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Blog

Here's where the magic happens. I'll be posting about all of my experiences and experiments (both failed and successful ones), introducing you to my costumes, sharing fun stories, linking tutorials and useful products, and who knows what else!

 

Lots o' Commissons

Michael MacWolff

As promised, I’m back with all of the awesome prop work I’ve been doing! Since I’m catching up on posting I’m only going to show off the finished products or we’d both be here forever, but if there’s anything here you want a more detailed look into how it was made, let me know and I’ll do a tutorial (-ish) post about it! Dont’ be shy I’m happy to share I’m just lazy lol

First up is this magnificent sword from Final Fantasy XII, the Treaty Blade. When my friend first requested this I was both excited and terrified because this is one of the most intricate designs of anything I’d ever attempted before. But I had a plan, and I stuck to it and this is how it turned out!

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The base of the sword is MDF, mostly for stability, although that made it a little heavier than I would have preferred. The rest is all foam of various thicknesses that’s been layered and/or dremelled to get the detailed layers of the blade. There’s a bit of worbla on the end of the hilt where that flower-ish-shaped piece is, and the gems are all cast resin.

Needless to say this is one of my favorite things I’ve made to date… but then again I feel like I say that all the time lol. But that’s a good thing because it means I’m constantly pushing myself to grow!


Next up is another pair of blades that I was super excited to work on because it’s from an obscure video game that I absolutely love. I’m referring to the sword and dagger wielded by Kalas in Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and Lost Ocean. The bonus is that I’m eventually going to be cosplaying from it myself when we manage to get our group together, and will likely be making some more stuff for other members. For now, though, we have these.

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Like most of my blades, these are primarily MDF, with additional layers of thin plywood on the sword, to add stability without adding much additional weight. Most of the additional layers/details are craft foam, and the extra details on the knife are worbla. Both of them have actual cotton cording wrapped on their handles. It was a pain in the butt to add that detail but it looks really nice.


Next up on the list is a commission that I kinda got a long while ago, though it was in a slightly different form. Originally it was going to be Genny’s heal staff, from Fire Emblem Echoes. It still ended up being a heal staff, but it’s Elise’s now, from Fire Emblem Fates. Both are cool staffs so I was happy to make either one, and am very happy about how it turned out. And yes, it lights up!

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The miracle here is that I managed to find a cardboard tube that was the perfect size and sturdiness to slide a small flashlight into the end of, which is how I made it light like that. I’m not great with electronics so I usually try to use existing lights for this sort of thing rather than wiring anything myself. Unfortunately it does limit what I can do but it makes me feel a lot better about the end product that it’s not going to fall apart or catch fire or anything…

As for materials on this one, the main shaft is a wood dowel, with a cardboard tube at the top. There’s EVA foam around the tube, which was then dremeled to get the gold details around the rod on the end. The “wings” that make up the bulk of the interesting detailing are EVA foam with worbla, and a number of other details were also done with sculpted worbla scraps including the little claw bits around the glowing end, and the gold details on the bottom end of the staff. The glowing part itself is a plastic translucent christmas ornament, and I used blue translucent sheets over the light to give it the fain blue color. This was definitely had a lot more varied materials than some of my other projects but I have the most fun using weird stuff in my props ^_^


My last commission this round is actually two, it’s a pair of staves from NieR that are weilded by Devola and Popola. My friends have had their cosplays done for a while, but more recently asked me to make these for them to complete the look.

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The handles are stained wood, because I wanted to keep the wood grain look. I actually considered buying axe handles to use for it because they were the right shape and size but it was more expensive than cutting it out of a wooden board myself. The staff ends are two layers of EVA foam that have been dremeled into shape, and then covered in worbla. It was rather time consuming to get the shaping done with that large of pieces but it looks nice so it was worth it.

Eventually I should have photos to share of all of these props in use, because this batch was all for folks who I see at conventions on a semi-regular basis. I’ll be sure to share when I have them. And that’s all for now! I’m busy working on a few other commissions, including some Halloween Costumes, large swords, and a few new cosplays for Jordan and myself as Youmacon approaches. I’ll do my best to not leave a 4-month gap this time, but you can always follow me on Instagram for more regular updates @mikeydoescosply.

4 Months Worth of Ketchup

Michael MacWolff

So you all know the drill, I’m bad at writing up blog posts to you go months without an update on here. I hope those of you interested in my projects all follow me on Instagram at this point (@mikeydoescosplay) cause that seems to be the only place I’m actually consistent…

But I’m here now and I want to share what I’ve been doing with all of you… for the past 4 months lol


First off, I’ve been to Matsuricon since last I checked in, which was awesome! I had 2 (and 1/2) new cosplays, which it’s been a very long time since I’ve done more than 1 new thing at a con, but I had the time and motivation so I made it happen!

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First up is Shigure Rangetsu from Tales of Berseria! I promised my friend Trickssi I’d cosplay this for/with her… at least a few years ago at this point so I finally made it happen! I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out, the costume itself was super obnoxious to put together between the silly pleated & paneled pants with the V-crothch that the Tales of series love so much (which consequently means they don’t stay up without the belt part cause that’ not how pants work in real life) , the weird sandal things, and the wig with its random braided rat tail and giant swoopy lock in the front. Despite having a bunch of weird bits it’s actually pretty comfortable, and of course my giant Morgrim more than makes up for all the agrivation. I did discover I have no easy way of carrying anything while I’m wearing it, so my plan for next time is to build a pocket into Morgrim to stash my stuff.

I don’t have a ton of photos in this as of yet, I’d like to do an actual photoshoot with Trickssi at some point with her as Rokurou, so you can expect some… eventually. But in the meantime here’s a couple.

Here’s the group from the Tales of gathering, which is the only one I’ve seen thus far. Thanks  bridgey_cos  for posting it!

Here’s the group from the Tales of gathering, which is the only one I’ve seen thus far. Thanks bridgey_cos for posting it!

And of course the only photo that matters.

And of course the only photo that matters.

Second up is the other totally new cosplay I did for Matsuri, and I did primarily for my con fam because we all share a deep love for NieR Gestalt/Replicant. While this wasn’t the cosplay I was initially planning on, I’m super pumped about it cause I don’t do a whole lot of designing and I got to play with it a bit since it’s a genderbend. I wasn’t sure I liked it as I was making it, but when all of the pieces came together I fell in love.

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I absolutely adore Kaine and so cosplaying her was amazing. It’s actually pretty comfy too, besides the shoes (I changed into boots after we got these shots), and the leg wrappings do tend to fall down but otherwise it’s actually pretty nice to wear. And of course as Kaine I get to run around doing stupid shit lilke this…

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And the best part was having my good friend Salem there as our precious cinnamon bun, Emil.

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We even found another Kaine there (not that I have any photos of us, oops)! I’m really looking forward to having the whole Wolf Pack doing NieR cosplays together <3

Last up is a not-entirely-new-but-mostly-revamped cosplay. It’s one that I made a long while ago and very much wanted to update and redesign a bit. I’m referring to Nanaki/Red XIII from FF7. With the new hype over the fact that we have an actual release date for the remake (I’ll believe it when I’m actively playing it), I figured now was the time!

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This is the only full-body photo I have from Matsuri, with this amazing Aerith cosplayer, but I do have some shots so you can see all of the details. First, here’s the old look:

Great big thanks to my dear  Rion  for this photo.

Great big thanks to my dear Rion for this photo.

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The hoodie, shorts, and wrist-warmers are the same, though I re-dyed the shorts because I’ve worn them enough at this point that the orange was fading. The shoes are new, but I didn’t do any work there lol. The biggest differnce is the hat with the spikes, which does a better job for hearkening to Nanaki’s design, and fits the overall punk aesthetic I was going for. The tail being a belt is another new detail, different from the actual stuffed tail I had before. Lastly we have the feathers and earring, the earring mirroring his beaded locks of hair that hang to either side of his face. I wanted it to be asymmetrical, which is why the feathers are together on the one side, and there’s only one earring. I thought that would fit better with the overall aesthetic than making those details symmetrical like his original design.

That’s all the new stuff I’ve done for myself lately but I have had a number of commissions I’ve been working on recently. If you’re on instagram you’ve seen them come together, but I’ll put together another new blog post (I promise it won’t be 4 month this time…) with all of that stuff.

I'm Not Dead Yet

Michael MacWolff

Welcome back folks! I know you’re all used to my spastic and inconsistent posting at this point so hopefully anyone who wants to see regular stuff from me knows to follow me on Instagram.

So since it’s been two whole months since I posted anything, lets’ dig right into it! First up, I want to share some awesome photos I got of Frog, thanks to my wonderful husband <3

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I’m so stoked with how he came out!! I had a lot of fun wearing hi at Tekko and was recognized by quite a few people. I even met a guy who had the whole cast of Chrono Trigger tattooed on his arm!! I have a few friends who cosplay some of the other characters so I’m looking forward to eventually having some friends to wear this with.

Since Tekko, I’ve been working on a few commissions, along with another new cosplay for myself. My first commission is one that I put together pretty quickly for a friend of mine to take to Acen last weekend. While I’ve played Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2, I’m not overly familiar with the series, but I had a lot of fun making Saix’s Claymore.

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I made this guy out of layers of foamcore, with a wooden broom handle for the core/handle. Here you can see the central layer and the broom handle, along with the patter I used for it.

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Once all the layers were done, I bevelled the whole thing, which took an exceedingly long time, and then coated the exposed foam layers with spackling paste.

Since the bevel spanned multiple layers, I cut them in tiers so that I could sand the foam into an even bevel.

Since the bevel spanned multiple layers, I cut them in tiers so that I could sand the foam into an even bevel.

Here’s the spackling paste gooped along the edges of exposed foam.

Here’s the spackling paste gooped along the edges of exposed foam.

The rest consisted of a few hours of sandeing, several coats of mod podge, and some paint!

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I don’t often have the opportunity to share photos of the full cosplay with my prop commissions, but fortunately for me, I have this wonderful gem from aprinceforflower’s instagram!

Doesn’t Tobi look badass?!!?!

Doesn’t Tobi look badass?!!?!

With that done, I took my opportunity to finish up another commission that I started quite a while back. From Baten Kaitos, the obscure but asewome Gamecube title, I’m making the main protagonist, Kalas’s, weapons.

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This will be my first of several Baten Kaitos projects as several of my friends and I are planning a group for Youma this year, so I’ll have my own new cosplay to work on, as well as some items for at least one other member of our group.

I don’t have as many progress photos of these that I can find, since I’ve been working on them periodically for the past several months.

The base of both blades are MDF, and there are some wood elements for each one as well. I used a dowel that I split up the middle for the knife handle so that it would be round, and I used thin plywood pieces for details on the sword, to help with stability.

The base of both blades are MDF, and there are some wood elements for each one as well. I used a dowel that I split up the middle for the knife handle so that it would be round, and I used thin plywood pieces for details on the sword, to help with stability.

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For the hand guard on the knife, I used a piece of cereal box with worbla covering both sides. I heated up the whole thing and shaped it around a marker to get the curved bit on the end.

For the hand guard on the knife, I used a piece of cereal box with worbla covering both sides. I heated up the whole thing and shaped it around a marker to get the curved bit on the end.

For the rest of the details on the sword, I used layers of craft foam, and some wooden tokens that I got from my orthodontist as a kid XD

For the rest of the details on the sword, I used layers of craft foam, and some wooden tokens that I got from my orthodontist as a kid XD

As per usual, a lot of sanding and mod-podging ensued, until I could paint these suckers!

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And here we have the finished products!

Along with that, I have another finished project, which is something I’ve made twice before already. I’m referring to Isabela’s Jewelry from Dragon Age 2.

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This was the first time I made this, nearly 5 years ago, as one of my first commissions. It was made out of craft foam, model magic, and cereal boxes. This time around, there’s still some craft foam for the base, but most of it is worbla. The buggest improvement was figuring out how o shape it such that it was less neckbrace-y. The improvement is… stammering, to be honest.

This was an incredible thing to see just how far I’ve come. I mean I know I’ve improved a lot since I started taking commissions, but to have a direct comparison like this really shows it.

And that’s all I have for you guys! I’m working on a new cosplay for Matsuricon, as well as a few other commissions, so don’t forget to follow my Instagram for updates as those projects come together. And eventually I should be posting them here too.