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Unread 06-22-2015, 04:06 PM   #1
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Heathcliff [SAO] - costume construction diary!

So, hello all! I'm Penniwhistle, or Ellie, a biologically male 24 year old from England, and I decided that I wanted to cosplay.

While I would describe myself as genderfluid, my build is most definitely male. I've been LARPing as a Viking-esque character for 5 years now, and have always been obsessed with armour. I've made most of my armour for LARP - leather, chainmaille and a little plate armour work. So when I decided I was going to MCM London in October, I knew I wanted a character in a lot of armour. Heathcliff seemed perfect - the plate armour, the sword and shield [the least ridiculous fighting style in SAO, if we look at it from a really boring perspective], as well as seeming friggin' huge next to Kirito. While I would never judge anyone else to the same standards, I really, REALLY want to feel like I could be the character, not just a dude in a similar costume. I'm 6'2", with 21" wide shoulders. I would feel extremely stupid playing Naruto, for example [Zabuza, that's a different story...].

This thread is meant to be a personal diary of my work, my inspiration, my sketches, etc - and once work starts, my progress. As an armour nerd, I have a lot of problems with Heathcliff's design and translating it to reality - and so I have decided that I will take artistic [un]license to make something functional, rather that staying totally, exactly to the artwork. While I really, really wish I could do this in steel, I do not have the tools required to work so much steel, the skills to do it properly, or the time to learn. So, I'll be going with 3mm plastazote foam - I've used it before with LARP weapons, and I think it'll be strong enough at that thickness, with a calico backing. I want to make the foam as thin as possible, to emulate steel as much as possible.


My first problem - Heathcliff wouldn't be able to don or doff his armour! There are no buckles, hinges, straps, nothing on the breast/backplate!

A one-piece cuirass is NOT going to work in real life, without the benefit of your armour equipping instantly a la MMOs. So I'm going to make the breast/backplates separate pieces that buckle together.

The next big problem I have is with Heathcliff's gorget [neck armour]. Again, it's part of the breast/backplates, something that is not historically accurate, or feasible in real life if we're talking real armour.

Given I want to be able to move, the gorget needs to be seperate from the cuirass - sitting on top of it, tied or buckled in place. I love the design of it otherwise, with one side higher than the other, that'll be fun to replicate.

The last big problem I've encountered is near-universal when it comes to people designing armour - nothing is secured in place! Everything seems to stick magically to the right body parts. Well, that's another problem I'll be fixing.

Every point circled in black has a magically-attached piece of armour. With my build, pieces will need to overlap, pieces will need to have fixtures and closures not present in the anime - however I feel it'll be better, for me. I'd be a lot more comfortable wearing something that I can actually run, fight, dance in, rather than something massively restrictive because I followed the anime exactly.


Right! Feel free to chime in with any ideas, suggestions, thoughts, whatever. For the next couple of weeks it'll be prep work, etc. I get paid on the 30th, so the first testing will happen probably a week after that - need to order tools and materials. I plan to document as much as possible, for my own records and in case anyone else finds it cool. Thank you!

Next update: armour sketches
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