#Mothra #Cosplay Day 13, Oversights and Corrections

The pattern is really coming together as I near completion on painting.

The pattern is really coming together as I near completion on painting.

The pattern is really coming together as I near completion on painting.

Well, gentle reader, it is day 13 of the Mothra cosplay construction. I’ve logged around 49 hours of labor on the costume as of today. I really need to step it up because I’m just over a month out from the debut comic con. I was looking for one I could get to sooner than Emerald City and found Rose City. That’s where the costume will be unveiled then: The Rose City Comic Con.

While I was looking at my model and at some of the other cosplays and realized that I had overlooked the underbelly of Mothra. More specifically I had overlooked the legs. With this in mind I roughed out a vague shape for her legs on the front of the vest that is serving as the central structure for the costume. It is a very rough shape and not what the final form will look like. I did not paint in the bend of the joint because once the vest is on, the leg will wrap around my side naturally. It is tempting to be dismayed by how ugly this looks right now but I am confident the final solution will be just fine.

In the process of roughing out the legs I discovered that there are small pockets on the front of the vest (yes I missed them when I first bought the vest). The pockets may not be deep enough to safely hold an ID. I rather suspect they are not and am still searching for a better solution. Right now I’m thinking maybe a small shoulder bag could work if it hangs down far enough to be below the vest.

front of vest

front of vest as underbelly

front of vest as underbelly

All of that aside, I finished painting the inside of the main part of the right wing and painted the red/orange/yellow parts of the hind wing. Since I started on this project I have learned a lot about how to go about this and as a result the inside of the wing is visually superior to the outside. Again it is tempting to be dismayed but I knew I would have to touch up the front side and I know it’ll be just as lovely when I am finished.

If I allowed all of these little missteps and setbacks to overwhelm me, or focused on every imperfection it would be easy to lose sight of the big picture and give up. No it won’t be perfect. Yes I still have a minimum of 4 more Sundays to complete this thing, and that’s if I keep making the kind of progress I made today. But it’s fabulous and I conceived of this, designed it and constructed it myself. I may make more polished cosplays in the future. I may make more elaborate cosplays in the future. But I will never surpass this Mothra for the sheer love I have for it. For me it touches on everything cosplay is about.

Mothra has great sentimental value for me. My grandmother used to watch Godzilla movies with my father, who in turn watched them with me. In crafting this costume I’ve discovered a deeper connection to the character and to the entire genera, which I love. I was thrilled by Pacific Rim, but as much as I love technology, I don’t think those cosplays suit my style. Of course there is always Godzilla, but again for some reason the Big G doesn’t really spark my cosplaying imagination.

I must add that I am delighted one of the other cosplayers in our group is making a Godzilla cosplay. I think it’s fantastic and fabulous, just not for me. I’m still kind of surprised that I chose Mothra.

Anyway, here are this weeks photographs of the progress on (cue dramatic music) The Wings of Mothra:

At the beginning of today

At the beginning of today

Painting the purple fields first

Painting the purple fields first

Several shades of blue

Several shades of blue

Red on the hindwing

Red on the hindwing

Notice, if you will the correction I’ve been making to the blue on the hindwing where I painted over the section where white should be. It’s working and you can now clearly discern the white “stripe” continuing from the forewing to the hindwing. Also I noticed that the hindwing fields had red at the outside edges not a darker orange and have made that correction. The colors are just beautiful and it’s looking like it should to my eye. K.

Minimalist #Mothra #Cosplay on a Budget: Day 12

Painting the orange fields on the inside of the Right wing
Painting the orange fields on the inside of the Right wing

Painting the orange fields on the inside of the Right wing

Looking at my model and at the vest I’m using for the body part of the wings I realized that I needed to paint a chevron on it underneath the design in the middle. I also did not like the way the yellow paint was turning a greenish color on the leather. So I decided to paint an under-layer of white, over which I will paint the yellow. This should brighten up the yellow and make it less muddy and greenish. Over that I’ll paint a light brown to get the tannish color.

Mothra pattern on vest

Mothra pattern on vest

This time I took a close up picture of one of the mistakes I’ve made so you can see what I’m doing to correct it. In this case the lower, or hind wing panel has a couple of spots where I painted blue that should have been yellow or orange. I’m painting over these spots with white before going back over with the yellow.

Mistake in the hind (lower) wing -- blue paint where it doesn't belong

Mistake in the hind (lower) wing — blue paint where it doesn’t belong

Close up of mistake with white paint over the blue.

Close up of mistake with white paint over the blue.

I realized that the hind wings of my model have way more red and less orange than I’m using so I’ll have to correct that as I paint. Reality is bearing out my theory in that the areas I’ve already painted black are not taking on other colors where I accidentally go outside of the lines. I’ll have to remember to paint the darker colors first and finish up with the lighter colors. Sure this may seem like an obvious thing to people who have been doing this for years, or painting for a while but this is my first attempt at anything like this and I’m learning as I go.

One thing I noticed, now that I’m paying attention, is that Mothra gets repainted about as often as Godzilla gets a new suit. It’s really quite fascinating. There are at least 4 different Mothra wing pattern variants that I’ve seen in the last 5 Godzilla movies I’ve watched. I love it!

Mothra toy I'm using for my model

Mothra toy I’m using for my model

I had to do a lot of cooking today so I didn’t get as much time to paint as maybe I could have but I think I made some good progress. Mixing colors and making sure to blend the painted areas takes some time and thought. It is satisfying to see the colors on the wing when I am done.

Truth be told, I’m less than delighted with the 12 gauge wire in the corners of the wings. They pucker the fabric and don’t stay in shape very well. It’s tempting to take them out and work some thermoplastic into the corners. The only reason I haven’t is because right now, since the wings are still separate and not affixed to the vest, I’m able to roll them into tidy bundles for storage. Of course this rolling is what’s warping the wire. It is my hope that once I’m finished and I iron them, the wire will hold its shape and not create folds in the tips of the wings.

The pocket idea for the vest to hold an ID and some cash doesn’t seem to be a good one. I don’t want to have to unsnap my vest to get to stuff. That would be awkward. I’m wondering if I can affix some kind of pouch to the underside that would hang down a bit on my hip. It’s something I’m continuing to give some thought to. Eventually I’ll come up with a solution. When I do, rest assured, I’ll share it with you here.

As for my budget, I’m still holding steady at $80.00. This includes the leather needles for my sewing machine, which I got last week. The nice thing about those is that they are good for more than one use, so I’ll have them for future projects.

#Mothra #Cosplay Day 11: Second Thoughts, Third Thoughts and More

Inside of the Right Wing black fields complete

Inside of the Right Wing black fields complete

Inside of the Right Wing black fields complete

Today is the eleventh day I’ve been working on my Mothra cosplay. I spend between 4 an 6 hours working on it when I do it. Since I work full time I only have Sundays to work on it. At this point I’ve put in a minimum of 44 man-hours (woman-hours in my case) of labor on the costume.

I know that many of the pictures I take each week seem very similar to the ones from the previous week. More than just documenting how to make this costume, I’m chronicling the actual time and effort that goes into making one of these costumes. Progress is often slow and more than once I’ve looked at it and felt that I’ve gotten nothing done, that it’s moving along too slowly. Painting both sides of each wing means that I’m actually repeating a lot of work, but there will be a front side and a back side to the costume and I can think of no way around it.

I had some second thoughts about the costume this last week. Am I painting it right? Will it look ok? What if it looks ridiculous once I’ve got it made? I’ve put so much time and money into it already. Then I look at the pictures I’ve taken and realize that I love what I can envision it as being when it is complete.

Then, while I was putting the pieces of the whole costume together in my mind: The wings, hat, boots, high-low dress I intend to wear underneath; I realized I had overlooked something fairly important. Oh not for the costume, that’ll be awesome (IMHO). No I realized that I had no way to carry ID or cash or anything else in this costume. The wings will get in the way of a purse or bag and there’s no way to wear one under the vest. From a practical standpoint this is a fairly major oversight.

The only thing I can figure is either scrounge up an old fanny pack we have somewhere around here. Then it occurred to me that I could possibly stitch a pocket into the vest. I’ll have to see how that works out because I need to be able to carry a few items with me.

Front of Left wing before black fields complete

Front of Left wing before black fields complete

As for the cosplay itself, this week I finished up the black fields on both wings. Looking at the left wing I felt that some of the fields that are to hold color were a bit too wide so I thinned them out by making the black fields a bit wider. I’m putting the black down first because when I paint the colors they won’t show up as badly on the black if I go out of the lines as the black would over the colors.
Front of left wing, black fields almost complete

Front of left wing, black fields almost complete

This is a learning process for me. It’s my first real cosplay, the first one that I’ve made from scratch. Thus it will have all of the mistakes a first costume has, it’ll have all of the mistakes a novice makes when crafting something like this. It’s easy for such an item to fall out of favor as experience leads to better cosplays down the road but to be honest I cannot imagine topping this cosplay. Not for concept anyway. What I’m glad of is that I still love this cosplay even after weeks of work and knowing that I still have weeks of work left to do on it.

As far as the budget goes, I did go ahead and buy leather needles. I got an assortment for $4.99, which brings my total for materials up to $80.00.

Painting the inside of the sleeve

Painting the inside of the sleeve

Next Sunday I expect to start filling in the bands of color on the wings. Once that’s done I’ll iron them and sew them onto the vest. Speaking of which, I still need to paint the vest a bit more. Worry not, gentle reader, there will be pictures. For now, please enjoy these. K

#Cosplay Sunday #Mothra Day 10 and #Godzilla

This week's progress on the right wing.

Inside of both wings

Inside of both wings

Day 10 of Mothra cosplay went far better than day 9. I can really tell the difference in just how productive I am when I’m into it versus when I’m not motivated. Last week was tough and I didn’t really get all that much done comparatively speaking. This week we were having a good time and there were no motivational issues.

I got the sewing machine out and with about an hour of work finished construction on the left wing. I stitched the top edge of the faux fur that I used for texture on the inside part of the wings. I also completed the sleeve part of the wing. The final bit of sewing will be attaching both wings to the vest and I won’t do that until they are painted and ironed.

Finishing up the left wing

Finishing up the left wing

I did decide to pick up leather needles for my sewing machine. That adds $4.99 to the budget bringing the cost of materials up to $75.00. This is just materials and does not include my time. It’s the time that makes costumes like these so expensive. There’s no way someone could afford to pay me to make this for them. I’ve already put in a minimum of 40 hours in construction alone. Cosplay is a labor of love.

Once construction was complete on the wings I got back to painting. I have surprising amount of painting left to do. Last week I got started on the black parts of the pattern on the left wing. This week I moved to painting the black parts of the pattern on the inside portion of the right wing. Once I get all of the black fields painted I will go back to painting the colors.

Starting work on the inside of the right wing.

Starting work on the inside of the right wing.

If I have one concern at this point, it is getting the shading to match on both wings. I laid out the two wings next to each other because I was convinced that I had not made them symmetrical at all. To my delight they are pretty symmetrical. They vary but in the way that natural things vary. I’m so pleased that I painted the black fields first on the insides of both wings so I could directly compare them in this manner.

This week's progress on the right wing.

This week’s progress on the right wing.


As a bonus my cosplay buddy who is working on a Godzilla cosplay let me take a couple pictures of her progress. This week she was working on the head. She got ears and nostrils and part of the muzzle made out of leather. Remember the leather we took off of an old broken office chair? That’s what she’s using. It looks fantastic and it’s adding a really nice texture to the costume.

She made the main construction with plastic mesh and .5″ foam, which she sculpted to match her model (one of my Godzilla toys). Now she’s putting leather accents on it and then she’ll use felt to complete the skin.

Godzilla's head

Godzilla’s head

War In Flesh teaser #WarInFlesh #InTheFlesh

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

Work on the sequel to In The Flesh is moving along. Yes it is slow going. I’m not one of those authors who can just crank out hundreds of pages without a thought. In point of fact I’m realizing that my creative process takes a lot of thought and a lot of processing. I have to think the whole thing though before I can begin to write it. I have ideas and then need to play with them to see how they fit into the narrative. Sometimes they don’t and then I have to, in the words of Stephen King, “kill my darlings.” I also have my bs detector set to 11 apparently, so a lot of things I like don’t fit well into the story line and I have to set them aside. I will share the following teaser of a part of a chapter that I’ve written for War In Flesh for your enjoyment but I make no promises that it will survive the multiple editing passes in this books future.

Nevertheless, please enjoy:

War In Flesh

Copyrighted material, all rights reserved

Thousands of miles north of Antarctica, beyond the shining jewel of Ce Acatl, just inland from the coast of the long narrow island that is all that’s left of what was once the northern continent a battered, almost broken antenna picked up the weak signal. Ancient relays came reluctantly to life and deep below the surface lights began to flicker as emergency batteries sacrificed what little power they had left.

On the surface a mere handful out of dozens of hidden hatches opened through the debris that buried them. Up through the hatches solar collector arrays slowly surfaced. It took days for them to collect enough power to begin the power up sequence in deeply buried scientific research stations.
Subterranean bunkers long buried by the movement of earth and nearly flooded by raising water tables slowly revealed themselves to sporadic lighting. Sump pumps groaned and kicked on draining stagnant water where it stood in deep pools on the floors of the lowest levels. The scent of mold filled the dead air.

Slowly, one by one in the high tech labs computers came online, waking from their sleep state as the power came back up. They had been kept alive in a low power state since the cataclysm so long ago. Fans started to move and with them slow air currents began to swirl through the underground complex of labs and offices. Vats filled with nutrients far past their best by dates began to grow bodies, following centuries old routines.

Some of the cylindrical vats failed to come online. In a sub-basement some of the computers shorted out, falling to a combination of moisture and nibbling rodents that had encroached over the long years. Others powered up and began growing things even before the injectors inserted the organic material intended to be grown in them. Somehow their sterile interiors had been breached by microorganisms during their long dormancy.

The laboratories were climate stable by virtue of being so far beneath the surface. In such a protected place the denizens of caves made their home, just as they would any natural cave system. Bats found their way into the upper level. Mountains of guano became nourishment for cockroaches and other crawling things. Heavy, sealed bulkhead doors kept larger things out of the lower levels but were little barrier to microorganisms.

Weeks passed while the sump pumps and fans worked. Often they had to shut down to conserve what little power the solar collectors could provide. Every system in the buried complex was designed to protect the computers first, even the electrical system. With the emergency batteries dead and not enough power coming from the arrays to recharge them, if that were even still possible, the other systems regularly idled so that what power there was could be diverted to the computers.

Eventually the pumps got the floors dry and the fans refreshed the air, opening vents to the surface when what humidity and moisture sensors that remained permitted.

In the cloning vats things grew.

This is but a snippet, gentle reader, that I hope you enjoy. I have all of the ideas in place now and just need to see how they will hang together. Things always change as I write them and what I envision when I start out is rarely what the final tale is. Characters will do what they will and I am often just telling their story they way they would have me tell it. K.