Change of gears for a post.  I will continue the remainder of Haseo in a little bit!

This is a tutorial I wrote for a Pandora Hearts cosplay prop, B-rabbit’s scythe. At the time I did not have as much access to as many tools or materials as I do now (even now, I don’t think I would be able to bring insulation foam into my home).  I also didn’t have as much knowledge about different building techniques for such large props.  After explaining my method I will add a few notes of changes I would make now, or different ways to do certain parts.  Although this is written for a specific scythe it can be applied to most scythes out there.

The total height of the prop is about 2.1 metres (7 feet).

The scythe certainly has some weight to it, but is very durable and is surprisingly easy to carry (there is a balance point right at the connection point between the dowel and cardboard parts).

Without further ado,

Materials Required:

  • One 1-1/2 Thick Dowel (6’ long)
  • Two 3/8 Dowels (6’ long)
  • Cardboard
  • Lots of Hot Glue
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors
  • Exact o knife
  • Solid knife
  • Dark colored marker
  • Light colored marker
  • Glossy red spray paint
  • Elmer’s white glue
  • Poster paper
  • Ruler
  • Tape measure or sewing ruler
  • Shoe string

Step one:
Reference material. Using reference material figure out the proportions to which you want to build your scythe.  The one I built was just shy of 2.1 metres (7 feet).  The Alice & Oz are 168 cm (5’6”) and 165 cm (5’5”), and were un-able to touch the top of the scythe when it was completed.  After you have found the height you require for the scythe figure out the rest of the proportions, length of blade, height of blade, placement of different areas like the ‘heart’.

Set these measurements aside.

Step two:
After you have figured out the size of your scythe, figure out the size a rectangle would need to be to accommodate this size.  I created a 16 inch by 40 inch rectangle for mine. Take your cardboard and cut 8 inch by 8 inch squares out of it.  Attempt to avoid using the parts of the card board which had folds in them.  How many of these you need will depend on how thick you want your scythe.  Mine was six layers thick.  Each layer was 2 squares by 5 squares, so I used 60 squares.  However! You do not need to cut out 60 squares, you need to cut 2 and keep your spare cardboard.

Step three:
Once you have cut all 42 8” by 8” squares, heat up your glue gun.  Lay down one layer of squares (2 squares by 5 squares) like this by gluing the edges together.

Do this until you create a single layer of 2 x 5. Next you are going to create an ‘offset’ layer.  This layer is ‘off’ of the first layer.  It will only contain 4 of the squares you cut, then you will cover the rest of the areas with strips of the scraps you have.

Your next layer will be another 10 squares.  Build these layers like this until you have 6 layers glued together. (layer of 10, layer of 4, layer of 10, layer of 4 and so on).

Step four:
Draw on your scythe.

This will take time and a lot of measuring.  If you take the time to do this correct you are much more likely to be happy with your result.

This is my sketch of the scyhe, you can see my refrence photo in the corner.  It is covered in measurement lines, I strongly suggest doing this.

Step Five:
Dowels.
Cut dowel channels that are 3/8” thick.  I suggest measuring and drawing these on to your cardboard by using your doweling.  This will ensure it fits properly.

These are all the channels that are in my scythe.  Cut down 3/8” (you can use your doweling to make sure it is deep enough, do not go too deep!

Once you are done cutting your channels for the dowels, break (try not to cut, at least break it 1/2 way) the dowels and fit them into the channels.  After placing them in apply enough hot glue to make the channels, with the dowels in them, even to the surface of your cardboard.

Your scythe should now look like this.

Step six:
Coverings
Time for more cardboard!
Take a large, solid, sheet of cardboard and cover the entire area with it.  Make sure it covers the scythe’s area at least.  I suggest gluing this sheet on with Elmer’s glue, as it creates a nice solid outer edge.  Do this on the back (not the side with the dowels) first. Place textbooks or other heavy objects on top of the cardboard to help it stick/set better.
Now go do something else for two hours.

Step seven:
Large dowel hole
On my photos above there in another noted dowel area, one for the staff’s dowel.  You have two choices at the moment.  You can cut the dowel hole, and insert the staff dowel, or you can
insert it later.  I put it in at this stage, but I believe it would work to put it in at a later stage.
You are going to want to cut through all of the layers other than the one you just stuck on (that solid cardboard layer).  If you want to put the staff in now, apply elmer’s glue to the length that you want to put in to your scythe and set it inside the hole, push it down and try to get it to sit as evenly as you can.
If you don’t want to put the staff in now, don’t.  It is possible to add it at any later point (before painting), however I am not sure how ‘secure’ this will be, or how easily the staff will go in.  You do however, still need to cut the staff’s hole.

Step eight:
Cutting
Cut out the shape of your scythe using an exact o knife.  Cut away each layer at a time.  This may seem tedious, but it is  safest.  It would also be possible to use the solid knife, but be very careful with it.

Step nine:
Covering #2
No, this is not the wrong order.  You cut out the share first so that you would not lose your sketch of the scythe.  Apply another solid cover sheet.this time to the dowel side.
Use Elmer’s glue and the textbooks again.

Go do something else for two hours.

Step ten:
Cutting
Now cut this layer out to be the same as your scythe

Step eleven:
Edging.
You now have a total an 8 layers on your scythe.  You are going to cut through 3 on each side, all the way around the scythe.
The two left will make up the ‘center’ of the blade.  Use your solid knife for this.  However if you don’t feel safe/are willing to take the time, feel free to use your exacto knife.

Step Eleven:
Sealing and shaping
This is the most time consuming step there is.  Get your glue and glue gun ready.  Make sure you have the staff in by this point
You are now going to cover the sides in glue, ‘sealing’ them. During the phase you will shape the edges to look like a blade. Add glue slowly, and smooth it with your glue gun.

Eventually your edges should look like this.

Step Twelve:
String
You are now going to add string to the length of your staff.
Measure the length of the staff outside of the cardboard and divide it by 13.  This is how far apart each wrap of your string is going
to be. Mark these points along your staff.
I suggest taping the string to the staff first, before gluing on the string.  This allows you to see if the string look correct, it also makes gluing a lot easier.

 

Now glue it in place.  It doesn’t take very much glue to do this just a bit smoothed along the side of the string.

Step Thirteen:
“I’m ready for painting!”
No you aren’t.
Using Elmer’s glue, glue the poster board on to the cardboard scythe as smoothly as you can.  Use textbooks and such again.
Again, go do something for two hours.
Repeat on the other side.

** You can use bondo or layers of gesso (or similar products) to create a smoother surface, as stated before I didn’t know/have access to these before!

Step fourteen:
Painting?!
No, not painting yet.
This is the fix up stage.  Go back over your glue.  You may wish to use sand paper and your glue gun to smooth it.  A knife can be use to cut off the large lumps, the sand paper will smooth out large bumps and the glue gun will fill small holes and re-smooth. Make sure you are not using very much glue with the glue gun, but more so, pushing glue around.

Make sure your glue is fully dry and hardened before this step.

Your scythe will now look like this:

Nearly there!

Step Fifteen:
Painting
Get your paint.
I used Krylon Indoor/Outdoor with Gloss in Cherry Red.

Make sure to paper wherever you are painting very well.

If you can I suggest painting outside.  On your lawn in best. Somewhere no one will mind a little bit of paint.

I used my garage as it was raining when I got to the painting phase.  Again, make sure to paper very well and be careful with the paint or you will be spending a while cleaning.

Apply 2-3 coats of paint to each side of the scythe.

This will likely take two cans of spray paint if you are using the same paint I have.

Make sure to give it  an hour to dry between coats.  Also make sure to cover the glue well so that it blends in with the rest of the scythe.

Apply a clear coat afterwards to give it a good finish and to prevent the paint from rubbing off.

Done! :)

After thoughts on this tutorial:

For easier storage make the rod break apart.  You can to this by making a few parts screw into one another and then the top, it also makes it easier to bring to the convention if you don’t have a car, public transit with this thing is a nightmare!

For a smoother final surface use something like gesso or bondo and sand it until smooth.

Other materials for the top part: Expandable foam, insulation foam.

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Haseo, Part 4

On September 20, 2012, in .Hack//G.U. / Haseo, by Toast

Anther multi-part post!  Trying to finish up the Haseo posts so I can get to slowly posting newer things :)

The wig:

I have always been a little afraid of wigs, my wig for my first form Haseo cosplay did not go over well.  I didn’t like the pure white colour of it, it was too thin and it wasn’t long enough to do all the spikes.  On top of all that, the back part didn’t even stay up correctly.  However it had been a few years since that wig and I’ve learned a fair amount since then.  I picked a non-white colour this time as I find it a bit more flattering and the Xth form has slightly darker hair than the other Haseo forms anyhow!

I do not have any progress photos of this, just some (after the con) completed photos.

I used a Magnum from Arda Wigs in Light grey (107) then some extra sort wefts in the same colour.

I have to say this is the nicest short wig I have ever purchased, I had heard good things about Arda and they certainly lived up to everything I had read.

Extra wefts were added to the side of the wig right at the ears to allow slightly longer side spikes and to allow a bit more detail in those spikes.

For spiking I used got2b glued and got2b freezing spray.  This was where I had made my mistake last time.  Most gels and hair sprays do not work on wigs due to the lack of hair oils however these two products work extremely well on wigs.

After clipping the front hair away from the back I built up the large back spike, thinning a lot of hair away as I went.  The magnum is an amazingly thick wig, I would estimate I removed 1/4th of the fiber that was on the wig.  Once the back was built up I slowly worked on spikes, using thinning scissors and a hair razor (both purchased at daiso) to cut them.

And here are the end results:

Wave Tattoos:

(Can be seen in the wig photos on Haseo’s face/upper arm)

The wave tattoos on the cosplay were done with Alcohol Activated Makeup, Dura in 302 red.  This stuff was wonderful.  Once it was drawn on well it looked great all day – I had a few cosplayers ask how my make up wasn’t smudging.  This stuff is easily found online through many makeup retailers and cosplaysupplies.com.  I purchased mine in person at Studio FX in Vancouver, great place for cosplay makeup for those of us in the lower mainland.

The only down side to it is taking it off involves rubbing a lot of 99% alcohol on wherever you had the makeup, in my case my cheeks, and that can dry out your skin or make it very angry.

I can’t recommend this stuff enough for doing tattoos/marks in cosplays!

Back Piece aka “The Sunflower”

This piece got it’s nick name of the Sunflower from my significant other and it stuck, it really suits the piece and I will refer to it as such from here on.

The sunflower was the least comfortable piece of the costume, it forced me to stand in a certain position and disabled my ability to lean against walls for a quick break. It also prevented my arms from sitting against my sides, combined with the upper arm armour (which I will be re-designing, I was unhappy with it in the end) I ended up having to walk in a very funny fashion.

To start this piece was based around a thin PVC pipe which was cut and bent to shape.  It broke at the middle to allow me to easily take it on and off, it was held together by a doweling inside the pipes and a velcro strap on the outside.  This pipe was covered in foam pipe covers (the black ones), this was covered in wonderflex to give it a stronger base then that was covered in light-weight air dry clay to smooth it out.  Although it seems like a lot of layers, there was little weight to this piece and there were no issues with it breaking.

The spikes were created with floral foam as a base then covered in wonderflex.  To hold them in a hole was cut into the pipe cover to fit each spike, then each spike had a balsa wood doweling that inserted into a hole in the PVC pipe it self.  I had no issues with these either, they lived through many bumps by many people (always try to look out for people, especially cosplayers, at conventions!).

And the final sunflower (bottom part not shown);

Thanks for reading :)

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Haseo, Part 3

On September 13, 2012, in .Hack//G.U. / Haseo, by Toast

All of the previous pieces had much better build process/detail photos than all the remainders.  For the most part I was either rushing these parts as the convention was racing up in me or they were done earlier in the process when I wasn’t taking as many photos.

Next up, shoes!

Reference photo, this time from the .Hack//Trilogy movie.

These cannibalized a pair of boots that I didn’t like all that much, they were clipped down to fit the height of the shoe.  I added a bit of pleather to the top to hide the edges caused by cutting the boot down, however most of this is hidden by the shoe armour.

The front is very similar to the bracers (Part 2), shape and piping wise.  I do not suggest using pen marks on wonderflex, the gesso didn’t cover it for many layers.  The back is a simple loop with little arms that extend down, edging went down on the back part after this photo was taken.

Gessoed + painted. Acrylic paint for the back part, then rub n’ buff for the front again.  These are not glued to the shoes, they clip on with a series of elastics and velcro.

Completed shoe armour, glowing gem and all.

A quick picture showing where each battery pack (9V) was hidden.  each shoe had its own.  The gems certainly look funny from this angle when not lit up.

Shoes: Done! :)

Additional piece: Belt

Reference photo.  The design was edited a bit to compensate for the size of my gems.

Photos of this piece are after the con, so they do display the wear created during the convention.

Due to the placement of this piece (and the fact that I was out of wonderflex by this point) this was built out of foam.  The foam was covered in three layers of mod podge to seal it then painted in the same fashion as the other pieces.

Front and back respectively.

The bends in the ‘legs’ are from the convention, not too bad for a piece in such an area.

The circuit for this clipped into one of the battery packs hidden in the thigh pieces (Part 1).  It velcroed on to the belt to keep it flat against my body and strapped around it with some elastic and velcro.  Simple enough design.

All done :)

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