Something from the vault today! And no it isn’t a Borderlands final boss. Here are some photos of one of my much older projects: a cosplay of Chell from Valve’s Portal 2. This dates from 2011 and was probably my first “proper”costume attempt. It was very much trial and error: there’s so much that I’d do differently were I to attempt this costume again now (including working out; which is something I do regularly now but didn’t back then – and sadly it showed!) So it’s not great, but I thought I’d share it anyway for two reasons: (1) I’ve always found it quite interesting to see how other people’s cosplay efforts have evolved other time (2) I’m still pretty proud of what B and I achieved here with only a limited idea of what we were doing and an even more limited budget!
More pics and commentary after the jump…
I’ve only been really been active in the local cosplay community for the past year or so but I’ve been making geeky costumes in one form or another for much longer than that – probably about 7 years now. It all started off from what used to be an annual tradition of dressing up on New Year’s Eve for a house party with some our local friends. Since most of our pals are fairly geeky, we tended to gravitate towards dressing as characters from games. It was just for fun: the levels of effort put in and success achieved with these costumes varied a lot, but the amount of fun we had wearing them was always consistently high, and that’s what matters most.
B and I put together the Chell costume (and a silly Space Core head for him) for a New Year party to see in 2012. The initial plan was just that I’d grab myself a boilersuit and we’d papier mâché a funny mask for B. It was never meant to be a serious cosplay effort, just a bit of fun for the party and an expression of love for a computer game that we had both happily let swallow much of our lives that year. But then we got almost as in to the costuming as we had done the game, and suddenly, there we were building a light up portal gun! Cosplay isn’t just a thing you can do; it’s a thing that can happen to you.
These photos were taken by Sadie (Aim for Fabulous) and Dominique (who has a blog about crafts at Miss Double Dom) in an empty multi-story carpark which is the closest thing our hometown has to an Aperture Science looking facility! The main thing I remember from this photoshoot was how freezing cold it was – it was late evening in January after all! Looking back, that rather makes a change from hot I now get wearing all that foam as Slipstream!
We built the portal gun out of foam, tupperware, some random wiring and a kiddies’ toy light up wand. It ought to have been a tiny bit shorter in the barrel but for the amount we spent on it I don’t think it came out too badly. I’m sad we don’t still have it actually, the gun was one of the casualties of an extremely rushed and panicked house move B and I had to undertake a few years back. Still, the photos are quite fun to look back on – I hope you think so too!
On reflection I think the most significant thing about the experience of working on my Chell costume – and especially of building the portal gun, my first time using any sort of foam – is that this was probably what opened my eyes to just how much fun costume making can be. Cosplay, I discovered, isn’t just for new year, it’s for life!
Speaking of which, there should be a work in progress update for you on my Borderlands Tannis costume coming soon.