Halloween is less than 3 weeks away and by now most of you have probably already ordered yourselves costumes of your favourite superhero, anime or video game characters. But if you’re a Halloween fanatic like myself then perhaps you want to try something different this year; something a little more challenging? Which is why this year I’ve decided to make my very own Cosplay for Halloween! I’ll be cosplaying as my favourite superhero Nightwing, and over the next few weeks leading up to Halloween I’ll be sharing with you the progress on my cosplay, showing you all the tricks and techniques I used to make it and hopefully, it will give you a few ideas when making your own future cosplays.
So before I knew what kind of costume I wanted to make, I spent a long time looking through various pictures of Nightwing on the Internet. Everything from his comic book iteration, to video game models as well as getting some ideas and inspiration from other Nightwing cosplayers. After I had a bunch of reference pictures I could use for my Cosplay I started to sketch out a few rough designs of how I wanted it to look. After about 3 or 4 sketches I knew almost exactly how it was going to look by the end, it was to have two chest plates and eight abdominal plates as armour, with the famous blue V shape on top of the armour plates.
The next stage was to take the sketches I had made on paper and transfer them over to scale to my body width and height. With a friend I had my whole upper body covered in cellophane, after which I then covered myself in strips of duct tape (The cellophane acts as a barrier so you are not tapping your skin). With so many layers on me it was quite tight and so the form of my chest and body was being defined much clearer. After my friend tapped me together it was a case of simply sketching the same design we already made on paper but this time on my mummified body so that the shape of the armour is to scale. Note that I only drew one side of the chest and abdomen plates because I could simply flip it over and make a mirror image.
Once the design was drawn on my body I was cut free from the back and carefully cut the individual shapes out to serve as my template. Now we’re getting into the real creativity here as it was time to take the paper templates and transfer them over to EVA Foam. EVA Foam is a flexible and dense fabric which are mostly used on children’s play mats or Yoga mats. They also make the perfect material for shaping and expanding cosplay armour.
I traced the design from the paper template onto the EVA Foam with a black marker, then flipped the template over and made a mirror side for the full chest plate. I then took a stanley knife and cut out my material. I did the same for the abdomen pieces, simply tracing the template with a marker, flipping it over and tracing again before cutting it out. Make sure you label your chest plates Left and Right so as not to cause confusion in the future, don’t worry about the making you will be painting over it eventually. Once all of the pieces were cut out I took some sandpaper and softened up the edges since the blade would have make the sides rough.
All the pieces came out looking great but they were noticeably flat, they don’t curve or seem to resemble a 3d pectoral muscle. Well as I mentioned before, the reason EVA Foam works to well for cosplaying is because the foam can be expanded and shaped to curve and make the design pop out more. All it takes is applying some heat to the foam using a Heat Gun, to warm up the foam and make it expand, from there you can press and fold the foam until it start to take shape. You can even press it to your chest and shape it from there. And no before you ask, a hair dryer does not work in replace of a heat gun. It doesn’t get the foam to a hot enough temperature that it can start to expand and be shaped.
And here’s what it looks like so far. As you can see, the plates look much more 3 dimensional and resemble that of an actual chest plate. There is still a lot more to be done before this cosplay is finished but I will be sharing with you my progress every week leading up to Halloween before finally showing it off in it’s full Nightwing glory. Let me know what you guys think so far and if you learned something from this. Also any feedback or advice from people is more than welcome, this is my first full cosplay and I could always use some helpful tips and tricks.
The Writer of this piece was: Dean Walsh
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