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Ertew's costume

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Kaltxì. I'm Ertew and here is half of my cosplay story. My costume is still work in progress but i think it's good enough to share without a shame.
Second half should be published >here< once I solve few problems and finish that part.

Important note. To ease my work I decided to split this into few posts, documenting history and my progress. More work are already done, just wait for description.

These two photos comes from my first try. There are also a short >video< clip from third time.

Costume or body painting?
There are two main ways to make myself blue. Body painting often gives better results but it's messy, takes a lot more time and covers whole body only with thin layer of paint. I chose costume because it's easier, faster (excluding time spend on making costume) and I can hide a lot under costume. Extra layer of thermal underwear might be useful on cold European Halloween.

Let's start with costume and darker stripes.
I started from lycra suit in bright blue color (sky blue), customized to have removable gloves and socks. Seller also provides spare piece of fabric for a few tests.
There are two types of lycra/spandex. I've got one made of nylon (plastic). It's more flexible, cooler and harder to break but harder to dye and shiny :(
In the other hand we have cotton based lycra/spandex (natural). It should be much better to work with but it's less stretchy, can wrinkle and need really good sizing to fit properly.

Then I add some stripes and keep going until whole suit was finished.
In first iteration, stripes was painted by permanent marker, dissolved in IPA. Painting was really hard at first because alcohol base makes this paint smooth like a water. Every drop on fabric quickly expands and dry out, leaving stripes much thicker than intended. But after some training this works really well. Here are final results of that idea.

Yes, I tested this paint earlier on spare fabric. Paint was waterproof but easy to remove with IPA. Also both IPA and paint doesn't hurt fabric.
Sadly, paint vanished after first laundry  :facepalm: fortunately i do laundry after first convent "Pyrkon" and paint withstand whole day of fun. Also some traces of old stripes remain co I can repaint them again.

Kxetse time
Tail is the best part of my cosplay and I'm proud of that.

I started with 1m of large vinyl tube. These tubes should be perfectly flat but due to manufacturing, shipping and storage process, all tubes have natural curve. That's really heavy solution but also durable, flexible and feels natural to me. Yes, I can bend this tube 180* literally breaking it's shape, but tube returns to original shape in less than hour.
On top of that tube I added heat insulating foam. This increases size without adding weight and gives nice soft structure if anyone want to hold my tail.
Note for European cosplayers, do not use gray foam that is cut in length for easier installation. Search for color covered foam like mine.

Final product and gravity test.

Now it's time to mount it neat my butt hole without using butt plug. Here comes Karyu Jane and this >guide<. I use heat bendable plastic tube. 3pcs of that tube makes perfect friction fit with vinyl tube.

It's rather easy to remove but doesn't fall off. Yes, tail fall off once but due to break in plastic part, not by friction fitting.
And here comes spare piece of fabric, identical as my suit, yey 8)

Now how to wear it? Single belt on my hips was enough to make this works.

Quick decision. I can wear this under costume and make hole for tail or wear it on costume if I have better belt.
This time I decide to not break a hole in suit, so I find a way to hide belt as loincloths.

What about head - hairs and face paint?
I decided to mix them with artificial hair, making them bigger and longer. Sadly, no photos from preparation time. This photo have to be enough at the moment:

Face paint - just look at online tutorials. I chose water-based paint, training a bit and that's how it looks: (saying "that straw is blue too")

What about jewelry, ears, nose, eyes, fangs, etc?
Sorry, none  :(
I plan to add ears in future, but at these moment this accessories aren't as important as tail or paint so I skip them.

What about tanhì?
As I mention at the beginning, bodysuit allows me to hide a lot stuff under. One of my ideas was to hide 2000 LEDs, one for each individual dot over my body (except face). But this idea have own topic while this topic contains zero electronics. Please be patient, this should be ready before next convent.

A lot more photos from preparation stage can be found >here<.

Very cool!
No, actually, cooler than that!!!

Lots of work there, much respect, plus one from me.

 :D  :D

Yeah, it looks very good :)

Thanks for warm feedback. Karma is always welcome  ;)

It's time to write down another part of this story. Sadly I can't afford to rent photographer that will stalk me whole day. Most photos comes from random peoples. Each time someone asked me about photo i replied "sure but I want photo too".

As a test I visited one of most popular convents near me. The convent is named Pyrkon that fits all sorts of activities, including any cosplay You can imagine. I was the only Na'vi on the convent at sunday, but peoples said that there are second one that shows up on saturday and another one year earlier.
Yes, I chose cheapest wig and cheapest face paint, same as mentioned earlier. But that gives me good lesson.

Face painting:
Simple and doesn't match pattern on my costume, but I think this time I paint the best pattern ever.

btw, painting face can be done by single person (me) but small help (painting ears and neck) is welcome.

Wig construction chapter 1:
I don't made real wig but semi-wig based on my natural hairs, artificial hairs and flat strap. The strap was wrapped around head, above ears and below my natural hairs. Hairs was simply glued to strap on two sides of the strap, just near the ears. Natural hairs stay on top of head while artificial try to hide below them. Next all hairs was wrapped together and braided.
Below You can detailed photo. Yellow line shows how I wrap the strap around my head. Green snow direction of artificial hairs. Red mark is near the place where my natural hairs ends so only artificial hairs persist. Second photo shows the volume of artificial hairs.

btw, putting them on (and removing) require exactly one person, the one who help me at home. Hairs are very long, have really big volume and tend to tangle whole time. That mean I can't do anything without help.

There are 3 drawbacks of my design:

* Black color doesn't blend well with my natural hairs. Fixed.
* Cheap hairs are one-time use. They tangle while I remove wig after convent. Partially fixed, better hairs should survive at least 3 shows.
* This design need second person help. More photos from this convention was available >here<.

Lesson learned. Few issues fixed. I grab a bucket of positive energy and visit different convention, named Dni Fantastyki. This convent was way smaller than previous but all I need was a second chance to test my costume.

... and meet new friends. (yes, i'm proud of my tail)

New stripes
As I wrote earlier. First paint job last only 'till first wash. Paint was super waterproof but not soapproof  :-X  :-\
All I can do was to paint new stripes. I can repeat the same work again but this time I tried regular fabric paint. This operation was risky because suit was 100% plastic (low melting temperature) and paint have to be melted in high temperature. Fortunately everything worked.

New gloves
This time I also tested second pair of gloves, custom made 4-finger version. Wearing them was weird but they looks better than regular version.

Worse face painting
Yes, this time it was complete fail. Base color was done better than previous year, but I draw stripes wrong way. Next time I need a reference photo.

Wig construction chapter 2:
This time I use better quality artificial hairs and chose right colors (two shades of brown) matching my natural hair color. Same technology but looks so much better. Hairs was braided a bit too tight. Apart from that, they looks awesome. I got a lot questions about them, are they natural and how I made it.

Few more photos can be found >here<.

Nice again! :)
That artificial hairs looks really very good!


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