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View Full Version : Life Size Blastoise, The Creation, Process, and Journey (Let's Make this Happen!))


Xaevier
10-10-2010, 02:25 AM
I have made quite a few cosplays in the last year, however, from day one there has been on that I have wanted to make because

1. I'm Completely Insane
2. I have a tendency to be a masochist with my cosplays (almost every cosplay I make causes near heat stroke/intense fatigue)
3. I can't die until this has been done

So what exactly is the cosplay? Blastoise from Pokemon

http://o.guidesmedia.ign.com/guides/12045/images/blastoise.gif
http://images.ownedbymario.multiply.com/image/1/photos/upload/300x300/SRg3GAoKCq4AAFhaQCw1/009-blastoise.jpg?et=KrLTgbaVsojR7Hz%2CEIQSLw&nmid=0

Now you might say "But this has been done!" Sure there have been blastoise cosplays but they have simply been a dude wearing a small version that lacks the proper proportions, look, and awesome that is truly blastoise.

This is why over the course of the next year or two I shall be making a blastoise cosplay that is the following

1. At least 6 feet tall (sure the pokedex says 5'1 but lets be honest in the pokemon episodes he is 6 feet tall or more) and perfect in proportion/size.
2. Have working cannons that have some sort of hydro cannon effect
3. Be able to stand on its own (sorta like a statue that you can go inside and move slowly but when you stand still it will stand on its own
4. Be the most epic blastoise costume the world will ever see

So what exactly am I asking of you guys? Well for one this is a momumental project unlike anything I have done before (which is saying a lot considering my Knightman cosplay took over 500 hours of work and enough bondo to construct an entire car) so I need some advice, suggestions, help getting this beast finished.

In return I will continuously update, post progress pictures and reply to anyone who posts here. I think costumes of this magnitude should be more of a collaborative thing and that those who offer advice should be given progress pictures as too often "Help me!" threads end when a person gets the advice they want and we never get to see the results of the hard work that was done.

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Progress thus far [Planning and Design]

As it stands I have not put any work beyond measurements, scaling calculations and about 6 months of thinking about various ways I can do this and learning techniques through my other cosplays to get a good idea of how I want to do this. So with that said I think the following will work the best, but I am open to ideas and suggestions!

[Head]

I would like the head to have an opening mouth and be able to turn slightly and even possibly be equipped with a speaker so we can get some "BLASTOISE" quotes going on. I personally don't know much about audio or electronics so I need some help finding a way to equip sound to this thing.

As far as actual creation of the head, a basic wire base with carved foam seems like the most reasonable way to get this done and I have several mascot head tutorials to fall back on to make it look 100% accurate, I just need to complete the body so that I have a good idea on the size/specifics of how the head will need to look.

Overall the only real issues with the head lie in audio as I'm sure I can make a foam head without too much trouble.

Arms

Most likely the easiest part, I just need to make arms on sticks so that within the costume you maneuver the handles/sticks so that they move, sadly this means you will be most likely unable to move the arms while you walk due to my planned method of movement that I will cover below.

Shell

This is the part I am having the most difficulty with because Blastoise is like 90% shell and as such this is where the majority of the work will need to go. As it stands I plan to make the basic shape with chicken wire so to keep the weight light. The only issue is that I need this thing to hold its own weight without a person within it since I doubt a human being will be able to handle the heat/stress of holding something this big up with their own strength for more than a few minutes (the cannons alone will likely end up being a good 5-10 pounds each).

With this said I think it's important for the shell to have an inner lightweight wooden structure that somehow connects to the legs/tail so that when stationary it somewhat locks in place and holds the entire costume up. "But won't this make it impossible to move?" In theory yes, however, I think if I can manage to make it so that there are handles inside that lift the shell off of the legs while in movement that the costume will be able to move small distances at a time (this thing won't be sprinting or walking around an entire con as it's too big for that anyway). Think of this cosplay like you would a parade float, it looks pretty and can go in wide open areas but in the end you don't plan to ever bring it inside a small space and I know plenty of cons that have big enough doors to allow entry of something this large so that isn't an issue either. So essentially while mobile the person inside the costume would lift the weight of the costume and move forward by moving the legs (perhaps boot straps to allow easy foot movement?) and then when at the destination/tired the individual can put the framework back onto the posts and rest/operate the arms/head/cannons.

As far as the outer appearance of the shell, I am pretty open to suggestions/ideas but the top contenders atm are foam + stretch vinyl as this would be the lightest and give decent shape if I could carve either expanding foam or squishy car seatish foam into the proper shape and then put vinyl over it. I think it's also important that the pieces of the costume be segmented/attached to the costume in detachable pieces to facilitate transporation/repairs easier and this can be done pretty easily with velcro that remains on the basic frame of the costume. Plus blastoise is a turtle so he is very well designed for segmentation. This Stretch vinyl would also keep costs lower than applying massive amounts of bondo, glue, or fiberglass to a surface of this size (I know vinyl isn't cheap but bondo and fiberglass can get a lot worse). Plus I would prefer if this costume be unable to harm anyone I run into as this could happen if my handlers aren't paying attention during movement.

Also the back of the shell will have the hatch/panels required to get inside the costume as his back three panels are the perfect size for a person to get in and out of the costume easily.

Cannons

This part boggles me as I want the cannons to function and shoot out streamers or some sort of watery inflatable thing but I can't litter a convention with confetti, streamers, or water/bubbles so I need whatever shoots out to be firmly connected to the cannons at all times. This is why I'm not completely sure what the cannons should be made out of. I could easily make craft foam, paper mache, or PVC cannons but without knowing the mechanics of the water effect I am at a bit of a standstill.

As it stands I like the possibility of making the water effect similar to those halloween/Christmas ornaments that you see in yards that stay inflated when a fan is put under them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F3VkL2CC34 I would just need to modify something like this and attach a battery back to the person inside to power them (assuming the power demand is not too high) This is just my initial thought I could easily go air pressure/canisters or any other variation I just don't know enough about this kind of tech to make assumptions of how to get it done.

Legs

The legs will basically just be hollow and have places for the costume wearer to stand, due to the width of the legs im not entirely sure if the person wearing the costume will have to put both legs in one foot (his legs are pretttty far apart) or what not. I figure I will worry about that once I get the framework functioning properly so the costume can hold itself up. A bit of difficulty moving isn't that big of a deal for me, hell my Knightman cost was almost completely immobile and it still looked awesome.

Tail

I pretty much just need the tail to be a major part of the support structure (maybe make the tail and one leg the entire support structure and use the one leg to scoot/move the costume?...hmmm that might work...) Sorry rambling a bit >.>

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So like I said I will continue to update this post whenever I make progress and I GREATLY appreciate any comments/Advice. I know this cosplay sounds somewhat impossible in theory due to the size/requirement that it hold its own weight but I will get this done.

All of my cosplay friends have been telling me for ages that I'm insane and I should just make a backpack design but I don't think I could properly do the proportions/size if a person was the focal point of the structure/holding this costume up and since Blastoise is my favorite pokemon of all time I cannot rest in peace until I know this cosplay has been done to perfection.

Also I am a single 23 year old and have plenty of time/money to throw at this project so don't hold back just because an idea would cost some $ and serious labor

I hope to hear from you guys soon and that you don't mind the length of this post as I posted all of this at 3 in the morning after coming back from Comic Con so I imagine there are typos/errors I will need to fix later.

(also I consider this whole thing to be pretty much prop area of expertise so it seemed appropriate to post it here)

koi-ishly
10-10-2010, 08:55 AM
Wow, I gotta say first... you shouldn't have to die due to cosplaying. Second, this is very ambitious and honestly I couldn't read your entire post due to it's length...

Now, how to start? Why not ask those that have made the costume and see what they came up? You're questions to start with are many, it's very hard to answer when in reality you haven't started the cosplay. This thread isn't to tell you how you should build something, but suggestions. It's awesome you're doing your research and you've put your ideas down... but we're not going to be of much help until you've finalized your ideas.

Ryomasa
10-10-2010, 01:55 PM
Sounds like an ambitious project that is at the same time completely awesome.

Since you're doing a rather complicated cosplay, I'd suggest taking a hike over to Volpin Props (more specifically, his Big Daddy Project (http://volpinprops.blogspot.com/2009/09/big-daddy-bioshock.html)) and taking a look at his process. It's not exactly what you want, but I'm sure there's enough in common that you can adapt into this project.

rubyredrose
10-10-2010, 02:14 PM
Well, the first thing I would do it look at what's come before... like featherweight's squirtle (http://www.featherweightcosplay.com/images/squirt_cos_big.jpg).

Secondly: for the water effect: A computer fan can run on a 9 volt battery. Short streamers of blue silk would make a good water effect. This link on making a fake fire might be more what you're thinking of? (http://www.ehow.com/how_2099963_make-fake-fire.html)

For the cannons: why not make them out of the same foam you're making the head out of? As long as you use appropriate support (I'd build the cannons and shell on a hiking backpack frame for support and being ultralight.)

And speaking of the shell: Why chickenwire? That would actually be quite heavy. Unless you just NEED it to be hard for some reason, hy not a frame out of pool noodles, and have the actual shell be batting quilted with fabric (the stitching can show the shell pattern) or foam? It'd be a LOT more wearable.

That's all I can think of until you finalize your ideas a bit more, but I leave you with a helpful link on mascot type cosutumes. (http://www.matrices.net/fursuiting.asp)

Xaevier
10-10-2010, 02:43 PM
Wow, I gotta say first... you shouldn't have to die due to cosplaying. Second, this is very ambitious and honestly I couldn't read your entire post due to it's length...

Now, how to start? Why not ask those that have made the costume and see what they came up? You're questions to start with are many, it's very hard to answer when in reality you haven't started the cosplay. This thread isn't to tell you how you should build something, but suggestions. It's awesome you're doing your research and you've put your ideas down... but we're not going to be of much help until you've finalized your ideas.

Well, the first thing I would do it look at what's come before... like featherweight's squirtle.

Secondly: for the water effect: A computer fan can run on a 9 volt battery. Short streamers of blue silk would make a good water effect. This link on making a fake fire might be more what you're thinking of?

For the cannons: why not make them out of the same foam you're making the head out of? As long as you use appropriate support (I'd build the cannons and shell on a hiking backpack frame for support and being ultralight.)

And speaking of the shell: Why chickenwire? That would actually be quite heavy. Unless you just NEED it to be hard for some reason, hy not a frame out of pool noodles, and have the actual shell be batting quilted with fabric (the stitching can show the shell pattern) or foam? It'd be a LOT more wearable.

That's all I can think of until you finalize your ideas a bit more, but I leave you with a helpful link on mascot type cosutumes.



I know, this thread is going to evolve quite rapidly once I get started so I figured I would just get the basic post made and let everyone see the process from start to finish (initial design to final completion).

The other cosplays that have done blastoise really aren't of much use because every single one of them I can see how they did it and they are backpack based which is a completely different design.

And thanks for the advice those are good some good links etc and I do plan on using the big daddy cosplays techniques if I can find a place where they will work.

catfetus
10-10-2010, 04:47 PM
As far as the head goes, I would say to plan for your head to be able to see through a black cloth opening where Blastoise's non-existent neck should be.

Personally, I say if you are going to go through all the effort to make a totally badass Blastoise, might as well go the extra step to make it move like a Blastoise :P His knees don't look like they bend anyways. I think it would be easy to rig your feet in to something on the inside of the legs that will allow for a bit of a swinging shuffle.
Without person-driven movement it's more like making an animatronic Blastoise or a Blastoise-craft. Otherwise, I would say also just go ahead and put it on wheels so shuffling it will be a lot easier.

It seems like you have a variety of options for making the shell and bulk of the body. I don't know if keeping it lightweight is really an issue since the structure is going to be supporting itself moreso than being supported on you.

I guess the shell all depends on how you want to do the legs and movement. If you don't care for the legs to move then go with wheels and make the base on a metal frame. If you do want the legs to move I would say make them rather solid but put them on a pivot so they can be propelled/rotated forwards but not backwards, so when you aren't moving (kind of as you were getting at with the tail) you can lean it back on the legs+tail to create a sort of tripod effect. And since most of his shell is in the back you shouldn't have to worry about it falling forwards.

Are you not allowed to have bubble blowers on your costumes at cons? :( That would be pretty awesome, bubblebeam!

Xaevier
10-10-2010, 06:38 PM
As far as the head goes, I would say to plan for your head to be able to see through a black cloth opening where Blastoise's non-existent neck should be.

Personally, I say if you are going to go through all the effort to make a totally badass Blastoise, might as well go the extra step to make it move like a Blastoise :P His knees don't look like they bend anyways. I think it would be easy to rig your feet in to something on the inside of the legs that will allow for a bit of a swinging shuffle.
Without person-driven movement it's more like making an animatronic Blastoise or a Blastoise-craft. Otherwise, I would say also just go ahead and put it on wheels so shuffling it will be a lot easier.

It seems like you have a variety of options for making the shell and bulk of the body. I don't know if keeping it lightweight is really an issue since the structure is going to be supporting itself moreso than being supported on you.

I guess the shell all depends on how you want to do the legs and movement. If you don't care for the legs to move then go with wheels and make the base on a metal frame. If you do want the legs to move I would say make them rather solid but put them on a pivot so they can be propelled/rotated forwards but not backwards, so when you aren't moving (kind of as you were getting at with the tail) you can lean it back on the legs+tail to create a sort of tripod effect. And since most of his shell is in the back you shouldn't have to worry about it falling forwards.

Are you not allowed to have bubble blowers on your costumes at cons? :( That would be pretty awesome, bubblebeam!

Yeah the neck is the part I plan to make seethrough as the height of the costume will put my eyes right there (another reason why I want him to be about 6 feet +)

The legs/movement are the one part that I have been debating a lot, I want him to move like blastoise like you said and a shuffling, penguin like walking style is pretty much all I need which means he can have no knee movement etc. The only tricky part is setting it up so a person can walk without do a split within the costume due to the distance of how far his legs are apart.

But yeah you can't put bubble blowers on a costume that will be inside. That does not mean, however, that I will not rig up bubble blowers for when I am outside for some bubblebeam action :p

nyokun
10-10-2010, 08:42 PM
1) Awsome that you're looking at doing this. I might lurk in this thread to look at the shell design and modify for my own Bowser costume.

2) As awsome as it this idea is, please be aware of portability. Don't make the same mistake that I did with my Cait Sith costume. I wound up having to have a helper carry the mammoth anywhere, and it take up a trunk AND back seat of a small car. (I've learned from that, and am looking at constructing an internal, inflatable, bladder for the Bowser shell, for easier packing and mobility)

3) For your own safety, please make sure that you include a cooling mechanisim inside (preferably something that cycles the air, so you are not suffocating after 5 minutes)

Xaevier
10-10-2010, 10:31 PM
1) Awsome that you're looking at doing this. I might lurk in this thread to look at the shell design and modify for my own Bowser costume.

2) As awsome as it this idea is, please be aware of portability. Don't make the same mistake that I did with my Cait Sith costume. I wound up having to have a helper carry the mammoth anywhere, and it take up a trunk AND back seat of a small car. (I've learned from that, and am looking at constructing an internal, inflatable, bladder for the Bowser shell, for easier packing and mobility)

3) For your own safety, please make sure that you include a cooling mechanisim inside (preferably something that cycles the air, so you are not suffocating after 5 minutes)

I will likely have to rent a small U-haul to move it which isn't a big deal. I also only go to cons with 2-3 friends and they used to helping me move my larger costumes (<3 you guys).

As far as cooling I have some ideas incase it's too hot.