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Unread 06-09-2018, 03:42 AM   #1
Nooduls
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Floating props + fan mechanism?

So, my newest cosplay conquest is Nightblade Irelia. I have my heart set on having all six of her floating blades behind her back, but what I'd really like to do is have them be 'retractable'. If you watch the video, about 0:34 in her blades fan out behind her; that's the movement I'd like to simulate.

I'm thinking something similar to how a paper fan works, with each foam blade set on a clear plastic rod. I'm not quite sure where to go from there though, like how I'll attach it to my back or how exactly to make them retract.

I'm not 100% sure if I could effectively pull it off but I'm interested to see if anyone has any ideas!
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Unread 06-09-2018, 06:49 AM   #2
Penlowe
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Wire, not clear plastic.

Why:
1) wire is more flexible which means if you bump something the floating prop will bounce or bend instead of getting stressed/ snapping off.
2) Clear plastic sounds like it should be more invisible for this use but it isn't. First, to get the same strength as a wire, it has to be a lot bigger than the wire. Second it's shiny, thus catches light and shows up way more. Paint your wires the same black as your clothes and they will be nearly invisible.
3) cost, wire is WAY cheaper.

Look up the tail harnesses that Vegas showgirls and Rio carnival dancers wear, that will get you the engineering basics of how to wear something like that.

The great part about this is the weight will naturally sit on your hips, which is the easiest place to carry extra weight.
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Unread 06-10-2018, 11:02 PM   #3
Nooduls
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Ah, very good points there. I'd much rather have to bend them back into place than having to deal with broken plastic. My only concern would be the blades wobbling as I walked with the wire. Hopefully I could avoid that if I used a strong enough gauge?
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Unread 06-11-2018, 07:10 AM   #4
Penlowe
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12 gauge wire will be fairly stiff and less bouncy (not no movement, but less) without being so heavy that you need power tools to work it. It'll be physically taxing to work with though.

Reducing prop bounce is mostly in your walk, a bouncy stride will make even a solid wood shape bounce. Besides, once you master a smooth walk, you''ll come across as more sophisticated and graceful Obviously, setting up a camera to observe yourself will be the easiest way to refine your gait.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgVtpKuqY_g
Note the demonstration, she could have a marker on her head and it would produce only the smoothest line on the wall.
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Unread 06-11-2018, 07:15 AM   #5
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And just for a giggle (I admit, one of my favorite movies)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9db4o8c5X0I
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Unread 06-12-2018, 02:55 AM   #6
Nooduls
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HAH Miss Congeniality's a classic. I definitely plan on testrunning the costume as much as I can before I take it to a con so I'll certainly work on that walk.

Thank you for the tips! You likely saved me a good amount of money with the wire suggestion
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Unread 06-12-2018, 07:39 AM   #7
Penlowe
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One more tip for working with wire: straightening it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wfEXR907zY

Note: for the lengths you are going to be using, especially with 12 gauge, this is a two person job!
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