When I first encountered Liika Cosplay’s work, I was impressed by her armor building skills. Her cosplay portfolio is full of massive and beautifully executed designs and shows incredible versatility. I talked to her about her work and building all that armor.
Adafruit: You have quite the cosplay portfolio. How long have you been cosplaying and what inspired you to start?
Liika Cosplay: Thank you very much! I started cosplaying in May 2014 and still feel like a newcomer. Kamui Cosplay and Lightning Cosplay inspired me to start with this hobby. I saw them at the Blizzard costume contest on Gamescom 2013, and I was absolutely stunned by those awesome costumes. I’m a huge fan of the Blizzard games and also of armors, weapons and all the knight related-stuff and so I was like, “Oh my god, I also want to build some awesome armors!” This was the first time I heard the term “cosplay,” but even before I’ve knew what cosplay was, I already built some stuff, for example the Hylian shield from Link out of wood. I’ve loved to craft and draw since my childhood, and I played a lot in the theater, too, so cosplaying is the perfect hobby for me.
Adafruit: It looks like many of your costumes involve armor. What materials do you use the most for your armor?
Liika Cosplay: Haha yes, I just love big armors!
Mostly I use a thermoplastic material called Worbla’s Finest Art. In my opinion, you can build fantastic stuff, rich with details, using this material. It is surprisingly very easy for me to work with Worbla, since my first costume. I also tried EVA foam/Plastazote, but I still need some practice with this materials. I want to make my current project out of Plastazote to improve my skills. Both materials had their own advantages and disadvantages. It depends on the armor and details which material I use. Sometimes I also combine those materials – for example, my weapons are mostly made out of both materials.
Photo by Llayne Cosplay & Photography
Adafruit: What techniques have you learned over the years to simulate different finishes for your armor?
Liika Cosplay: Because I started cosplaying just one and a half years ago, I still try out a lot of techniques!
As I already said I used different materials, like Worbla and Plastazote, but also different kinds of clay, Styrodur, Wood, PVC sheets and so on. But the paint job is very important, too. If I want my armor to look metallic, I just paint the base black and drybrush it. For a non-metallic look I use my airbrush – you can make fantastic color gradients with it. I learned a lot about weathering, too! I love to use that technique to add some blood and dirt to my armor and weapons. But I still need to test so much! You can find many progress pictures on my Facebook page, I share all my experiences with you.
Adafruit: Which costume so far has presented the biggest challenge and why?
Liika Cosplay: Definitely my latest one, the Crusader from Diablo 3.
The armor was a huge challenge, it consists of so many little pieces. I felt like I made a big puzzle.
It was very hard to make the right patterns for the different parts, especially the pauldrons, hip armor, and the helmet. I sculpted and casted the horns by myself; it was the first time I worked with clay, silicon, and liquid plastic and I made a lot of mistakes. But it was so much fun! I learned a lot from this project (mostly by failure), but at the end everything worked fine.
Adafruit: What sort of process do you follow when making a new costume?
Liika Cosplay: Very important is a good reference from all angles. I do a lot of research before I start with a costume. After that, I search for the right materials. I always have problems finding good fabrics. When I start with my armor, I always want to have a perfect pattern first. I make patterns out of old newspaper, so I don’t waste any material. Mostly I build every armor piece first and after that I started with the paint job on the complete armor. The attachments are the last step, I’m always excited to see all those pieces together (and I always hope that everything fits together!).
Keep with Liika’s latest work at her Facebook page.
Top photo by Ruffys Fotografie
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