Monday, September 28, 2015

Prototype: Harley's Harness

I don't know what else to call the convolution of leather straps Harley wears in Arkham Knight, so I'm going to call it the harness, because that's what it feels like.

Instead of jumping right in and cutting up all my (expensive) leather, I thought it would be a good idea to make a prototype to make sure all my measuring was correct and that everything looked right when it was attached where it was supposed to be.

I am SO GLAD I did that, because I realized (1) one of the pieces needed to be eight inches longer because I should attach it to the underbust strap for stability, and (2) I need TWO overarm straps, or the back pieces have nothing to attach to on one side. So this was a very valuable exercise and I should always do it when working with expensive-to-replace materials.

So this is part of my prototype, which I made out of the same packaging foam that I used to cover the lights for Iron Man. (That stuff came in VERY handy this past week!) I labelled everything with a Sharpie so I'd know where each piece went and how long I cut it (and if I needed to add notes like "add two inches" or something, I could write it right on there). Then I taped everything together, including the (not yet spray-painted) O-rings where needed. I made marks on the tape where I'd be adding snaps or elastic or Velcro so I'd know what I could and couldn't un-tape to get out of it. (I would be the person who makes an absolutely perfect piece and then realizes she can't put it on or take it off.) And from doing the prototype, I discovered that there's one less place I need to add a fastener (it will slip over my head after I undo the collar piece), which is awesome, because I expect that to be quite a pain.

I've cut the leather now (and I have ONE spare belt blank in case I need to re-cut something) and painted the edges red, so everybody cross your fingers and hope that it all fits together the way it did in my prototype!

Iron Man Scale Dress

This one is a Beth creation, but I made the lights and also I had a ton of fun wearing it and entering the cosplay contest at Baltimore Comic-Con this past weekend (and winning second-place amateur female!!!) so I wanted to share it with you guys.

That entire dress is knitted, with plastic scales from The Ring Lord (black scales that we spray-painted, because it's cheaper than buying the colorful scales and you can get the exact color you want that way).

I don't have any photos of the back, but there's a neat criss-cross of leather lacing providing a lot of support because the dress is crazy heavy. (It actually stretched out over the course of the day as I stood and walked, which was an important lesson for us to learn.)

The lights are EL wire coiled up inside a packet of vellum paper and covered with thin white foam packaging I had sitting around. The battery packs are tucked into the gauntlets past my wrist, and one inside my bra.

When I walked, it sounded like a staccato rain stick (it's the best comparison I can come up with, but pretty accurate) and I couldn't hear the high-pitched buzz of the EL wire all day (ambient noise from the con was enough to cover that up, even with three of them).

The common questions I got (other than photo requests) were:
- Is it heavy? (Yes, I would guess about 10-15 pounds.)
- How many scales is that? (About 10,000.)
- How long did it take to make that? (About 5 weeks of intense work.)
- Is it warm? (Yes, I'm basically wearing a fitted afghan.)

So this is just to say congratulations to Beth for doing a TON of work on this thing, and to say that I had lots of fun wearing it. You'll see it again in several months... we want to make some changes to it for May (and hopefully it won't be insanely warm then).