Legend of Mana
Last Updated: 08-15-2011
Yup, I've officially lost my mind. This has been a dream costume of mine for yeeeears though. I utterly ADORE Legend of Mana--easily one of my favorite games. I've lost count of how many times I've played it. It's just one of those games you can play over and over again and notice something new every time! I always thought Kathinja was just a great character and had an amazing design, and I really wish she was in the game more!
Key word for this costume: TEXTURE! The artwork is so rich in texture, and I want my costume to have a lot of texture too.
Other key word: Quilter's batting. So, so much quilter's batting.
Prepare for some major TL;DR for this costume! A whole lot went into it--about 7 months of on and off work!
Snakes: The snakes I made with 1/8" bear armature (aka the stuff they put in teddy bears so that they are poseable), quilter's batting, and vinyl snakeskin fabric. Bear armature is AWESOME--it's so easy to adjust and stays in position so well! I totally want to make more costumes that involve bear armature, seriously.
Final scale count:
Stomach Scales: 32
Large scales: 98
Medium scales: 35
Small Scales: 53
My poor fingers.
The tail is over 5 feet long—it is longer than I am tall! It has thick, 1" bear armature as a poseable 'skeleton' with some heavy-duty wire inside for extra stability. Then, A LOT of THICK quilter's batting, and a fabric cover made out of an old bedsheet. I cut out the scales and sewed them to the tail by hand—because there is something wrong with me. Lol, no, not really—I just wanted defined scales! They create such a cool texture.
Also, the only fabric I could find that had a LARGE scale pattern and was the right color was $50 a yard. Yeah, no, I will just cut my own giant scales thank you very much. This will also mean that my scales on the tail will match the same fabric as the snakes, which I think will look nicer than two different fabrics.
By the way, I searched the internet for HOURS trying to find a decent green snakeskin fabric. Seriously. You'd think of all colors, -green- wouldn't be that hard to find. And yet...it was. It was really hard. Especially in a decent price range. The fabric I finally settled on is a little darker then Kathinja's scales, but I like it and it didn't utterly destroy my wallet. I may eventually get around to airbrushing the scales so that they are more defined (they kind of blend together in pictures), and perhaps even lighten up the color of them so that they are more accurate.
The tail is attached to me by a wire which is attached to a belt under my pants, and also heavy-duty velcro. I think I need to give it some additional support though—working on that.
Oh! The hair at the end is chopped-off excess from my wig, made into a giant stub with caulk, and sewn to the inside of the tail. Which brings us to…
Wig: I sewed two wigs together because I wanted a combination of natural and unnatural red throughout the wig. I used a Dark Copper Red LeTigre from Arda Wigs, and an Apple Red wig from Epic Cosplay. In addition to the color, I also used two wigs for added thickness and to expand the wig cap. In addition to curling and ratting the wig like crazy, to get the ridiculous volume I need for Kathinja, I have to put padding under the wig. I learned that from drag queen videos on youtube--hooray for drag queens! :D
Ears: I used an old pair of elf ears a friend of mine bought years ago from Cosworx back when they sold them. The ears were first wrapped with ribbon to give it that ‘scaley’ texture the bottom of Kathinja’s ears has. Then, I glued felt to the top of the ears for the smoother areas. Then, I painted a few layers of liquid latex all over the ears, and painted them with Liquitex paint.
Earrings: I found a beautiful pair of copper earrings for the costume. While they are more detailed then Kathinja’s earrings, I think they are gorgeous and really fit the costume. Only modification I made was to glue some sheet metal to the back of one of the hoops to make them a little more accurate—while still having a bit of a unique flare.
Pants: Kathinja has animalistic legs, so I put padding on the front of my thighs and the back of my calves to get that look. My super amazing technique for making pants for deformed legs: Make a REALLY LARGE pair of pants. Fit to your padded, deformed dinosaur legs. Congrats--you now have weird pants!
The pants are made out of red quilting fabric, which I lightly dyed with brown RIT dye to dull down the color a little. Quilting fabric is definitely not meant for pants (no duh)--it’s two layers of fabric with a layer of quilter’s batting in between, so it’s kind of bulky and was a little tough to work with. But, it eventually worked somehow.
Thanks to this costume, I am now the owner of one of the ugliest pairs of pants I have ever seen in my life.
I need to work on the leg padding a little more—I don’t think it showed enough at Otakon.
Top: Dyeing this thing was a pain in the arse. I wanted a very very faint blue on top, and a sort of 'faded'/'aged'-looking sort of color on the bottom. I initially wanted to try spray-dyeing the top blue part to get just a vague tint of the blue, but I couldn't get spraying to cooperate with me. So, I ended up dip dyeing. Then, I tried to tea-dye the bottom, but I couldn't quite get that to cooperate either, so I ended up dip dyeing into a mix of tea and a bit of brown dye. I was hoping for a bit more of a yellow-ish tone, but the dye turned out to be a bit more reddish--but, that's okay. As long as it looks aged!
I used a coat pattern which was fairly close. All I really had to do was modify the sleeves, collar, and the bottom of the coat. The coat is lined with a lightweight cotton fabric. All the bias tape was…time consuming as hell.
I also made the purple top underneath the jacket. I decided to make it my first experience with french seams because whyyy not. The fabric is purple in person, but it photographs very blue :/
Claws: One of the reasons I chose to work on this costume now was to have my first experience using fiberglass. I figured Kathinja’s claws were a good first-timer fiberglassing project because they are small. It was still pretty tough though! I made the claws out of Sculpy first, and then wrapped those with the fiberglass. Getting the fiberglass cloth to wrap around those bad boys was tricky—but, I managed! I then covered them in Bondo and sanded and sanded and sanded until I got claws. I intentionally made them a little rough looking by making the surfaces uneven and leaving some small holes and other imperfections—since, well, that’s what her claws look like!
Hands and feet: Both the hands and feet are made of quilter’s batting, covered in stretch fabric, then covered in liquid latex, and finally painted with Liquitex paint. Sounds easy in writing, but ugh. Very time consuming. Also, they smell like doggy chew toys.
In the case of the feet, I used 5-inch heeled boots as a base. The toes are wire covered in the quilter’s batting, with the claws glued on the ends.
There is also wire inside the fingers of the hands. The hands still need some tweaking though because they are difficult to pose!
Makeup: All the makeup is Ben Nye stuff. The lighter green is Color Cake Foundation in Sallow Green, the darker green is Creme Makeup in Army Green, and the white is also Creme in Geisha White. I also use a really dark purple (It's actually supposed to be used for beard stipple haha!) in the Creme makeup to make my ears less visible in the wig.
I had considered wearing fangs with this costume, since it would go with the look. But, I realized there is a big problem with that: If they fall out, I cannot put them back in. The wires inside my gloves will be taped to my hands, so I can't just take them on and off as I please. Also, I don't think my friends would appreciate it if I made them do it for me LOL. So, I decided they are too much of a hassle for a costume already full of hassles.
I cannot wear this costume very long because it is ungodly hot and uncomfortable, but damn do I LOVE it!
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