torsdag 15. oktober 2015

Black Worbla release party (Oslo)

Last weekend Nerdeportalen and House of Nerds hosted a release party for the new worbla and I was invited to hold a demo/live test of the material. And since I've heard a lot of people ask "What's the difference?" and "which one should I use now?" I figured I could share with you the results of what we tested. 

First off I looks and feels much smoother from the start, which will mean much less priming. Also, as you might have noticed, it is black! This is a huge advantage for those times your paint wears off at corners and such. Instead of showing that "ginger bread" brown base, it will now be a more discrete black spot :)

But we took a piece of black worbla and a piece of "normal" worbla and compared them during several tests. Sadly I do not have photos of all the tests, my words will have to suffice. Also, due to me running out of time I did not get to test priming or painting. So I will cover that later :) 

Tear test
While cold the black worbla seems "crisper", so we took our two samples and tore them down the middle. The difference was very little, but I have to agree that the black one tore more easily. 

Stretch test
But will it break as easily if we heat it up. Out pieces were heated up and gently stretched to breaking point. Here I felt a larger difference. Since the fill material in the black version is smaller and more evenly distributed it also stretched more even when heated. It also stretched a bit longer before breaking. 

With this in mind I made a classic "boob cup" and here I could really see the difference. It stretches way more even across the acrylic dome and leaves a more even and less rough surface than normal worbla. 

Step test
I have on several occasions stepped on my worbla props as they were laying on the floor, I even stepped in the middle of the boob cup on a finished chest armor and it did not take damage (NB: unpainted). But with the black worbla being a bit crisper, would it then crack if you step on it?

This test we actually filmed and I was a little surprised over how well it went. 

With a little more heat and shaping over the acrylic sphere it would be completely fine again. But I might recommend double layer of worbla for the boob cups (no matter which version of worbla you are using)

Over heat test
We have all experienced over heating the worbla and then getting bubbles and a rough surface. Again we took our two test pieces and heated them up way longer than necessary to see what happened. It took longer before that black worbla got misshapen and the damage was not as severe as with the normal kind. 

Light test
With one of the boob cups one person in the audience tried to see if light shone through, which it did not (even though it was stretched thin.) This could be an advantage if you are making small glowing markings and just cut the markings as holes in the worbla and add a large light behind it all.  

Rip off or reapply test
It was advertised that it would be easier to take off pieces that were already glued to the worbla. And yes, it was easier to peel off details, but that also means you have to be careful to attach them well so they don't accidentally fall off. Always heat both surfaces.

Ibelinn cosplay had brought with her a prop made using the sandwich method (worbla - foam - worbla) and showed that the worbla stuck very well together at the seams, even better than normal worbla when applied correctly. 

Stick test
We tried to shape the worbla over a foam piece to see how it shows detail and how well it stuck. Very well in my opinion, it stuck better to the foam than the glue holding the foam pieces together. 

Mix test
But can you mix normal and black worbla? Yes, you can. We both tried to glue two trips on top of each other and to knead left overs to one part. Both were a success, but as we did not try priming and painting I cannot say if the surface will be very different (because black worbla is a bit smoother). It doesn’t look that this you be a problem though.

The draw test
With normal worbla you can use a normal marker to draw your pattern directly to the surface. With the black version being so dark you need to use a light pigmented marker (like white or silver) or cover you part in making tape and draw on that to make your pattern. 

Conclusion In the end this material is not very different for the normal worbla. There are a few upgraded features as mentioned here, the best one imo is that it is already black and leaves a smoother surface when stretched. Guess I will use a mix.

onsdag 14. oktober 2015

Red from Transistor - The corset

I have made several corsets before, some simple and some a little more advanced. This will be the best one of them all <3

First let's take a look at the corset, which obviously is an underbust corset. It has a smooth surface and the color matches the jacket. The triangle is a little lighter than the dress. Also you cannot see the lacing on the back. 
Artwork from SupergiantGames

I started by making a brand new pattern based on my measurements. I followed this tutorial by Katafalk to draw it up.

With my new pattern I sewed the corset core out of canvas, this would both work as a mock up and as the strength layer. 

I sewed a waist tape to the mid layer (a ribbon to absorb the stretch tension), see this tutorial by sidney eileen for more details. 

I also sewed the pockets for the boning. I will be using steel boning, both spring steel and spiral steel. 

I sewed the lining  and top layer from the same material as the jacket, to keep the over all design simpler and not break it up with too make textures. 

The top layer is top stiched to make it appear smoother. 

The triangle emblem is sewn onto the top layer before sewing the three layers together. Originally I wanted the emblem to glow, but my EL panel turned out to have a green glow. Well, back to plan two in stead. Since I have kept the materials choices coherent so far I could "treat" myself to one patterned fabric for the inner lighter part of the triangle. 

The three layers are sewn together using a method called floating cover/lining. See this tutorial for more information. 

To hide the lacing in the back I added a modesty flap on the outside with an invisible zipper. To make sure the modesty flap was aligned perfectly I laced up the corset and got help to pin the flap in place while on my. Then I used that position to sew it on. ;) So far I haven't seen anyone else do this to hide the lacing, but it worked very well. 

The grommets were of course added before the modesty flap was sewed on. If you are curious on how to lace up a corset then you are in luck, Sidney eileen have written about that too

Last step was to sew on the bias tape. For this I used a mothod called "stich in the ditch" which make the edges very clean. 
Video by MythosCreations

Final corset :D My best one so far. Can't wait to get some really good photos of me wearing it. 

tirsdag 13. oktober 2015

Red from Transistor - The ring

This is the first blog post in many about my Red cosplay - enjoy.

No detail shall go unnoticed, and Red is wearing a ring on several of the concept art photos which I want to make out of metal! For your information, I tried a lot of different techniques for this ring and they are all described in this tutorial. So it will not be a straight forward tutorial, more a showcase of my trial and errors. 
Artwork from SupergiantGames

The first action was to get the correct scale of the design. In InDesign I scaled a photo of Reds hand and scales so her ring finger were the same length as mine. 

Make it out of metal
I have never worked with forging or metal casting before so I contacted a silver smith (that hangs out at Bitraf, my workshop) and asked him to teach me how to forge silver. Because it sounds so much cooler to say it was forges in silver than cast in resin.

This ended up in me trying out several methods
  • I will describe how I made a plain ring out of silver
  • How I tried to cast the emblem using a plaster mold
  • How I made the emblem using sand casting. 

The base ring in silver
First I needed to know the circumference of my finger. We used a test ring and mesdured the diameter and applied simple geometrics to it ;)  

Then we drew up the measurement on a plate of silver

Here we can see Heresetai sawing out her strip

This will be a ring!

Heat it up (remember to brush on anti corrosive matter)

Chill in a solution of salt and citric acid.

With pliers I bent it so the ends met

More heat as I solder the ends together with silver. (consentration face!)

My edge is now soldered

Ready to make it circular. I don't remember the name of the tool use to evenly widen the ring. 

My starting point

Getting there


Yeay, it is round

And here's another photo of Heresetai hammering her ring. 

Then it is time for sanding, first making the edges even with grit paper. 

Then curving the edges with a file and a sanding sponge. 

I like the shape

Clean it. This looks very fancy, but it is just alcohol in a jar. The ring is in a tea infuser, stir it around and take it out. Then you set it on fire to remove the alcohol. 

My ring is clean and it is time for polishing. The outside was polished using wax a the tourney in the workshop. The inside was polished using a dremel. 

Gosh so shiny

I love it so far, just think this used to be flat!

The ornament
I tried two ways to do this, one test that didn't work so well , but the other gave a great result. I will describe both methods. 

First the failed test, casting using plaster (only cast in aluminum). 
I made a clay shape of the ornament

The clay was covered in plaster. It is very important that your plaster dries completely before pouring 8-900 degree Celsius liquid metal into it. Water and heat expands and will make the mold explode. 

My plaster mold cleaned out and ready for a test cast using aluminium. 

Warning sign so others in the workshop know there's some serious heat going on.

The crucible steadily heating up and melding out aluminum 

Tools ready

I got a little help pouring

First test, a little overflow ;)

This could work, but would I need to construct the plaster mold a little different, I did not get enough pressure to get all my tiny details. So either a two part mold or using sand casting.

The second try - sand casting
I made a shape in clay again

Cast it in silicon this time (so I could make very fast tests later)

Then I cast my emblem in resin

Now I have a nice mold that can take a beating

How to sand cast
I basically learned what needed to be done from this video and then Torbjørn (the silver smith) guided me through the actual process. I made the cast one part though, much simpler.

The emblem was pressed into the sand. 

This is obviously not the emblem, but an earlier test with the ring. As I filmed the actual test, I did not take any photos.  Dig out the pouring funnel and air vent. 


And melted silver was poured in. 

Emblem out. Here you can see all the silver from the funnel that presses the silver into the entire mold. This is what failed with the aluminum test I wrote about a little higher up. 

After I sawed out my piece the sanding starts. When the worst is sanded off I used a mill and carved a flat spot on the ring, so it would have a better attachment surface for the soldering. 

Using the helping arms of a soldering tool I held the two parts together as I soldered them together.

During the heating of the soldering process the ring changes color and gets specks of green, blue, pink and orange :D

With my trusted dremel I polished the facets of the ring to a shine. 

The ring also has a small red stone. This I cast in resin. I took a LED and cast it in silicon.

My tiny silicon mold.

One test gem. I had a little too much red dye in this batch. 

Epoxy glued the final gem on.

The ring has a yellow surface around the gem. This might not be the preferred method for durability, but I used nail polish therefor being sure the tone of yellow matches my nails. 

I might go over it with the dremel to polish it a little bit more before the competition.

Photo: Artflower Fotografie