Con News: #BCC2016 Day 2

BaltimoreComicCon_logo_nodatePhew – Saturday was crazy!  Crazy full of awesome cosplayers, cool panels, and tons of DIY tips and tricks.  I even caught a Haunter!  (What?  It’s been my White Whale for a while now.  Next?  I’m coming for you, Pikachu…)  And let’s take a moment to enjoy this Spidey cosplayer who knew exactly how to work it.

2016-09-03 12.02.32

Just like yesterday, bullet format for your reading pleasure.  On with the info!

2016-09-03 11.54.34Drawing Dinosaurs: Mark Schultz, Frank Cho, Walter Simonson, and Eric Powell talked all things dino, while Robert Greenberger (center) moderated.

  • On authenticity of dinos: Schultz – “They’re not authentic”.  There’s so much information coming out, and it’s hard to keep up with the latest hypotheses.  Was the T Rex a scavenger or a hunter? (Cho – apparently the olfactory of the T Rex “is the same as a turkey vulture”, according to the latest research.)
  • But regardless, they all love doing research.  Be it delving into the interwebs, buying toys to keep on worktables for inspiration, or just grabbing up books to check out other styles, everyone on this panel can get lost in the amazing wonder of it all.  But over-research that can push up against deadlines is “a self-correcting thing” according to Schultz.  Missed deadlines = not getting paid.  Sounds reasonable to me!
  • Zdenek Burian‘s Life Before Man is “the fountainhead of all we do”.  Burian’s art is still the apex of all dino art.
  • Cho really enjoyed Dinotopia, and subscribes to Prehistoric Times.  Which sounds like a really awesome magazine…
  • Speaking of Cho, he’s hoping to have his Guns and Dinos title done by next year. With the constantly changing world of dino research, the more there is to read about these creatures, the harder it got to write.  “They’re kind of all over the map.”  But?  “I’ve been having a lot of fun.”
  • On trying to make dinosaurs characters: skeletons found are not always the way they were in real life, so trying to figure out flying, walking, swimming?  Tough.  What is the “weight-vs-glide ratio” for dinosaurs, anyway?  Plus?  Dinosaur motivation – why they do what they do – is “the tricky part”.  What with those walnut-sized brains and all.  In the dinos.  Not these artists.  They have big brains.  YOOOGE.
  • And while most fans just love whatever these artists create, when it comes to calling these artists out on something?  “Hell hath no fury like a seven-year-old” that knows her stuff.

2016-09-03 13.59.38Cosplay on a Budget: Luckily, this panel was later than scheduled (maybe swapped with DIY Cosplay?), so I was able to listen to several cosplay stars talk about tips and tricks to do things on the cheap.  And also, a Whistler cosplay; how awesome is that?  #ILoveBlade

  • 2016-09-03 14.32.17“You’re doing make-believe wrong” is never a correct statement!  Go forth and cosplay, have fun, and don’t listen to haters that say you’re not “authentic” enough, or didn’t put in enough money or skill.  “At the end of the day, if people are asking for your picture”, you’ve succeeded. Go you!
  • Storage bins are your friends. Seriously.  Not only can you stash your cosplay in ’em, you can make cosplay out of ’em.  Trace a pattern out of cardboard or posterboard, trace it onto a large bin, cut the pattern out (a heat gun is best for this sort of work), drill holes into the plastic to join together, and then zip-tie ’em.  Easy, cheap, and actually looks really good! [Note: The 501st Legion is known to have folks who’ve made Boba Fett, Stormtrooper, and other armor out of bins.]
  • How to use a heat gun: just like trying to get into Carnegie Hall.  Practice, practice, practice!  Those suckers are HOT, and can melt carpet as well as boo-boo your hands and other soft human parts.  Keep concrete underneath or be prepared to see damage to whatever’s below.
  • As for shaping plastic: heat the piece, including the edges (so they soften and aren’t jagged), shape it, dunk it into cold water to set.  Oh, and pick a simple bin with minimal patterns…unless those patterns are what you’re looking to showcase on your finished piece.
  • How to paint plastic: Can you find a color of bin close to what you’re going for?  Groovy – do that!  Otherwise?  Truck bed liner spraypaint is your new BFF.  “The blue can [from car stores], not the red one [‘from Walmart – that’s clumpy’].” That adheres to plastic, dries to a thin finish that doesn’t hide patterns, and can be painted easily.  Spray paint for plastics is the very best for that kind of job, but enamel paint also does a lovely job.
  • Remember the look you’re going for, and stick with it; going from matte to gloss in one piece will only have you banging your head when you see it dried.
  • Foam onto a morph suit?  Barge cement.  Or, if you like things easy to deal with after the con, sew pockets onto/under the suit, and slide pieces in and out as you need.
  • Hard “bin” armor onto a morph suit? Velcro!  One piece on the armor, one on the suit.
  • Wood grain on plastic: either buy a toy bat with wood grain on it – the truck bed liner spraypaint won’t cover it – or lightly score it & hit it lightly with a heat gun.  That’ll make “cracks” that will look like weathered wood.  (Not too deep; you don’t want to cut into the bat…)
  • But what about breastplates for the lay-deez?  Cupping – make two plywood rounds, put ’em onto a piece of plywood (to get them to stay in one place), and push rounds into a heated piece of bin plastic.  Don’t push ’em into your own body.  1) bodies moosh, and 2) hot plastic is hot.
  • But what about duct tape?  “Duct take and a lot of hope” is what gets some cosplayers through cons.  Gorilla tape is much easier to work with – it tears easily – but doesn’t have the patterns and colors that duct tape does.  But again, truck bed liner spraypaint can help with that.
  • Making a box (minecraft, Lemarchand) to carry around with you?  Cardboard box, taped up and covered with thin craft foam that you’ve detailed?  (A hot glue gun works great here.) Beautiful.  Use duct tape to seal edges as needed.
  • Waterproof protectant for all that foam, cardboard, and paint?  Frog Juice.  One panel member once walked in the rain and her Frog Juice treated cardboard armor held up.
  • How to make a “real” light saber: pick up a kids toy, grab a length of PVC pipe that fits your hand (cut if necessary), join two larger couplings on either end, prime/paint that sucker, and add on thin strips of metal tape.  But be careful with metal tape; it’s very sharp. But the finished piece looks amazing. (See panel pic!)
  • 2016-09-03 14.34.37Never underestimate those small “snap bins”: they can be used to make a steampunk/Ghostbusters pack that not only looks good, but can be used to tote stuff.  Click click!
  • How not to FUBAR your paint job: DON’T TOUCH IT WHILE IT’S DRYING.  Handprints in your paint job are not part of your look.
  • Pack a “fix bag” and carry it with you at the con: safety pins, duct tape, screws, whatever you need to make sure stuff can be fixed up if things come loose, unravel, or peel.
  • Thrifting: not finding stuff in your local thrift stores?  Head to the areas that may be a bit ritzier.  Boom.
  • Sewing: a few basic patterns can go a long way: the circle skirt, surcoat, tunic, gown…they’re all easily customizable.
  • Cosplay guns: gotta have that orange tip at the end of the gun!  Make sure you either 1) tape over the existing orange on the toy gun you’re painting, or 2) paint the tip of the toy gun bright orange after you’ve painted it.  Also remember to disable it; remove triggers, springs and anything that can be though to be able to send something into somebody else.
  • #Protip for a Blade nighwalkers gun: attached a small UV flashlight from Amazon onto the stock.  Boom – fry them suckers!

And remember; the internet is your friend for cosplay.  If you’re interested in a particular look/character, chances are very good someone’s already done it, and has tips and tricks.




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