What the Boss Likes – power fantasies

 

Christians often took fits about sword and sorcery fantasy, especially D&D.   Who are the heroes here?

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What the Boss Likes – Gen Con 2016 and our adventures in cosplay, part 3

I do wonder how my resident wannabee troll will explain this :)
I do wonder how my resident wannabee troll will explain this 🙂

Here I am back with my costume.

This painting was much more of a challenge. The most peculiar part is the pauldrons on the outside of the coat. There are a couple of ways one can interpret the painting. 1. There is a coat and there are indeed pauldrons on the outside of it (the way I went)., then there is a breastplate under the coat and a gold gambeson under that. 2. It could also be interpreted that that the “coat” is really a long vest, and the paracountess is wearing a red gambeson under her breastplate/pauldrons, and a gold shirt under that. On afterthought, I think the second version would have been a bit easier.

The photo shows the costume well enough. I do need to remember to have my tall husband sit when he takes pictures of me so I’m not looking any more short and squat than needed by the angle 🙂

The pauldrons are also small in the image and for them to stay in place they need to be bigger or have some type of odd harness to get them to be where they are. I had straps under the arms and two across the back.pauldrons-1

I bought a jumbo sheet of Worbla for this experiment. I got it at cosplaysupplies.com, it comes with free shipping. This was 100 cm x 150 cm.   I had this and a little left of the small sheet that I had initially ordered. At the moment, I probably have about 2 square feet of it left. Out of this I made bracers, a breast plate, pauldrons/spaulders, and a cutlass, plus the staff for Ezren. It cuts with a large pair of scissors (think regular sewing shears), and it is moldable like clay (rather hot clay, since it has to be heated before you can form it).

There is no secret for how any of these were made: it was trial and error. I used thin cardboard (beer boxes) to make patterns. I did reference various armor tutorials online and I’ve seen my share having once been a member of the SCA. Cardboard doesn’t quite move like heated Worbla but it does the trick.

Once I cut out the worbla after finessing the cardboard patterns, I needed to decide how thick it had to be. A tutorial on the worbla website had how to avoid using a complete sandwich of worbla/craft foam/worbla and I was able to cut down on how much I needed. You can see the technique here. You can also see how I rigged the strapping. I used plastic clips to hold the straps where I didn’t use elastic bands.

To heat the Worbla, I used a regular heat gun that you can get at any hardware/home improvement store. I also used the sun, since we had a few 90+ degee (F) days and I just let the Worbla sit in the sun. Small pieces can get too warm, and I literally had to lift some of them up with a spatula. The larger ones just got soft enough for me to only need a few seconds with the heat gun to finish the forming. One tip I have to offer is to use baking parchment (paper infused with silicone) to use under your worbla parts. Then they won’t stick if they get too hot. The paper can also show you when you are getting too enthusiastic with the heat gun since it turns brown at around 400 degrees (F). It *will* burn. Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – Gen Con 2016 and our adventures in cosplay, part 3”

What the Boss Likes – Gen Con 2016 and our adventures in cosplay – part 2

to see the detail
to see the detail

At most science fiction and fantasy based conventions, there is cosplay popping up. This is at its simplest, recreating a costume of a favored character and wearing it around. It can get as complicated as acting like the character when interacting with other cosplayers or with the audience. The idea is as old as SF/F conventions but has become much more prevalent recently. I’m going to guess that this is because it isn’t as odd as it used to be, there is the internet and technology has improved so much that one isn’t limited to a copy of a Starfleet uniform. There are also tv shows like Face Off (make up and effects) and Heroes of Cosplay to make it more familiar.

Gen Con isn’t by far the most popular convention for cosplay. You can look to the various Comicons and Dragon Con for that. However, more and more folks are partaking. I decided last year that I wanted to try my hand at it and gave myself a year to do two costumes. I refused to be sewing the costumes my hotel room. I really hated that Heroes of Cosplay show for being idiotic in amping up the drama and stress for no reason (well, there was a reason, some humans like to see misery).

These are the two characters I chose: Ezren by Wayne Reyolds and Paracountess Talminari by Yama Orce They both do great work. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Reynolds at the con and he gave me and my husband very nice compliments about the costume.

My personal opinion is that cosplay is best done if you physically resemble the character that you choose to play. I know that many people disagree with this, and I do understand why. However, there are characters I’d love to cosplay and it would simply be ridiculous (think Storm from X-men in her punk phase being played by me). I figured I could make a decent middle aged villainess and my husband is a great Ezren even without the costume.

This isn’t a “how-to” blog post. It isn’t step by step. If the reader has any questions that aren’t answered, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to explain what I did and why.   I’m a seamstress of middling ability (lots of work in doing historical re-enactment garb) and I have a good mind when it comes to tearing apart images and figuring out how they would work in three dimensions. I also have a fairly high tolerance for failure, and most importantly funds that I can play with. Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – Gen Con 2016 and our adventures in cosplay – part 2”

What the Boss Likes – Update, GenCon 2

Well, we’re home from GenCon. A very nice vacation and I’m exhausted.   Here are some more photos of what we saw and did out in Indianapolis. If anyone sees a photo that they would like a copy of, I do still have the original digital files. I’ll probably keep those around for a few weeks. The following are my cleaned up versions of what I took. (part one of this series can be found here)

More photos from the zoo

 

Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – Update, GenCon 2”

What the Boss Likes – meet my newly created mascot, Ruby

Ruby
Ruby

Meet the blog’s new mascot, Ruby.  One of my other hobbies, other than cooking,  collecting unusual alcohol and dealing with religion, is sewing.  I used to do a lot of sewing of costumes for historical recreation and for science fiction cons, as well as for my friends.  I got out of the habit a few years back for various reasons.

One day, when cleaning up the house, I stumbled upon an old pattern I had bought more than 10 years ago.  It was a pattern for a dragon, and I had wanted to make one after I had been cheated by someone who was to make me one and who took my money and ran.  A pity that some people can be such vermin, but it did lead to me to this point.

The pattern was from Smallworks, a pattern company by the very talented Melinda Small.   The dragon pattern is here.  It’s very small and detailed pattern, and I was unable to accomplish some of the finer turning of the tail and horns so they’ve been altered to meet my sewing level.  The pattern does have very good directions but I have no idea just how one could actually do the turning through the narrow areas.  Evidently it’s not impossible, thanks to Ms. Small’s photos; I simply was unable to do it myself.  Ms. Small uses an old technique, called button joints, to great effect in this little beastie. The buttons can be seen as the small circles at the joints.

The fabrics are a odd dark red linen I bought years ago that is shot through with real copper threads. That’s what gives the glistening effect.  The purple is a black and purple shot taffeta.  I would not suggest using such a fabric, unless you know how to deal with the fraying edges.  I was using what was in the stash I have. The eyes are black faceted beads from an old broken necklace.  I intentionally used black thread so I could see what I was doing on this test subject.

dragon 2Ruby is my first attempt at the pattern and she didn’t come out too badly at all.  I don’t think she’s a dragon; being an old Dungeons and Dragons player, I find that all dragons need four legs and two wings.  A critter like this with two wings and only back feet is a wyvern to me. 🙂  I know I know, fantasy purist….  I’ll be working on my own pattern for a while and hopefully get a working dragon before we go to GenCon this August.

Here’s couple of old pictures of my earlier costuming work for your delectation and amusement:

Finally, a picture of our cat, Muffin, being cute. muffin

From the Back Room – John Palmer’s Elevenses, aka hobbit beer aka boggie slobber

elevensesFinally, we have a new beer brewed by us. This is Northern Brewer’s Elevenses, a recipe that they co-created with John Palmer, evidently a well-known homebrewer, but you couldn’t prove it by me.  In that both my husband and I spend inordinate amounts of time imagining what our sword and sorcery characters eat and drink, of course we had to make this.

We used the partial mash version rather than the all-grain version, but the partial mash has all of just over 3 pounds of malt syrup and the rest is grain. So, in that, it’s a great way to get your courage up to start brewing all-grain recipes.  One thing you will need is one very large sieve (VLS) or a large colander to drain the boiled grains.  I got my VLS at a second hand shop.   Another piece of equipment that you should have is a hydrometer to determine the amount of alcohol in the ale.  I broke mine into about a bazillion tiny pieces and thus have no idea what the ABV of this is.  It’s designed to be a session beer so it’s likely around 4.5 or 5%.

One other thing that we did that may be a bit unusual: I toasted the oats as recommended but I did it in the microwave, 15 seconds at a time and stirring, until I got the color and aroma I wanted.

The ale is described as a brown ale.  The head is light brown and settles to a skim after about 20 minutes.  The ale a dark brown more toward a porter in my opinion.  It looks like a mug of cola when the head dies down.  The smoke flavor from the oak smoked wheat malt is a little too strong for my absolute pleasure but it’s not undrinkable like  I consider rauchbier to be.  I just like my smoke in my pipe and in my fish not in my drink.  🙂    This is lightly hopped, only three-quarters of an ounce of German hops.   Incidentally, we used the Wyeast Thames Valley Ale option.  No reasons except that I like the smack packs puffing up.

We’re thinking of making this again but with some tweaks.  My ideal ale for a bunch of hobbits would be a little less smoky and a little more full in mouthfeel.  To achieve this, I think backing off the oak smoked malt and adding more flaked oats.  This ale does need a decent amount of time in the bottle, at least a month, to fully come together.

As an explanation of what “boggie slobber” has to do with this ale, some of you may be familiar with Lord of The Rings.  Some fewer of you may be familiar with the parody Bored of the Rings (beware, it’s a TV Tropes link and I’m not responsible for the hours you may lose), by the folks at the Harvard Lampoon back in the late 60s (these folks became the National Lampoon later).  This is a hilarious, utterly filthy parody that I first stumbled upon in college at a book sale.  Thanks to that sale, I have an original copy complete with rather psychedelic cover.  I’ve rarely laughed so hard over a book.

It is dated, with references even I had to research, and I know loads of useless trivia.  It can be a little like listening to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”  if you were born after 1990.  Tom Bombadil becomes Tim Benzedrine, to give you an idea of just how bizarre this book is.   You can read a little of it here on Amazon thanks to their “look inside” feature.  If you get easily offended and will get in a snit as a LOTR purist, don’t read it.

That’s it. Drink well!