Alexxx-Returns

Alexxx's Twi'lek transformation for Halloween

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I know this ain't furry related, but I thought that this sub forum would be the best place to put this thread, so if that was the wrong decision I am sorry. I'm happy for it to be moved to the most appropriate place if need be. If not, yay ^.^

But anyhow I decided what I'm going to do for Halloween. I was stuck between going as a Twi'lek Jedi or a plague doctor, and I kinda figured that both would involve just as much work and money to get them to look equally as good, and the Twi'lek would go further,like, if I do a good job then I have a complete cosplay there for whenever I might need it (I don't have one currently). Also, Star Wars. C'mon.

So yesterday I got started. Went out and got a bunch of different fabrics (a brown jersey and a tan jersey, and a brown leatherette. This will all make sense later on). But what I wanted to start work on first was the lekku/headpiece because I can see that being the most time consuming part of the costume. After looking at a bunch of tutorials for making these, I started playing around with fun foam like one site suggested, but that idea got scrapped pretty quickly because there was no flexibility there and I'd have to do a bunch of extra work ANYWAY to fix the shape. I needed a way of making them which was cheap and quick, and also robust enough that it will survive drunk people pulling on them.

So I decided to approach it the same way as a fursuit piece. I'm making a clay sculpt on top of a mannequin head and coating that with liquid rubber and filling it once it's peeled off. So today I broke out the mannequin head and made some guide lines that have pretty much all worn off at this stage. Then I started building up from the base. I'm trying to make it as hollow as I can to keep weight and resources to a minimum. I stuffed the hollow parts of the base with tin foil just to add bulk, but this has all been covered over by now.

20160926_185751.png

While occasionally blasting them with the hair dryer to help them harden quicker, which I later learned was a bad idea.

So I kept building them up like this until one side fell off due to the weight and the dryness from the hair dryer. At that point I stuck it back on with more clay around the seam, and reinforced the seam with superglue and clear nail polish. I gassed the whole house out with the nail polish and I think my future children are going to be born high, but it was worth it, because so far it's been stable. I was waiting for the point when the structure became so back-heavy that it toppled over backwards at rest. This has happened now, but since the mannequin is hollow, I just need to put something inside the front of the bust that's heavy enough to balance it out. At the moment it's supported by a heavy craft box, but this is only a temporary fix since it ideally needs to be sat on my chair so I can get the length of the lekku made.

So after an almost completely uninterrupted 9 hours of work (I wanted to call it a night only after I finished my bag of clay so I didn't waste any on drying out overnight) and a 2AM finish, I ended up with this:

20160927_014621.png

About 2 hours in my computer ran out of battery and I was too engrossed in this to go charge it, so I lost my reference photos. Because of this I got the shape of the curve a little wrong, but it's nothing I can't fix today or tomorrow. This is where I finished last night and I pick up again with a new bag of clay today after working out. The mannequin is kind of annoying because it leans upwards, so if I want to see how the lekku are going to look on me, I need to tilt it forwards. But it's paying for itself, I've had it for years and now have a reason to use it again I guess.

Advice or feedback appreciated but ultimately this is kind of a diary of this being built from the ground up.

 

 

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Taking a dinner break from work today. It's frustrating that I can't get it all done in one go, I need to wait for the ends to dry before building on them if I want this thing to be hollow. I was shaving off a bumpy part in the structure earlier and an entire side fell off the mannequin. So I did something I didn't really want to do - I epoxied it to the mannequin. Pros: it's hopefully not ever coming off the head. Cons: it's not ever coming off the head.

No new photo for now as the difference is kinda negligible. I did fix the fault in the curve from before, it looks much more like the other cosplays I've been referencing now, but the way I see it, no 2 twi'leks are gonna have lekku that are EXACTLY the same kind of like human heads/ears, so it doesn't really matter as long as they're smooth and symmetrical and look more or less the right way.

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Today's work began by preparing the mannequin to be worked on lower down. That meant it had to be put on a higher surface, I'm using the chair that came with my dresser. Since the structure is so back-heavy it tips over if not supported, I stuffed a bag of change into the front of the bust and taped it down as shown:

20160930_145935.png

I then realised the shape wasn't quite how I wanted it, again, so I broke off a bit more and changed the direction of the lekku.

What's slowing work down at the moment is having to wait for the tube to dry because I can't keep building on floppy clay if I want a nice curve. So today I decided to get out the fun foam again so I had something to build upon. It's working quite well so far.

20160930_174138.png 20160930_174155.png

Gonna be building down to the knobbly bits on the chair, that should take them to elbow length on me. I like to think I'm past the worst of it. Telling myself that, anyway. When I've got the main structure down, one thing I definitely need to do is to add to the upper curves on both sides. Not quite as perky as I'd like and I can change that. Which is why I'm okay with leaving it looking so bumpy on the top. It's all gonna get sanded down or something to that effect before I do the liquid rubber.

I have another pack of clay lying around somewhere, but I can't find it. Waiting for my tablet to charge up now so I can check my attic inventory, there's a good chance I put it in there and I don't wanna go into the attic until I know for sure...

Oh yeah I forgot to mention I'm making them more flared than normal so they work better with my horse face. Since I'm not gonna have any hair to add width to balance out the length of my face, I needed these to try and do the same thing. I hope it works. I hope they're not too flared either.

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More of the same recently. Since I'm doing basically hollow tubes I keep needing to wait until what I've done dries enough to be worked on more since if I want it to taper in at the ends, I need it to not sag with gravity which makes it flare. So it's little steps at a time from here on out. But it's going well for the moment! Current progress:

20161009_204335.png

Another thing that makes the progress slow is that I keep feeling the need to go back and correct the shape, over and over. I mean... the flaring issue I talked about before DOES make it look like two horse cocks in some places at some angles, but right now I think the most urgent thing is just to get the fuck over it, and work on the BASIC shape, so that I even HAVE something to refine later on. At the current rate, I'll be lucky to have made a rubber version in time to not be rushing. So I'm gonna get the shape perfect AFTER I've gotten to the tips. Then at least in a pinch I have something to work with, even if it is shit.

In my pursuit of getting that perfect shape, I've experimented with sanding down the clay in places to correct the bumpiness. It works! I just need to make sure I put down WAY more newspaper because it's like a sandstorm got dumped in my bedroom now. But again, doing that later on. I also had to go buy another pack of clay today because I'll definitely run out of the attic bag. That means 4 bags unless I have to buy more.

Now for some non-headpiece talk:

If I want to get this ready in time, I need to be using my clay-drying time to work on the outfit too. I have that planned out in my head and I'll be bringing it to life here. I drew out a quick doodle of how I intend it to come out (which I won't be posting because it really is the stuff of nightmares) and passed it to the most scrutinising Star Wars consultant nerd I could find, who said it definitely looked appropriate for a Jedi and a Twi'lek. I ordered 2 things today which should definitely get here in time, and the only thing now that I need to BUY (or borrow if possible) is some mid-calf boots.

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So today I did something a little different. That tan jersey fabric I bought? Today I used that to make some fake arm wrappings using a tutorial I found online. It was a learning curve, I began with strips that were far too small and ended up picking the WHOLE thing apart and starting over. But I'm so glad I did because I ended up with something I'm really happy with for now. I made a duct-tape dummy of my arm but somehow the pattern piece still was far too big, so I had to take it in a lot when making the seam, on both sides.

20161011_015554.png 20161011_015612.png

Note: the little strip of fabric you can see in the left photo near the thumb is a scrap that I hadn't cleared up yet, and isn't attached to the glove at all. Work I still have to do on these is to hem both thumb holes, and hem the top and bottom of the right glove. Ultimately, I'm super happy with these because they turned out the exact shape I was hoping they would in my head, and they're not as messy as they could've looked.

Tomorrow I'm gonna probably do the same thing for my chest piece, but in a darker brown of the same fabric. I had originally planned on doing the same "wrapping" thing with the chest, but I've changed my mind and I'm gonna do something a bit different.

I've also done some more clay work today, little steps again but it's really coming together. It's not remotely thick enough right now so tomorrow Dad is gonna try and find the big ol' box of cast plaster he got for me for craft-related shit. I'll just wrap that around the finished structure as much as I need to. Also been experimenting with the liquid rubber today. Mostly I wanted to know that it would peel off without getting damaged or reacting with the materials I've used. It worked! I'm not worried about that at all, I just have to spend some time layering on enough rubber that it's not gonna tear off when I do a big amount.

But for now it's like 2:30AM so I'm gonna put a Do Not Disturb sign on my door and cuddle up in bed with my body pillow.

Just kidding.

I don't have a Do Not Disturb sign.

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This is a really ambitious cosplay. It's coming together though. Thanks for posting and sharing. I'm looking forward to seeing the final product. I don't think I'd have the patience to see a project like this though to the end. I admire your dedication. 

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That's so cool. I'd find a project like this daunting, too, so I also have a lot of respect for you.

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8 hours ago, #00Buck said:

This is a really ambitious cosplay. It's coming together though. Thanks for posting and sharing. I'm looking forward to seeing the final product. I don't think I'd have the patience to see a project like this though to the end. I admire your dedication. 

Truth of it is, I just have absolutely no other ideas for costumes and at this point I've sunk the money in so I might as well see it through.

Also because I have a terrible habit of starting projects and not finishing them, so I need to see this to the end.

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4 hours ago, Alexxx-Returns said:

Truth of it is, I just have absolutely no other ideas for costumes and at this point I've sunk the money in so I might as well see it through.

Also because I have a terrible habit of starting projects and not finishing them, so I need to see this to the end.

Hey, It may help you learn to stay focused on a project.

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Slow progress recently. I've been volunteering, and doing a thumbnail for a friend's Youtube video, and a family party yesterday, so it's been a few days since I did anything to the sculpt. I'm almost finished now though!

20161017_003421.png

At the tips I'm not doing hollow any more, that's how close I'm getting. The left is so nearly done. Tomorrow it'll be the complete length. The right one is lagging behind but another couple of days will do that one. I'm also in the process of refining the shape, getting out bumps, etc. The right side is a complete clusterfuck for some reason and needs sanding possibly with Dad's sanding machine, if not that I dunno HOW long I'll be there using the sand paper on some parts. The rest will be okay to do with sandpaper though. Couldn't find the plaster of Paris though, so I'm building up with clay still. I don't think I need to go TOO thick because to get a sturdy rubber structure, I need to layer that on quite thick, so it will get a lot of its bulk from that.

I'm very surprised with how well this thing has held together honestly, although I've been having some integrity problems on the right side. Got some "loose tooth" stuff going on on one part so I might have to get the nail polish out and seal that some more.

I've made good progress on other parts of the costume too though. I made an upper body piece from the brown jersey, I don't have a picture right now because it exposes the torso and since I have IBS I've been too bloated to take a photo recently. It looks all right except the stitching is REALLY obvious and looks like a drunk person did it... and needs to be taken in a bit at the bottom since it's got a sort of lip right now. But I have a plan to mask that with something, it will look great I believe.

In the mail, 2 things arrived which I needed. I got the purple body paint (alcohol based, the standard. It took so long to get hold of some of this and I was worried it wouldn't even arrive in time) and a tan coloured fanny pack (for holding valuables since the pants I'm wearing don't have pockets). The only 2 things I need to buy now and not create are a toy lightsaber and some mid-calf boots. Gonna scour the charity shops in town tomorrow and see if there is anything in my size.

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1 hour ago, #00Buck said:

Excellent progress! You're almost there and you still have a week left.

Good stuff. 

Excuse me, I have TWO weeks left! Thanks for making me freak out and check the calendar!

I still have to ask my best friend if she's even going. I don't see any reason she isn't (it's HER best friend who is throwing the party) but if she doesn't go I'm not gonna go.

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1 minute ago, Alexxx-Returns said:

Excuse me, I have TWO weeks left! Thanks for making me freak out and check the calendar!

I still have to ask my best friend if she's even going. I don't see any reason she isn't (it's HER best friend who is throwing the party) but if she doesn't go I'm not gonna go.

Sorry! You're totally right you have 14 days left. My bad. 

I hope your friend goes. Halloween is a great time. Plus it would be a shame if you put in all the effort and didn't get to dress up. 

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I've given myself a deadline of the end of this week to get these fuckin' lekku finished. Friday Saturday Sunday. Here's the plan:

- Get the rubber/silicone on there and peel that off.
- Airbrush it purple (I was gonna do some stripes in a slightly darker purple along them, but I doubt I have time now).
- Get some wire in there to influence the shape a bit and do a head test.

That's do-able right? I think so! I don't want to be doing ANYTHING other than fabrics next week.

So I'm on the rubber stage now! Unfortunately.... this stuff doesn't layer up thick AT ALL. I've done a few layers now and it looks just as thick as it did before I put any on. So I'm going a different route. Silicone. I was aware that I NEEDED to use SOMETHING to make a barrier between the clay and the silicone if I was doing this, because, I know from experience that silicone does NOT cure on that regular clay I've been using. For another project I had to coat the WHOLE THING in paper clay to get it to cure. It wasn't nice peeling off all that un-cured goop.

So I decided to do a patch test tonight, over the rubber, to see if the stuff I have would still even cure at all (I've had it for like, 4 years). It works! But I have WAY less silicone than I thought I had. Of a ~900g tub, I have ~200g left. Fuck. So it's down to Hobbycraft tomorrow to get some more. It's insanely expensive in there, like £25 for 300g, but I don't have the time to be ordering off eBay right now, I really don't.

Also I had a shop around and all the toy lightsabers are really, really shit. I want the £200 one on eBay to be honest. I want to buy that and put it on the wall in my Kylo Ren shrine next to my poster. Nice ambient red glow. For the costume though I want a Jedi colour so green or blue. I'm thinking blue because it'd at least match my eyes.

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ALL THE CLAY SCULPTING IS FINISHED.

Thank the fucking lord.

I made some ears. And if I might say so, they look really good. I referenced at the source material for this, even though there are a lot of existing cosplays to reference from I tried to get them exactly like the real Aayla Secura. This is literally the only thing in this entire project that has gone 100% to plan.

The only problem I have with them though is that I molded them around the underside of those tiny little plastic art palettes that suit makers use to make resin fursuit eyes, and now I'm not sure exactly how to get the clay off there. (I made them out of clay instead of something softer because they're so small, any weight is gonna be hardly an issue). When they've dried I'll try and get a knife under them or something. I'm a little nervous and really don't want them breaking.

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I just learned (through trial and [not] error) that you can sand down cured silicone to smooth it. This project is literally saved.

PSA: don't ever apply silicone gum when it's dark. For fuck's sake, wait until it's daytime.  Otherwise it WILL look like it was done in the dark.

Have some twi'lek ears:

20161021_142412.jpg

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UPDATE:

Unfortunately I've had to abandon the twi'lek part of the project. I'll explain why:

I had so, so, sooooooo many problems with this. I bought like £51 of silicone gum and it still wasn't enough to cover it all. I ended up thinking of a workaround, and carried on. I was still confident about it until it came to de-moulding. The shape of the sculpt just was NOT good for getting the silicone off. It got ruined, it got ripped in several places, and at that point I realised it was un-salvageable.

I'll still be updating the thread as I finish my HUMAN Jedi costume, but I'm very sorry to anyone who was watching this progress with interest.

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6 hours ago, Alexxx-Returns said:

UPDATE:

Unfortunately I've had to abandon the twi'lek part of the project. I'll explain why:

I had so, so, sooooooo many problems with this. I bought like £51 of silicone gum and it still wasn't enough to cover it all. I ended up thinking of a workaround, and carried on. I was still confident about it until it came to de-moulding. The shape of the sculpt just was NOT good for getting the silicone off. It got ruined, it got ripped in several places, and at that point I realised it was un-salvageable.

I'll still be updating the thread as I finish my HUMAN Jedi costume, but I'm very sorry to anyone who was watching this progress with interest.

Ugh sorry to hear that. I still look forward to your human costume. 

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OK been working on the main chest piece today. Added the halter strap (note: I'm gonna be wearing a halter bra when I actually wear it so no straps), and took in the bit at the bottom that was sticking out, and... it's STILL too big! I'm starting to think the problem is around the front... and In all honesty, I'm just gonna pin it on the night.

20161024_214932.png

Note that the diagonal seam wraps around and ends at the bottom on the back of it. That's where I tried to take it in, but yeah... didn't work and it just looks a little mangled now.

Like I said, the hemming is pretty bad, but I have something very specific I'm gonna do to it that I can't really explain, and it should look great.

I'm gonna work on a leather crown now. Note that I'm sticking to the EXACT same clothing scheme I had in mind originally, but with a different species (my own, lol). A lot of this is gonna be apparent later on (I still have much to do), but the influences are mostly generic Jedi colours, with some Aayla Secura and Kylo Ren in there (there was no way I could do a Jedi costume of any kind without paying some homage to him).

Expect another update tonight maybe. If not, tomorrow. I skipped working out today to do this and I haven't done nearly as much as I should have by now.

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FINAL UPDATE.

There was a creative outpouring. I'm sorry I never updated when I said I would, but I was incredibly busy with a lot of things during this last week. I had training every week day for a new job, and I was also trying to balance working out around that. What little time I had left all went on this costume, and I was working literally every minute until the party itself.

So, what happened in the end? How'd it look? It looked like this:

14702344_10211205246989600_5915275037564379224_n.jpg

I'll talk through what I haven't already. I'll go top down.

The leather crown, that was hand sewn and took quite a while to get a design down I really liked. It has side panels that have gold foil markings on them too, but with my hair over them they were barely visible, but I knew they were there and that was what was important. The gold markings on the crown were designed after Kylo Ren's mask. I thought really hard on how I could incorporate this kind of homage in an obvious but subtle way and I think I managed it. This photo will probably show off the visible ones better:

14570425_10154675977676800_2889913613575367948_n.jpg

I might edit this post and add a photo of the side panels because I think they look pretty cool. I also decided to curl my hair since I didn't want it tied up or straight. I learned how to do that with the GHD straighteners about an hour before I left for the party.

Next is the cowl. This was a bit of creative genius on my mum's part. What I did was I used the entirety of the tan jersey fabric that I had left over from making the arm wrappings. I took off a strip to make the sash, which you can't see at all in either of these photos. I wanted something asymmetric, again, Ren inspired - the reason I went for a cowl in the first place. Mum took the rest of the fabric - taking the most tatty parts as the back, and strung it around my neck and we decided then and there that it was EXACTLY what I was going for, Mum pinned it together in a few places and we took it off, and I sewed up in the places she'd pinned. After that, I kept this thing on a coat hanger in my closet so it'd keep its shape.

After that, I've talked about the dark brown chest piece, Aayla Secura inspired here. I said I wanted to do something to improve the places I'd hemmed badly - I added gold foil here too. This had to be done over 3 different days as you need to leave the foil glue overnight to dry, and I could only do one side at a time. I was pretty happy with the result as it hid the hemming perfectly, and the piece looked quite good underneath the cowl.

Props, fanny pack in tan to hold my phone, bank card and ID, and the piercings I'd taken out for this costume (I lost my navel bar unfortunately), and the super shit toy lightsaber. I'll admit, it looked really quite good when everything came together.

Mud flap and pants combination, again Secura inspired. I know she has a mud flap on the back too, but I wanted to show off how much my ass has improved since I've been working out (not as much as I'd have liked to be honest), so just the front. Again I was going for some Ren-style markings on the mud flap, I had some smaller pieces of gold fabric I'd cut out to add on but in the end it all looked really crowded, so I left it as it was and I don't regret it. The fanny pack was from eBay and the leggings were from H&M. Literally perfect.

The boots I found in a charity shop. It's unusual to find my size in charity shops since it's so common, but these were EXACTLY what I needed. Calf-length, dark brown (in fact they matched the colour of my crown I believe), and very, very simple. Perfect. They have a bit of a heel, which was kind of inconvenient seeing as I'd be up and about a lot, but it wasn't so high I had trouble walking, and in fact made the whole thing come together.

So I like to think of this project as a partial success. It'd have been fun to have been able to do the twi'lek thing, but people were impressed with my costume as it was, and I did exactly what I set out to do - to finish a craft project! No corners cut, nothing left out.

Peace.

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3 minutes ago, Alexxx-Returns said:

FINAL UPDATE.

There was a creative outpouring. I'm sorry I never updated when I said I would, but I was incredibly busy with a lot of things during this last week. I had training every week day for a new job, and I was also trying to balance working out around that. What little time I had left all went on this costume, and I was working literally every minute until the party itself.

I think it turned out great. You look fantastic. I hope you had a great time at the party. Cheers! 

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1 minute ago, #00Buck said:

I think it turned out great. You look fantastic. I hope you had a great time at the party. Cheers! 

I did, thank you!

Bet you can't wait to see what I have planned for next year. I already know what I'm gonna do and it's gonna be great!

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3 hours ago, Alexxx-Returns said:

I did, thank you!

Bet you can't wait to see what I have planned for next year. I already know what I'm gonna do and it's gonna be great!

I look forward to seeing it. 

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