Theorycrafting: Nutcracko Shaco 12/15/2012
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. ^_^
In celebration of the winter holidays,
this week’s character is: Nutcracko Shaco (Holiday Skin, League of Legends)
Shaco (3D Model) is an embodiment of madness and dark humor, a jolly assassin without a conscience or a care. He relies on stealth and deception to sleigh his targets, but he always makes sure his victims get the joke. Those who encounter him had best laugh, or feel his wreath.
Overall, this Shaco skin should be a fairly simple costume to make. You could go for creating a simple costume, or there is quite a bit of room to add details and embellishments to the design.
The most difficult thing will be patterning, but I think that hurdle can be overcome by customizing already existing patterns and perhaps using the duct tape patterning method (discussed previously in the Fiora Theorycraft).
I imagine that the main fabric for the coat would be either a simple medium/heavy cotton, or a low sheen heavy satin, as it is a military uniform. I would not use a costume satin or velvet because the texture and shine would be too rich, though you could use a shinier fabric for a lining.
For the shoulders of the coat, you could use some interfacing to make the points stiffer and add in some padding so that they keep their shape. You may also want to think about adding in elastic at the wrists to keep them close, but also elastic so that you can get your hand through. Or you could just use buttons! ^_^
For the coat “tails”, I think the important thing is to keep them stiff, but flexible. Here are a few ways that I can think of to achieve this effect.
The least expensive option would be to use wire or a combination of wire mesh and batting to stiffen up the coat tails and bend them to the right shape. The thing is, is that the coat tails will become too easily bent out of shape, and once bent, they will be harder to get back into the proper shape.
Interfacing may also be an option if you layer it thicker at the top of the coat tail and thin it out at the tip. I don’t know how feasible this option would be, but it may run the risk of not giving you the right starting curve for the coat tail.
Another option would be to reinforce the coat tails with Fosshape (Tutorial). It would form and harden into the right shape and you could cover it over easily with the coat fabric. The only thing that I would be worried about would be if it had enough flex and bounce.
The last option that I can think of right now would be using a combination of wonderflex/fosshape and interfacing. The thermoplastic would be formed up towards the top of the coat tail to add some initial stiffness and shape. Then, as you continue down the coat tail, you would thin out the plastic reinforcement and shift over to interfacing towards the tip of the coat tail.
I think that the coat would be a wonderful place to add in your own embellishments for the costume through button buttons, cording, edges, etc. You could even add in little jingle bells at the tips of the coat tails!
I would make the pants custom since they have a unique shape and line to them, kind of like the old fashioned riding breeches, but not quite. I think that a microsuede fabric or a knit fabric might do really well for the pants since it is shorter than velvet but will also give the pants a different texture from the coat.
Although Shaco’s character has really poofy pants, I would go for a slightly baggier or vintage riding pant look. I think it will look better and a bit less cartoony. If you wanted to stick to the character, though, you could add in a tighter fit lining and put stuffing between the lining and outer fabric to maintain the poof.
There are a few options for the boots, depending on what you want to do or what your budget is. You could make boot covers (with either faux leather or real leather, depending on budget), modify existing boots, or make your own. It all depends on how intense you want to go. I think I would personally either modify existing boots and try to match leather colors as close as I can.
I think I would definitely use Fosshape for the hat, since it is a light, easy material to work with, but it will also stiffen up and keep its shape well.
For the face mask, I would personally start with a plaster base and cast your own face so that you know it will fit well. Some people have asked me if it’s hard to do, but it is actually really simple! All you need is plaster cloth, which is gauze with plaster on it, and then cast it to your own face. You can usually find it at a craft store, such as Michael’s or AC Moore. It’s safe and really simple to do. I’ve used this method to cast my face for my GLaDOS and Orianna masks. Here are the steps.
What you will need: mirror, plaster cloth, Vaseline, and water.
- Cover your hair and coat your face (especially your eyebrows and facial hair) in Vaseline so that the plaster doesn’t stick to it when you take the cast off.
- Make the desired face you want to cast (usually your best neutral face)
- Cut strips of the plaster cloth
- Dip a plaster cloth strip in warm water and apply it to your face (leave holes around your nostrils and/or mouth so that you can breathe)
- Repeat steps C and D until your face is covered with 2-4 layers
- Wait and don’t move your face for at least 1 hour
- Gently pry off the cast and let harden/dry for 24 hours
- Rinse off the nasty Vaseline and plaster bits from your face
If you want, you can enlist a friend to help you out, especially if you want the plaster to go over your eyes (so you can drill out eye holes after).
Once you have the starting cast, you can build off of it to create features that you want and smooth out the face. You can polish up the eyes/insert clear plastic for eye covers if you want.
I usually end up using paper clay for sculpting facial features since you can sand it down to get a nice finish, though you have to be careful not to use too much water, as the plaster will soften. Paper clay can also get heavy, so if you have a particularly large feature (like Shaco’s chin), you may want to think about making a base wire mesh form, putting plaster over that, and then using paper clay as the final detail/finish so that it is hollow.
There are a variety of materials out there that you could make the weapons out of. If you want them to be light, you could use a wooden dowel and insulation foam (Tutorial) or paper mache. On the other hand, if you have access to the tools, you could make them out of wood. It is ultimately up to you to decide what materials fit with your own interests and budget.
That pretty much sums up how I would take a crack at creating a Nutcracko 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!