BlizzCon presents an incentive for real-life tailors and engineers to take up their needle and thread and their cardboard and spray paint, in order to fashion amazingly realistic recreations of their favorite Blizzard characters and creatures. After this year’s costume contest, we invited the winners to write articles on the art of costume-craft for us to share with the community. Here’s the third entry in the series, written by Justin, who won third place for his take on Deathwing.
My name is Justin Floyd, and I am Deathwing. Rather, I was Deathwing. This costume started at the insistence of my wife, who decided I would fit the character of the deranged former Earth Warder quite well, which I’m not sure is a compliment. Without her help, this costume would not have been possible (mainly because my artistic ability is confined to stick figures and shadow puppets).
Let me start off by saying that I have a deep fondness for the Blizzard community. I met my wife at BlizzCon 2005 and many guildies at other BlizzCons along the way, some of whom I consider close friends. I’ve played Blizzard games since Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness was released, and it is the community and storytelling that always brings me back. Getting to be a Warcraft character for a day was awesome and the support from fellow BlizzCon attendees was amazing.
We started planning and working on the costume in April and literally finished it an hour before I had to be backstage. Of course this means I missed a lot of the cosplay meet-ups, but considering some of the mishaps we had, we’re lucky we got it finished!
The costume was constructed from a variety of materials including green Styrofoam, papier mâché, paper clay, leather, Wonderflex (a thermoplastic — just heat and bend!), fabric, and foam rubber mats (interlocking squares usually used for the garage or kids’ playrooms).
Styrofoam was carved and covered in paper clay for the shoulders and various spikes. Foam rubber mats were used for the bracers, boots, and chest. Leather was used in a variety of areas, including the chest and loincloth. The legplates and belt were created with Wonderflex, which is truly wonderful!
Question: How did I keep everything on?
Answer: Lots of Velcro.
Walking around in costume is harder than it looks. To start, I didn’t realize I needed a spotter until I walked straight into a fire hydrant and dented one of my boot spikes. This wasn’t a big deal, since we packed some extra black paint. While waiting for my wife to get the paint from our room, I was striking a few poses for several nice people who wanted a picture. Apparently, range of motion is very limited when you’re wearing two feet of badassery on your shoulders, and to my horror, I felt my pauldrons slipping off! I went to grab for one but it was too late and the other shoulder crashed to the sidewalk. A few of the foam/paper spikes broke off. We had to trek all the way back to the hotel room, glue everything back together, and march… well, waddle back to the Anaheim Convention Center.
After my initial walk across the stage during the costume contest, I was ready to exit the area and try my hand as a fuzzy, lovable Pandaren. Needless to say, I was completely dumbfounded when I was pulled aside and asked to “wait right here.” It was a little nerve-wracking going on stage a second time, but it made for a good YouTube video to show the family. All in all, I learned more about costume construction than I bargained for, but I also learned how fun it can be. I’ll never forget the experience — and how could I, when I now have a huge mace that lights up hanging on my wall?
In case you were wondering, I did go to Disneyland.
Okay, maybe I didn’t go dressed as Deathwing, but I was able to treat my guild to an unforgettable day at the park after winning third place. Two of my guildies had never been to California, let alone Disneyland, so it was nice to be able to do something special for them after BlizzCon.
P.S. FOR THE ALLIANCE!