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Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Posts tagged “Crafting

Top 10 Annoying Mechanics

GeekOut Top 10s

Have you ever picked up a game and just gotten utterly frustrated at it? I know we have, but many of us are subjected to these annoying mechanics and we just put up with it. Have no fear, you’re not alone in getting angry, or outright flabbergasted as to why developers would leave these in. You chose this, so don’t get angry at us if we feature the most annoying mechanic to you, because we’re here to educate everyone about what games do in this week’s Top 10.

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Common Wargame Scenery Materials

Whether your buying pre-made, building from a kit or crafting for yourself, when making scenery for tabletop wargames or RPGs there are a few materials that are most commonly used due to ease, price, and effectiveness. You can use anything you like of course, but there are some definite favourites, and it’s a surprisingly common conversation.

Here’s a few things to consider when deciding how to populate your table. (more…)


Video Game Preview – Three Days

Are you a fan of SCP games? Then look no further than Three Days, a survival horror game by Lewis Bergin and Eloise of GorePixelGames. Join Timlah as we check out this upcoming Steam title which is already available for Early Access.

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Apollo Justice – OBJECTION!

It’s late, I know, but I wanted to share with you all how my Apollo Justice costume is coming about. Did I even make it? What was the silly delay all about? It’s time to talk through not just the hows but the whys of how this costume has come about. It’s time to put on our wristband, point with our arms stretched outright and accuse the prosecution of lies and slander – Here’s my Apollo Justice cosplay, with a full walk through on everything I am doing for this costume.

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Firstly, the easy bits:

Buying things

The things that I bought were the white shirt and the blue tie. I wanted this costume to have a homemade suit so I could get that just right, but I also wanted some level of professionalism just in case something went pear-shaped. The white shirt cost me £6.99 and the tie cost me £2.50. I’d recommend checking out eBay for this level of offer and I’m not going to lie… I really like my shirt and tie!

Along with the shirt and tie, I also bought a pair of smart shoes.

The hair

I am actually using my own hair. I didn’t want to get a wig for this, I wanted to use my real hair. So I grew my hair out to be nice and long and I’m going to head off to the barbers, before I get myself some hair gel and boom. I’ll have myself a proper Apollo Justice hairstyle. If you’ve got long brown hair and want to do this look, simply use some thick hair gel to slick your hair all the way back and don’t forget to get a big clump of hair from your fringe for the antenna.

Of course, that doesn’t explain why these antenna seemingly defy gravity and logic, but that’s a simple explanation. That’ll be wire that’s keeping the clumps up! Just two small bits of wire. I’m going to be wearing a really thin wire piece around my head, burying it somewhat into my hair. It will be done in such a way that you shouldn’t be able to see it, but if you were to go behind the antenna, you should be able to see the wire.

The suit

The suit was of course the most daunting piece of the whole costume. From start to finish, I was worried that I’d never get this suit made and that I’d ruin the fabrics I bought for it. For my first ever attempt at sewing a suit, however, I think I’ve done an alright job. However, I didn’t make the patterns for this entirely from scratch. I modified one pattern and the other pattern was basically spot on for Apollo’s trousers.

For the trousers, I used Burda style pattern 6933 which is a really basic formal trousers pattern for men. I think this was a nice one to work with, as everything was included within this pattern. Seam and hem allowances, a belt hold area, zipper, etc. It was pretty easy over all, once I read through the instructions in the pattern. As such, would I recommend using shop-bought patterns? Absolutely. I made a few pairs of trousers using various materials, since I have so many… But honestly, most I won’t wear out. The Apollo one however, I may be tempted to use again in the future at least!

For the vest again I used a Burda pattern, this one was simply called “Men’s Waistcoat 04/2013 #136”. That’s not very inventive, Burda, but I get it! Anyhow, I looked over the pattern several times and it wasn’t spot on to what I was looking for. I needed to modify this pattern. First, I needed a lapel (the bit where the jacket comes in over itself, if you see it?) and I needed some more slit pockets. Nothing to worry about! The slit pockets were already included, so it was a case of adding in the lapel and just copying the slit pocket designs. Once I had everything drawn out, sewing it was not that tricky.

Overall, I don’t know why I was panicking. What do you think of my first proper sewing job?! Let me know!

The Badge and The Bracelet

The Badge was actually quite simple and I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing this before…

The Badge in the Ace Attorney series is a staple of making Apollo and indeed Phoenix. All I did was took some foam board and… Get ready for this… I will be heat gun melting some Worbla over it. This gave that sunken effect. All I had to do was pierce the back with a pin, add the pin into it and boom. I’d have the Defence Attorneys badge.

The Wristband you’d think would be tougher, but actually, it wasn’t so bad at all. I got a lot of ideas from Cosplay Tutorials, where the very first accessory in the list is Apollo Justices’ Bracelet. Check out the tutorial I was looking at.

OBJECTION!

I couldn’t help it. I’m making myself a super goofy OBJECTION! sign, so I could hold it up to object people whenever I was out and about. Why will I be doing this? I’ll never know, but hey – It’s a funny extra piece to carry around with me. It helps to cement the character for who he is, as we’re all familiar with Ace Attorneys use of the word.

To make this, all I’ll be doing is getting a picture of it up on The GIMP, then blow it up. I’ll blew it up to an A4 size, stuck it to a piece of foam core and cut carefully. That is literally all I have to do for this, but just in case you’d like to make your own OBJECTION! sign, stick around as I’ll be documenting the whole day of crafting.

Fun-extra uses for the OBJECTION! sign

Why not stick it on a spring? Get a way to attach this to a spring and go for it! Let it bounce around with you, or you can keep it down and activate a trigger to let this pop up outta the blue. I’d be curious to see what sort of contraptions people could come up with for an OBJECTION! sign!

 


 

That’s it. Apollo should be complete today and will ready to be taken out to the world. In the future, I will likely add to the list of Apollo Justice stuff. I might go so far as to make the blue jacket I shown in the design I was originally going for. The blue jacket doesn’t belong to him, but is a pivotal part of his character development in Dual Destinies… So if you’ve not seen it, don’t worry, I’ll spoil nothing about that.

Stick around through the rest of the day for updates on the costume. Let me know in the comments below, over on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for baring with me on this one. I’ll have some more cosplay progress pictures and stuff in the coming weeks! I will be test-wearing Apollo out tomorrow for the GeekOut South-West August ’15 Meetup, but I’ll also be wearing this for one day in Cardiff Anime and Gaming Convention when I’m off staffing duties.


Cosplay Skill: Mould Making

Understandably, this is a skill that most people shy away from. It’s a real shame, too. They use this skill in the props industry as it’s a great way to get many pieces out relatively simply. Having attended a panel on mould making, I now want to delve deeper into the world of mould making and understand how it all works. Over the coming weeks, I hope to be able to get all of the required equipment and tools to make good moulds and start casting.

But first, it helps to understand what mould making is exactly and why people do it. In ye olden days (heck, even today), a blacksmith would create a mould which they would cast their molten metal into. This is the process of casting. So you have two parts to this: Moulds and Casts. Simple enough to understand.

3310_-_Athens_-_Stoà_of_Attalus_Museum_-_Mould_-_Photo_by_Giovanni_Dall'Orto,_Nov_9_2009

Credit: Wikipedia

Equipment – What do I need?

You will need at least the following for your moulds and :

  • Respirator
  • Goggles
  • Apron
  • Sharp knife
  • Disposable pots (see through plastic cups are the best for this)
  • Disposable sticks (for stirring)
  • Old clothes (… You may get some on you).
  • Hot Glue Gun (And hot glue stick…)
  • Your mould materials (more on that later)
  • Disposable pan (or area to make the mould)
My equipment

My equipment

I learned some cool things from the panel. If you want to break something from hot glue, apply 99% proof alcohol to the hot glue. It dissolves the glue, allowing you to easily peel off whatever you stuck down with alcohol. Useful tip! Also, if you don’t have a disposable pan for making a mould, why not use foam board (also known as foam core)? Cut it to size, stick it down with hot glue and wham – You have a container for your mould!

Buying a respirator

There’s a bit more to buying a respirator than first meets the eye, it seems. A respirator is simply something you put over your nose and mouth to prevent yourself breathing in fumes, dust, chemicals etc. When you work with resins, you will want to make sure you work in a well ventilated area and you use proper protective gear. This comes later, but it’s important to note that if you work with fibreglass (common in the UK), you will need a respirator and goggles, along with other protective gear. This is because you will be breathing in glass without a respirator… and from what the panel taught us, that means you will be coughing up blood. Be careful and be safe.

You will want to get a respirator with replaceable filters. I’ve gone for a 3M 7500, which cost me about £25 with filters. You can get it cheaper, but just be careful with what you get. Read the instructions on what your filters are for, as well as read the instructions on how to use the respirator. Your eye protection/goggles shouldn’t necessarily cost any more than £10.

Make a mould

This is surprisingly easy. It’s a case of getting the materials from a website such as MBFG.

To start off, you’ll need to buy some silicone. There are other materials to use when making moulds, but silicone seems to be really simple to use and can make quite a few moulds in the long run. Here’s an example of mould silicone that you may want to consider when making a mould.

You’ll need an area, a container of some kind, to keep the silicone in. Once you’ve gotten that, pour in your silicone over an object you’re going to be making a mould of. Perhaps you’ll want to make a mould of an existing object, such as a model. If you use the foam board tip from above, you can make a foam container relatively inexpensively and cut it to size. Stick it together with hot glue, stick your model to the base of the foam container and pour in your silicone. The above video is a good example of someone creating a mould and casting an object, so you can see just how it’s done.

Once I’ve made my first mould, I’ll write a post about it. We’re hoping to launch a GeekOut Newsletter fairly soon, so perhaps we’ll include it as a unique post for the newsletter for those of you who are interested in what happens around our GeekOut activities.

That’s it for this issue, hopefully it’s at least a little be interesting. Have you ever made a mould before? Have you ever cast an object before? Let us know in the comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter.


Cosplay update – Open Discussion

I don’t have nearly enough of my costumes done right now, so I’m keeping this one short and sweet. Pictures and posts following my costumes will swing by next week when we’re really down to the wire (again!)

Today, I thought I’d ask some interesting questions to you, the cosplay and indeed the geek community. Consider this a Cosplayer Highlight, where the audience is going to participate and let us know what they’d do. So without any further adieu, I’m going to ask some questions. I’ll answer the questions and also pose them to you as well.

Cosplay can even bring the silly out of you.

Cosplay can even bring the silly, childish joy out of you.

Q: What do you think the most important aspect of a Cosplay is?

A: Enjoying the character. The costume is nearly secondary (Very nearly). You see, whilst having the best costume in the world is awesome and really helps to boost you as a cosplayer, it’s not as much fun to go around in the best costume in the world, if you can’t interact with people as if you were that character. My Original Character (OC) Oskar, is one of the costumes you might have seen me post the most about. Not only am I proud of what I’ve made on there, but I love how easy it is to move around as him and to catch people off guard. He’s a funny little guy, who I can’t help but use to bring a bit of fun to any event I attend. People usually ask for pictures with him, anyway!

Q: What’s the most important skill to learn in Cosplay?

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A: Whichever skill you need to know to make your costume. Whilst it’s all well and good turning and saying the most commonly used skill (Sewing), which is indeed an important skill to have in your repertoire, you can do just as well without knowing sewing what so ever. If you want to make armour, you could potentially make it all out of cardboard, foam, worbla (if you had the money!) You name it really. So in terms of individual skills, I’d almost say the most important skill is to learn to learn.

If I had to pick a specific skill that has helped me the most: It’s pattern making. From clothes, to making patterns for props, that has been the one thing that’s stood out for me as the most useful skill. I’m still learning… But if you would rather digitise this process, there is software out there for you.

Q: How old is too old for a Cosplayer?

A: Now, I’ve heard this question used a lot and I have to admit – I almost find it offensive. I didn’t start Cosplaying until I was 23 which is considered a little bit older than most would start Cosplaying. I had wanted to do it from when I was around 13-15. I was heavily into anime, loved me some comics – I was a typical geek who used to love to read and watch. Problem was I had no feasible means to start. Now, I find the question almost offensive because I once was told: “Aren’t you a little old to be playing dress up?” I felt it was such a weird thing to ask, so I retorted to the lady “Thanks for your concern, however this is my form of a hobby. I must ask back now, what is your hobby?”

Weirdly, she had no answer… It was a bit of a strange situation. I turned the question back on her and she couldn’t give me a proper answer. I always believed people need hobbies and passions in their lives. It’s what motivates me and drives me… So as an extra question to the age question: What’s fandom without a bit of colour?

Q: How young is too young for a cosplayer?

A: Stop.

Read above.

Change the words in my answer from “Old” to “Young”.

Next question.

Q: I would love to begin Cosplaying but I am not very creative. How can I get started?

2015-07-16 10.31.33

Creativity comes in all forms.

A: For those who don’t know much about me, I’m not really the most creative of people. I try my best, but I’m not going to lie: I struggle to see a lot of things in the same way that a creative mind sees things. I’m always concerned that my lack of creativity would result in me not getting projects finished. I’ve not finished many costumes, the more that I think about it… But I’ve finished enough. The way I got started was by looking up cosplayers who have done my favourite costumes and try to understand their thought process.

If you’re the sort of person who tries to be the best from the first costume, then you might want to buy a costume and practice being the character over the crafting. If you were confident in the crafting, but not the acting, why not make some things and just walk around in these things for a day?

 

Well, that’s it – Let me know your answers to these simple questions. Sorry today was a short post and sorry if you were expecting pictures. They are on their way, but just… Not yet! Let me know what your answers are below, over on Facebook or Twitter.


Side bar, Geek Events and more!

Have you noticed that we have a few new things on the side bar of the website? For the record, have you seen that we even have a new menu option at the top of the website too? A simple post to reflect these small changes!

Bostin Blam

Bostin Blam

The first of the changes to the website is the link to Bostin Blam. This is a wonderful website run by fellow Bristolian Xenia Randle, a fellow geek and cosplayer who is looking to do more bespoke cosplays for people. She really enjoys the sense of community spirit that geek culture promotes so heavily.

I really enjoyed reading about her work with the Ewok hoods, so if you’re a fan of Star Wars and you want to help support local creators and crafters like Xenia, please go and purchase one of those. They look amazing!

If the Ewok Hoods don’t take your fancy then why not have a look at their selection of badges?

Eventide, an Audiobook

5b6cc3d8c5bb9d7fee70ea53fef13e59_originalSo I did a Kickstarter Highlight last week which was a look at writer Daniel Beazley’s campaign: Eventide, an Audiobook Production.

He needs your help to make his audiobook come to the light of day and honestly, from what I’ve seen from this guys work so far, this audiobook will be great. Daniel has also been kind enough to send me a book which I will be reviewing as soon as I’ve received and finished it – so big thank you to Daniel for his time and for letting me read his works. I’ll report back on here with an honest review and with a give-away!

In the mean time though, get to Kickstarter and help our fellow South-Westerner out!

UK Geek Events

Oh this was a big undertaking for me, even if the page isn’t that large yet.

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See, I’ve had to find 7 events for each of the umbrella categories that we cover here on GeekOut South-West and some of them were hidden really deep! Anime events and gaming events were always going to be easy to find and discuss, but what about the technology events? The sci-fi and fantasy? They all exist, but where are they?

Rather than focusing specifically on a particular area, I’ve begun to build up the page. I want it to become a much larger list and I hope to be able to incorporate some more advanced features, such as searching by location, or searching on cost. What do you want to see out of that page? Also, if you know of any events that you think should be on there, be it a convention, a meetup or a festival, let me know about it.

Large crowd for pub quiz

Whenever we go to one of the events listed on there, we’ll provide a link to an article we’ve done on the event too. So please do check our new page out and let us know what you want to see out of it. I’ve spent a lot of time on it, so feedback is much appreciated.

Thanks to everyone who keeps reading GeekOut South-West for whatever reason they do. I hope that one day we can have an even bigger community to discuss and share with one another… But hey, community usually start small, so let’s keep supporting one another and all of geek culture! After all, fellow fans make some of the best friends in the world. If you’d like to see your event on the side bar one day, let us know what you’re doing by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or in the comments!


Robocraft

Robocraft is a free to download and free to play shooter/creative game which is available on Steam or via their official website. The game gained a lot of attention for the game is exactly what many people would want from a game – Creative for those who like to craft their wildest creations, destructive for those who just want to see exploding robots and strategic for those who love to think.

robocraft_logo

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Cosplay update – Deku Link

Well then, as some of you might be aware, Joel and myself will be attending Alcon 2014 which takes place in less than 2 weeks now! Since we’re getting so close, I thought I’d start to update people about one of my costumes which I hadn’t yet mentioned: Deku Link.

I’ve been working hard on my Deku Link costume but a lot of the hard-work isn’t actually to do with progress of the costume: Rather figuring how to make the damn thing!

This fellah is far too cute.

This fellah is far too cute.

When I started, making this costume, I wanted something rather realistic and the more that I think about it – The more I realised just how impossible it would be at my current skill level. Crafting isn’t my forte even though I adore it. Yeah, I said it – I’m a cosplayer who isn’t very good at making things. Yet.

This weekend is succeeded by the bank holiday Monday here in merry ol’ England! Horray, an extra day to work on my costumes this weekend!

So far then what have I done?

These are the basic form of the wristguards

These are the basic form of the wristguards

I’ve made the shapes for the wrist-guards. Here they are – They simply need to be sprayed and coated in a layer of gesso before being sanded down. Those ones are nice and simple, thankfully.

Next up I’ve made my hat!

To make the hat, all I did was make 2 pieces then stitch them together on the two sides. Simple is as simple does, but it gets the job done. It’s not the best hat in the world but heck; it’s a hat. It reaches as far down as my backside, so not quite as long as what this fellah has, but not too far off either.

There it is! That's my hat! It's huge, so it's half draped over the chair!

There it is! That’s my hat! It’s huge, so it’s half draped over the chair!

I’ve also grabbed some old foam I had lying around which will be for the hair. However just before I wrote this article, I went onto my old favourite Coscraft and I looked up wefts of hair. For £5, I was able to buy 30 inches long and 100 inches wide wefts of hair. That’s plenty – I say hopefully! As such, I’m going to be trying a “Yellow” hair to make it a bit more “realistic”.

Them eyes have been designed and I have created a circuit which will be built into my costume. It’s a very simple circuit which probably won’t last very long. I will need to take some back-up AA batteries as a just in case. No more breadboards: This is the real deal! When designing the eyes, I had many different ideas in mind. I’d have a giant head I said and I said “I’ll look out from the mouth” so I could have very bright eyes. This has changed since then. Now, my head is an over-sized mask, but I’ll be able to see out of the eyes. I’m going to have to time my eyes glowing, so’s not to blind myself.

 

Here's the very simple base of the mask I'm going to use.

Here’s the very simple base of the mask I’m going to use.

I also begun work on the mask, which is currently rather flat. But at least the mask is in progress. Once I’ve got the hair weft along with the foam hair-holders set up on the top of the mask, I’ll be able to sew the top of the hat to the mask and around my ears and the likes, which will be another huge step towards creating the spherical effect for the head. Although you can’t see it in this picture, there are clear positions for the eyes to be placed in and I just have to heat it around a bowl to make the shape take effect.

The last thing to work on will be the body piece. I’m in several minds on how to do this: Make a body piece out of foam. Make a body piece out of strips of cloth (most likely right now) or make a mould and cast liquid latex to make a full blown body suit of sorts. See, the important thing to note is I want to take this costume onto the masquerade itself. As such, I want to try and make everything with this costume.

 

So there you have it – You’re now up to date as to how far I am on this costume. It’s been an exciting project so far and later down the line, I’ll be soldering electronics together. That I’m very excited for, so stay tuned for more on that!

Sorry it’s not much to show you all yet, but honestly – Keep watching this space. Over the coming two weeks, you should see a more bits and pieces about my costumes appearing as well as new/extra things to the other two costumes (Edward Elric and Deku Link.)

I’ve scrapped Felix for now, as I feel my sewing skills aren’t yet up to scratch (Evidenced by my Deku Link hat). That’ll just have to be a costume for another day. Hey; are you interested in learning a few crafting skills as a cosplayer? Do check out the awesome Cosplay Tutorial website, which has been showing me how to do just about everything! Go on internet, give me some love or hate for my works so far. More detailed breakdowns on how to do everything for this Deku Link costume will come in as time goes on.


Edward Elric costume – Admission!

Simple, small post here guys.

I thought I’d tell you all this straight away, as heck, it’s been bugging me for a while. On my last cosplay post, you may have noticed that things seem to be going swimmingly for my Edward Elric costume and in fact, they are.

I’ve gotten the trousers sorted, as well as a good base for boots. I have the wig for my costume and I have the pocket watch.

I got me some lovely gloves (Seriously, here, have a look!)

I’ve got the plastics to make my arm and leg and the materials to make the shirt. A black vest is on the way, too. What can be wrong?

You might have noticed, I’ve not spoken about the coat in this post yet. Uh oh.

What’s the problem?

Don’t worry, I’ve not given up on it. As you may have seen on a previous post, I’ve gotten patterns cut out and I’ve come across quite a few bumps in the road along the way. Over sizing, under sizing, having to make different “parts” thanks to it… As you can imagine, for a person who is very new at sewing, this isn’t an easy project.

So, I pulled out my mini sewing machine (No way could I afford a proper one at the time, but I’ll save up for one!) and I replaced the bobbins, as you’re supposed to do… Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get it to, well you know, sew.

So I tried to make the coat by hand… and whilst I made the shape alright, it’s very rough looking and not right.

No worries!

Seriously, no worries. Regardless, I’m going to have an Edward Elric costume, but I want to be proud of the overall costume. I think you all know where I’m going with this:

So, as a pre-caution, as a just in case I can’t do the coat in the long run, I’ve bought this coat from Etsy.

Etsy is sort of like a market place for crafters. Cosplay is quite common on Etsy, hence I looked it up and bought the coat. It’s not going to be here for quite some time, however (Likely not until a few days the convention itself!)

This also, isn’t a way for me to give up and just use something that’s already been made. This is my back-up plan and it’s something I probably should mention for any budding cosplayer!

Early in your cosplay lifespan, expect to mess up. A lot!

I know I went into it with the expectation of messing up – A lot more than I have.

So far, I’ve had a costume – My Zidane Tribal one – Which didn’t look fantastic. But amusingly, people recognised the character and the fact I made my costume myself; people seemed to respect that. (I think. They might have just been nice, but regardless, it got people talking to me.)

The point I’m trying to make here is: Have back-up plans. Expect to mess up, but ultimately: Don’t give up.

I’ll be making another post on the costume soon which will focus on other parts of the costume and soon, I’ll begin that task of: The arm and the leg.

Cosplay is inherently social.

This is another little aspect I might have only skipped over in the past, so here’s a whole blown section dedicated to it.

Cosplay is a very social activity. Whether you are a social individual or not, if you Cosplay, people will want to talk to you. They’ll want to see your costume, they’ll want to ask you about your techniques and perhaps even take pictures with you.

Cosplay is great, especially if you’re quite shy normally. I’ll be happy to admit, I’ve always been social – But I never liked to approach people. I admit, I sometimes struggle finding the “right thing to say” to keep a conversation going and I sometimes don’t like having to over-think. I’m very peculiar in that if you can find the right topic for me, I’ll talk to you for hours on end. If you talk to me about something that doesn’t interest me, I’ll listen to you for hours on end. I wanted to find a way for people to approach me, have a common ground to talk about and perhaps even keep those people around to hang around with.

It’s also a way to interact with some of the guests. Guests at conventions are usually someone of some fame within the field of interest. Kitacon has several great ones, including Ellen McLain (Opera Singer, GLaDOS) and her husband – John Patrick Lowrie, an American voice actor who played Team Fortress 2’s Sniper, amongst a plethora of other characters. Most recently, he provided the voices for a good number of DOTA 2 characters.

If you’re dressed up as a potato then walk up to Ellen McLain, who knows how she’ll react. If at all?

SPOILERS

If you intend to play Portal 2 and have not yet – and do not want the story to be spoiled, please do not watch the below video.

Thanks guys – Here’s hoping I can get that coat made myself, but if not: At least I’ve got a coat made. Tomorrow, onwards with some detailing, the shirt and other parts that need progressing (Ahem, arm and leg.)