Theorycrafting: Headless Hecarim Cosplay 11/23/2012

Hey everyone!  Welcome to Theorycrafting: Cosplay Edition!  This series will be updated weekly and features my ideas for how to potentially bring a specific character to life for cosplay.  My hope is to give people a quick look into my design process and what materials I like to use use when considering building a character.

As always, discussion and recommendations of which characters you would like to see theorycrafted in future are more than welcome. ^_^

This week’s character is: Hecarim (Headless Hecarim Skin, League of Legends)

Hecarim: the Shadow of War, Headless Hecarim Skin

A terrifying spectral commander with a legion of ghostly cavalrymen at his back, Hecarim (3D Model) strikes fear in the hearts of his mortal opponents.  I think that this haunting skin would make for a very impressive cosplay and I would love to see someone tackle it!

First off, this costume would not be for the faint of pocketbook due to the sheer amount of materials that its creation would require.  Also if you wanted to take it to an event, you would most likely require a handler for this costume (aka: someone to help you navigate and make sure you’re ok).  However, all  of these things are easily overcome with a little foresight and planning.  Let’s get to the design!

Back Legs and Body:

The decisions regarding how to do Hecarim’s horse body are probably the most important in this costume as they will affect all other aspects of designing and construction.  With any of these potential designs, you will want to consider weight and try to keep the hindquarters as light as possible.

Snapshot from the model viewer on Lolking.net

First off, would you like the hind feet to move or be static?

Static option:

If you go for the static option, the easiest way would probably be installing wheels at the base of the hind hooves.  That way you can rig up the hindquarters around your waist like a belt.  For building the horse body this way I would consider using a wire or plastic frame with upholstery foam or just building up and carving insulation foam.

The upside of this route would also allow you to build the front legs into the rest of the horse body so that the front legs are like pants.  This would make getting in and out of costume pretty easy, so it’s a good option if you think you might want to go off and explore the venue without being a landmark at the same time.

Moving option:

If you really wanted to go all in on this cosplay though there is no substitute for a horse body with hind leg articulation and movement.  I, personally, would opt for as it would bring a whole new level of realism and depth to the character.  Rigging legs, tails, and the like to move independently is not as difficult as most people think.

 Off the top of my head here are two ways that I can think of to go about making the hind legs move.  One is where you rig up strings to the hind legs that you can pull with your hands.  Another more sophisticated method would be to tether the hind legs with a clear cord to your front legs so that they move with your own feet. In either case, I would make be sure to have the joints of the hind legs operational, and I would try to incorporate a hinge for the hoof so that it “drops” when it is lifted to make it more life-like.

Getting in and out of either of these setups would be more tricky than the static option.  I would possibly engineer it so that the horse portion of the costume was rigged up like a backpack (over the shoulders) to deal with any extra weight that might be put on giving the back legs motion. In theory you could still make the waist/belt option work, I just think this would be better.

For materials, I would probably move towards using an internal pvc frame with a wire mesh frame around that (much like my idea for Ahri’s tails) and upholstery foam to define the muscles.

Note: Before committing to any construction of the horse portion of the body, I would highly recommend spending some time researching and just looking at horse anatomy. This will help you get oriented towards what you want to create especially in regard to proportion and muscle groups.  This is important because while I was browsing image search for centaur costumes, I noticed that on a lot of them, the back is really long and the hindquarters were a bit too small in proportion.

The Coat:

I would go for a short, sleek fur for the majority of the body.  For the fetlocks/feathers (aka: the foot area), I would probably use a combination of long, shaggy fur and make some wefts out of wig extensions (or horse hair if I can afford it).

The Hooves:

Lastly, for the front hooves, I would probably build the hoof out of clear (soon to be painted translucent) plastic around a black shoe and then install either electroluminescent sheeting or LEDs between the shoe and the hoof so that it will glow.  The hind hooves would have a similar build.

The Tail:

I would make sure to build out the tail bone first.  If you’re feeling ambitious, you could probably rig in a pivot joint and controls so that you could flick the tail, or just have a joint at the base of the tail so that it moves as you walk.

Anyway, once I have the tailbone set, I would treat the tail much like I would a wig.  I would obtain either black wig extensions or horse hair tail extensions (which are much more expensive, but would look better than wig extensions) and build the tail over a general frame.

Here is a really good tutorial by Ryoki-Demon on how she made her Jessie wig: Jessie Wig Tutorial.  Even though the tutorial doesn’t directly relate to building Hecarim’s tail, I think that it gives some really good advice for techniques and general ideas about how to go about building the tail.

Some modifications that I would have would be to have the bottom third of the tail just hang free from the frame, rather than making it all rigid.  The frame would mostly be for creating the general shape of the tail.  Just having the frame would also allow for adding in fire effects, like I explored in my Foxfire Ahri post.

Human Portion:

Probably the first thing to address is the fact that Hecarim’s pumpkin head floats and has no neck.  To make this effect, I would probably make the head separate, probably out of insulation foam or expandable foam and have it secured on top of a clear post.  The post would then be attached to a bike helmet (or something similar), which you would wear.  This would give you the floating effect and you could build fire effects around the pumpkin head and off of the bike helmet.

Potential design sketch

This solution, though, would create issues of scale, as you wouldn’t want your own head showing.  Thus, you would build up your shoulders with either insulation foam or upholstery foam and you would have your own head at Hecarim’s chest area.  You can incorporate eye holes or a sheer portion into the chest area of the clothing so that you can see.

I think that this would work out for the costume’s scale as well, since Hecarim is imposing and the extra height would help with that.

The Coat:

For the outermost layer of the coat, I would do choose a heavier weight fabric, like wool.  When I think of the tale of Ichabod Crane (and the Headless Horseman), I think of colonial clothing styles and the most commonplace fabric back then was wool, so I think it would give a really nice feel to the costume.

For the collar, I would incorporate a silkier lining and interfacing to keep it stiff.  Also, for the other layers of clothing, like the vest and shirt, etc, I would opt for a richer feeling fabric, like a nice cotton and his neck ribbon would probably work best as either a silk or satin.

I would, personally, use leather for the belts and bandolier, and I would carve the skulls out of insulation foam.  Don’t forget lights for the eyes!

Weapon:

I think that PVC pipe would be a really good choice of material for the handle of Hecarim’s scythe.  I would probably use heat to bend and squish the PVC a bit so that it has a bit of a curve and doesn’t look so perfectly circular.

Reference pic from Lolking.net model viewer

For the blade, i would use pink insulation foam and carve it.  Here’s a really good tutorial on creating weapons and props out of pink insulation foam: Part 1 of tutorial (be sure to also check out Part 2!).

For the bulkier portions of the weapon, like at the bottom, I would probably use expanding foam and carve it down to get the flare.

That pretty much sums up how I would go about Creating a Headless Horseman Hecarim cosplay.  If you have any questions or would like anything clarified, feel free to ask me, or if you have any requests for characters you would like to see, just let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading, if you want more, check me out online at my Facebook Page or via Twitter.

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