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Unread 07-08-2012, 09:53 AM   #1
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Robot/Mech aftermath questions?

Hi all, for the past forever-long-time I've been constantly tempted to make a robot/mech cosplay of some shape or form, I've done research and lurked the forums for all I can find and it's been helpful but there are some things that I have been worried about and don't know how to conquer. (apologies in advance if none of this makes sense or is posted in the wrong place, it seemed like the best place?)

1: Making yourself bigger not taller. If you cosplay a big mech (for me it feels) weird to be of average height and inaccurate? It feels like scaling it down is going to make the little details and things look too short. But the issue isn't only height, if you make yourself taller (Platform shoes, having the costume's head above your's ect) then the arms will be too short or out of proportion. I'm really conflicted over this because it feels silly to make it bigger but it also feels silly to make it scaled down, how do most people go about it? I've considered stilts but I don't trust them to be sturdy with a costume over them ect. (plus that still leaves the issue of arms) and I've seen people use string puppets for finger-hand movements but I know NOTHING of string puppets.

2: Cons, in my past cosplays our costumes have only been 'in character' for photos other wise we just walk around, eat, buy things, ect. But that confuses me because if you're a mech/robot cosplay surely the costume will get in the way, would you just have to stand around outside and pretend you're not bored. Our main con (MCMLondon) has storm troopers that just walk around in character and seemingly don't do any of the con-stuff like buying things. Is being in character all the time essential with this kind of cosplay? And if it is would having a non-suitable voice break character? And what about gender?

3: STAIRS, I heard the vision will be faltered, and so would general movement. Most of the cons I've been to have had stairs at the entrance or stairs from the changing room/toilets, how have people conquered stairs in the past, from all visualisations it looks like a death trap!

These are really trivial questions but they've been bothering me and scaring me away from thinking of starting or finishing anything!
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Unread 07-09-2012, 01:40 AM   #2
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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.
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Unread 07-09-2012, 02:35 AM   #3
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as a mecha cosplay i would give such a rant
but im dyslexic so ill have to cut it down

8-9ft will impress your average cosplayer and you can at least stand in some buildings
in the beginning i did some 10-14ft ones and could barely use them

at a point you have to keep it in the car park
(has cost me $100s just to take a mecha to a con)
your room mates payed for the room too and it can be easier to keep in a parking space

if your not cool and comfortable dont ware it
30sec of stage time isnt worth my life
try turbine fans
jointing is often over looked but will make this a costume
not just a statue you stand in
and you can extend in any direction
your head does not need to be in the meckas head

train you handlers in hand signs
(help!,left,right,pics so pose,child, get them away from me, and so on)
and have more handlers than you need
they have other things to do it seems

i make lifts not stilts
i make brake away leg section in case of a fall
stairs not so much

theres so much more but im sure youll get enough info to start
good times to all
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Unread 07-09-2012, 01:20 PM   #4
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First off welcome to coscom!

Secondly I'm going to provide you with a link below, read through it. It has some very advance stuff, but has a lot to do with scalling, porportions and building that can help you out tremendously.

For a new costumer, alot of this stuff can be like reading greek, but just take your time, and work out everything one section at a time. It helps to do it that way.

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Unread 07-09-2012, 10:14 PM   #5
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Here is the most accurate/to scale mech cosplay I've ever seen:

and a shot of the disassembled costume:

From what I can surmise by looking at the pictures:
Yes platform shoes
No to head inside mecha head (His his forehead is inside the mecha chin)
No to puppet hands (Mechs have disproportionately short arms compared to their legs anyway)

Hope this helps. And welcome!
Insert funny anime related comment here: ___________________
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Unread 07-10-2012, 05:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Beeeep View Post
robot/mech cosplay
Originally Posted by Beeeep View Post
You reminded me an ED-209
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