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Bloodborne hunter costume
Let us cleanse these foul streets. Fear the blood.

I'm not a big cosplayer (yet), but I'm also no stranger to cosplay. Many years ago, a friend of mine helped me put together a Pyramid Head cosplay for an anime convention. I was pretty pleased with the result. I tried to be as accurate to the Silent Hill 2 video game as possible, but at the time, it was difficult to find decent reference images at the fidelity necessary to get a good idea of what materials to use and so forth. Nowadays, however, Konami has granted licenses to toy companies that have gone on to make numerous statues and figures. So any would-be Pyramid Head cosplayer now has plenty of reference material. Lucky them...

Years ago, I made a Pyramid Head costume [LEFT] without all the figures and references [RIGHT] that I have now.

For the most part, however, I didn't do much cosplay (and wasn't much into costumes in general). Over the past few years, however, I've been getting more into costumes. Part of this is because I started buying swords from ren faire, and wanted excuses to wield them. Another reason is that my girlfriend has a friend who hosts a pirate-themed Memorial Day party every year at his lake house in California, and we make the drive out there to attend -- costume required!

Steampunk pirate costumes
We attend an annual Memorial Day pirate party -- costumes required!

Another factor is that we have a six year old girl running around the house who just completed kindergarten, and she's getting into arts and crafts. Which means that my girlfriend and I have to get into arts and crafts as well, and we need projects for her (and us) to do.

Currently, we lack the time, energy, and skill to make full cosplay from scratch, so we're still stuck making small modifications to costumes that we buy. Though I'm looking forward to getting my hands on some warbla and seeing what I can do with it! We've also moved on to crafting accessories for the costumes.

This year, we bought tickets to a local comic book convention, and my proxy daughter wanted to attend in costume. So my girlfriend created a homemade Harley Quinn costume for her. As for us adults, we decided to go with Bloodborne costumes.

Hunter and Doll costumes

I started out by buying a (rather expensive) Bloodborne hunter costume off of eBay. I had just received a large bonus check from my former job and had some extra discretionary money to treat myself. I had been laid off in November (along with everybody else I worked with in the local office), and had forgotten about the annual bonus payments. So the money came as a pleasant surprise, and I decided to splurge by purchasing this costume. This costume can also be purchased from other sources, such as Amazon, but I chose eBay because sellers were selling it for much cheaper.

The costume itself has a few minor discrepancies from the video game representation, and so I made a few small modifications. First of all, the gloves were crap, so I ditched those and just wore a set of my own gloves with the gauntlets on top. The costume also didn't come with boots or shin guards. I didn't have time to make my own boots or shin guards, so I just wore a set of pirate costume boots. Maybe I'll make some shin guards later, if I have the time.

I created my own chain for the shawl using keychain links.

I also replaced the chain on the shawl. The one that was included was almost a foot long chain identical to the one that hangs off the vest pocket. This simply would not do, as the shawl wouldn't stay in place with all that slack on the chain. While shopping at the craft store for other materials, I picked up a baggie of multi-colored key chain links. I picked out a few silver links, attached them to "lobster claw" chain links, and hooked them up to the shawl. Much better!

My girlfriend bought an accompanying Doll costume and some make-up to go along with my costume. Her daughter wanted to be Harley Quinn, so my girlfriend made her a skirt and dressed her up to go to the convention with us.

hunter hat
A friend of mine made a custom hat.

A custom hat

The bigger modification was the hunter's cap. I wasn't happy with the hat that was included in the costume. It was a bit flimsy and lacked some details that I wanted. More importantly, it just didn't fit well -- it was far too small for my head. So I was able to once again conscript my friend (from the Pyramid Head costume) to create the hat. She makes and sells steampunk hats and fascinators, so she was happy to help.

We agreed to use a faux leather upholstery material, with a felt interior lining. She stitched the pieces together and used hot glue in some of the seams to help it keep its shape. Then I took it and painted the tips of the wings with a dusty brown paint to make it look faded and dirty. There's definitely plenty of room for improvement, but it turned out pretty well for a first attempt.

The hunter's tools

While it's possible to buy some replicas of the weapons from the game, they were all far too expensive. I resorted to an online tutorial from Storm the Castle to make the Hunter's Saw Cleaver. I modified the template a little bit by extending the handle to be more accurate to the game. The template requires cutting out a piece of foam board into the shape of the cleaver, and then cutting out three pieces of foamboard to stack together and make the handle and pivot joint.

After cutting out the pieces, I used modge podge to seal the foam and hopefully make it more sturdy. When sealing the foamboard with modge podge, hairs from the brush came off and stuck to the board. I was initially very annoyed. However, I showed it to my girlfriend, and she commented that it's "werewolf hair". I can live with that.

Saw Cleaver with brush hair
Hair from the brush stuck to the foamboard. My girlfriend says it's "werewolf hair". Clever girl...

I then glued the handle pieces together to make a triple-thick handle, and then beveled the edges to make it look a little rounded. Then the whole thing was painted black with an acrylic paint.

I then poked holes through the pivot joint with a sharpened dowel in both the open and closed positions, in order to create the pivot and some pins to lock the cleaver in position. The center pivot was hot-glued in place, and the other two pins were tied together with string to make them easier to remove (and keep track of).

cleaver open
cleaver closed
The cleaver could be locked in the open or closed positions using wooden dowels cut into small pins.

With the rotation mechanism in place, it was time to apply the final paint and decoration. I painted the edges of the blade and part of the handle with metallic silver acrylic paint. While I waited for it to dry, I cut an old white T-shirt into a long strip of cloth. The penultimate step was to wrap the blade and handle in the T-shirt strips, criss-crossing and zig-zagging occasionally. I also cut the cloth a little bit to make it appear tapered and worn. Finally, I painted the cloth with watered-down brown, black, gray, and orange paint, and painted some of the cloth near the blades with red paint to make it appear blood-stained.

I wrapped the cleaver in T-shirt scraps
and painted it to look worn and dirty.

The final product turned out pretty well. My only real complaint is that the foamboard isn't quite as sturdy as I'd like. The cleaver blade bends and bows a little under its own weight. If I were to do this project again, I would probably make the cleaver blade double thick, and use four sheets for the handle. Then I could bevel the edges of the blade. This would provide a thicker, sturdier weapon that would be less likely to bow or bend. The cleaver does seem a bit undersized as well. So if I made it again, I'd also make it a bit bigger.

It also doesn't have the transform lever. I would have liked to have been able to create some kind of level and latch system, but I just didn't have the time for it. I don't have any kind of spring-loaded mechanism or latch, so I have to manually rotate and place the pins to lock it. Overall, it looks pretty good, and it can be rotated into either the open or closed position.

I had also wanted to make a blunderbuss, but just didn't have the time or materials to do so. I settled instead on using a basic pirate flintlock pistol as a stop-gap. Maybe in the future, I'll craft a blunderbuss to go along with the costume, and if so, I'll be sure to do a how-to write-up.

... Or maybe I found one at the con...?

Blunderbuss at the con
Maybe I found a blunderbuss after all...?

As for the six-year-old: I think she had a good time. She was a bit overwhelmed by the crowds and all the other costumes. She clung to her mom almost the entire time -- at least until she found a Harry Potter wand that we bought for her. Her favorite costume was probably a gentleman dressed up as Alexander Hamilton. She's been listening to the soundtrack for the broadway show Hamilton and really likes it. Unfortunately, she was still too shy to actually talk to the Hamilton cosplayer or to let us take her picture with him. Ah well. Hopefully next year, she'll be better able to cope with all the sensory overload.

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A gamer's life...

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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