Rated R for Radical!
Join Date: Jan 2008
1. The sizing issue is a tough one, and there are two ways I've seen people go about this:
a. They scale everything up, and use puppeteering and stilts to lengthen the arms and legs, respectively. I don't know the engineering behind either technique, so you may have to do some digging online. What I DO know is that building such apparatus from scratch requires an incredible amount of time, preparation, and practice, as building something that removes 1st-person contact/interaction could be potentially dangerous OR fatal, if done without care. You're purposefully putting things out of your reach, and propping yourself up above the ground; one false move could make wood, plastic, or metal become incredibly dangerous. Tripping, falling, rolling your ankle, etc are all dangerous when you're in a fully contained mech costume with limited visibility, and all become infinitely more dangerous when you're off the ground.
b. A lot of the time, mecha look short when scaled down to a normal person's height because while the height is reduced, the width is generally not. This poses a problem, as you have to make the suit wide enough to accommodate both the parts of the body within each piece, as well as build it with enough clearance that the limbs can move freely without damaging the other parts, such as the torso. To combat this, I'd say try to make things as slim and formfitting as possible, which will keep the silhouette slimmer and more in proportion to the height of the character.
2. This is all preference. How you act in cosplay is up to you. Voice and gender is all up to you as well. It's up to you if you want to talk normally or use a character voice, just as it's up to you if you want to use a variant costume, change or omit details, do a "casual" ccosplay of just a wig and normal clothes, etc. Remember that first and foremost, cosplay is about showing your love of a character through costume, regardless of your age, sex, or whatever. I've seen some people stay in character completely, even when they're in the dealer halls or artist alleys. Other times, I've seen people take off gloves, helmets, etc to be able to eat, talk, shop, etc. If you've got a huge mech cosplay, you'd be taking a lot of space in the aisles anyway, so you may only be limited to outside or main walkways by default. At most cons, you won't be permitted if your cosplay or props pose a safety hazard, like blocking doorways or clogging aisles in case of an emergency.
3. ALWAYS USE A HANDLER. If your eyesight is limited by your costume, always, ALWAYS have a handler to guide you. Be able to communicate with that person, either by talking or signal. That person can guide you thru crowds, watch your back, hold your stuff, take photos for you, guide you up or around stairs and other obstacles. If eyesight is already bad, being up on stilts and using puppet hands won't help you if you fall down the stairs or run into or over something, or someone. Again, safety in large crowds is the number one concern for con staff, and they won't think twice about throwing you out if you pose a safety hazard for others.