Ooh, are you wearing this to SDCC? My puddin and I are wearing our DCUO costumes! We should get pictures!
ahhhhh YES yes! we must! What day are you guys dressing as them?? My J, Red and I are going DCUO on Saturday, and possibly our usual B:taS on Friday. :)
mini meet up!
so it looks like i’m starting a task force.
Since Astro Boy was already made practically, I had time to experiment with things I never really have a chance to work with by nature of how much time I typically have to do anything (not a lot). I knew that since A was getting a whole new costume (seriously how can I resist a request for Kid Flash?) I would have to come up with something clever and awesome to keep Lo as Astro Boy. It couldn’t take a long time to make, though, otherwise that would defeat the whole point of keeping him as Astro instead of another character/whole new costume.
ARM CANNONS clearly. I ordered EL wire and LED strips to play around with.
the EL wire came with a battery pack (as evidenced), which made it really easy to plan around, because it already had an on/off switch included. The strips just had +/- wires so we had to tape them to batteries at the day of the show. No big deal.
I did learn a lot of stupidly obvious things about LEDs, though, such as how they work in a cluster so you can only cut them in groups of five lights (in this case). Oh the basics! My middle school tech ed teacher would be so disappointed in me.
so I constructed the cannon out of a bunch of cardboard, foam core, and some old poster tubes (i have like 80 and I still forget to bring one to SDCC every year, wtf is that)
it took a bit to figure out the perfect shape. Astro’s gun has a dual layering thing, mostly because it’s 3D animation and they just HAVE to get clever about that… the cartoon cannon was just a bright ball of blue so Logan vetoed that immediately, and who can blame him when he has THIS as comparison:
I didnt have enough time to really break down the actual literal pieces of the cannon, so I simplified.
Added another panel of cardboard and then finished off some edging:
Originally I lined the whole creation with silver paper, because I liked the idea of creating a papercraft item out of the thing. But since everything else on the costume is soft shapes, like Astro’s boots, I decided it wouldn’t fit in with the look.
so i resorted to GOOD OLD FOAM, my friend, to pad out the cannon and make it appear soft-edged like the rest of the costume. I covered it in silver fabric that I purchased in NYC years ago to make leggings that I promptly lost interest in before the draft even finished.
the EL wire coils around the centre and Lo’s hand grabs the battery back inside the cannon. I also carved a hole at the side so I could pull the end of the wire out and around the outer rim of the cannon to at least attempt to give it the dual look.
The strips are down the side. I actually made casings for them to enhance the blue and diffuse it somewhat. It’s a layer of semi-opaque vellum plus a layer of clear blue drafting paper, hot glued to a piece of posterboard I cut into a little ravine shape for the strip to attach to. As you can see, it worked better in one than the other. You can also see where I learned how many circuits are connected… and when one goes out… good job me!
Definitely needs improvement but it’s not so bad. Lo got to help a lot, which is the most important part, really.
Comic-con had a potential to go horribly. It didn’t. Not even a single bump.
Huge crowds, swarming people, and being ten year old boys appropriately costumed, a steady stream of, Can I take your photograph? That’s enough for most adults to be overwhelmed and anxious.
That being said, Lo & A handled the crowds admirably. They stopped when asked for a photo, snapped on their masks (until A’s broke) and posed with their hands on their hips (sometimes they strangled me/Harley). They loved it! Found all their Tiny Titans comics, got some action figures, and got So Much Attention.
I’m glad I got a few things taken care of - adding more grommets to A’s spats (though I really wanted to just remake them, oh well) and completing his gloves. Lo was very concerned about not having a utility belt (because “Nightwing is PROTESTING Batman’s!”) but it was really the best idea, clipping everything to his waistband, instead of making that contraption for behind his back. With only a few days and a LOT of other projects, it just wasn’t an option. As it is, you can’t even see the wingdings (worst. name. ever.) on his right side. Maybe I’ll take some close up shots.
ALSO THIS DESERVES A PARAGRAPH BY ITSELF: How excited am I that A’s new tights MATCH? Oh man. Check how how NOT neon greenish yellow they are! Wahoo! Did forget to cut the neckline of the green shirt underneath, though. Oh well.
Lo really enjoyed that there were no other Nightwings around, and that a lot of people commented on how awesome it was he chose this character, and that you NEVER see Nighwings, blah, blah blah. He got pretty cocky (it was cute):
As far as A goes, he was very concerned about specifying which of the Robins he was, because he wanted to make sure everyone knew he was ROBIN and not himself. We had an entire ferry ride conversation about why I thought he should be Tim Drake instead of Jason Todd (um because Tim is more adorable?), because Lo was Dick Grayson and “There can’t be TWO Dick Graysons! (but man, imagine if there were?)” It was pretty cute to have that conversation with a ten year old (as opposed to, you know, fan sites ahem).
Lo had been prepared since the morning, when the pair of them were dancing around the house chanting “Today’s the day! Comic-con! Today’s the day!” (I like that my YJ obsession is infiltrating their lives) and he would only answer to Dick Grayson or Nightwing. My friend Kyu already compares my job to Alfred’s (but that’s another post), so it was even more amusing to wake up in the morning and be like, “Ok Mister Grayson, BREAKFAST FIRST. Eat your eggs!”
This was the first convention the boys have been to in costume, so they were really excited to find other Batman characters to pose with - and of course we found a lot. Highlight for Lo’s day was finding a Batman, and he was great! “Oh look, both of my sidekicks are here!” Note the LACK of enthusiasm, despite the fact they were THRILLED:
My regret for the day is that I didn’t get any action shots. Which is sad, really, because Lo and I spent so much time on his weapons… that just sat at his hip. The troubles that arrive when you, yourself, are in costume; taking photos as well as dressing up never works. Sucks that I never get any good shots of my costumes. It’s a small con, but I’m hoping I’ll find some on Flickr or DA.
Sidenote: Oh man. Nothing says “Get a diet” like spending the day in a spandex suit.
This past Halloween was Batman-themed (I’m a fantastic influence). Coupled with Colin’s and my Joker/Harley pair, Lo was Two-Face and A was Robin a la Burt Ward (his pick). We purchased a cheap Batman suit for the boys’ father, and made a Poison Ivy costume in a day for their mother. A’s costume was the main focus of my Halloween commissions, as Robin (well, Dick Grayson) is my absolute favourite comic book superhero and so I wanted to make it as good as possible.
I had some restrictions, due to A’s age and sensory issues.
• The fabrics had to be soft and pliable.
• A has issues with many clasps and closures (he won’t wear fly fronts, for example) so it was important that he could not only remove the clothing easily, but also not feel the closure on the tunic.
• October in Seattle isn’t cold but it’s not warm, either. Wearing tights and a short sleeve shirt, Robin isn’t well-suited for real world nighttime.
• Robin’s shoes. A has a large adjustment period to new shoes, especially over the ankle. I didn’t have time to hand construct him Robin booties, and while I loved the idea of green doc martens (a la Damian), it just wasn’t feasible. I went with spats over dyed converses, shoes that A enjoys.
• Keeping in mind A is a ten year old boy, I couldn’t keep the costume shapes exactly the same, as I didn’t want it to be either inappropriate, or get him mocked at school.
Initially, I was concerned about the tights because of A’s adjustment to new clothes and the fact that most little boys won’t look at tights (even footless) without assuming they’re for girls. That being said, A handled tights amazingly. Not the slightest hesitation. I guess it pays off to introduce superheroes to your little men!
Sidenote to the sidetone: The kids at school loved his costume and no one teased him. I was really worried!
Construction-wise, I tackled the tunic first and foremost, since it required the most tailoring and drafting. It had to be loose because of the green shirt underneath, and also because of the high collar; I knew it would make A feel choked. I made the bottom flare bigger to cover him more, instead of it matching right at his beltline. The best part about the tunic is the false front: the grommets are a flap over a thick plastic zipper that makes removal easy, and also puts multiple layers between the closures and A’s skin. I found a great four way stretch for the green fabric, but I knew it would be too cold for A so I lined the shirt with a soft green cotton jersey knit that just wasn’t the right shade for me (also it would have stretched out as boyshorts). I also made the sleeves longer, to help keep him warm. It was wholly successful, as A wore constantly that, the green boyshorts and the yellow tights.
I had massive issues with his gloves. They took around 7 or 8 muslins to complete, mostly trying to find the right median between tight/looking good and loose/feeling good. I also lined the forearms with fleece (as well as the cape and spats), which kept rolling over, as you can see above.
And then we lost one. He also kept doing this:
Which, okay. Adorable. Not so good on the fabric, though.
So remaking the gloves is important.
The spats drive me nuts. I ran out of grommets (poor planning on my part), so there’s just a scant few on each spat, making them look less like Damian’s military Doc Martens and more like Cheap Halloween Costume Ridiculous. Throwing in those foul neon yellow tights and I knew that a lot had to be adjusted before I wanted to bring him to a Comic-con, even just Seattle’s.
As for Nightwing, we have both batarangs and escrima sticks. I have adjusted the backseam as much as possible and I’m thinking of lining his gloves with some craft foam to make them pop a bit, as the comics sometimes show (also, I was just really displeased with how the gloves met the shirt).
I can’t believe Saturday is the big day for them! Last week my black contacts arrived so I can have comic-book eyes for Harley Quinn, which I am excited to experiment with. I know she has those faded blue eyes but I’ve seen people in those contacts before and I don’t think I will really pull that off. Black will be subtle and great. Too bad Colin’s Joker jacket is in shambles for me to remake, Harley’s just going to have to drag around the pipsqueak boy wonders by herself!
Tomorrow I’ll have an update on the puppets - five bunnies and a frog at the moment!
I’m taking a puppet break to discuss Nightwing. Last Wednesday I fit Lo with the final versions for the costume, shirt, pants and gloves. There were a few minor issues, but for the most part, I think the costume turned out well, considering the specifications I had to keep in mind:
I have to finish all the edges (they’re raw now), as well as adjust the neckline collar, as it was too tight for Lo to handle. The gloves fit, but I’m thinking of adding a velcro or hook and eye, or something similar, to make sure they stay matched up to the blue stripes down the sleeves. After running around for all of three minutes, they were already misplaced (as you can see).
I definitely have to address the black invisible zipper appearing down the center of the blue stripe, but hopefully that’s just a matter of sewing an actual seam instead of just the basting. I’m also discouraged by how much the costume wrinkles, especially the blue. So much for 6-way stretch, but I guess I learned my lesson with that.
Weapon photos forthcoming. I’m trying to finish up a couple Etsy commissions (you know, with my heaps of free time), and I really should get back to these puppets. I’ll be seeing the boys again on Wednesday, but I don’t think I’ll have a final Nightwing until the weekend, maybe.
Brief but related: Wednesday I will be bringing home A’s Robin costume, to finalize any issues with that. His new tights just arrived yesterday, and I think the colour matches so much better than the ones we purchased at Halloween. Even though I didn’t purchase the “neon yellow” tights, they still were way more neon than his cape:
Really discouraging how much it cheapened the costume, I thought.
But more on that next week, when I make him new/better spats, better gloves, and so forth. Oh man. The things to do before March starts.