Dredge Cosplay; A saga in the traditional sense. [Day 0]

Banner saga was a game that captured my interest in a way that few games do. I haven’t been one much for video games in the past few years but this one stuck with me grid based tactics games feel like board games, they feel like wargames…In many ways they play like them too.

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Banner saga had a lot of things going for it, the art style; the sprites are clean and the animation smooth and simple, it sells it well. The music was done by Austin Wintory of “Journey” fame, he is a master at his craft.  It’s setting is a world like that of Norse Mythology but also not quite Norse… all the gods are new and unique…and dead! The fantasy races are not that of Elves and Dwarves but of Varl and Dredge and Valka. The Varl all male and each individually crafted by their god stand 8ft tall, and have great horns sprouting from their heads, very cool.  Then there is your adversaries…

The Dredge

What are the Dredge?…grey skinned humanoids wearing stone armor, speaking in strange sounds and seemingly emotionless fighters. These are the antagonists in Banner Saga and as we play we learn more and more about them…but their design is great I really want to dress up as one. But there’s not a lot of detail defining them in their game-sprites or in cut scenes, I might need a little more to go on…

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When’s the next opportunity to cosplay? The inaugural PAX Unplugged in November.  That will be a great opportunity to get dressed up…but going as a Video game character to a Board game convention…faux pas.

Luckily I can kill two birds with one stone here:
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A company I really like called Megacon Games made a skirmish board game about the banner saga world! They made some really beautiful miniatures that also gave a bunch more detail to the design of Dredge armor and clothing.

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So I went and bought a set of the miniatures! YAY! More stuff to paint. Here is Alex F. learning to use an airbrush and priming a Dredge warrior in a dark grey so he can be painted.

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I also went and picked up some EVA foam at Costco to make the armor plating.

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This will be my first project like this so the plan currently is to model the helmet in Blender and be able to make templates. I need to do some scaling and the vast majority of the work will be done in the amateur cosplay making techniques widely available online.  I can’t wait to get started, I dropped into the Discord channel of the Banner Saga team everyone seemed excited about an idea like this.

Costuming in an Uncertain World

Years ago Alex asked me to make a pair of Spider Jerusalem’s “Live Shades” from Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson Transmetropolitan (1997-2002). I got as far as laser cutting a pair of lenses out of some samples that Acrylite had shipped to the university…

The lenses pictured above were the originals that I made when this project was first pitched to me, and they were lost many years ago.

I should thank them for handing out 2 in x 2 in samples they work great for small one-off projects! I assume that many companies got wise to this practice because they next batches of sample plastic we got were 3/4 inches or circles. This made it quite a bit harder to make anything useful with them.

I used this same technique of requesting samples when buying wholesale carbon fiber. Those 1ft x 1ft squares make great reenforcement for the hard-points and exposed corners of the buggy.

With the news media so much under fire these days Spiders’ particular brand of Gonzo Journalism seems more relevant now then maybe ever in the past and as such this project came back into mind.

While the visiting American Visionary Art’s Museum over the winter recess Alex and I stopped by  “Sideshow“. Because first of all you can’t go to a museum without going to their gift shop, and second Sideshow is one of the best establishments for finding things you didn’t yet know that you needed but definitely aren’t going home without.

We came across a box  of hundreds of reading glasses for $2 a piece, and went hunting. Despite the cover image on this post Spider’s shades actually appear frameless in some promotional material.

This is what I was looking for, a sacrificial pair of frame-less glasses. Attempting to fabricate a frame around one round and one rectangular lens was way out of my wheelhouse and doing some kind of Frankenstein-esque solution of cutting up two pairs of glasses did not seem like it would resolve well.

Anyway these should work great…

Ethan's eventual fate as an old jewish man

I scrounged up some green acrylic and pulled one of the dozens of sheets of red I had lying around and cooked up this:

Unfortunately the originals weren’t held together with screws they were just press-fit with some barbed metal and hot-glued in place. So “removing” the lenses this was a destructive 1-time operation. After measuring Alex’s face I cut two sets of each lenses color and drilled a couple holes and press-fit the lenses and nose bridge in.

This is a really long blog post to talk about a very simple project. But I think the results look good and this is how I discuss all my projects anyway.

Happy customer. (Edit: The fogging is due to the weather and has nothing to do with my prop, which is perfect in every conceivable way.)