Ready for C2E2
It was a quick few weeks, but I think it was well worth it. The helmet looked much better, much more proportional to the rest of the costume. I was also amazed at how much better the cape looked, too. I felt a lot more confident in going into C2E2, but I also knew the costume wasn't going to win anything. As I put it, it's a "Standard Definition" costume. When Willow came out, HD was still a ways off, so there just wasn't a need to add lots of tiny details like they do now-a-days. I knew that most of the costumes I was going up against had a lot of bells and whistles that Kael simply didn't have. But winning Crown Champions of Cosplay was never the point. The point was I loved this character and this
costume since I was nine years old.
Crown Champions of Cosplay
The day arrived and when it was all said and done I received a Second Place medal in the Armor Category. I honestly think the judges awarded me this prize because of the advanced materials I used. They kept asking what was craft foam, and I was happy to tell them there wasn't an ounce of craft foam on the costume, which is cosplay's go-to material. Chaotic Neutral Cosplay took first, and she too had advanced plastics for her Skyrim armor. You can see a few more pics of my time at C2E2 in the Cosplay Gallery.
The best part of the day, though, was the people I met. This was my first foray into the cosplay world, and I met a lot of good costumers. Chaotic Neutral Cosplay said she was going to make a Sorsha costume, who was the villainess turned hero from Willow, for C2E2 2018, so I knew I had a great reason to bring Kael back. All I needed to make a more realistic sized sword. That's it. Nothing else...
Or so I thought.
Return of General Kael
As promised, I made a much more realistic sword. It's the size of a typical long sword, 48" long with a 2" width blade. This time, the blade is a quarter inch slab of wood with beveled edges and a blood groove in the right place. It's much more accurate to the sword seen in the movie.
As the year progressed, I couldn't help but to stare at the helmet, and the teeny tiny flaws grew with each passing day. The cheeks were too flat, and too big. The teeth were a tad too small. The brow and the eye sockets weren't deep enough. But, it still looked great, so, there wasn't any real reason to do it again, right?
Then, one day, I just started to remake the whole thing over. With a year to prepare, I could take the time to make sure every angle and curve was as close to the real thing as possible.
I started with the helmet. When looking at the reference photos and the movie, it's a really form fitting helmet, absolutely tight against the head. In fact, his ears poke out behind the ear plates. To make this tight helmet, I started with a clay sculpt, then put on a layer of paper mache (brown paper and wood glue). Next, fiberglass. Finally, Free Form Air. Pull it off the clay, sand, paint, and pad. It fits, but just barely.
The good news was I didn't think I need to do a whole new sculpt and mold. The sculpt is close enough to where I could modify the casting.
The cheeks were narrowed and given more depth, and the brow was given a sharper down turn. The eyes were made deeper, and the nose was once again shortened and given a convex slope. I made larger teeth, and also beefed up the lower jaw to compensate. I used Free Form Air for the lot of it. I also trimmed the jaw closer to the teeth. Next, I sanded it smooth and gave it a heavy dose of primer to make all the modifications seamless.
This time I used Wonderflex for the silver accents, and the results were so similar to the metal powder casting I wondered why I ever bothered. After spraying it white, I started painting it with alcohol based paints. I kept on going, and suddenly I realized there was no need to pull out the airbrush. This time, I leaned yellow, because I thought it would look better with the more accurate brown fur.
I made new ear plates, this time out of one eighth inch abs plastic. Again, it was so much easier than doing Wonderflex re-enforced with fiberglass, I wondered why I overcomplicated it for myself. I took the crest from the very first mask, and put the whole thing together.
At long last, I finally have a General Kael helmet that I am satisfied with. I still see the tiny differences, but I'm close enough now in accuracy that I can live with them.
You can see in the side by side comparison how the tiny details I mentioned make a huge difference.
Not only did Chaotic Neutral Cosplay show up in a superb Sorsha costume, she even made a Bavmorda costume for her mother. It was the complete trio of villains from Willow, and that little nerdy boy inside of me was so, so happy.
Oddly enough, we ran into two other Willow groups. The year prior a lot of people were having trouble figuring out who I was, as if the movie was thirty years old, or something. Oh ... wait. Anyway, it was great to see that one of my favorite movies of all time still has a small following of die hard fans. Now, I can head to the next convention and just bring the costume along without making any tedious modifications. Now, I can destroy the beast; find the baby!
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