“Aliens” is a very popular movie, so there were lots of fans who love seeing cosplays from that film. It was one of the tallest costumes at the con so it even got a lot of attention from people who weren’t familiar with the source.
I got stuck on the idea of using stilts for a costume this year and I love the movies Alien and Aliens. However, the idea that a Power Loader costume could actually be POSSIBLE never occurred to me until I saw the Halloween episode of Community where Troy and Abed dressed up as the characters.
Seeing that just made it seem…….doable. So I decided to go for it and just started building. It ended up MUCH bigger than originally planned but I’m pretty happy with how it came out. It’s kind of crazy what you can accomplish if you just convince yourself you CAN. Even if the idea of the finished product feels overwhelming..….just START. Start on something and just keep going till it’s done.
When I started planning, my main focus was logistics. I needed something I could move in and transport in my car. I built the costume in 5 pieces. Everything was build out of foam and cardboard for the least amount of weight.
For the feet, I decided to go with the lowest sturdiest drywall stilts I could find on the market. I am not a stilt walker, and wanted stilts that are steady for beginners. I build the leg around the stilt with lightweight insulation foam. I decided to have the lower half only wrap around the leg below the calf. The upper leg was outer only and hooked to my belt loop. This allowed MUCH easier movement. I could also fold down the upper part to make for easier transport.
The pack was built around a backpack I bought. I recommend a better harness to anyone building their own. The weight was uncomfortable with the cheap straps. I wanted the arms to be both removable and have dynamic movement. The idea to link the joint by a utility strap worked really well. It gave the arm just as much movement as it would have with a real ball joint.
Originally I had hoped for the build to be something I could put on and take off by myself. In the end, I could not get arms clicked in or the top half on without assistance. I was very lucky to have found a friend to act as my handler for the weekend. It was impossible to get in and out alone. Crowd control also became a necessity. While the stilts were fairly sturdy, the pack was a little top heavy and there was a possibility that if someone had bumped into me or thrown off my balance, I would have fallen.
You should never assume that every person will recognize your cosplay character/source, but some of the misidentifications were kind of funny. I was called a transformer quite a lot, mech suite, and robot girl. My favorite was when a girl came up and said, “Woah, check it out! It’s a Rock-em-Sock-em Robot!”
My favorite part was seeing the reactions of all the little kids. To them I was just a cool robot, but I still liked seeing the awe on their little faces.
My least favorite part was when someone would automatically assume that I did not build my own cosplay. There were times someone would go up to my MALE helper and ask how long it took HIM to make the Power Loader, without even speaking to me at all. He’d correct them of course. It didn’t happen often, but it happened enough to be annoying. Overall people were very interested in my work and I got to discuss my build details and answer questions.
This is only the second major cosplay I’ve created. I’m still fairly new to the community. But I had a blast at the con, and made some new friends. Before this cosplay I hadn’t done an ambitious creative project in quite a while. I forgot how much I loved creative work. Setting a goal that is challenging and achieving it is something I need more of in my life. I will definitely continue with projects in the future.
It’s an ambitious project but very achievable if you put your mind to it. I’ll be posting a detailed instructable with more details about the build. I’d love to see more people attempting this cosplay and seeing the designs get better and better.