Cosplay 2015: The Plan

Meet Slipstream.

You’ll be seeing a lot more of her this year.

Screencap from Transformers Animated episode 41 'Endgame, Part I'

Screencap from Transformers Animated epsode 41 ‘Endgame, Part I’

As TFWiki neatly put it, she’s “the Starscream clone that raises the most questions.”

  • Just how did an alleged clone of a male character end up female?
  • Precisely which aspect of Starscream’s personality does she embody?
  • Why does she hate her creator quite so much?

But my biggest question is

  • Where do I start with building a Slipstream cosplay?

Yes, my TF project for 2015 is going to be project Slipstream, based on her appearances in Transformers Animated (which are brief but, in my opinion, show-stealing.)

I had such a lovely, positive response to the write-up about my Arcee Cosplay (including a thumbs up from the amazing voice of Prime Arcee, Sumalee Montano herself – day/month/year made!)

This positivity has really inspired me to be more open about my cosplay. So I thought this time I’d share the work in progress, the plans, and the (inevitable) challenges I face as the costume (hopefully) comes together. Perhaps you’ll be able to help with tips and suggestions?

Why Slipstream?

Doing my Arcee was one the standout highlights of 2014. I’ve had so much fun wearing the costume, made new friends as a result, and building the thing was not only enjoyable but the focus really helped keep me sane and got me through quite a difficult period at work. Cosplay, folks, it’s medicinal! So I knew a 2nd TF costume would be on the cards in 2015 and the other thing I knew was that this time around I wanted to be a Decepticon..

Decepticon_LogoMuch as I love the Autobots, the Cons do have some of the standout characters in the franchise. I did my Postgrad studies in Jacobean drama, mostly revenge tragedies, and I’ve always felt that with all the backstabbing and betrayal, some of the Deceptions feel like they’ve minced right out of one of those plays. This is a very good thing. Plus, as I’ve learned from my interactions with various Aliens, Stormtroopers and Sith in the past few months, playing evil at a convention seems like a whole lot of fun!

So I’d chosen my faction, but who to portray? I was drawn to Starscream from the start. He’s such a great character and a lot of things I identified as pros when planning Arcee would also apply to him. He’s a less bulky build than many others. Also, he’s pretty girly – especially Prime Starscream – so I figured that’d give me a head start when it came to the mannerisms. I started collecting Prime Starscream screenshots and making a few sketches of how a costume might be made. But I still had doubts. There are few enough female Transformers and it’s a fandom where (certainly in my experience) you are definitely assumed to be male by default. One of the nice things about doing Arcee was getting to show the lady bots some love, I’d miss that as Starscream.

B and I have been watching through the whole run of Transformers Animated lately and as soon as I remembered Slipstream I realised she was the perfect way to have my Deception cake and eat it too: all the treacherous fun of being a Starscream, while still being a Femmebot. OK she’s not such an iconic a character but she’s very recognisably a Transformer, a Deception and a Seeker. To be honest, I found that even as Arcee a lot of people were asking ”which Transfomer are you?” So that’d be nothing new. I’m already anticipating telling people I’m a female clone of Starscream in as bitchy a way as possible. Oh, it’s going to be delicious.

Screencap from Transformers Animated epsode 41 ‘Endgame, Part I’

Plus, teal and purple are just so in this season, dahling!

But first things first, I’ve got to build this thing! B is going to help. So far we are just in the gathering materials and planning stage.

Practicalities

A few of the disjointed thoughts I’ve had so far are:

  • January is a great time to start a project like this. The new year sale in Millets has meant I’ve been able to buy a load of camping mats really cheaply. The majority of the chest piece can be camping mat foam.
  • But I’m also going to need more of the high quality rigid foam than I did for Arcee as the shoulders and wings are going to need to be firm.
  • I’m investigating acetate/plastic for the cockpit and eyes, maybe painted with those stained glass effect paints.
  • The leg-pieces can be constructed in a similar way to how I did Arcee’s but with less knee-spike.
  • No wheels to contend with – hooray!
  • I must wear heels under the leg pieces, for that authentic Starscream walk. I’ll probably have to buy some cheap heeled boots especially for this project because at 5’10” I don’t usually bother wearing them!
  • I’m going to use a silver corset for the waist piece, not only to make my waist look smaller like hers but also as the rigidness of the corset is a great way to support the foam.
  • I’m going to have to wear pants/mini-shorts over silver leggings aren’t I? Someone call the fashion police!
  • The wings are going to be the biggest challenge. They need to have some flexibility so I don’t just take out everyone around me. I’d also like them to fold so they can be transported more readily.
  • Null-rays! I didn’t do any weapons for Arcee but Null-rays here are a must. I’m very excited about the null-rays.
Yeah!

Yeah!

References:

  • I have screenshots from pretty much every time Slipstream is onscreen in TFA. The nice thing about her being a clone is that if I’m missing a detail I can look at Starscream or one of the other Seekers to learn more as they are all so similar.
  • With Arcee, I spent a lot of time looking at my toy of her. I went for screen accuracy over toy accuracy (because there are some notable differences) but it was very helpful to be able to measure proportions etc. I don’t have that luxury with Slipstream as the only toy of her is a rare collector’s edition. However, Prime Starscream is quite a useful toy to look at to understand her composition, and I do have him.
  • B is also working on a Custom TF project to mod the garish awful Beast Hunters Starscream into a Slipstream figure. I’m sure he’ll be posting about that here as it progresses, but this will doubtlessly be a useful reference for me too.
  • Portraying a character from Transformers Animated is a mixed blessing. On the one hand the looser, more cartoonish art style makes it harder to translate from screen to costume and to understand just how the pieces all fit together in the real world. But at the same time the variability of the source material gives me more scope to be creative with how I solve certain problems without losing the flavor of the character.  The brighter colours will definitely make this costume fun to paint too!

So, this is where I am. Lots of details to work out yet but I’m feeling excited and ready to get stuck in. I’m going to start mapping things out in cardboard first.

Let’s do this!*

Screencap from Transformer Animated Episode 29. ''A Bridge Too Close, Part II''

Screencap from Transformer Animated Episode 29. ”A Bridge Too Close, Part II”

 *She’s actually saying “go for the knees” here but that doesn’t really fit my theme.
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6 thoughts on “Cosplay 2015: The Plan

  1. Loving your documentation on this – Best of luck with this project! 🙂 I can’t wait to see how the end product looks like, since I can imagine the quality will be as great as your last cosplay!

    Like

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