This Is Halloween, Dragon Queen

As expected, I was approached about my costume plans for the company costume contest. Unexpectedly, I was still taken aback by such a candid interrogation over something so insignificant. At some point during my Halloween harassment rage, I decided–in the words of the most gangsta grandma ever–to “be a dragon.”

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Not a queen, but this post outline was pre-written and I really liked the title

Evil Ted recently posted a video for upgrading the mechanical wings currently trending in Halloween stores. Since I love wings and had all of the necessary equipment to make the changes, I knew I wanted to be either a vampire or a dragon…which really only left dragon as the acceptable choice. The wings were on sale with free shipping, so it was clearly meant to be. Without any firm ideas on what shape this costume would take, I picked up a couple of dragon brooches and buttons at the ren faire as accents. Fabric shopping the stash was easier than usual–I looked for textures rather than colors, and then, I narrowed down my options. The full costume took around 20 hours over the course of seven days.

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Not all materials were harmed in the making of this dragon

The wings seemed easiest, so I started there. I followed Evil Ted’s tutorial, with changes similar to GBGH Cosplay’s Spyro build. In the end, I enlarged the wings and added finger structures. The webbing is an unknown shrinks-while-melting fabric in green and gold. It’s not quite plastic, but similar. I used polyurethane tubing (leftover from a farthingale experiment) to extend the outside frame and 4mm foam for the fingers. The other  foamsmithed pieces of this project were Kamui Cosplay’s spiral horns and some foot claws that I drafted for my heelless booties. After cutting and smoothing, everything got three coats each of Plasti-dip, hammered metallic spray paint, and clear coat.

After a few hours of drying time, I glued down the wing fabric, then the fingers. The frame is wrapped in a golden upholstery chenille (or whatever that strange fabric is) from my remnant bin, then the remaining foam pieces were hot glued into place. In addition to being fairly sturdy, the sound that these babies make when they open is super cool!

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With work-intensive items out of the way, I decided to keep going with the gold upholstery fabric, making a tail, bracers, and shoe covers. The tail structure is 12mm foam scraps glued to a strip of twill tape and surrounded by polyfill. I added nylon strapping to the base for belt loops and ran 3” elastic through them. This was not an ideal material for keeping the tail on my low waist, but it was layered under and through three pairs of pants, so I wasn’t worried. The bracers have a taffeta decoration and are interlined with canvas and lined with cotton. Shoe covers are a pain in the ass. That is all I have to say about them.

The knit green top was traced from a well-fitting long sleeve t-shirt. I extended the length, added a collar, and inserted strips of a really neat thin, brown, animal textured stretch fabric to the arms and front. The harness was still exposed and I was running out of time, so I dug through my remnant bin again and found a fantastic stitched-look not-suede. It’s buttery soft. I trimmed the biggest section into something resembling a hooded capelet and anchored two points to the front of the shirt. I pinned the dragon brooches over the points and duct taped the closures. I skipped the fancy buttons for this top.

And, now–[insert heavy sigh]–the legs. A few years ago, I made my own version of digitigrade legs for Krampus, using materials I already had in my stash–yoga pants, floor mats, and quilt batting. I am still immensely proud of them, but I will admit that I didn’t want to make them again. When I started this dragon, I figured that I could just cover the existing legs with new fabric, and call it a day. That was a stupid assumption. At first, I was going to use the wing fabric because I have so much of it, but the coloring didn’t make sense. Additionally, fitting a non-stretch over those curves would be worse than trying to fit my own curves into pants of similar material, so…no. Very late on the final night (very early the morning of), I made a pair of harem pants to wear over my Krampus legs. I’ve made a lot of versions of this style, so I was confident that they’d be done in 20 minutes. They were. I laid out a fun paisley print that I was saving for a pair of dance-y dance harem pants. I cut a front and back crotch seam, using the entire width of the fabric. Then, I stitched them up and added elastic to the waist and cuffs, leaving the hems open about one ½” for adjustments. When I put the whole costume on before work, I cut off the old Krampus tail and made a slit through the leg base, fur, and harem pants. I slid the tail through and anchored it to my waist.

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I’m still really fucking shocked that this didn’t fall off my ass. That said…Pro tip: Don’t wear a thong on a tail day. #asshole

The Husband bought me a random Amazon Warehouse wig a few months ago, so I nixed my plan of a spiky yarn mohawk and went with that instead. I donned a leather belt and a coordinating belt pouch from the accessories bin for daily essentials and to keep the shirt in place over the bulk of the legs. My nail wraps and eye makeup are from Espionage Cosmetics.

For the drive, I only wore the top and bracers with a pair of black pants and my adventurin’ boots. While I was having breakfast at my desk, an employee walked over, looked me up and down, and said, “Oh, wait. You’re not dressed yet, are you?” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I’ve trained them with complex costumes. They know me too well. I told him, “This is my breakfast costume.”

During the day, I posed for pictures, opened my wings a few dozen times, much to the delight of myself and children. Then, I withdrew my costume from the contest. Dressing up on Halloween is supposed to be fun, and, even with a “spite costume”, I enjoyed trying out new techniques.

This is Halloween when you’re a costumer.

 

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Cosplay Review: Hrothgar’s Hoard Wands

This week we’re going to take a look at a piece that will be available very soon for magic enthusiasts everywhere.

Hrothgar’s Hoard, a high quality gaming accessory brand, was recommended to me by fellow board gamer, Kristen (IG: @blooming.boards). The company is launching a collection of custom wands in a Kickstarter campaign next week (10/02/2018) called Dragon-Slayer: RPG & Cosplay Wands. I was overjoyed to get in on the pre-launch excitement with this beautiful acrylic and hardwood wand.

Infrared

As it happens, I had a couple of D&D sessions and a Hogwart’s wedding to attend, providing good action time to give her a spin. Thanks to emailed post office alerts, I knew the day that my wand would arrive and I waited anxiously for our mail carrier. At some point, I had to leave the house, but he waved me down and delivered the package directly into my eager hands…while my car idled in the middle of the street. Not kidding. Totally worth it.

As soon as I cut the packaging away, I could smell the amazing wooden display box. Full marks for presentation!

Dat Box

I popped the top and was instantly giddy at the velvety coloring in the wand’s shaft. I know very little of acrylic and the processes necessary for this type of prop work, and I was rightfully stunned. This wand is absolutely beautiful. Stills do not do her justice (she’s now an extension of my arm, so she gets to be a she). She is lighter than I expected overall, but the solid acrylic shaft is a noticeable counterpoint to the wooden handle. Due to this weight distribution, I found her to be a fantastic offensive wand–stick with me here. Imagine feeling the magic in the tip of your wand rather than your hand. Think of the way you might tap your pencil against a table versus the way you might tap the table with a spoon–not unbalanced, but there is a definite “business end” of the piece. Importantly, because of my two younglings, this is not an ideal wand for child-sized hands. The handle is not uncomfortably larger than my other wands, but is wider for a great reason.

Like a great dress, the wand has a pocket.

Pocket

Hrothgar’s Hoard wands have compartments in the handle. This one came with a set of mini dice, but I can think of a number of fun secrets for my future magical adventures. For the Hogwart’s wedding, I slipped in a slender glass vile containing a Hippogriff feather–a super fun detail for Harry Potter fans. A wedding attendee remarked that an “adult-level” potion bottle would be a nice secret, but based upon the pocket size, one would not feel the effects of such a potion, so it is not recommended.

During our weekly D&D session via Roll20, I pulled out my new wand and flicked it around during an encounter. While props are really only for personal benefit in this online gaming situation, my wandless group humored me and that was enough. Again, the acrylic shaft is a great weight for power hungry players, and I could see this being very beneficial in a live-action setting.

Linkosa

Back to the beautifully crafted handle: For costumed individuals, specifically those who look to purchase standard size wand holsters and robes with wand pockets, please be aware that the handle is slightly larger than a generic wand. If you make your own wand carriers, you should be fine.

Holster
I take great pride in my five-minute wand holsters.

Based upon my experience playing with this beauty, Hrothgar’s Hoard Wands are a great fit for costumers, cosplayers, D&D magic casters (or their DMs who just like to point at people), and LARPers. For Potterheads, there will be great fun in customizing your wooden wand once the Kickstarter campaign goes live next week. Stock up on your dragon heartstring people!

Visit Hrothgar’s Hoard for your tabletop accessories and get in on this magic!