Let’s Play Dress Up, Wargaming Meets Cosplay

Geek culture has really come out of the closet in the past decade and many aspects of sci-f/fantasy related hobbies have lost the stigma they may once have had. I regularly play boardgames with work colleagues and I openly discuss the fact that I paint little toy soldiers, something I’d have probably kept quiet five or ten years ago.

I wonder how many readers would happily declare that they’ve played Dungeons & Dragons, for example.

Another aspect of geek culture that is gaining mainstream acceptance and that I’ve had my eye on for some time is cosplay. I love the fact that people are passionate enough about their favourite games or movies that they would invest countless hours in making costumes and wearing them with fellow enthusiasts at conventions.

My first proper exposure to it was at DragonCon in Atlanta back in 2010 where Mrs Von D and I were blown away by just how great and inventive a lot of the costumes were. Spending an afternoon in one of the convention hotel lobbies, watching the menagerie of cosplayers milling about is something we’ll not forget in a hurry. It’s a creative aspect of the hobby that I felt I’d love to do but would only want to get involved if I could invest enough effort that my chosen outfit was totally awesome, and with so many projects on the bench it seemed like that would never happen.

Borderlands at Dragon*Con 2010

Roll forward to 2015 and I’ve seen an interesting recent development as more cosplayers are mining the tabletop wargames hobby for outfits.

It’s not entirely new of course. 40K has been popular and rich enough of theme to inspire amazing Space Marine and Sister of Battle outfits for years, but now my favourite game Infinity is starting to get a look in. Last year, in an official conjoining of hobbies, Corvus Belli commissioned costume creators Artyfakes and Tabitha Lyons to put together an outfit of a Neoterra Bolt for promotional purposes.

I happened to bump into the Artyfakes team at a recent comic convention in London and had a good long chat with Tabitha’s dad about prop-making and wargaming while she was off being photographed (there was a lot of that going on) and I was especially delighted to pick up from them the limited edition miniature sculpt that CB made to honour the cosplay. I’m a sucker for those limited editions.

Neoterra Bolt, Cosplay Edition miniature

Anyway, what a strange and wonderful world we live in!

Five years on from DragonCon and I have finally gotten around to taking that tentative step into cosplay, well the prop-making side anyway, as I have started on a replica Carnifex handgun from the Mass Effect video game series.

Mass Effect Carnifex WIP

I reckon it’s just like how my grandad used to make me rifles out of a plank of wood, only this time I have access to Youtube tutorials, an airbrush, foamed PVC and a Cricut cutting machine.

Feels like a slippery slope though. What’s next, an Aleph Spitfire? A full set of N7 armour?

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~ by Max Von Deadlock on April 16, 2015.

3 Responses to “Let’s Play Dress Up, Wargaming Meets Cosplay”

  1. It is definitely a slippery slope!! You ought to see if you have a local renaissance festival. There are lots of very cool costumes there as well. It’s not all ‘old timey’, there are usually a lot of steampunk and other assorted costumes! Can’t wait to see your progress on the Carnifex!

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    • Hi, marinealrose, thanks for the comment. Renaissance festivals are not such a big thing here in the UK, though we do have a number of friends in the goth scene who are keen Steampunkers. There’s even an annual Steampunk convention in Lincoln. We do have historical re-enactment groups, another friend is known to spend hours standing around on cold damp hillsides wearing an itchy wool jacket with sabre or musket or whatever!

      Manga cosplay is fairly well represented here in London and we have a few conventions/meetups annually. Nothing quite like Dragon*Con though where hundreds of cosplayers of all types parade through the streets of downtown Atlanta. That was an amazing sight.

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      • I’m sorry to hear that! It is definitely a sight! We do the Texas Renaissance Festival for several weekends every year as pirates. It’s the largest renfest in the country. 🙂 not as many gundams or space Marines there though.

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