I was working on a Stormtrooper armor while watching the new Toy Story movie when I came up with this idea – how cool it would be to combine them together ! I really like Star Wars, and I’m a big fan of the Toy Story series too. I thought it would look badass to mash these two together and make a Buzz Stormtrooper!
I searched through the internet, and found some concept art, but they were a lot more like Buzz and less like a Stormtrooper. Then I came across @hendoart who actually made a crossover like this, so I was mainly inspired by their work.
The cosplay was a lot more challenging than everything else I made before. I never made this much armor before, and also this was my first helmet. In addition, I only had one month to make it. I got the patterns from Christian Alvárez on Etsy. The guy is reliable and super helpful, and the patterns were easy to assemble. I had to adjust and redesign some pieces, but without him, I would not have been able to finish the costume on time.
My main material was EVA foam, I used 6mm for my armor and 10 mm for the wings, which have built in PVC pipes for more stability. It was primed with Plastidip and painted with spray paints. Here, I made the biggest mistake one can make. I used standard spray paints which are not really flexible and would not recommend to anyone, because it cracks.
I had only one week to paint the whole armor so I needed to cover as much as possible as soon as possible. I was very afraid that it was going to look bad. I was very careful with putting it on and off, so it was ok, but I would recommend airbrush or any flexible paint and not spray cans. It was not only stiff, but also too expensive.
Although EVA foam is an affordable material, my costume costs around $800, just because the expensive paints and primers! I spent over 200 hours on this costume in one month with a full-time job, so it was physically and mentally challenging. I think it was worth it though, because I learned so many things I can use in the future.
I was on campus enjoying the spring weather between two classes when I saw a few people dressed like anime characters doing a photo shoot. I thought about how cool that was. They didn’t care about what other people thought of them, they put their costumes on and they are one with their favorite characters.
I was really upset with myself back then, I was thinking I have no actual talent in anything and my life felt kinda meaningless. Then one day a talented photographer of mine asked me to take some photos, and some of them kinda looked like a video game character. I was thinking I could try to make a thematic shooting next time, and maybe make a prop as well.
So I did my first Tomb Raider, which was kinda low budget, more like a closet cosplay. My first armor came 2 months later, which seems very primitive now compared to my latest costumes, but I was super proud I managed to make a full armor, with self sewn clothing and chainmail without any idea about anything back then. This was my first costume I brought to a comic con, so I was super nervous, but the people were amazing, very supportive and nice. I still have this armor, to remind myself how much I grew since then. It is really important to remind yourself that you are getting better and better, especially when everything seems to go wrong and it is hard to find motivation.
Cosplay basically helped me to find my inner harmony. I’m a person that constantly needs to be creative, otherwise, I get bored or even worse, depressed. Cosplay is an art that requires many skills, such as working with different materials, sanding and molding, sculpting, painting, sewing, wig making etc. so you get instantly better with each project. It is inspiring and also empowering to bring your favorite characters to life. It gives you confidence and makes you proud of yourself. It basically helped me to discover a talent I didn’t know I had and ever since I’m trying to use these skills to make art. It teaches one to be patient, to be focused, and to solve problems, which is not only useful in cosplay, but also in life generally. It is not easy, nor is it cheap, but it is a wonderful art that needs to be appreciated.