Theorycrafting: Volibear Cosplay 10/12/2012
Hey everyone! Welcome to Theorycrafting: Cosplay Edition! This series will be updated weekly and features a discussion on potential ideas for the creation of a character for cosplay. This is a fairly quick look into what I might think of doing and what materials I may use when considering building a character.
This week’s character is Volibear (Classic Skin, League of Legends)!
Ok. So, simply put, Volibear (3D Model) is a giant, semi-anthropomorphic bear. Establishing the silhouette and bulk of this character is key. I would probably start out by considering what kinds of materials I may use to make this happen.
To build up the bulk for the back, legs, and arms, I would suggest using upholstery foam. It is a fairly light material and squishes fairly well during movement to simulate muscles. I have had good luck with this material for Sejuani’s Boar in the past. All you really need to work with it is a pair of scissors and a utility knife for the bigger cuts. You then essentially sculpt the muscle groups you need. I would pay special attention to the back of this character as he is bulky and hunched over.
To secure the upholstery foam under the fur, I have sewn the foam onto a pair of pants and a shirt in the past, though I have also heard that there are some forms of glue that probably work better. I would also probably allocate at least 5 yards of 2″ pile (fur length) faux fur fabric for this character and I would try to find a faux fur that was mostly white, but with some other highlights in it as well. If I had access to an airbrush, I would definitely utilize it on a pure white faux fur to include some shading and highlights on the fur.
As a side note, with any seams sewn with the fur, remember to pick out the hairs out of the stitching afterwards and fluff it up. A 2″ pile is very nice and forgiving, though it can be a pain to work with as it is long.
Head and Hands:
On to the head. There are a couple of methods out there to make a mascot-esque head, and I would definitely urge anyone to look up a tutorial for one. Again, upholstery foam is probably your best bet for this project, as it is light. Here is a good website for mascot tutorials. It would be awesome to be able to get some jaw movement in the head as well. Perhaps a spring or some elastic under the jaw may work? I would also highly recommend LEDs for the eyes. It would add an awesome touch to the costume and look stunning in the evening/night. It may get hard to see in this costume, but it may be a good idea to build the head structure up from your own head for extra height and scale and have most of your vision from the mouth through a sheer black fabric.
For the hands, I would either find or make a pair of fingerless gloves and start by sewing two of the fingers together, since this character has 3 fingers and a thumb. With these hands, I would aim for awesome finger articulation! To do this, I would have the claws molded to the tips of your fingers. I would recommend wrapping your finger(s) in plastic wrap and molding friendly plastic around your finger into a claw shape (be careful, though, as it does get hot. Water is your friend for mitigating stickiness). I would then drill some small holes in the plastic towards the base and sew them onto the fingerless gloves! (Padding may be needed to further bulk up your hands)
There are numerous materials out there for armor construction and material choice would probably be affected by budget and comfort level. I, myself, have had great success with wonderflex. EVA foam sheets may work better for some parts, though, since the armor is pretty thick in some places. You may also want to consider expanding insulation foam for some of the pieces as well for some of the more extreme curves, like the pauldron. Paper Mache may also work out ok for this as well, but I, personally, like to build for sturdiness.
For the head armor, I’d probably secure it directly onto the fur with a couple of stitches so that it stays flexible but also secure.
Ok, I have to say this: Lights!!!!!! LEDs!!! Also, the “jewels” would probably work best as a resin cast. Here is a very good video tutorial by Kamui Cosplay on resin casting and incorporating LEDs into them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pszN08KCNUc. She also has a wonderful expanding foam tutorial as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=O23TM-z0OXk
If I had my way, shoulder straps and cheek flaps for the armor would be made of leather, though faux leather would probably work fine too. For the loincloth area, I would think about a microsuede, or some other thick, rich fabric. Either that or a nice cotton. I have always seen Volibear as a regal, majestic beast.
If I could figure out a way to include the lightning hands, I would go for it! I was toying with the concept today, and I was thinking that interspersed fiber-optic filaments, like in one of these toys (http://www.fiberopticproducts.com/Focrytal1.JPG) may possibly work if the fibers are interspersed well enough through the fur of the hands.
Some other challenges for this costume would also be heat management and hydration. A camel back may be a very good idea! I have done some research online about keeping cool and a cooling vest may also be a worthy investment, though they can get expensive.
With all of this said, do you have any ideas or methods that you would rather employ? Leave your questions and/or comments below! I’d love to hear what everyone else’s thoughts are!
Additionally, since this is the first post I’ve done of this series, feel free to let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions on how to make this better!