Decepticon Caliber

I’ve always deeply loved Transformers, especially as a kid. Soundwave was always a personal favorite! My love for TF was reignited in full force in 2016, and in late 2017-early 2018, I decided that it was high time I consider tackling a TF-related cosplay, especially for DragonCon. I wanted to challenge myself! G1 Soundwave, a classic favorite, seemed like something that I might be able to pull off decently well given what I thought would be a “simpler” angular design with lots of simplistic boxy shapes and harder edges. In the end, after MUCH blood, sweat, tears, and burns, I succeeded and unleashed him at DragonCon 2018, bringing him back again to DragonCon 2019 with some much needed upgrades! 

Deciding this year that I also wanted to do something else to tack on to the original build, I turned my nose up at the cannon in favor of one of his cassettes, which ended up being Laserbeak. Ravage, my actual favorite is already inside his chest, which does, in fact, open and can be swapped out! Laserbeak was intended to ride on my shoulder and forearm, but due to some last-minute constraints (and a slight mechanical failure), I wasn’t actually able to make this happen. Instead, Laserbeak got plenty of solo spotlight time throughout the con, and while looking after the Cybertronic Spree merch table! He was very popular!

Soundwave and Laserbeak both are constructed primarily out of different thicknesses of EVA foam, along with some additional elements like various plastics and metals. Rare Earth magnets serve as the holding mechanisms that keep some things such as the door, the shoulder cannon, the eject button, and the mask in place. Laserbeak’s construction is predominantly ¼”inch EVA foam, and uses insulated copper wire and sculpting wire as the main means of articulation. 

His neck, however, is formed from numerous ball-and-socket linkages that allow for some VERY stunning swan-like neck flexibility! An LED that lights his eyes are situated firmly in his head, but sports long lead wires through that flexible neck all the way down into the body cavity, where a 2AA battery pack is stored and connected by a removable tab. There was a switch at one point, but the solder broke last minute so I had to make due wiring it directly.  The same style of LED connected to a 2AA battery pack is also featured in Soundwave’s right leg in the form of the red “REC/BATT” light! Soundwave also sports an incredible strong speaker in the back which I had playing music this year, as in 2018, the only complaint I (repeatedly) got was that I didn’t play music! 

One main issue I have encountered with Soundwave is the inability to move my arms particularly well. The range of motion was slightly increased when I hacked a little off the bottoms of the “bicep” segments this year, but I still have issues getting my arms in front of myself due to the big ol’ boxy chest in the way! This has led to some really amusing incidents (and photos!) of things like people holding drinks for me while I drink them, scratching my nose for me, or stuffing food into my mouth, and other such similar things. I’ve actually gotten quite good at opening and drinking from water bottles without using my hands! 

The funniest incident, however, was when Soundwave was having his maiden voyage at DCon18, and I still hadn’t worked out the kinks yet. Friday afternoon, I’d been in Soundwave for about three hours I think, when something gave way. I had originally made a sort of bar piece that went across the groin of the costume from front to back and was held in with velcro. Well, I could feel that one of the velcro ends had given way and the bar was now dangling. Unable to correct this embarrassing problem myself, I solicited the help of an awesome stranger. Leaning over I asked him, “Can you do me a REALLY big favor? … Can you grab my crotch and pull it off?” The piece was hanging down the back of my legs like a tail!! Thankfully, this awesome guy obliged and tore my crotch bar off me (and shoved it into my forearm cavity for later recovery). After that, he looked after me, gave me water, and had some MARVELOUS photoshoots with me! We became quick friends and have been close in touch ever since!

Cosplay has been a huge part of my life since I started in 2004 after meeting some of my amazing cousins at a funeral. Introduced to cosplay and conventions, I was hooked on life ever since! Up until recently, my skills were more or less limited entirely to the sewing side of things. After discovering worbla and realizing my strengths and weaknesses with it, I wanted to give the crisp look of EVA a try when I noticed its dramatic rise in popularity. Soundwave was my first ever EVA build, crunched out in a ridiculously short amount of time. Hearing the wonderful compliments and praises of it since his debut in 2018, I’ve been looking to up my game more and more and learning so many new things in such a short amount of time! 

Cosplay has given me an incredible and healthy outlet for my creativity, and conventions give me moments to look forward to with great excitement that just keeps spurring me on! Through cosplay, I have made SO many incredible friends that I never would have made without it! It’s opened doors for me, given me a sense of purpose, and most of all, helps me bring joy to others through their reactions to seeing my hard work (and me acting like a fool in it)!

Decepticon Caliber

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