Cosplay, all started in 1939
We alreay talked about cosplay an cosplayer on Mondivirtuali.it but the topic continues to arouse interest.
It is probably not generally known that the cosplay (term resulting from merging of costume and player), i.e. to dress like characters of movies, cartoons or comics on the occasion of convention and festival it was born not in Japan, as many believe, but in the United States, when in 1939 Myrtle R. Douglas participated in the first Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention) together with her partner, Forrest J. Ackerman.
At the time the couple wore some “futuristicostumes” designed and craftet by Douglas herself, for this defined the first cosplayer of ever, costumes inspired by science fiction movie Things to Come of 1936, based on the H. G. Wells novel The Shape of Things to Come (Wells was then the supervisor of the movie).
If Myrtle R. Douglas employed above all fabrics, needle and thread to realize her costume, which are the materials more used by the lovers of the cosplay to personalize their own customes currently?
Cosplay: which are the materials to use
Closed-cell Pvc foamboard (various trade names exist in commerce, the most famous is the Forex, but very popular it’s also the Multiexel), sold in plates of various format and thickness, can be heat-treated, also at not too high temperatures, for instance with a hair dryer, and is very useful to realize weapons, accessories and parts of armor.
The Eva (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) rubber, better known with the trade brand Foam (or Craft foam) it is light, washable, is sold in sheets A4 format of different colors in stationery stores and art stores, can be cut, color, glued to any support and forming.
Suppler and light than the Forex it also has the advantage to be more economic. It is ideal to realize accessories, shoulder strap, and armor parts, but you must take care a lot of colouring. Some cosplayer recommend for reducing the porosity of the Foam to stretch a layer of vinyl glue before beginning to color it.
The styrene, often known with the commercial name of Plasticard, it is an old aqcuaintance of modelling fans: it’s just sheets (and wands) of plastic material of various colors, also transparent, also on sale online with various formats and thicknesses. It may easily be coloured and is excellent to realize medieval or ancient armors or parts of armed gloves.
If you want to create your jewels, tiaras, decorations or to cover and vitrify ample surfaces of your costumes you can resort then to the resins: there are a lot of different types (epoxides, polyester, for casting), usually two-pack. Dosing, times of hardening and drying can vary a lot from a resin to the other therefore follow carefully instructions on the packet and make sure if it extend or not to heat a lot: it could easily melt the platic mould in which you should pour it.
The Plastazote, a foam of polietilene cells grid dams, usually used for packings and protective stuffings, is sold in sheets of various thickness and density and usually is used to creat weapons and shields.
After having shaped it you can cover the Plastazote with a latex layer and paint it. Because of its lightness is it’s excellent to realize great weapons.
The polyurethane foam, for sale in rigid panels or spraying, it is easily available in the hardwares and in the bricolage shops. Used as packing over that as thermal insulator, it is very cheap especially in the spraying version, that can be used for creating busts or heads on which to model armors or wigs.
In comparison to the panels, decidedly fragile, the dried foam after drying is more compact and resistant, better however to avoid fights and to use weapons and costumes realized with this material just for photographic layings.
Don’t you forget the papier-mache
Last but not least, the papier-mache, i.e. that mixture of soaked paper and vinyl glue, is perhaps the most economic and versatile material available to the cosplay fans. Once modeled and dried it can be stuccoed, sanded and painted, getting amazing effects.
The great Viareggio carnival wagons are made a big part of papier-mache. The only drawback: papier-mache parts, if of great dimension, can weigh a lot.
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