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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!

 

Mikey Gets His Shit Together (maybe)

Michael MacWolff

Hello my dahlings! Today's installment is probably not going to be the most exciting if you're just here to look at pretty photos of cosplay (but maybe if you stick around until the end you'll be rewarded).
Today, Mikey is here to tell you he's trying to overhaul his online presence. I know my posts on here have been super inconsistent because that's pretty much how my life works, but I'd like to work towards a more steady flow of content for all of my lovely followers out there, and feel some responsibility to do so purely for you guys, and also because I'm on that top cosplay blog list so I figure I should at least try to life up to that. Anyway, here's my general plan, I'll try to keep it simple.

  • More consistent blog posts

Ok I know that sounds super obvious, but it's my step 1. I want to get better at posting more consistently so I'm trying to implement an actual posting schedule. At this point I'm optimistically hoping I can do at least one post a week. One of the ways I'm intending to do that is by having a regular rotation of posts that are not directly related to what I'm working on at the moment. Here's my general monthly schedule idea:

  • Materials Monday: A new monthly post about a specific material I use a lot in my props and/or cosplay. I do have a page in my Help Desk which is specifically about materials here, but I thought it would be good to have some blog posts highlighting stuff I use all the time.
  • Throwback Thursday: Those of you who've been around since the beginning remember when 3/4 of the content in this blog was me going through old costumes for TBT. Well, I want to bring this tradition back and hopefully I have enough cosplays I haven't already done a throwback post for to keep it going. You can hopefully expect this once a month, depending on how many old cosplays I even have stashed away.
  • Fotoshoot Friday: Ok the "f" on the front there is pushing it, but the idea here is to motivate myself to actually wear my cosplays more frequently and do photoshoots with them. Given the time commitment and the necessity that my husband (or someone else willing to come be my photographer), this will likely be at most a monthly, but more likely a bi-monthly installment. This is probably the thing I'm looking forward to most in all of this :-D
  • WIP Wednesdays: They won't always be on wednesdays, but to round out the weekly posts, I will be doing my best to post progress of my current projects more frequently than I do now because I'm really bad at that. Hopefully getting into this habit will also mean I get better at taking periodic progress photos too. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.
  • Tutorial Tuesday: Don't worry, these won't generally be my tutorials. We all know how bad I am at explaining things most of the time, but if I don't have much else to post about I plan to highlight one of the useful tutorials I've used for my cosplays. And of course there's always the tutorials section on my Help Desk page.

 

  • Site Updates

I'm hoping to get a lot more content on the site in general. Here's the general plan:

  • Help Desk: I want to expand my help desk with more materials & tutorials for all of you out there who use my site to help them create their own awesome cosplays. Fortunately the "Inspiration" section is constantly growing as I find more awesome costume photos on pinterest, and the "Warm Fuzzies" section is just full of things to make you feel good. Mostly adorable animals.
  • Mikey's Words of Wisdom: Ok, this sounds cheesy, but I wanted to put something simple and goofy on my main page that was also helpful. So when I occasionally have insights into things, I'll change the "Words of Wisdom" section. The first one is up now, so go take a look at my home page and see if you can find it. Follow the link in the title for more detail about said words of wisdom.

 

  • Mikey Points

Ok, so I've toyed around with this idea for a little while, and I want to actually implement it for real. I want to have some sort of a reward system for people who visit my site/FB page.

  • Earning MP: You'll have periodic opportunities to earn yourself some MP both here and on facebook. In order to earn your points, you may have to be the first person to answer a silly fandom trivia question, identify an obscure cosplay, or otherwise participate in activities related to my site.
  • I'll keep a log of everyone who's collected MP, and how much they have. My intention is to put together a new page where all of that info is kept together, so that if you start to earn some points, you can actually see how many you have at any given time, without having to ask me.
  • In order to qualify for earning MP, you need to be willing to give me a name of some sort that I can connect back to you, if you decide to redeem your points. It can be a screen name or your actual name, it makes no difference to me, it's simply something I can have displayed on the new page so we can all keep track of our points.
  • If you'd like to redeem your points, you need to be willing to share your address, as most of the redeemable prizes will be physical objects that I'd send you. There may be digital prizes as well, in which case I would need an email. I will never give your information away, and I only need it in the event that you redeem your points for something.
  • Prizes: You've waited long enough, let's talk about the prizes! Mostly it'll be things related to my etsy store. If you earn enough points you can get things like crocheted amigurumi, bow ties, or even gift certificates for my etsy shop! The new page I set up will have a section dedicated to redeemable prizes. Stay tuned for that.
  • EARN YOSELF POINTS NOW!
    Since I'm implementing this new system, let's have our first giveaway now! Here's a little piece of fandom trivia for you to answer:
mysterycharacter

The first three people to correctly identify these two characters will win themselves 50 MP!

Since this is trivia, and publicly posting the correct answer will make it way too easy for the rest of the people trying to guess it, please send your answers using the "Contact Us" form on the site header.
Please include your name in your message, so I know who to give the points to!

That's all for now, thanks for stopping in, and good luck collecting your Mikey Points!

Colossal 2017

Michael MacWolff

Hey everyone! I just got back from another awesome Colossalcon and my priority 1 is sharing my experience with all of you lovely people!
But of course I have minimal photos of my own cosplays because I'm a dummy and always forget to have people take photos of me on my own phone >_<

Nevertheless, here's how the weekend went!

Thursday I didn't even end up going, as I was still finishing up Jordan's Ruby cosplay (primarily painting the scythe), but I'm pretty sure if I had gone on Thursday I'd be even more exhausted. On the bright side, I got everything done pretty early and got to spend a relaxing evening with my husband and puppy.

I believe this is the third time I've gotten him to cosplay with me so we were both very excited.

Friday was a pretty easy day, I spent the day in Hestu and did lots of expand-a-banding people's inventory when they would ask for my photo. Went to a Voltron panel. Hung out with my friends. It was a good day.
I was also involved in a late-night RWBY panel as Yatsuhashi (in pajamas), which was interesting. I was tired and minimally involved since Yatsu is such an minor character so it was a struggle to stay awake but I made it through, and safely got back to my firend's house, which whom I was staying.

In anticipation of the panel, I made a basket full of Grimm. RAWR!

In anticipation of the panel, I made a basket full of Grimm. RAWR!

Saturday was a bit rough since I only slept for a couple hours, but I still had a lovely time with Jordan as our genderbent Ruby & Penny. We got lots of compliments and went to the RWBY shoot (after wandering around the waterpark for a good long while trying to find it).  Unfortunately, I'm an idiot and never made anyone I actually know take photos of the two of us, so hopefully I'll be able to find some one the internet and I'll share.

Also did a short stint in Hestu on Saturday for the Zelda shoot which was tons of fun and there were so many amazing cosplayers there. The BOTW game was strong. And I got to shoot my favorite thing from the whole weekend, which is pretty much the whole reason I wanted to make Hestu in the first place!

After the RWBY shoot Jordan & I went out to lunch with some friends and when I came back I put on Guy for a little bit, hoping to find the Rebecca cosplayer I'd seen as we were leaving. Fortunately, I found her almost immediately!

Sunday was pretty easy, hung around a while to say goodbye to friends, dressed in my magizoologist outfit since I brought it so I figured I might as well wear it at least once. Then came home to cuddle with my favorite boys.

All in all, it was exhausting but I had a lot of fun. With any luck, people will be posting photos over the next week or so, so I'll try and keep an eye out for things. And maybe someday I'll remember to get photos of my own cosplays on my own devices XD
If you want to see photos of all the other awesome cosplay I saw there, check you my facebook album HERE!

Caffeine Pt. 2

Michael MacWolff

Hey folks! So I had an inquiry to get some more details on how I put together Coco's gatling gun, specifically the drum portion, so I thought I'd share it with everyone! We all know I'm not always great at giving thorough explanations on how I make stuff, so please keep asking questions and it'll help me get better, and it'll help make things easier for all of you guys who want to know how I make this junk! So ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS! It'll be good for all of us!

I did make this piece a while ago, and as such I can't go back in time and take additional photos of the construction process, but I do have some. And, fortunately, I currently have the gun back to do some repairs/touch ups so I can take a few more close-up detail shots for you guys.

So for the construction of the large drum, I used several layers of foamcore board, as well as a thick piece of styrofoam (2" or 3" thick), all of which I cut into circles. You can see the pieces in this photo:

Sorry it's a bit blurry, but it's the only photo I have. You can see the thick styrofoam piece on the left, and the other foamcore circles to the right of it. If you look at the foamcore pieces in the center, you can see I have the exhaust slits (or whatever those black striped parts are supposed to be) cut out of the very top layer of foamcore board. Photo for reference on the black bits that are on the front of the drum:

There are also the indentations on the outside of the drum, which you can see more clearly in this gif. I carved those into the outside of the thick styrofoam piece using a dremel tool (you can see the indentations in the top photo).

Once I had all of the pieces cut out, I then made a large round hole in the top center of each layer, which is where the barrels would be sticking out of. I used a straight 3" PVC connector piece to hold the gun barrels, so the hole needed to be that size to fit the PVC piece into. You can see the hole/PVC piece in the next photo:

You can also see from this photo, that this is the point where I glued all of the layers together: the front layers of foamcore board with the exhaust slits on them, the thick piece of styrofoam with the indentations on the side, and a few more layers of foamcore on the back, to make for a smooth back face on the drum.

Once that was all glued together, I globbed on a bunch of spackling paste over all of the exposed foam (including all of the exposed parts on the styrofoam as well as the edges of all of the foamcore board. The point of that is so that when the spackling paste dries, it can be sanded to a smooth surface, which you don't get so much with the texture of the foam. It also helps protect the foam, which doesn't stand up well to abuse on it's own, and can melt if you spray paint it, so it's a really good idea to do this step! This next photo shows what it looks like after the spackling & sanding (though this was taken after I added a bunch more stuff).

You can also see all of the other bits attached at this point to. The piece that it sticking ctraight up in this photo and has the trigger button on it is a thin piece of wood. The handle and the panel that the handle is attached to are both also made of wood. You can see the little silver bolts on the wood panel. That's what keeps all of those pieces firmly in place. I drilled two holes into the wood panel, as well as the thin piece that the trigger is attached to, and drilled holes to match into the top part of the drum, straight through the large PVC piece that's set into it. The bolts go in the top, through both layers of wood, and all the way through the drum and stick out on the inside of the PVC piece. There's nuts that tighten onto them on that side, and they keep everything sturdily together.

As for the trigger piece itself, it's 4-5 layers of foamcore stacked together, with the same spackling paste added before sanding.

In addition, I used more PVC fittings for the cylindrical part that sticks out of the back of the drum. There's another straight connector piece, and then an end cap, all glued together (I think I used E-6000 for that) and lined up directly over the opening of the PVC fitting set into the drum, so that the hole continues through the extra PVC pieces (that's so the gun barrels can slide all the way back into the extra PVC fittings).

So the extra PVC pieces fit on like this.

So the extra PVC pieces fit on like this.

Now for the other pieces that stick out on the back of the drum, I improvised a bit so I apologize for the weird materials list/methodology here.

The larger weird round bit to the right is a 16oz. Mod Podge container that I cut the top part (the top part being where the lid is normally screwed on) off of and glued to the back, next to the PVC protrusion. The smaller piece that sticks further out from there is a small plastic paint container (akin to these) which was glued to the top of the mod podge continer.

Next, to fill in the gap between the two cylindrical parts, I cut a long rectangle of paperboard (from a cereal box) and attached it to the PVC protrusion, wrapped it around the Mod Podge container, and then to the other side of the PVC protrusion. I hot glued and mod podged around all of the areas where the paperboard piece connected to the base of the drum so that the area inside the paperboard piece was essentially water-tight. I then stuffed a bunch of aluminum foil in the empty space, mixed up some liquid plastic, and poured it into the wells with the aluminum foil to make a solid surface.

The blank white spot is where the little PVC elbow went (and as you can see, is one of the bits I need to repair). Here's the little elbow piece.

As you can see it's pretty much just a PVC joint with a small piece of PVC pipe in the one end. It's also one that has a femail screw end, so the other side has a male screw cap. The one side was glued onto the long thin wooden board directly below the trigger piece, and the other side was glued to the back of the drum portion on the PVC protrusion (where the blank spot in the paint job is).

And I believe that's about it. I hope that was helpful, but certainly if there's more any of you need information on, don't be shy!!