Cosplay Mothra: Minimalist on a budget

feathers for antenna

If you’ve been following my humble blog, gentle reader, you know that I enjoy going to comic cons. I also have a cobbled together steampunk cosplay that I wear. You also know that I am a huge Godzilla fan. As a result of these things I have decided to try my hand at a Mothra cosplay.

There were several things I considered before deciding how to go about my cosplay. I didn’t want to go with a full face mask. That would be too hot and involve way too much construction. I also didn’t want to limit my visual field with a bulky mask. Wings are also a logistical nightmare at a con where there are hundreds if not thousands of people all together enjoying the geek-fest.

I sat in on a couple of cosplay panel discussions at the last couple of cons and got some really good pointers. Like thinking about how you’re going to sit in a car with your costume on, or how you are going to use the restroom. These are good things to keep in mind.

So with those constraints, along with a rather limited budget, I began trying to puzzle out how I could make this work. It occurred to me that I could go a minimalist route and possibly make something that would adhere to the spirit of Mothra and cosplay without being a full body suit topped with a huge heavy mask. Then it came to me: I could make a hat. Now I’ve never made a hat before but I know they have fascinator forms at craft and fabric stores where they sell bridal supplies. (Also I don’t know what delineates a hat from a fascinator so forgive me if I’m using incorrect terminology. This could be an elaborate fascinator for all I know.)

I looked at my Mothra figure and got some white faux fur, a scrap or two of black felt, two ostrich feathers and since I couldn’t find blue gems in the size and shape I wanted I bought two pendants that had plastic gems that were close.

Materials for Mothra fascinator/hat

Materials for Mothra fascinator/hat

I also had some royal purple scraps but they did not fit with the theme. I’ll save those for another project. This is what I started out with. I got two fascinator forms because neither was the size or shape I wanted. I hand stitched the two together and used a couple pieces of scrap fusable interfacing that I pulled off the back of the remnants of another project to complete the size and shape I wanted.

Two fascinator forms

Two fascinator forms

Over the top of what is now the superstructure for the headpiece I pinned a strip of black felt and two pieces of the white faux fur. To cut down on weight I hand stitched all of this together.

black felt & white faux fur

black felt & white faux fur

Now I could have gotten a bunch of ostrich feathers cheap on eBay but I only needed two. I had to balance my need to watch my budget with my limited space and against the likelihood of needing white ostrich feathers in the future. I spent a bit more than I needed to but I only got two ostrich feathers. These are very light weight and the perfect size and shape to make Mothra’s antenna. I used an exact-o knife to cut through the forms as well as cutting a slit in the fabric overlay so that I could hot glue the feathers into place. I stuck them just slightly through the fascinator superstructure and used liberal amounts of hot glue to hold them in place, both underneath and on top. Then I laid the fabric back over the top and stitched it down. The hat/fascinator is remarkably lightweight and well balanced since the antenna lay at just a bare 15 to 20 degree angle off the hat.

feathers for antenna

feathers for antenna

Next time I’ll get the plastic gems off the pendants and hot glued on the headpiece.

These will do just fine for eyes.

These will do just fine for eyes.

I have some ideas for how to make workable wings too, by workable I mean the kind you can wear to a comic con without requiring a lot of airspace. I’m using the term wings loosely here. I will keep you updated, gentle reader. K.

Godzilla Sequel Already in the Works

Godzilla has grossed nearly $200 million globally on its opening weekend. With numbers like that rolling in it’s no surprise that Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures are already talking a sequel. Godzilla has opened number two, so far this year at the box office. There is already a Facebook page for the sequel, it appears that Gareth Edwards will be directing it, yay! Also the first tentative title is Godzilla II: Monster Island. Oh yeah. This is going to be good.

Gareth Edward’s Godzilla — A Fan’s Review

Promotional poster for Godzilla

Promotional poster for Godzilla

Promotional poster for Godzilla

By K. L. Zolnoski

For the record, gentle reader, I am a fan not a critic. I generally aim for spoiler free reviews but this one will have some minor spoilers. That being said, I saw Godzilla for the second time in two days today and I like it even more having seen it a second time. There are so many things that I missed on the first viewing that I caught on the second one.

There are at least two shout outs to classic Godzilla movies, and I’d be surprised if there weren’t more that I just haven’t noticed with everything else going on in the film, scattered throughout the new Godzilla. In one scene there is a chrysalis in a terrarium and the end of the name of the nuclear power plant is covered by the first part of the word mother and the pieces together read Mothra. In another scene there is a clear reference to King Ghidorah from Giant Monsters All Out Attack.

Gareth Edward’s Godzilla has an advantage of technology that classic Godzilla did not benefit from. For that reason I am pleased that the new Godzilla is subtly different from classic Godzilla. It does not demand that you choose between the two. They are clearly Godzilla (unlike 1998 Not-Godzilla) but different.

One thing that struck me about the new Godzilla is the sense of massiveness the movie is able to convey. In this movie there is a visceral sense of how huge and down-right massive Godzilla is as a creature that simply cannot be replicated by a man in a suit. The constraint of having to work with a man sized monster makes it impossible to truly convey the great size and earth-shaking impact something that size moving across the land would have. With modern CGI technology this was portrayed in a way that had an instinctive impact upon the viewer. The way the feet spread when they set down upon the ground, just like a real animal’s does was just one small example of how well done, and how well thought out this movie is.

I absolutely love the new origin story. While it holds true to the spirit of Godzilla’s original origin story, it is subtly different and new and I find that I like it even better than the original. The writers came up with some brilliant pseudo-scientific explanations for how Godzilla functions and a long-standing joke I make about Godzilla turned out to be true! (Warning, mild spoiler ahead). People who are not fans have asked me what Godzilla eats and I’ve been known to jokingly reply: Nuclear Subs. Ok maybe not specifically in this movie but by implication.

Godzilla promo shot

Godzilla promo shot

Speaking of nice touches, and spoilers, working in the nuclear testing at the Bikini Atoll was pure genius. Godzilla has always been associated with nuclear weapons, Gareth Edwards just took it a couple of steps farther; to great effect. Another thing I really appreciated was the inverse format. By which I mean this was a Godzilla movie where Godzilla attacked San Francisco, an American city, and the main character was a man of Japanese descent who worked with a cast of Americans. In classic Godzilla movies released in the US, it’s usually edited so that there is an American lead working surrounded by a Japanese cast. I found this inverse relationship quite delicious and Ken Watanabi was excellent in the role.

Now before I make my next comment, I don’t like the casual use of the term “sexy.” People misuse that term if you ask me. If; however, Godzilla were in any way sexy, or would be considered to have a screen shot that could be called, “sexy,” it would be of his iconic and unique dorsal spines. This would be especially true if there were female Godzillii (Godzillas?) too. Gareth Edwards uses this shamelessly and effectively. For the first part of the movie the only glimpse of Godzilla we get is of his dorsal spines. I also like how Godzilla is referred to in hushed tones as, “Him,” before we ever learn his name. Pure suspense genius.

The monsters behave like higher-level animals we know would. They emote and react to their environment and to threats throughout the movie in ways that I’ve seen dogs and cats do. It makes the monsters more real, more relatable in a small way to see them greet one another, to see them become angry or weary as they battle one another. This adds to the suspense and horror. Let me tell you, monsters are bad enough when they are mindless and driven purely by instinct. When you have intelligent monsters, even if they’re only as intelligent as, say, a dog (and frankly dogs are pretty smart for non-humans) that is truly terrifying.

Old school monster movies had a great deal of suspense about them. They were not about gore or shock value and Gareth Edwards held true to that. The movie was suspenseful and it followed through with an appropriate pay-off. The movie is well paced. It builds and builds until a cathartic payoff at the end that is worth every minute of the wait. K.

Going Dark for #Godzilla & #Kaiju Haiku #PacificRim

You may wonder, gentle reader, why I’ve gone dark the closer we get to the Godzilla movie’s release. As huge a fan as I am I don’t want the whole movie to be spoiled before I get to watch it. So as the internet hype has reached a fever pitch, I have gone dark. Rest assured I will review Godzilla, and if my review is not posted here I’ll let you know which webzine picks it up.

To tide you over, how about some original Kaiju Haiku? The only form of poetry I should ever be allowed to write.

Nuclear bomb
nature’s wrath
Godzilla

Ocean surges
City burns
Godzilla

Mystic singing
Tiny twin priestesses
summon Mothra

Kaiju surface
wage war against us
Gipsy Danger

(Yes and whether or not I should even be allowed to write Haiku is questionable, but here you go.) K.