sunnuntai 10. marraskuuta 2013

The making of Maxima Enfield

I should start with a quote from the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland to say how late I am with this entry! I haven't been playing any Pokemon like Heidi. Only game I've touched recently has been Candy Crush Saga and that's only to relax my mind before going to bed and not to think about all the upcoming exams, test and essays. Yep, a teacher can get stressed out about those things too, not just students! I have been trying to do something creative every now and then, for example you can check my halloween make up experiences here.

 But as a apology for being late with this update, I did try to find as much work-in-progress -pictures as possible. Hope you like it!

That's me as Maxima on stage, just if you've forgotten. Pic by Matias Tukiainen.
So far for the past five years I've had two principles while doing cosplay.  

One is not to use clip on wigs, because they just don't look right unless the character really has short hair and then twin tails or ponytail on top of that.  

The second one is to only cosplay characters that mean something to me. They don't have to be my all time favorite character ever, but I have to feel somehow connected to them, usually because I liked the serie or the game they're from. I have fell in love with a design and then got to know the characters many times, but so far I've always thought I really need to play the game or see the anime or read the manga.

And then came Maxima Enfield with her stunning design and broke both of these self made rules I had. It was totally worth it, not just because well, we won, but because I learned more about myself and about my feelings towards cosplay and the characters I choose.

Once again, Maxima and Melty.
It was last spring that Heidi first linked me a picture of Maxima (who I really soon named just Max or Maxi, because I'm lazy writing long names) and Melty. Just looking at the picture I felt like Maxima was just that kind of costume that I like to do and a really good costume for the preliminaries. I watched Shining hearts anime where Melty's super cute and so totally perfect match for Heidi. Maxima isn't in the anime and you can't get the games she's in from Europe, so I was really skeptical about whether I should or could do her outfit.  

It was the combination of great skit idea, hours of searching for every little detail I could find out about Maxima as a character and the fact that Melty and Maxima would make a perfect pair that made me say to Heidi after maybe a few weeks that we should go with these two ladies to the preliminary. 

That's not even my cosplay room but our living room so you can only imagine what the rest of the house looks like.
Reference pictures did cause trouble, there aren't that many good pictures and then in those few good ones the colors changed, ribbons width changed and so on. But this is not the first time I've just had to choose the pictures to go with and then trust my own vision of what will look good. 

I do have some wig heads that don't look as bad as this, but somehow I always end up taking pictures with this one.
I've done ponytails in the past, but just looking at this super long ponytail made me think how I'd lose my nerves trying to get it right and how nonfunctional it would be. So I decided to give clip-on wigs a try and with styling it turned out to be the best solution! Ponytail part was easy to comp and take care of and the short hair was just long enough that it was possible to style it in a way it gave the illusion of being a real ponytail, not just clip-ons. Now if I ever find a character that has this long twin tails, I have a wig ready, because it did come with two clip-parts.

I bought these boots during spring from flea market just because they were the right size (I have really big feet and finding good shoes cheap is usually a struggle) even though I didn't have any character planned that I would need them for. I cut them a little shorter, added some details, fixed a broken heel and did the lovely ruffles, and so they turned into Maxi's shoes.

It is warm and sunny in Finland, it really is! For a few days in a year. If it doesn't rain
Previously I've done big fantasy swords and axes that I've made from really light weight material. This time I wanted to use wood to make the sword look and feel more realistic. I stole...borrowed a piece of floor paneling wood (a piece you put between the floor and wall) from my mom-in-law. Didn't cost me a penny but when I sanded the white old paint from it for a day I did think I might have spend some money to buy the wood without any paint... Anyway, I used a small hand sanding machine and spent some lovely and warm summer days outside working to get the right shape for the sword. 

Made from Worbla finest arts.

I used gesso to prime the entire blade, sanded it down and then painted first with black spray paint and then with miniature paints. The handle was my favorite part because I got the change to use so many different materials. In some of the reference pictures the handle has shimmering light on it, so I wanted to add them. Using individual led light would have made it a bit harsh looking, so with some googling I found these perfect led light dog collars. I bought a few from ebay, broke them down, combined two of them and got just the effect I wanted. Well after adding some baking paper there in the middle I did. 

The handle is covered first with worbla finest arts. I was tempted to just paint it, but I wanted the surface to be even smoother and to get the shape just right, so I added paperclay, sanded it down and then used gesso all over it.

The tentacle dress was such a learning experience. In the end I think I did achieve the look I wanted, because I didn't want the bottom part of the dress to look too much like just fabric but not too motionless either. I had wires going through the dress and corset boning to keep it up with some help from siliconeshoulder straps. The lining is really pretty purple taffeta I found on eBay.  

My absolutely favorite part of the entire outfit was the front piece. I've never done embroidering by hand and I had no idea I'd enjoy it so much. I carried the embroidery with me for many weeks and worked on it while on the beach, sitting under the apple trees or listening to the summer rain. 

Hmm... what else... Earrings are made from Fimo and painted with silver paint. The gloves were surprisingly easy to make from really flexible artificial leather and with matching ruffles to the boots. My least favorite part of the costume were the brownish parts that go all the way to upper parts of my arms. They are made from leggings and look okay, they just didn't stay up as they should have, not with any double sized tape or tricks we came up with. But I did learn my lesson and next time I'll be sure to double check things like this. The leg parts stayed up really well because I sew them to my stockings in the morning.
A small cape and a huge bowtie.

Underwear. A real soldier lady has panties made from fake leather.
Oh and the cards! I had two different sizes, most of them with ice cream pictures, some with slogans or jokes or other pictures. And them some glitter everywhere.
Melty's ice cream had a light in it as well. The base is made from wonderflex.
The most common question I get is what I do with all the costumes after the competition or convention. I'm lucky enough that my mom lives near me and she has a big house so I've turned my old room there in to a cosplay storage. There's plenty of room for Maxima and her tentacles along side with Ultimecia's wings or Shiva's tentacle wig. I do like the idea that I might get some pictures of Maxima at some point though realistically I know I'm super lazy of organizing any photoshoots. I do love the costume and probably smile like silly everytime I see it and remember the good times connected to it.

More about those good times in the next update, when we'll tell you about our skit!

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