May I introduce: Vanessa VanCleef!
Published on Feb 20, 2012
Wow, the last two weeks were more than just exhausting! They tried to killed me!
Cosplayers surely know this situation: A project has to be done till a fixed date, you’re costume is already almost done and only just some tiny little details are missing. The only problem is: Until the end you tried to delay these work steps because they would cost a lot of time and work. So, everything is done and you start with this part. You work and work and work and after many hours and even days there is still too less progress. My missing costume parts were my pauldrons and details at boots and bracers. I was till the end not sure how to create the pauldrons and experimented a lot, but the final look was a result of a coincidence and luck.
My deadline came closer and closer and so I had no time for many layers of painters tape, newspaper and paper mache. I searched for a better replacement of this method and especially wanted something which is more solid and lightweight. After my experiments with my Protoss Wizard mask I noticed that acrlic texture past would be a fitting material and started to cover the expanding foam directly with this stuff. I also filled all of the holes which was the reason why everything became very solid and durable. In addition I was also able to carve and to sand it pretty easy. The only problem was, that it tooks a pretty long time until it became dry enough to work with. Thick layers of this stuff needed even more than two days and I still planned to add more layers and to sculpt with it. Well, but that was time which I didn’t had. So, I had to find a solution for this problem and remebered that I still had some lightweight modeling clay left somewhere. It was pretty easy to work with and it linked nicely with the acrylic texture paste. So, some huge clay plates and even some scales followed until I noticed that this was the perfect solution for my problem and a great material combination for a real looking and detailed shape of my pauldron.
Sadly this modeling clay breaked pretty easy and it was the wrong material for spikes, which were still missing. I also remembered that a friend of me, who is also distributor of Kobra Cast, sent my a sample of his new product Worbla’s Finest Art some weeks ago and I was curious if this would maybe a good solution. Well, I experimented with it for some minutes and was just stunned. It was perfect and super easy to work with. I just needed to heat it a bit and got a great workable material which became pretty hard and solid after it was cold again. And with some help of Wonderflex I also got some great base for the ears.
 So, some hours of sculpting followed but at the end I’ve got a great result:
Time was running out and so I had to work as fast as possible. While the first pauldron was already done and my wonderful husband could start with the paintjob I begun to finish the second version.

Benni was really an awesome help and I doubt that I would be able to finish this part in time without him. Both pauldrons turned out just amazing and I guess these were the best ones I’ve ever created!
Despite of I have to admid, that I’m not complete satisfied with the finaly result. I planned to add a fluid inside, because the reference of the red part shows a globe filled of blood. I already had the material for this, but deciced against this solution since it was to risky for me. At my job I have to travel a lot with this costume and so I just was afraid of a damage of the globes. The liquid inside would ruin my whole costume and I guess, this result is fine too. In addition I think the pauldrons turned out a bit too small, which I really didn’t planned. I always used a globe of 20 cm diameter, but this time it was just too less. So, my costume has not these bulky and huge look of the reference, but I’m also okay with this.

Finding the right material for the boot covers was also a problem. I tried it with jersey, which didn’t work because I had to fix the leather parts on it. (Rivets and jersey fabric don’t work!) Fake leather was also a try but not the right solution. At the end I used real leather and built it like a further armor part. Luckely this worked greatly!

Sadly that’s all of my progress picture. Last week I reached a point when I even didn’t found any time to take pictures. Since I had to leave the house at 1:30 pm at Thursday to get my flight and it was already Wednesday I became a bit… stressed. At the evening both pauldrons were done, boots, bracers and belts got their fixing and only one part were missing. I even thought I could relax again. But sadly because a mistake (used again the wrong material for a costume part) I lost a half day of time and had to start again at zero. I was super tired, my hands looked awful and the deadline came closer and closer and so no time for sleep left. While Benni tried to find some energy for the trip to Cannes at the next day I’ve worked the whole night and rushed as much as I could. He left the house for work at the morning and I still had to sit on my sewing machine, full of panic and stress. At 1 pm the came home to pick me up for the flight and I was… happy, releaved and done!
Sadly I was not able to finish the daggers in time (which will do next week), but the costume was ready for the first Darkmoon Faire in Europe, my suitcase was filled and we both took the flight to Nice. (By the way: Benni was the official photographer there.) At the next day I tried my costume the very first time and was just stunned. Almost everything worked like I planned, fixing was well and the costume fitted perfectly! The event could start!
Benni and I even found some time for a little photoshoot and since the location of the event was directly on the beach of Cannes, it was just perfect to get some in-character photos.
Now I’m just sitting at the airport in Nice and waiting for my flight back to Nuremberg. The event was just awesome, I had really a lot of fun and I’m SO thankful to have such an amazing job! If you’re curious what my duty there were just check this great feature. At this point I would like to thank Cryptozoic for the awesome support and sponsorship for this costume, the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game for such a great part time job and my wonderful Apothoesis Agency for all the love, kindness and help! Also thank to all my readers and followers for all these amazing comments, advices and motivation! I love all of you!
And now it’s time to fly back to home, clean the workspace and start with the preparation for the next project! Please check out my facebook page to find new progress and keep also creative and busy!

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Written by Benni

| Writer, Full-Time Costume Maker

We are self-employed artists, writers and costume makers currently living in Germany. We love to help the crafting community by creating YouTube videos, writing books and by sharing the current progress of our projects on social media. In our shop you can also find crafting patterns to help you with your own projects!


  1. Sweet! You look like a new enemy on the power rangers.

  2. Well, at the end I used an acrylic globe as a base and painted it with nail polish and acrlic paint inside. It’s surely not the same effect, but I guess it looks okay despite of.

    Oh, and thanks a lot, guys! Always enjoy to share my work with you! :)

  3. Your costumes always look so amazing. It is really interesting to see the way your objects turn from expandable foam to AWESOME. :D

  4. I love the curled up dragon! Well done! *cheer*

  5. So, how did you do the “liquid” in the globes in the end? What material did yo use to create this look? Just super curious xD


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