Emerald City Comicon Panels

Emerald City Comicon is next week!! In addition to wandering around the convention and going to some meetups (more details on that coming soon), there are several panels I’ll be on that I’d love to see you all at!

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Unmasking Keith’s Sword

The sword blade is all painted! Now the only thing left is to put in the electronics and finish up the mountable bayard for the handle. I can’t wait to take this to Emerald City Comicon next week!

Enjoy this fun little video I made of the unmasking ūüôā

Apologies for the Radio Silence

Hey everyone, I just wanted to post up a quick note apologizing for my silence this past week. I suddenly had a really great opportunity to work on a really awesome project. Unfortunately do to NDA, I can’t actually share anything about it BUT when I can, I hope you’re going to love it as much as I am.

Today is my first day off after four 12 hour days so, needless to say, I haven’t had much time for anything else! I’m playing catch up for the next couple of days and then hopefully I’ll be working on the project some more! Thanks for sticking with me.

February Polls Week: What’s Coming Soon

Last week was polls week for February over on my Patreon. Depending on the level of support, patrons got to vote on a bunch of different topics. Here are the results and things you can expect to see in the next few weeks. I’ll be doing a similar Polls Week every month, so if you’d like to participate in the future, go check out my Patreon!

  • Next tutorial – Making faux leather straps and belts
  • Next set of Blueprints – Keith’s jacket (yes, technically a pattern is not a blueprint, but close enough!)
  • Video Poll – Most folks prefer Twitch for streaming
  • Next 3D model – Keith’s Galra Sword
  • Next Resin Kit¬†–¬†Keith’s Galra Dagger

‘Voltron: Legendary Defender’ Keith Cosplay Build

Voltron CharactersI was in love with Voltron: Legendary Defender from the first minute. Netflix and DreamWorks Animation have done an absolutely fantastic job of updating a show to make it new and fresh while still making it so nostalgic that it hit all the right buttons. Here is the full build write-up of the entire casual Keith cosplay. I am still in progress on his sword and paladin armor, so that will be a later write-up.

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Best Week Ever!

I’ll start with yesterday because, what an amazing way to end the week.

Yesterday afternoon this popped up in my Instagram feed along with the below caption.

So this is Loooong overdue. But with season two and the holidays now behind us I’d love to give a huge shout out to @billythebrick for making these amazing, super legit Voltron bayards! Cannot tell you how exciting it was to get these in the mail The craftsmanship is top notch! A true artist you are! You guys should go check out his other cosplay work. It’s absolutely insane!

Not only is that a photo of Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomrey, and Tim Hedrick holding my bayards, but Joaquim gave me a glowing review!

I originally met the three of them at SDCC 2016 when I did an interview for GeekDad.com. I hadn’t started my business or making bayards for sale yet, but I promised them that I’d make them some. As soon as I got up and running I sent them a set. I love it and it totally made my day to see them in action.

And as if that weren’t enough to make this a great week, I was also invited over the Punished Props workshop to be on the Q&A livestream. You can watch the recorded version over on their YouTube channel.

While I was visiting, Bill also helped me with part of my Keith Bayard sword. I got some transparent aqua acrylic for the glowy bits, but I just didn’t have the proper tools to cut it well. Thankfully, Bill has every tool you could ever need, plus a ton of great advice. We got the acrylic pieces cut out and glued where appropriately, and everything fit perfectly! Now I just need to finish the sword and bayard, install the electronics, and I’ll have one more prop ready for ECCC.

Speaking of having props ready for ECCC, I also made a ton of progress on Keith’s Galra dagger. In addition to putting the blueprints, 3D printable files, and 3D printed kit up in my Etsy store, I finished assembling my own dagger! Just as an FYI, I started using the PRO PLA from Matterhackers and it is amazing. I cannot recommend their PLA enough. The response has been so overwhelming that I’ve decided to make this the next finished prop I make and sell in my shop.

Minor spoiler alert for those not done with Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2, I’ve also started on my next prop that will have blueprints, 3D files, and a 3D kit available. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

And finally, I received my Red Lion kigu from RTS Cosplay! This is my very first (and probably only) kigu, but why would I ever need another? Thank you!!

Voltron and Star Wars Props

Although I’ve been updated a ton on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I realized I’ve been somewhat neglecting updates here on the site. Here are the latest updates from my workshop!

First up are a ton of¬†Voltron: Legendary Defender goodies. If, like me, you’ve been enjoying Season 2, you’ll most likely have seen all kinds of great new things that inspired me to get to work! I finished designing Keith’s bayard sword and am currently working on building it out. I also now have blueprints, 3D files, and 3D printed kits available of Keith’s bayard and sword.
Very similarly, I have done the same with Keith’s dagger. The unveiling of his dagger was amazing, and I had to get to work on it right away. Blueprints, 3D files, and a 3D printed kit are also available.
Just for fun, I decided to cast one of my bayards in all black. I call it the Zarkon edition! I’m going to paint some purple on it and call it done. Maybe Neil Kaplan would like one?

And to celebrate season two of the best show you can watch right now, I’m having a big sale in my shop. Use coupon code VLDS2 to get 15% off your order!

Next up is Kanan from¬†Star Wars: Rebels. This is the main costume I’m trying to get done for ECCC (which is now barely over a month away. I’ve made a lot of progress on the look, including a makeup test. I’m going to be doing another, hopefully final, makeup test as a live stream soon so keep your eyes peeled for that!

I also found a great, cheap pair of boots to use as a base for Kanan’s boots. Hopefully these will allow me to quickly build the boots since I’m not building the entire structure from scratch.

Lastly, I painted all of my Kanan belt pieces. I used this amazing new paint I just got–Alclad 2 Aircraft Aluminum. Oh man is it gorgeous. I can’t wait to get my belt all assembled.

I do have a handful of other things I’m working on, but, for now anyway, they are all secret projects or for my Patreon patrons only! More updates, videos, and tutorials coming soon!

Finishing a Resin Kit

I get a lot of questions about the best way to finish a resin kit which makes sense since I make and sell them! I finally decided to write-up a quick how-to on how to finish a resin prop along with some of my favorite supplies to use when I’m finishing my own.

The first thing I do with a fresh resin kit is to cut off any sprues or their remnants. These are the pieces that stick out from pour holes or air spouts in the mold. You can use anything, but flush cut nippers like these from Mr. Hobby are great. They will let you take off almost the entire sprue, leaving little additional clean-up to do.

Next, I take a blade–either an X-Acto or a box cutter depending on how big the prop is and how bad the seams are–and scrape. The seam lines are where the two (or more) parts of the mold came together. Depending on the quality of the resin casting, you may be able to skip this step (or you may need to do a LOT of scraping). But it’s exactly what it sounds like–holding your blade at an angle, just lightly scrape around the prop along the seam line.¬†This will speed things along on the next two steps by quickly doing a lot of the smoothing work.

The next step, I do is round one of sanding. You will be doing many rounds of sanding if you want a nice, smooth prop, so be prepared. My current favorite way to sand is with 3M Sandblaster Flexible Sanding Sheets or Rolls. I use a combination of 100 and 220 grit for 95% of my sanding. They are great because they not only do a great job of sanding but because they have a rubbery plastic backing instead of paper, they seem to hold up a lot more to wet sanding. Speaking of which, try to always wet sand. It doesn’t kick up as much dust (though you should still be wearing a mask), the sand paper will go further, and you will get a nicer finish.

Most likely, you will need to fill in some spots. Even the highest quality resin kits will need at least a few spots filled. My go to for spot filling on resin kits is¬†Bondo Spot Putty. It’s cheap, doesn’t require mixing like normal Bondo, and does a great job of filling everything in nicely. It dries pretty quickly and can also be wet sanded. My first Bondo pass is only to fill in the big, plainly visible stuff. Make sure your resin casting is relatively smooth before moving on to the next step.

Next up is priming the kit. The primer I use is the Rust-Oleum 2-in-1 Filler and Primer.¬†It’s a nice filler primer so it can help smooth out small imperfections quickly, it can be wet sanded, and all the different paints I’ve used have all adhered well to it. You spray it on like any other primer, but it will actually fill in any scratches and pin holes. This is why I skip Bondo on the small stuff for the first pass. Once the primer is dry, you guessed it, wet sand it again. Once it’s dry, you’ll have a nice combination of primer and Bondo showing and you should be able to easily find any more places you need more Bondo. Now, you just repeat the above steps as many times as necessary until you have smoothed everything out and have a nice finish.

Before moving on to paint, I’d recommend one last pass with a finer sandpaper, like 400 or 600 grit. This will still give your paint something to grip on to, but will make for a nicer finish. As for paints, I personally prefer acrylic paints because I like the easy clean-up and try to lessen chemicals when I can, but I’ve tried other paints and they pretty much all stick to this primer pretty well. I mostly paint my props with an airbrush using Tamiya acrylic paints, but they can also be brushed on. I’ve also used Rust-Oleum spray cans.

After the joy of the masking and painting dance, I seal everything in with a clear coat. I’ve tried a lot of different ones, but I’ve been the happiest with Varathane Polyurethane. It’s intended for things like wooden furniture, but it gives a really nice hardy clear coat on plastic props! It comes in both Glossy and Satin.

If the prop does need a gloss finish, I have a final, final step. I finish it off with some Turtle Wax. This will help protect the finish from most scratches. It’s also a nice way to replenish a prop if it has some minor scratches in the clear coat. Apply the wax with a sponge or buffing pad, let it dry, then buff it off. You’ll have a nice shiny prop, all ready to go!

Secret Updates and Tutorials

For better or worse, I’ve been spending a lot of time these past two weeks on secret projects and write-ups that my Patreon backers get early access to. If you want to see a couple of the cool props I’m working on to unveil at ECCC, my Patreon is where the action is!

One of the things they have been following along with is a new 3D printed prop. In the next couple of weeks, I should have it all done to unveil and then the blueprints and 3D files will go up in my shop. Have fun trying to guess what it is!

Kanan Makeup Test

One of the things I plan on doing is Kanan’s scar and white contacts beneath my mask. This accomplishes two things–1. It will make my cosplay that much more accurate and 2.¬†I can take off the mask and walk around and see where I’m going but not look out of character!

I ordered some contacts (that still haven’t arrived yet–my eyes are photoshopped), but I did break out my Mehron makeup kit (that I use for my Ashitaka curse) and did a quick test. I also used a little bit of the Mehron Rigid Collodion Scarring Liquid¬†across my face. It doesn’t show up very well in this photo which means it probably won’t look very good in real life either. I think this is a good first attempt but I need some more work on the scar and a little darker around my eyes.