I always love seeing people’s faces light up when they recognize their favorite character alive and moving in front of them. At PAX South, one person in particular was gushing pretty strongly. They remarked how incredible it was to see their idol realized right in front of them and thanked me several times for bringing Moira to life. This was a particularly touching moment for me. Hopefully, there will be more at future conventions!
I decided to cosplay Moira quite some time ago (over a year) and I wanted to pick a character that would let me practice new fabrication techniques (3D modeling/printing, airbrushing) and included a lot of electronic effects. Moira has a lot of armor pieces and props, and features a lot of lights that change color with her attacks in-game, so picking her fit well with my goals. Additionally, I was already a fan of Moira’s design and personality in the game. I really enjoy her dark, almost villainous style.
I could write a book on this. Constructing Moira required drawing from several artistic domains such as 3D modeling, 3D printing, needlework, electronics, airbrushing, and resin casting. Most of her rigid armor pieces were modeled in Fusion 360 and printed in PLA plastic. They were then finished to a smooth surface with XTC-3D and sandpaper, and then airbrushed with Vallejo airbrush paints. A few armor parts that had to remain flexible were constructed from EVA foam, sealed with plastidip, then painted with Vallejo paints as well. The pants, undershirt, and sleeves were all sewn together using custom patterns. The pants is mostly double-layered jersey in a few different colors along with a little carbon fiber print fabric on the back of the calves.
The undershirt is a milliskin lycra with a ton of bias tape sewn on top to create the spiderwebbing patterns. Lastly the sleeves are a dark grey cotton twill on the outer surface, rayon lining on the inner surface, and have a metallic satin on the cuffs. The lights are all Neopixel LEDs (there are more than 1600 in the whole costume) controlled by two Arduino microcontrollers and powered by several large batteries. They are set up to change color between purple and yellow with a button trigger, to get the same effect as in the games.
To get a good diffusion of light, many of the diffusion filters on the armor were resin cast with a small amount of white pigment. Other areas including the tube use polyethylene foam and/or nylon diffusion fabric to get a good glow.
Cosplay has been my artistic outlet for a great many years now. I’ve learned an incredible amount, and not just technical skills – I’ve learned about myself and how I handle successes and failures, I’ve learned how to manage large projects and how much time really goes into creation. I’ve also made a great many good friends through cosplay, which has given me a strong sense of community that I have not found in other aspects of life.
All the PAX cons (South, West, East) are what I would call interactive conventions. The focus is on gaming experiences, both digital and physical, with various large and indie companies bringing demos of their newest material to try out. I particularly enjoy PAX for that very fact – it is highly interactive and doesn’t rely on purchases and consumerism to be interesting.