Overwhelming and Underwhelming

Just as the title implies I was not very impressed with Comic Con…  I was overwhelmed by the crowd (making my claustrophobia act up) and underwhelmed with the set up and the running of the con, besides the con itself.  The day didn’t start out very well either.  The train was about 40 minutes late, which really sucks.  I had to take the 7am train in because on sunday’s the train only comes very 2 hours, which means I either get in really early (like 8:30-9) or really late (like 10:30-11).  Since the first panel I wanted to go to was at 10:45 I opted for the early train.  I wouldn’t have really had a problem with it being so late except that it was COLD like 50 out, on the outdoor platform, with no sun (it was very cloudy) and lots of wind.  I ended up pacing the platform to keep warm.  Once I got into the city (after an uneventful train/PATH ride) I hung out at a Starbucks and got something warm to eat as well as a warm place to sit.. x.x

Getting into the con itself was pretty easy actually, since I bought my ticket beforehand I got in the really short fast-moving line, instead of the really long, around the building line for the non pre-reg.  Things then started to get a little crazy…  If you’ve been the JJC then you know it’s full of fairly small hallways (small at least for a con of this magnitude).  It’s separated into blocks (A-E)  All the NYAF things were in block E1, which was basically Anime artists alley and  a few panel rooms, and that was all fine and dandy, I rather liked that it was all together. What annoyed me though is that in the dealers room (Blocks 3B and 3A) all the anime stuff was at the very back wall of 3A, so essentially if I had say 45-1 hour between panels I couldn’t really get to the things I wanted to look at.  I had about enough time to get to the dealers before I had to turn around and head right back to the other side of the con because there were way too many people there.  I ended up missing most of the things I wanted to see because I couldn’t get out of the dealers room >.<  In the end I only got to 2 panels.

The first panel I went to was the Never Ending Closet, which turned out to be a Lolita fashion show, which wasn’t what I was expecting but was fine anyway.  They had a few pieces from I Do Declare which is one of my favorite labels.  The woman who designs the collections is from NY and runs many lolita panels at various cons and I really like her stuff!  Though I once again sat behind the press I did manage to get a few shots in.

The fashion show was alright, I was just mostly annoyed that it started a bit late.

After that I got some lunch (a crappy slice of pizza for $3.50…) while I tried to figure out where the dealers rooms was.  The map I had been given at the con didn’t tell me anything really… I had to ask 3 different con staff because the first 2 didn’t know! (WTF?!) Once I finally got to the dealers room I was greeted by mobs of people…  Here’s a pic of the last isle in the room:

And it wasn’t much better 2 isles up (and it took me about 30-45min of steady walking with the occasional quick glance at a booth to get to this next spot.

I basically spent the rest of the day in the dealers room because it was a big struggle to get out.  There were several cool booths, but not too many cosplayers (not that I blame them, who’d want to be decked out in this crowd?!) 

The only booth I was very happy to run into was the Riese Booth.  I talked to the guys there and learned that it’s a show that SciFi is looking to pick up, it’s Steampunk set and looks very cool, you should check out the site to watch episodes!  It has many SciFi Sweethearts (as I like to call them)  like Gata from Battlestar!  I got a full set of character buttons as they were free and a few character cards as well.  I’m pretty excited for this one.  They finally put up the first episode on the Riese website (I’ve been waiting for it for like 2 weeks…).  I can’t wait to see where they take this, having 10 minute snippets might just kill me.. x.x

So the cosplay was pretty underwhelming, at least what I saw.  But what I did like was that there were several kids in costume, and I mean kids like six and under! Check it out 🙂

AND BEST COSPLAY OF THE DAY:

That’s right, Old Spice Guy! He was so in character that he posed the entire way down the escalator.  That’s what I call dedication 😛

Once I was finally escaped the dealers room I took a quick peak into the American comic style Artists Alley.  Honestly though it was a bit lost on me as I’m not really a fan of the style, I prefer the softer look of Shojo and American comics just never really struck a chord with me.  I did happen to see a great booth though! There was a Lego brick artist and here is some of his work.

At the end of the day I went to a steampunk panel run by a guy named Danny from Atlanta.  I found his presentation very informative and learned a lot about making armour.  He often uses medical braces, which is very clever!  He was also extremely entertaining with stories and anecdotes 🙂  I had a great time at his panel and would go to another one in a heart beat! He had a lady assisting him and she walked around showing us a few of his pieces.

I almost didn’t stay for this panel as by 3pm I’d really had enough of the con and the crowds and the size of the event, but I’m really glad I stayed as I learned quite a bit at this panel.  He said it was alright to email him with questions, which I thought was really cool.  He also commissions pieces on his website Outland Armour.  He travels around doing panels at many cons, which is admirable on a student budget.

At the end of the day I was glad to go home, my bag was heavy, but sadly so was my wallet.. :/ I probably won’t go to another Comic Con, but at least I know I won’t really be missing much.. not in NY anyway.

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To Comic Con or not to Comic Con…

I know what you’re thinking ‘What?! You would consider NOT going if you had the chance? Are you nuts?!’  Well maybe I am…  Here is my dilemma.  I live in Jersey, so the cost of the ticket(weekend pass), plus the cost of travel would be about $100 all up.. and that’s just GETTING there; we’re not including food and merch.  And yes, I’m sure many of you are thinking ‘forget about food’ but I’m not that silly.  I need to be able to walk back to the train station without dying of hunger…  Plus carrying any merch I buy for the whole day, and getting it home is going to be a bit of a pain.. :/  Here’s the other thing; by Sept 30th and they STILL hadn’t put up the panel list, how am I supposed to know if I want to go if I don’t know what panels are going to be there? And this is was my last chance to get in on a weekend pass… -.-  I usually go to a con for the panels, if there’s nothing new, or no one I really want to see, what’s the point in dragging myself all the way to the Jacob Javitz Center when it costs so much money and I can’t really take much with me, or home with me?

Then I got to thinking… I’m going back to New Zealand at the end of the year, so really this might be my only chance to get the a CC, let alone the NYCC.  Plus it is a combo ticket with NYAF.  I wanted to go Saturday and Sunday since the panels had FINALLY been put up by Oct 6th, and Saturday had all the cosplay stuff on.  Unfortunately though by the time I had made my decision all the Saturday tickets had been sold out!!! >.< Thanks a LOT Comic Con for not having your act together by SEPT 15TH WHEN YOU TOLD ME YOU’D HAVE THE PANEL SCHEDULE UP!!! Grrrr….  So I missed out on Saturday.  Needless to say I was pissed off.  Wouldn’t you be?  So I ended up sucking it up and just going Sunday to have the experience.  I wish CC had it together like Otakon.. And yes I know.. Otakon has had several years more experience, but the fact is this is CC fifth anniversary.  They should really have it together a bit better by now…  I hope it’s not a disappointment….

Himawari Kunogi – xxxHolic

So I have decided on my next cosplay. My friend Jen and I are going to go as the girls from Holic.  We needed something simple, portable and preferably ones that went together and can be worn in winter conditions.  We’re going to be wearing Yuuko and Himawari at Anime Los Angeles though we’ve not decided on the day(s) we’re going as I think it’s Jen’s first time in LA.  But this was a good cosplay for me as it’s simple, can be recognizable and easily packed away in a suitcase.  It’s only a few pieces and Jen is bringing my shoes over (since I bought them for my Haruhi cosplay a few years ago); just a skirt, shirt, jacket and socks really.  Another stipulation put on by my husband (and rightly so) is that it needs to be cheap.  The only expensive thing for this one is the wig (which I just bought on ebay for $40ishUSD) and the pattern for the jacket which is about $10USD, the fabric really shouldn’t cost very much at all, and the only other investment is time, which is fine by me 🙂  I’m really looking forward to cosplaying with Jen again, the cosplay scene in America sure has been lonely….

Games Day

The big day finally arrived and I was pretty excited ^.^  We loaded up the van at about 6-6:30am for the three-hour drive from NJ to Baltimore.  Aaron drove us there as I was pretty tired, plus I was in partial costume!   had on the socks, pants and shirt as I needed to do the make up at home.  Aaron helped me paint my face white and add details using grey clown make up, once we were happy I got smacked in the face with a ton of baby powder to set the creme make up.  I was quite surprised that it lasted the whole day and didn’t look dry or cracked, but I suppose when you buy quality it does make a difference.  We stopped at 2 rest stops along the way.  The first one was too crowded, the line for the ladies was about 20 people long!  The second one had a much shorter line, and a cinnabon.  I carefully ate a few mini bons as we pulled out of the stop.  Of course I got quite a few stares and looks as here I was with my hair in funky braids (as to fit under the cap) white/grey face make up and a tatty bandaged outfit.  I must have looked like a circus performer…

As we got nearer to Baltimore I began to put on other parts of my costume.  I started with the shoes, criss-crossing the ribbons up my legs, then discretely stitching them to the pants in order to stop them from falling throughout the day.  I then sewed my leg snake on to keep it up as well.  I know I might make this sound easy, but honestly it took me about 30-45 minutes to get these 3 items on as I was in a moving car…  Once we got there we parked in a garage not too far from the venue and Aaron helped me into the rest of my costume.  I put on my corset first (as it’s crazy to wear it on a 3 hour car ride…) and got the shirt and pants in place. I actually had the shirt attached to the pants with hidden buttons.  Once in place the next item was my belt, which Aaron put on me so there was less room for breakage.  The skirt was permanently attached to 1/2 the belt, the other half was buttoned into place via buttons on the skirt and holes in a band of elastic on the inside of the belt itself, it was fiddly, but looked really good and held up nicely.  Bar was up neck, which was the only really easy part.  Then the cape was placed on my back via buttons on the shirt and elastic around my wrists (the cape also kep the bra straps from falling down).  The neck corset was next followed by the shoulder armour. The head armour was then negotiated into place, mostly by Aaron because he was afraid I would ruin the shoulder armour.  Gloves were next, right first, then left as my fingers were exposed on the right glove.  Then went the arm snakes, which Aaron sewed on.  And lastly the detail scarabs were pulled off their box and glued on my body strategically to make them look like they were swarming on me.  The staff same out of the van last and off we went to the con!  It took about 30 minutes to get everything on me, but this was the most sturdy cosplay I feel I have done to date.  Nothing felt like it was going to fall apart.  The only thing that did was the neck corset.. but that’s ok, it was the only last-minute piece we made.

The looks I got on the way  were pretty good, people didn’t know what make of me.  I made a few kids cry or hide behind parents, which was pretty funny 😛  I suppose I looked pretty intimidating though.  Lots of people wanted to take my picture or take one with me, which of course I was more than happy to, after all, that’s what you make the costume for! Once we were there, we got in the slow line for our badges (of course) but this gave me time to check out some of my competition.  As I figured, there weren’t too many people entering.  I saw a chaos marauder, he was a total last-minute guy, you could tell, much of his was cardboard. Once we got our passes I noticed we also got a ticket, like the kind you would get at a carnival.  WE weren’t sure what they were for right away and just stuck them in our badges.  I hung mine around my staff as there was no way to get it on my neck lol.  There were quite a few activities we wanted to do, and first up was scenery painting, so we got in line for a while.  It was only supposed to take 5 minutes, but we’d been waiting on line for almost 10, so we decided to leave the line, lucky for us the staff were nice and said Aaron could come back and he would be let in with the next group. So we went to explore, that’s when we figured out what the tickets were for.  In the back corner they had 4 booths set up like carnival tents, and it was call ‘The Carnival of Chaos’.  Each booth had its own game, Disks of Tzeentch which was a frisbee game where you had to get the frisbee through a hole; Kups of Khorn which has a bunch of cups covering a table and you had to get a ping-pong ball into one; There was one for Nurgle too, but I can’t remember the name but the game was one where you had to knock over stacked cups with a tennis ball; the last one was the Dice of Slanesh, which was where I headed cause it was the only game that didn’t require depth perception (of which I had little with the face mask on).  When I go to the head of the line I wanted to roll as many dice as possible, that required 3 tickets… I only had two! (oh no!)  but luckily there was a nice lady on staff who was all ‘Look at here, is that not the most awesome costume ever? Let her roll!’ and she handed the guy at the booth a third ticket for me. I’m still not quite sure how the guy behind it added up the dice, but that’s cool, I won some awesome (and expensive) stuff!  On that first roll we got a Shadow Sword which is worth US$100!  Aaron was pretty damn excited as it had basically paid for our tickets and the gas it took to get there, after all I had no idea what it was worth I just said ‘Thank You!’ and accepted it with a big smile. Another big plus is that Aaron has an extensive Imperial Guard army so it would fit right in. 

After we won that we went back to the scenery painting where we got let right in.  While Aaron was painting, I was looking at what else gave us tickets cause I just love winning things.  I noticed you get them for playing Space Hulk, of which they had a MASSIVE game going.  I hopped in joyfully since it was really the only game there that I knew how to play and stayed for about 1/2 an hour before I wanted to move on.  We got our 2 tickets , which made 3 as we got one for scenery painting and went back to the dice game.  We won a big prize again (they had small medium and big prizes, more tickets means bigger prize) this time it was the 25th Anniversary Rulebook.  It was a little beat up on the outside, but the book was just fine.  When it was released it was US$175, though they are now onto a new rulebook so it’s almost worthless.. though we did win a set of the silver dice they were giving away since Aaron got a silver ticket in his set. They will go nice together on a shelf once they are reunited in NZ.

After the winning we went to check out the Fantasy Flight booth as Aaron was pretty keen to get his hands on Death Angel, but it was sold out already!!! We were a bit dismayed, but that was when I saw this lady:

I know the pic is blurry, but the lighting in the convention was pretty bad, she looked good though, her staff was brilliant.  After a bit more wandering around the club tables and getting my picture taken with an Ork we decided to have a bit of rest.  I was getting tired and Aaron was lugging that shadow sword and huge leather-bound rule book around…

During our rest we had a small snack and fixed my neck piece, I also got to take my head-gear off for a moment, which was nice for my eye 🙂  Aaron wanted to do the speed demon painting contest, and I was all for that cause it got us more tickets 😀 But we had to wait until after the cosplay contest cause they overlapped, so we ended up looking around at the GW shop, or rather Aaron did 😛  I just chatted with a few people, one staff member asked me if I wanted to work for GW and tried to get me to fill out an application, I politely declined.  As we were leaving the store a lady gave me one of her tickets just for dressing up 😀 How cool is that?

Then it was time for the judging…  Which I think was totally bias! >.<  Here I am with the guy who won first place.

There was another guy in power armour too, he was a Chaos Marine, but didn’t look as good as this Ultramarine.  But I’m actually really pissed off as I think they both should have been disqualified and here’s why: neither of them could get up on the stage.  That hurt all the other competitors because no one could SEE any of the others.  I even read a few blogs about people who were interested but couldn’t see anything so gave up trying, and since this was a popularity contest the rest of us needed more crowd to even get to compete.  Now I’m not that bitter about the Ultramarine, but makes me really angry is the little kid that won second place.  We was about 6 or 7 and all he had was a football shoulder piece spray painted blue with some detail on each shoulder… I’m sorry but that’s not even a cosplay, it was half assed and he didn’t deserve the win, but since he was 6 and an ultramarine he won.. x.x 

Third place went to a Sister of Battle, and her costume was pretty good, but her back pack was a plush.. O.o and it looked a little strange, but she got points for having a Nerf gun, which she shot over the crowd as she walked by.  I’m sure that’s why she got third. (Which really should have been second IMO…)  And here are some blurry pics of the event since I couldn’t find any better ones on the net.

Yeah so anyway.. I was a bit disappointed as it was run more like a joke then a real comp, but kind of glad I didn’t win as I didn’t want the prize which looked to be like big boxes of really old metal mini’s.  My husband was already dying under the weight of the book and the Shadowsword.  So Aaron went to speed paint and I sat down and painted a random tomb kings mini and had a nice chat with the guys at my table and answered quite a few questions about my costume 🙂  Some people were pretty disappointed that I didn’t win and thought I should have and I took my picture with one of the staff guys who was running the table who said he’d wanted to get his pic with me all day but had to stay at the painting table and was quite happy when I finally came by 😛  My painting didn’t last long, maybe about 20 minutes as I just don’t have the patience for it, nor the skill.  Though I did pretty well holding the mini between my thumb and clawed index finger, sometimes it’s good to have double jointed fingers.

Unfortunately painting only lasted about 20 minutes and Aaron would be painting for about an hour so I went to look at the golden demon stuff upstairs.  The line took forever and I only got to look at about 1/4 of the things on display before I realized I’d been up there an hour and had to go find Aaron.  It was about 3:15pm by then and we only had about 45 minutes to finish up, so we decided to buy Aaron a shirt and spend the rest of our tickets.  We waited in line for the only booth that really had any prizes we wanted and it took about 30-45 min to get up there as everyone else had the same idea of using their tickets up.  In the end we won two GW mugs and a GW hat for Aaron.  All in all a good day really 🙂 We hit the road and had some Five Guys for dinner as we hadn’t really had any lunch.  I’m rather glad we won’;t really be going back to Baltimore for a while, 2 trips in 3 weeks was enough for both of us.. @.@

Check it out!  I also go into the Baltimore Sun’s Weekend Review, I had the first picture! 😀

3 Weeks to go!

I’ll just say this now, in the week after Otakon Aaron and I weren’t ENTIRELY slack.  I had been sewing the bandages onto a pair of runner’s pants and a breathable long sleeve sports top as my first attempt at the body suit had failed miserably.  I had started with a bodystocking.  But every time I took it off and put it on again it wouldn’t sit quite right, it would get kinda wrinkly.  Eventually I went to put it on and the stocking ripped.  Not that it was a surprise or anything, it was a stocking with holes in it, holes become runs which become rips.  That’s about when I lost it, ripped the whole thing apart and went and bought the pants/shirt cause it was a much easier option.  I then altered the pants cause they were mens and didn’t fit quite right.  I also put a zipper in the back of the shirt as I wanted the middle of the shirt to be tight around my corsetted waist and keep the ‘actually wrapped’ look, not the ‘I had to fit it over my boobs SOMEHOW’ look.  While I was working on the boring sewing Aaron was working on the head armour.  He created both the dome and fan using a 3D imaging program.  He then printed these out 2D and cut them out of craft foam and skillfully put it together using masking tape.  I swear, my husband is amazing 😀  After that was together he carefully covered and sculpted the face mask and snake decoration in the polymer clay, then attached our base hat (which is what kept it on my head, just a sturdy twill bucket hat that had been all cut up to be the shape of the armour; it hid my hair and created enough tension to keep the armour on my head).  The hat was only attached to the mask at the forehead, then the craft foam was attached just on top of that, leaving the base hat free so we could get it on and off my head easily.  Unfortunately I do not have pictures of these in between steps as they were pretty frustrating, or needed both sets of hand to work on them. The following is what happened from August 9-20th.

So unlike the week before Otakon, the weeks after were all ‘GO GO GO!!!’.  First up was working on the belt. So if you look at the model and the drawing it has a definite ‘V’ Shape. So to get that shape I cut the cheap leather belt I bought down the middle and apoxied it in place.  I then covered it in craft foam squares that were chewed up on the sides like the shoulder piece to make them look like beaten metal.

While I was working on this, Aaron was in the kitchen working on the skull scarab for the front of the belt.  To get the shape for this we took a foam skull and cut off the bottom jaw and the front where the eyes are.  Then we took the top dome of the skull and glued it on the ridge above the eyes using toothpicks as skewers.  Afterward we used some polymer clay and Aaron sculpted the features, and it began to look like this:

While that was drying we decided to work on the small scarab details.  I said in an earlier post that I had bought a scarab push mold, well we finally put it to use, though it took a few tries.  We couldn’t get the clay to stop sticking to the mold, despite powder and all sorts of things. In the end we took small dots of clay and glued them to small squares of paper.

The paper made it easy to pull the clay out of the mold and gave the scarab a much needed base. We made about 30 or so.

Which of corse resulted in MORE drying time.  So while the scarabs and scarab skull were drying I started working on the snakes for my arms and right leg while Aaron went to painstakingly mold the scarabs for my shoulder armour and right shoe.  His scarabs came out great:

Chest Scarab

My first task was to get the snakes to behave: aka bend around my arms and stay that way since they were very curly.Snake

So I used some electrical wire that we had lying around as we’re still renovating our house.  I bent the wire to the shape of the snake.Snake Wire

Then glued it on using the ever useful superglue.snake AND wire

Afterward they nicely bent to my will and I didn’t even have to wait for it to dry.bendy and obidient!

Bright and early the next morning I started dying all the fabric.

We used traditional tea dying as it would give the right sort of aged colour.  We looked up the directions on the net and ended up using about 32 bags of tea in about 3 gallons of water, there was a ratio to it, something like 1 bag for every X ounces.  In went the shirt, pants, gloves, bra and socks (which were the feet of the body stocking as they were the only piece that always fit every time I put it back on.) and the extra strips of bandage fabric.  If you’re going to dye anything, BE SURE TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE.  Dye all the same fabric at the same time, otherwise it won’t come out the same, different batches produce different colours.  We let it soak most of the day, then set it out on the line to dry over night.  I knew we’d gotten it right when my brother came over and was all, ‘Is that a mummy costume outside? It looks really good!’.  That made me pretty happy.  While that was dying I painted the base layer on the face mask.

After the brown came the gold and turquoise.  We used Amaco Rub ‘n Buff for the gold.  RNB is used for picture frames and the like and is more like a paste then a paint, the idea is you rub it in using a cloth.  To get it more like paint we mixed the RNB with a small amount of paint thinner.  We used 2 tubes for the entire project.  The turquoise paint was a test pot from a hardware store. It was perfect, right colour, cheap and covered very well. Everything got two coats of each colour, some got three.

 Aaron had also painted the small scarabs for the shoes, they were beautiful.  Not sure if I said, but Aaron paints miniatures, mostly warhammer fantasy and 40k, so small-scale is his strong suit. (click the second picture for a closer view)

 

Right, so we had the shoes finished (ribbon added underneath the middle of the shoe) and the shoulder piece complete (phew!)  The belt, head armour claws and bra were underway as well.  I started sculpting the bra while Aaron worked on the legs of the skull scarab.

And before you ask, no, those legs were not from a mold, Aaron free-handed those (and I was kinda jealous cause I wanted to do them…)  The legs are mounted on some copper wire from the inside of electrical wire (as I said before we had lots lying around).  They were then stuck into the foam skull and glued into place once dry.  After obscene amounts of drying time and moulding, the claws for my left hand were completed as well as the bra.  Then came painting.

In the picture above, the base of the claws have been wrapped with extra bandages and claws themselves painted.  The claws were complete, the skull was still being worked on at this point, it needed some more work on the teeth and blending.

This is when I realized that I hadn’t done anything about the huge gap between the shoulder armour and my face, so I came up with this little number.

I thought a neck corset was appropriate, but since everyone’s neck is quite different and it was too late to find a real pattern (if they exist) I made my own neck cast.  I used felt cut into the rough shape of my neck and covered it in duct tape.  If you’re going to attempt this please make sure you are not alone when you do.  For one it can be dangerous, and two you need someone to cut it off of you.  I used strips of the tape and draped them around the felt, don’t ever just use it straight from the roll as you will make it too tight and it’s very hard to cut it off the roll dangling from your throat.  Make sure you use some sort of fabric, do not do this directly to the skin as it will hurt when it comes off and be prepared to lose a few strands of hair if it’s long enough as you will get some in the tape.  The cast was then cut in the back and reshaped to fit well and allow moveability, then it was cut into strips which were used as a template and traced onto the craft foam and reassembled.

Then painted.

Sadly though, this is the only piece that did not last the day.  The paint thinner broke down the glue on the tape, and this was retaped twice during Games Day and still didn’t last.  I will be redoing this piece as October nears as Khalida will double as my Halloween costume this year.  I’ll post about how I fixed it when it happens.

The detail scarabs were slowly getting finished at this point.  We cut them out of their paper squares and added little legs made of very thin strips of paper.  Once the legs were attached they were lined up and blue tac’d to a box for spray painting.  We also needed to start the staff.  The snake topping the staff started as a resin snake statue, and we just hack sawed the top off as that was all we needed.  It was then dowelled to a pipe ending to make for easy attachment to the hollow PVC pipe.

Of course, what was next? More painting of course!

And in the rush to get this ready for the con, some things did not get pictures taken, in the last few days we were toiling away painting, and finishing and retouching.  Things that didn’t get mentioned were the cape, which was attached the the shirt under the shoulder piece using buttons and artfully ripped and torn and scuffed up on the sidewalk out front.  The skull got apoxied to the belt and the staff put together and wrapped with skirt scraps to cover the pipe join.  We were all finished and everything packed and ready by about 10pm the night before, which was in enough time to get a good nights sleep before the con.  No more are the days of staying up to all hours the night before to finish the costume, I’m too old for that.. x.x

Otakon!!!!!!

SATURDAY

So this weekend Baltimore was once again host to Otakon.  This will be my third Otakon, I attended 2009 and 2002 (I know, what a big gap!) But I try to get there whenever I’m in the US.  I missed out on Friday but got in early on Saturday morning.  The pre-reg line was HUGE.  I’m talking down the block and around the corner.  Luckily it moved really quick and I got my pass and was in the building within about half an hour.  I was very prepared this year too, Big water bottle, camera, map of places to eat, I even printed out the panel schedule ahead of time and highlighted what I wanted to do.  I didn’t get to everything I wanted, but got to a few choice things, the first of them being the h.NAOTO fashion show.  I am a big fan of KERA magazine

 Though I can’t read it, I just love looking at all the pictures.  I love the clothes, bags, accessories and hair styles and not to mention the colour.  The magpie in me is only pacified completely when I’m studying these brightly coloured happy mags.  Anyway… h.NAOTO is a big brand for this magazine, they usually have the back cover.  I was looking forward to the show, but honestly I got pretty bored.  I had a good spot for viewing, but since I was just behind all the press photographers I had a horrible spot for taking pictures.  The flash only caught the people in front of me.  I gave up pretty quickly so I could enjoy the show in front of me though last years Goth Lolita fashion show was more entertaining.  They seemed to have everything right, the music, atmosphere, visuals;  the problem was that the models were put on REALLY slow.  I’m talking like 1 model every 3 minutes… it took forever.  The clothes were cool and I saw a really great pair of stockings which I would have loved to have, so right after the show I went down to the dealer’s room, right to the booth and wouldn’t you know it, they’re not selling ANY of the pieces from the fashion show.  At this point I was pretty peeved…. What’s the point of having a fashion show if you’re not going to sell anything from the collection?  In my experience the POINT of a fashion show is to sell the collection to the audience *sigh*I was also hoping they might have some of the models from KERA since h.NAOTO was there along with the KERA booth in the dealer’s room. I would have loved to see Akira in person, she is my favorite model from the magazine, I totally love her hair 🙂

Anyway.. after the fashion show I took a quick look around the dealer’s room before I headed over to the Hilton to catch the first half of This is Otakudom.  TIO is a fan parody that uses mostly Fushigi Yugi clips and creates the story of a group of anime fans going to Otakon.  I’d never seen it before, but appreciated what I saw; Fushigi Yugi is one of my favorite anime. I only watched about half because I could watch it online.  I don’t often watch any anime at conventions as I feel like I’m wasting time on things I can do at home, in my own time.  After that I decided to get something to eat and took a walk down Pratt St to the mall across the way and took a little bit of a break. I watched all the people cosplaying around the outside fountains while I was eating. I noticed a few creative and great cosplays on my way from the video to the mall:

The Pipe Flower from Mario.  How awesomely creative is that?!

Utena!!! I should have gotten may picture with her.. (from Revolutionary Girl Utena)

This Sailor Moon was pretty good.  I also saw the Tokyo Pop bus.  I had a middle pic, but there was a streaky Chobit cosplayer in the middle of it so I deleted it.

Gregory House!! I saw this guy getting HEAPS of admirers, must have passed him by like 15 times, cause he hardly got anywhere for the photos. He was all ‘I never expected this level of attention’. I was like ‘Welcome to Cosplay..’

This Human Luna (from SM) was just perfect.  If Luna were human I’d expect her to look just like this beautiful woman.

This Luna was so awesome I had to have my picture with her, she was in a hurry but was kind enough to oblige. 

Of course after that bit of a break I wandered back down to the sprawling dealers room.  I found a few great cosplays on the way too!!

We got my favorite Haruhi costume from this picture:

FF13 was out in full force and we got a good Sazh in the hall 

And a s good group on the balcony outside earlier(Snow, Serah and Cid Raines):

 Though one of the best ones I’d seen at the con was this awesome Mojo Jojo from Power Puff Girls, I only wish  had taken his picture in front of the wall, instead of the doors so you could see his makeup better…

As luck would have it though, just as I get into the frenzy of the dealers room the fire alarm goes off…  At first i wasn’t sure if it was real or not.  No one was moving.  I was browsing some manga by a fire door and got herded out to the sidewalk, and that’s when I ran into this guy:

I love me some Avatar; and the one where they go to see the play about themselves in the fire nation is my favorite episode.  Hats off to you Man Toph.

I also noticed these lovely ladies who were portraying Vocoloids(or so I hear)

If you saw this wading through the crowd, how creeped out would you be?(V-kachu!)

During the hour-long alarm I hung out in front of the Hilton and met up with my friend Dan.  When we got back in we had a stroll around the video game room and took in a quick game of Rockband.  Sang a little Paramore with Dan and a mate of his on the guitars and a random on the drums.  I split with Dan after that as he was going to be participating in the DDR competition and had a few things to do before that.  I thought I would try to catch the end of the Cosplay Culture panel, but it seemed to have never happened because of the ‘fire’.    I then went back down to the dealer’s room, ate my left over lunch for dinner and then went down to Artist’s Alley.  This is when my Toki Doki bag broke…  Right in the middle of the alley the strap adjuster snapped under the weight of my dealer’s room purchases (Mostly manga, luckily nothing breakable!) I bought a couple of prints (They’ll look fabulous in my one day Geek Room). I’m totally in love with this one of Faye Valentine(Cowboy Bebop).  Then I went up to wait in line for Uncle Yo, the Otaku stand up comedian.  If you ever get a chance to see him I would highly recommend it, he was really funny.  I was mostly grateful just to be able to put my heavy bag down >.< I also met a few girls in line, Alex, Joelle and a third girl who I didn’t talk to me much and I sadly can’t remember her name (can you believe I totally forgot to take their picture?).  Joelle and I got on really well, she was dressed like Sailor Venus (So how could we not, since she’s my favorite character!)  and Alex was Sailor Saturn.  After the show we all went and walked around Artists Alley.  By this time my arm was killing me >.< I lugged that stupid thing around for about an hour+ besides the hour or so before the show.  Joelle, Alex and I split ways around 11, I decided to go to the Cosplay Burlesque and they were going to the Sailor Moon Hentai panel.  I’d already been to the SM one and didn’t really need to see it again.  As I waited in line I made some more new friends.  I met a guy named Patchen who I ended up sitting next to and another guy in line, but I can’t remember his name either, if we even exchanged them O.o  He tried to sit next to me, but to be honest I wasn’t that keen, he was a little full of himself.  The burlesque show was pretty good 😀  I especially liked the guy who did Tuxedo Mask, it was a very good strip tease!  He was the most memorable.  The girls were good, but honestly I didn’t know most of the characters they were playing, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the show full heartedly ^.^  I was pretty hoarse from shouting and hooting.  I got picked up around 2am and in bed by around 2:30-3.

SUNDAY

Well I was up bright and early at 8.  Some continental breakfast  and a bit of slowness later and I ended up late to the ball jointed dolls panel, I only caught the last half,  but learned a bit more and happened to get one of the coveted hand out sheets.  I was one of the first up there as I’ve learned my lesson on that at other conventions.  I’m quite interested and fascinated by these beautiful fully customizable dolls.  Here are a few of the dolls I saw at the panel.

  I went down and had a look at the only stand that was selling them in the dealers room, I also bought a new wig. 

It was so beautiful on the stand I couldn’t say no, plus it was pretty damn cheap.  I’m looking forward to wearing it to a tea party 😀  I happened to lose track of time and got in line way too late for the World of Miyazaki panel and missed out, it was filled before my part of the line even got to the door; so… I went back down to the dealers room (Yes, it was that big and had that much to look at) and picked up a couple more manga before heading off to the closing ceremonies.  This is actually the first one I’ve attended and I wasn’t disappointed, since they played all the winning AMVs which are the ones you actually want to watch 😛  Afterward I snapped a few pictures on the way out and got in the car for the three and a half hour ride home.

Here are some of the cosplays that were amazing, but didn’t get into the post, I snapped most of these going into and out of the dealers room:

The Animaniacs

Zuko from Avatar Last Air Bender

Leeloo from the Fifth Element.  I love this cosplay, she perfectly followed the KISS method and should be awarded for it.  It takes a lot of bravery to go around in such a sexy revealing costume, and she looked just right 😀 (KISS= Keep It Simple, Stupid)

A guy cosplaying Pikachu, how refreshing and cute, ne?

We got some funny crossplay going on here with this Captain Planet and Gaia duo.

A most adorable Kiba and Akamaru (Naruto)

And last but not least a bit of nostalgia with Bernie (Weekend at Bernie’s) who had the best Bernie walk of all time.

And if you’re interested in the manga bought I got:

Bird Kiss Volume 2-5
Saihoshi (Yaoi) (Kosen is one of my favorite Manga ka/studios, the art is fantastic)

Papillon vol 1 (Miwa Ueda also did Peach Girl which I loved when I was younger.  I’m just sad that this manga is so new (copyright 2009!) and hasn’t been on a shelf in any book store I’ve been to!!)
Candy (Yaoi) This is the only other manga I bought at the con.  I mostly just buy yaoi because it’s cheaper (usually) and I own or can get a discount on most other manga.  I have about 1000 manga in storage back in New Zealand 🙂

Slow Week

Now much has happened this week.  My scarab push mold finally came in.. took ages >.<  I’m going to give the scarabs a go with the sculptamold later today (or at least this week :P).  Otakon is right around the corner (next week in fact!!)  Aaron and I took the bucket hat I bought last weekend as the base for the head dress and cut it all up to fit what we needed.  Unfortunately it feels like every piece is dependant on another piece to get finished.  We need to cut away at the mask and finish it a bit more before we can really start the head dress.  We planned on using the hat as a way of keeping on the mask so there wouldn’t have to be any un sightly strings anywhere.  Luckily the sculptamold is quite light, just as the bag said it would be.  Aaron and I also went into New York City this Saturday; Sanrio was having a 10th Anniversary Party, celebrating the Times Square stores anniversary and Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Sanrio brand itself.  Aaron and i were some of the first in line and I got a poster and also played some of the games they had on in store.  I got a new wallet , which is still HK, but classy so I can get away with it at work and a Hello Kitty mug.  I won 2 packets of HK peach scented stickers and Hello Kitty Decoration Tape on the 3 games they had going on.  While we were in the city we also headed down to Greenwich village and stumbled upon a small street festival called ‘Japan Town’  talk about perfect! ^.^ While we were in the city I found a Halloween shop where I bought a Freddy Krueger glove Aaron and I took it apart and we’re going to use it to make Khali’s claw.  We cut some coat hanger wire and I’m glueing it to the claws to reinforce them.  We’re also slimming the plastic finger joints down as the glove is meant for a larger hand than my own.  We’re also re-riviteing it together as we need to change the hand to sit correctly on my left hand, as it is made for me right hand.  I got rid of the glove in it and will make a new one that is covered in bandages.  I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

The only other thing I worked on this week was the body suit, I almost have my left leg done and I did my right foot up to the ankle  I need to get the suit finished so I can work on the belt and begin the skirt.  I’m hoping to get everything together before games day, especially since we’re missing a weekend due to Otakon.  I’m hoping to get some great contacts while I’m at the con, I can’t wait to check out this years dealer room.  If you’re gonna be at the con, let me know what you’re looking forward to most! 🙂  Check in with you later!

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