" as he calls it. It can shoot twice the distance of my baby rifle...and weigh three times as much.

What I find interesting is the stand about midway down the barrel. That means its meant to be propped up on things, which is actually more of a sniper weapon style. A rifle you take into battle, for instance, would have a shorter barrel--most likely be an automatic weapon--and would not have a stand. There would be no need.
Of attempts to figure out what the hell it is are I am not military personel and am not about to try and figure out the exact make and model of the bloody gun.

However, knowing the use of a weapon helps design it, and my design teacher always encourages me to find every little nit and pick to toy with before I start work. But all that aside, knowing its a long-range weapon used from a distance is enough.

This is one of my favorite images.

Being able to get a good look at the gun really helps, and it gives me a good idea of where I can start with this guy.

From lookin' at it, I know I'm going to need two long tubes. I can either use wooden dowels--which because of the width could get a little heavy--or even very narrow pipe. It would have to be spray painted, and if its wood, sanded to a smooth feel.
Personally, if i can find pipe, pipe's what I'll go with, simply because of the weight.
I could easily use some sort of clay to form the circular "notches" on the weapon, which in actual use would be to hold on the various pieces of the gun, as well as hold the top and bottom parts together. Plastic or thin sheets of wood could  be used for the twin square pieces at the bottom, and the same material could be used for the main part of the gun. If I could find a suitable toy gun, however, it might be easier to chop parts of it to shreds and use the base of the toy with the long tubes for my barrel. 
The stand, as I just discovered, I can purchase from a toy store. Go figure, ay?
Now, after a bit more research, I'm actually 90% certain that  can find the perfect base for my rifle. The fact that children get to play with these sort of toys these days makes me jealous...and kind of disturbed.

Of the three, the green camo and the black are the most ideal. The one in the middle was kinda just because...yeah just 'cause. 
I think a nice trip to Toys R Us'll seal the deal, and make my plan for the gun pretty much underway! The fact that the toys are fairly inexpensive is also a plus. ;3

So all in all, I've got my plan. I need the following;
Narrow PVC Pipe
Thin wood or plastic(preferably the sort I can cut without powertools)
A Toy Rifle to dismantle
Clay or something like it for detail work
Black or dark green spray paint
LOTS of glue. ;D Hot glue or cement glue most likely. ;3
Nylon(for the straps)
and Plastic buckles(for the straps)

A trip to Toys R Us, a home improvement store, and maybe a Hancock'sll do the trick! ;D
And now I have a project to get me through the long hours of nothing before school starts!

StalkMode: Hikaru

My group--or at least a nice chunk of my group--are considering a full-sized Ouran Highschool Host Club group cosplay. We have enough people who intend to come--although that number is probably going to change, knowing my gang--and we have someone to suite everyone...if the entire group actually comes.

Now, my position in this group is Hitachiin Hikaru. That's right. The instigator of the twins.
One of my roleplaying partners--and an overall amazing person--will be trying to join me with her Kaoru, but regardless, I want to try and make the Hikaru get up.

The original plan was for all of us to order matching uniforms from the same place--that way we guarantee the fabric and style of the Ouran uniforms would be the same, and if we were smart about where we buy, well-fitting to each of our body types.

The more I think about it, however, and the more I think about how few of our group will probably manage to come--just knowing them tells me the unlikelihood--the more I think that...if it were just me and my twin(I wouldn't make the costume if it was going to be just Hikaru, that wouldn't make sense! xD), that I would like to do a costume that isn't the uniform. Uniforms are ridiculously hard to make, after all, and there are some outfits I like better!
...that and I really don't want to wear a tie if I can get away with not.

So that brings a few more options into play. There are, of course, the numerous outfits the artist uses in filler pages and the mounds of get-ups that Tamaki encourages, but there are also a couple more well known. The cheshire cat, for instance.

This costume is very recognizable, which is something ideal when you're working outside of a character's normal attire if you ask me. Its easier to choose a fairly recognizable side-outfit and not deal with the "are you this?""" "are you him?""no.." issues.
The chesire get-up is also very cute in my opinion, and purples are nice in my book. It wouldn't be difficult to manage, either, and I'm capable of making every inch of it--except the boots and wig--myself. Even the cloves would be manageable, even if I'd have to beg and plead my cosplay-goddesses of friends to assist me.

Another recognizable one is the waiter get-up.

But just as the recognizable is good, overdone looms. And both the Cheshire and waiter get ups for the twins are extremely popular.
Almost more so than the uniform itself!

So, that leaves some of my personal favorites to gander at.

This is one of them--a more unique version of the waiter outfit. Of course, its still recognizable, which is good, but less often done. That, and I really do love waist coats. They're so effin' sexy.

But its still not what I'd to do. If possible, I'd love to do one of the casual-wear outfits. There are two that show up in the anime for a long period of time--and I like them both. Of course, a useful thing about casual that its casual wear and can re-used. If you haven't caught on already, I really enjoy reusing things.
This is one--Hikaru's on the right if you didn't already know. Basically, a trio of tank tops is the most difficult part....which obviously isn't too hard. That, and I absolutely love tank tops! I might actually have two of those colors lurking about in my closet somewhere.

But! My absolute favorite is this get-up: 

...and I won't deny its partially because I have a headphone fetish.

Aside from that, I really like this outfit, which is used when Hikaru goes on his date with Haruhi, proving yet again that Kaoru really is the sneakier of the duo.

No more difficult than the tank-top set, the mixture of orange and cream colors is probably what attracts me to this one. I looove the color orange, after all!

But aside from that, this is actually a fairly recognizable set, coming from a memorable episode. Not that the bed & breakfast "trials" weren't memorable. That...and does anyone else notice that he's wearing the same hoodie-vest as Kaoru was the day before?

He totally stole it. 100%.

Don't let him fool you. 
He stole it.

-coughhack- Thieving twins aside, I'll be up in the air over this one for a while. It all depends on my Kaoru and the rest of the gang, of course. If I had my way, however, it'd be headphones all the way!

Or this;
The simplicity of the Victorian era outfit is very appealing, after all.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

PriceCheck: Gokudera

So we all know there are some things in every cosplay--or almost every cosplay--that we just can't make, or don't have the time to. I'm no different; even with a costume as simple as the one I'm getting my fingers into for Gokudera, there are a few things I cannot pull out of thin air. That's what these segments are for! Little what-nots and things you'll need to finish a costume off.

Personally, the only thing I really need to purchase for Gokudera costume that I can't find locally, is a wig.

 That's right! A wig!
Unfortunately, as amazing as even I can be, I was not born with that naturally silver head of hair. ;P

But no need to despair! Put on your creepy grin and follow me for a good run down on some good places to get your silver-hair fix.

...well...more specifically your Gokudera hair fix. We're exiling  Squalo from this particular segment, on the grounds that he has too much silver hair.

Alrighty. Let's do this thing.

So when we look at Gokudera's nice head of hair, the first thing to come to mind is obviously 'silver'. But if we just go looking for silver wigs, we'll be stuck here forever and a day. We need a specific style! And a specific shape! And a specific length! But its wishful thinking looking for all that in one. So we'll start simple by looking through some familiar cosplay shops and using google to help flesh out some more. Another good idea is to look through well-rated wig stores and check out advice from other cosplayers! There's a lot of information at

So from my hunt, I gathered a few wigaroos:

Now, one has to realize that when you order a wig from a main place, you're not going to get a perfectly styled one. What you can hope for is for the cut to be as close as possible to the real thing, and then you can use some special styling materials--things that don't require real hair to work--to force your wig into the right shape. 
There are also a lot more than the three I've shown here--these are just a few I like best. You can also find a lot of wigs on Ebay, and some of the main cosplay sites have some sellers who will style and dye a wig for you!

But here's a brief overview of the three from what I can gather.
Keep in mind I've never used any of these sellers, and would be making my best estimate for reliability and overall value before I made any purchases.

The first is from The site itself is clean and easy to navigate, which is something I like! The wig itself costs about $38 dollars, but that's with a 40% discount! However, there is a 100% refund if something is wrong with any of their products. 
The wig is cut pretty close to the actual character, and would be perfectly usable with a little bit of gravity-defiance in the back. This site also has an older version of Gokudera.

The second place is This place has a little bit of everything, an I mean everything. Its a wonder to search through, but it isn't a bad place. I've never heard of it before finding it, so I don't really know about its quality, but its fairly easy to navigate and has a return/exchange policy worth gandering over.
As for the wig, it costs about $39 buckaroos, but appears to be of a fair quality. The fact that its cut very close to the character makes me happy, and they also have an older version of Gokudera that's quite accurate!

The last place I'm "showcasing" is While has some gorgeous costumes and accessories, I gotta say, this particular wig is the least styled out of the group at first glance. However, it is also the least expensive at about $34 dollars and is still of a fair quality. It is a reliable site with a lot of products, and while the wig isn't "cut to perfection" its great for those looking to get a really accurate style who have the capability of styling...or at least have no fear of possibly needing to use scissors once in a while.

So all in all, there are three fair places to be glancing around for a possible Gokudera wig. After looking them over, I'm still not really sure which one that I'd pick, although narrowing it to three is very helpful!
Before I make a rash decision and be all like "eeny meeny miny moe" I'm going to look a bit more into shipping prices, reviews, and whether or not I have any friends who are particularly good at styling things...because I'm not.

But just because a wig might have been almost selected doesn't finish the game!

Now, a lot of people will just buy a wig and toss it aside, but there's more to it. In order to keep your wig in good shape(and this part I have quite an opinion in since I've seen what happens to abandoned wigs.... -eyes theatre building sneakily-) you'll need a safe and stable place to put it. i.e...a wig home!

The best option is a styrofoam head. They're cheap and easy to find--I can't tell you how many times I've found armies of them at craft stores like Hobby Lobby and been tempted to hide behind them and talk to scare people.
I personally encourage you to get one for each wig, but depending on your space availability or your number of wigs, this might be a bit ridiculous in theory. Keeping them all on their own head would make certain they keep their shape--so long as you don't stack them on one another. And you can always draw mustaches and funny faces on the heads, which makes them all the more irresistible to wig!

Another thing I recommend for your wig is a comb--note, a comb, not a brush. Brushes are made to pull out loose hairs, something that isn't good for your wig. A comb simply combs out things! Its useful to the extreme!--a wig cap, and bobby pins. The wig cap is good to keep your hair under control, and if you have longer hair, its made to help disperse your hair over your head and keep your wig from bein' all lumpy. You can get a good quality wig cap from in a variety of colors--even neon ones! Bobby pins, of course, just help the wig stay in place. They work especially well with wig caps, although you do need to be careful to make sure the color of the pin/cap don't stand out too much with a wig. I wouldn't recommend a black wig cap and black pins with a white wig, for example.

So there ya go, a short price check on Gokudera...that turned into a wig tutorial. xD; But it all works, so accept my knowledge! -shakesfist-

Price of Wig:  +++   +++   +++ Average of $37 US Dollars
Price of StyroHead: +++   +++   +++ Guesstimated $5 US Dollars
Price of Comb(1 time only~!): +++   +++   +++ Guesstimated $3 US Dollars
Price of Bobby Pins: +++   +++   +++ Guesstimated $3 US Dollars
Price of Wig Cap(cosworx): +++   +++   +++ $3 US Dollars
Total: +++   +++   +++ $51 US Dollars