April 17, 2014

Bought some stuff for cosplay making

I went to K-Rauta in town today and bought some stuff that I will need sooner or later. I plan to make some horns and stuff with this, possibly for a Cosvision cosplay now that it's starting to seem likely that I can go there! The cosplay is still a secret but I have some ideas in the works and it's going to be an original character.. ~

So we have a brush, wallpaper paste glue and a multi-pack of masking tape
I will try my hands on making papier-maché and that's totally why I bought the wallpaper paste glue. I have never done this kind of stuff alone and I'm not sure if I've ever done it before to begin with, maybe once or twice in my early school years but I barely have a memory of it. :'D Oh well, this will be interesting and I'm hoping that it will turn out well; seemingly at least papier-maché is easy to do so I shouldn't have problems. I'm excited to start working on this!

April 16, 2014

VR, I love you

What's up with the title, how is it related to cosplay?
Well, sit back my dear readers and see, I'll explain to you.. ~

How much haven't I been raging about outrageous train ticket prices before? 
Well, it's history now.

Earlier today when I was doing my daily internet round I checked my email and noticed that I had gotten something from VR - Finland's main train company. Normally I wouldn't be too interested because usually it's just a sale mention for specific routes that only last a short time or such, but, this time it was different. It wasn't a sale that would last a week, or maybe a month. No no, better than that. It wasn't even really a sale but a price drop on pre-bought train tickets that is here to stay!! What makes it better is that seemingly the whole Finland is included which means I can travel from anywhere within the country and the earlier I buy my tickets the cheaper it will be, so much win!
I promise when I saw these news I was about to dance on the ceiling of joy because my brain immediately drew the link, aka I can from now on travel to whatever anime convention in Finland I please and it won't cost me all my limbs and belongings anymore. If you buy your tickets, say, 2 months in advance the price difference is HUGE; I actually checked for Desucon just for the hell of it and with the new cheap advance tickets I would only have to pay around 67 € instead of a whopping 167 € or so for both ways, crazy!
Yeah, so this pretty much means that my chances to get to Desucon as well as Animecon just skyrocketed! Yep, earlier I had thought that I might end up having to pass them by this year because of bad economy. No more stress of trying to find a carpool (except for Cosvision, it's a bit late to get ultra-cheap advance tickets now, still cheaper though) because hey, I can actually afford the trains now, whoopee!! Also I can now just comfortably take the train to Tracon (already bought con ticket) without having to think "damn, the train is too expensive, I have to look for other options", feels so good man! Oh, and this also means that there is a higher chance that I can visit cons in Finland now that I haven't been to before because it would have been too expensive and/or not worth it for the expenses. My con limits almost disappeared in other words!


April 15, 2014

More armors for Masamune

Back on 13th February I started another armor making process for Masamune, this time his upper leg armor pieces.

Character reference
I decided to roll with polystyrene once again and so I did some measuring and cut out two fitting pieces. I noticed after cutting that even though they have the right measures that they aren't perfectly straight. Oh well, it's not too bad.

Cut out armor pieces
Originally I had planned to make the armor out of several separate pieces layered over each other but I then remembered the amount of gluing failures I've done earlier with this plastic so I thought I'd do it another way.. an easier way. So with the pieces cut out I took a measuring tape and measured where each "edge line" would be and then just divided the length of the piece with the number of lines and started marking with a pencil.

Pencil marks added (yes, I used the knife box as a ruler)
On 5th April I decided to try if my idea would work or not. Basically applying a line of hot glue on the lines I had drawn and then heat-shaping the polystyrene into the right shape. I had been going back and forth thinking if this would even work and being worried that the hot glue would get sticky again because of the heating. I figured that the only way out was to try it on a scrap piece.
But before the hot glue experimenting I wanted to check if I could cut a line into the plastic for the attachment purpose - basically a hole to pull the ties through. I had no proper tools for this so I tried with a kitchen knife. I had to use quite a lot of pressure and I managed to cut pretty deep into the plastic but on the other side it didn't go all the way through.. in other words, it didn't work out.

The side I cut on
Backside.. not good enough
With that solved I have to go ask stepdad for better tools.. if nothing else I'll use the drill he has but maybe if there was something that would do a line instead of a hole it would be more convenient.
Well well, now back to the gluing. So I took a scrap piece, heated the glue gun and carefully applied a thin line as evenly as I could manage.

I know it's beautifully straight. Not.
When the glue had cooled down I carefully tried to bend the plastic and the glue moved with it. No cracking or loosening or anything! The hot glue didn't turn liquid-ish again; it didn't move even when I was heating the side it was applied on. Only thing was that at the very edges a super small bit of glue softened and thus glued onto my glove so eh, I guess it could turn sticky again if heated enough or too close.
Oh well, I took the heat gun and shaped it the same way I would shape the actual pieces.

With confidence and proof that it would hopefully work as envisioned I began to work on the actual armor pieces. Next in line - do five glue lines. Slowly. Carefully. Caaaaaaarefullyyyyyyyyyy.

One done, four to go!
It was more of a pain than one would think, I ended up with aching shoulders because I was doing it with my head almost in level with the table and the glue gun arm held up. Also constantly having to keep the same pressure on the glue gun's "trigger" (reason: have the glue come out as evenly as possible at all times) made my hand hurt/cramp and when I was working on the second armor piece's final lines it was hard to keep my hand steady, because of the shaking that occured 'cause of trying to keep the same pressure.. aka not moving my hand from the trigger. It wasn't the best gluing experience but I still think it turned out pretty okay. At some point I think the glue gun got too hot because the glue just flowed out without me even trying to get it out and it did this "gluebump-line-bluebump-line" pattern that was just not what I wanted so I took it off for a while to cool down. Also when the "mouth"/tip of the hot glue gun accidentally touched the polystyrene it melted very slightly.
Actually I ended up noticing that you could use the glue gun even when it was not plugged because it took quite a while to cool down.. xD

One armor piece done
One 7th April I heat-shaped the armor pieces. It all went well except that it wasn't the easiest to get both pieces to bend an equal amount. But after some tries it worked out alright. The only mishap that happened was that while I was heating one of the armor pieces I accidentally moved my arm over a spot with a glue line and some of the glue stuck on my glove. It wasn't too bad though, I just grabbed some paper, wiped off the smeared mess on the armor and poked the remaining semi-hard glue back into place with my nail. No harm done.

One armor piece shaped
I finished these armors today on 15th April. I had gone to mom's place because I needed to use the drill and the spray paints were there as well. I went to ask stepdad for advice about the drilling and after some brainstorming we agreed that the best approach to get holes in these things for the attachment elastic bands was to do several small holes in a row. Actually he did the measuring and drilling for me because one has to be very careful and well, he's kind.

Notice the pencil markings at the left and right corners
Holes drilled
Stepdad then went to fetch the utility knife so that we could clean up the drill holes and make room for the elastic ribbon to pass through. He also did the cutting part.

Cutting time, cutting time ~
Trimmed hole
Next step was for me to do the sanding. I used some 120 grit sand paper to even out the holes a bit more, you know, to make it less obvious that there was a lot of small drill holes. I also sanded all around the pieces to nicen up the raw cutting edges I made back when I cut these things out.

Sanding time, sanding time ~
With that done I figured it wouldn't hurt to use some very fine grit sand paper to scratch the surface of the plastic very slightly to get it to take in the coming spray paint a bit better. Here we go!

My tool of choice and the victim in the background, hohoho..
Sanded polystyrene
Okay, so now my armor pieces had slight sanding dust on them. The thing to do was to take some paper tissue, wet it with a slight amount of turbentine and cleanse the plastic by wiping it carefully. I avoided touching the hot glue decorations.

This clear liquid here is turbentine
So the surface free from sanding dust, fingerprints and such it was time for the actual painting job. I used a semi gloss black spray paint and sprayed away. Outside, of course, in a well ventilated area; this thing is not fun to inhale a lot of.

Spray paint coating recently added
While I watched the spray paint dry I noticed these unsightly bubbles that had formed on one of the armors. I don't know where they came from but I certainly wasn't planning on letting them reside on my black goodness. I just took a paper tissue and wiped the surface above the bubbles. The bubbles went with it along with some paint that had not been set yet. I just re-coated the wiped spot afterwards.

I can see you, bubbles!
Not anymore :D
Now I just had to play the waiting game and add new coats of paint when the earlier ones had dried. When the front was painted I turned the armors and painted the backside; when these had dried I took them inside and went to fetch the elastic ribbon that I'd use for attaching these things to my legs. Yeah, I cut four pieces of some black elastic and secured the ends with a zigzag stitch.

It's important to zigzag!
I then took one of the elastics at a time and started threading them through the holes in the armor and sewing them on. I quickly noticed that it was possible to sew the elastic on at one side with the sewing machine. Saves time!

Sewing elastic in place
What I also noticed was that to fasten the elastic on the opposite side was close to a physical impossibility, if you wanted to do it with the machine that is. So in other words I just sewed one end of each elastic onto the armor by machine. Like this:

At this point I had to leave and go back to my apartment but before I left I took with me some items for handsewing along with black thread. At home I sewed on the other end of the elastic by hand. I had to keep the stretch tight with one hand and sew on the elastic with the other but it all went well.

Sometimes handsewing is the only way...
Armors done I quickly put on my Masamune cosplay pants and put on the thigh armors. I'm surprised it actually works as well as it does. Sure it doesn't look the most impressive ever but I'm satisfied with the results.

Armor try-on
One thing's for sure though, when I finish this cosplay and wear it out to an anime convention I will have problems sitting down because of all the armors.. and I will need help to dress.

Yeah, that's it yo! See you later alligator!

April 8, 2014

Cosvision or no Cosvision?

Hello gais and gals!

Let's cut right to the chase:
I have a problem. I've had one for quite a while, actually. 

The thing is, I really want to attend Cosvision (10-11 May, Turku, Finland) because it seems new and fresh and come on, it's a con dedicated for cosplay! I haven't bought the tickets yet because of a huge insecurity about one particular matter revealed SOOOOOOON but I would pretty likely have a sleeping accommodation in order if I could go to the con. The thing is that I really need a carpool. I've been checking if there would be a train ticket sale that would go the right route on the right dates but so far no luck. I'm constantly checking my inbox for sale emails from VR (Finnish train company) but I'm slowly starting to run out of time because there's only one month left to the con! D: I really can't afford paying normal prices for train tickets because my economy is pretty damn bad right now and I just can't throw 180+ € into traveling alone. Hahahah.. ha... just, no. This is why I'm searching for a con carpool that would have space for 2 more peeps -aka me and Hasakitsuki- and who would start from anywhere around Tornio-Kemi area, preferably, or Oulu - which is farther away from where we live but can still get there. Of course we would pay back parts of the gasoline costs.

I'm just hoping someone would help us out; it would be greatly appreciated. It could likely mean the difference between Cosvision and no Cosvision for us! If it's you -who heeds the call for help- just leave a comment on this post (more likely I'll see it in time) or send me an email (can be found to the left on the blog), thanks!

In case there's no car poolavailable I'll just pray that a train ticket sale would show up and if not, well, then it's no Cosvision for us. :'(

April 4, 2014

Quick rasetsu version Saitou preview

Yep, more Saitou coming through!

I've wanted to cosplay rasetsu!Saitou ever since I got me some red contact lenses. I had been looking for a decent wig for quite some time until I found one; it's a bit more silver-gray than pure white but I still think it will do.. for now at least, I might end up replacing it in the future if I ever find an even better one.

Oh well, today I had a quick preview test outside just to see what it will look like.
Photographer is Hasakitsuki.

It was a bit windy and cold so we didn't stay outside for long. I don't know really what's up with these contacts but when I put them on they were uncomfortable and I had to take out them and put them back on. On the second try it was bearable but I still felt them when I blinked and I'm sure that the earlier times I've worn these they haven't been as uncomfortable... maybe they are expiring? It hasn't been one year yet but at least half a year since I opened them. I dunno. *shrugs* It feels like they dry out quicker than before and I took them off immediately after the shoot because blööörgh. I think I'll end up buying new red contacts for the summer con season because hey, who wants to wear uncomfortable contacts for a whole con day? Certainly not me.
Oh, and speaking of summer con season I'd just clarify that yeah, rasetsu!Saitou will appear in at least one summer/spring con this year. I have no idea yet which one though...

I don't have anything else to say really, I just need to start looking for new swords because my former wooden ones broke at Tracon last year and I have yet to find a replacement. I'm looking but it's proving to be much harder than what one would think to find a katana and wakizashi set that doesn't cost me my limbs, that looks decent (aka no tourist/obviously decoration crap) and is generic enough to work for most characters. I'd prefer dull metallic swords if possible but I'm checking for wooden ones as well..

Valkoinen Samurai out!

March 25, 2014

Saitou gets an update for the better

On 19th March I decided it's about time I cut my Saitou wig a little. Sure it has always been fine but for the past few months it has started bothering me slightly that the bangs are so long.. mostly because they block out my right eye and this doesn't always look good on photos. So yeah, cutting time!

Before cutting to the left, after to the right
Also on the next day (20th March) I went to a fabric store in town and bought some fabric for the scarf. Yeah, I do have a scarf already but as some of you might know it loves itself some strangling antics and it's just heavy and annoying to wear after a while. I've wanted a thinner and more flowy scarf so I decided to make another one. The fabric that I bought was unusually wide -around 2,4 meters- so I only had to buy a small strip of it.. didn't take more than 30 cm although afterwards I realized it wouldn't have been bad with a bit more. I tend to always buy too much fabric for bigger projects and not enough for smaller projects. lol Not like it was bad though, the scarf turned out okay anyway.
I didn't take any progress pictures because it's so simple to sew a scarf; just zigzag the edges, fold in the edges for seam allowance, fold the whole thing in half and sew it shut with a straight stitch.

Started sewing the scarf shut
With the scarf done I was ready to go take a few photos.. and so I did on 25th March, aka today.
Me and Hasakitsuki (photographer) went outside the apartment and had a quick shooting to show off the costume updates.

The scarf seen from the back (yeah I know, should have ironed it..)
This fucker even blows in the wind! 8D (if you're lucky)
I'm still a bit meh because I would have wanted the scarf a bit wider (yeah, it still bugs me) than what it is but oh well, at least there's no way in hell this thing could attempt strangling techniques on me anymore, unlike its predecessor. It's very lightweight and comfortable and cost me 4 € to make.
Enough of the scarf, next up is a photo that shows the wig's make-over clearly:

Why oh why does my kimono collar bunch weirdly on this pic? *shot*
Oh the joy when le wig doesn't completely block out my right eye anymore! I still frequently have to move hairs away from my eye (especially when it's windy) before a photo is taken but at least it looks better.. and it's never bad to be able to see properly in cosplay. xD
Lastly here's a cropped close-up of the contact lenses that I will wear for Saitou from now on. Yeah, it's totally the reason I opened my Beaucon Vibrant Match Blue lenses. Surprise motherfucker!

Sure that his eyes are violet-ish in the anime but in the game they are blue and well, the game came first so I consider it the official/original. Blue-eyed Saitou it is, deal with it ~

That's it, new cosplay previews for this year's con season will follow! Valkoinen Samurai says bye!

March 21, 2014

Review: Beaucon Vibrant Match Blue contact lenses

It's time again for another contact lens review guys! This time it's the Beaucon Vibrant Match lenses in blue. I bought these some time ago and I've been waiting for a reason to open them and well, the reason you will find out in another post soon but now let's get on with the review!

Lenses in bottle
These lenses look a medium blue when not worn; they are rather pretty if you ask me. I like the design of these surprisingly much and I think I'm starting to really prefer lenses with a black outer rim haha. Regarding the design there are some small black dots close to the pupil hole following a star shape, otherwise the blue color is pretty solid while also imitating the patterning of a real iris. One thing that's not so pretty though is that when I tried to open the bottles I had problems with not one but both of them. The plastic lid just went off without taking any of the metal protection with it. Meh. I had to fetch a knife and massacre my way through the metal...

This is not cool bro
Not saying this only happened with the Beaucon lenses; I've had this problem with pretty much any lenses.. I think it's just how lucky you are if you get a metal troll in yours or not. xD
But yeah, back to the lenses. I popped one into my eye and it went in without any problems. The description on the bottles say that the diameter is 14.0 mm but I still think there is a veeeeery slight enlargement. These blend really well with my natural eye color and look surprisingly natural while still having that noticeable color oompfh. I actually went to do some quick business with these on and didn't get any comments or questions; I assume either the light was too bad for the others to see or these lenses just look natural enough to pass for real eyes. I would say these are good for cosplay as well as for everyday fab contacts.

One lens in (taken in bathroom light)
These contacts don't hinder my vision; I have no random blue corners when I move my gaze or anything. They are pretty comfortable but even though I wore them for around 4 hours I could still always feel that I had contacts on, it was slight though. It wasn't uncomfortable at all or anything but I just felt them when I blinked. Also maybe it's just me but it felt like these started to feel dry faster than other contacts I've tried. I don't know, might also be because putting contacts on was pretty much the first thing I did today when I woke up and well, my eyes were a bit tired. Nothing bad though overall, I'd still say they are comfortable to wear.

Taken indoors during daylight hours on a cloudy day
Taken while facing the window from a distance
I don't really know what more to say. I find myself liking the blue shade a lot and I'm pleased with these contacts. They aren't super noticeable in darker/dim lights but in brighter lights or outside they turn this vibrantly awesome blue that is striking and just looks some sort of awesome. I definitely dig these contacts.

Contacts from a distance
(am I the only one thinking Kuroko from Kuroko's Basket? xD)

Short summary (added on mid 2014):

Color: 8/10 Nice vivid blue shade that shows up nicely
Design: 8/10 Design seems to mimic real eyes and does it well
Enlargement: 3/10 Barely enlarging which is a good thing if you ask me
Comfort: 6/10 I can sometimes feel I have contacts on when I blink and they seem to dry out faster than some other lenses, still okay though
Naturalness: 9/10 Except for the stronger blue shade these look pretty dang natural

I don't have so much more to say I think.
Any questions just leave a comment! :D kthxbai! ~