Redditor bold_as_becca recently completed a complex build replicating Zarya’s Overwatch armor and particle cannon. She said crafting the costume was constant trial and error, and she detailed the issues she had and overcame with images she shared of the process. As she points out, discussing missteps and how you corrected course can be really helpful to other cosplayers.
Bold_as_becca goes into details for making the entire set of armor, but we’re going to highlight the particle cannon. It stands as tall as her. She got help from her father and brother to make the weapon. It started with a frame made from spare PVC pipe. When she realized what they used was too heavy, they remade the gun in half inch PVC pipe and used heat to mold and shape it. With the skeleton complete, she used cardboard to figure out the rest of the cannon’s sections.
Bought 3 pieces of 1/2 inch insulation foam from Home Depot to get the job done, still have half a sheet left. You can see how I planned out different pieces and how the seams start to disappear when I started to sand the foam down.
It was super difficult to glue the pieces together. I tried hot glue, super glue, caulk… nothing was working. Then I learned about Apoxie Sculpt. It took awhile to harden, but once it dried the foam stayed together perfectly! Ended up buying 4 pounds of it- stuff was a serious lifesaver throughout this cosplay.
See more of the making of the particle cannon and the entire Zarya costume in this album on Imgur.