October 31, 2014

My visit to Wizarding World's Diagon Alley

This muggle recently had a wonderful trip to the Diagon Alley expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. The additions are indeed magical, and I spent the day drooling over all the details. I truly felt like I was in another world. I took a ton of photos and wrote up my experience for Nerd Approved. Warning: it contains some fangirl squeeing.

Check it out:
Visiting Wizarding World’s Diagon Alley [Featured]

October 30, 2014

Even More Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Frozen Mash-up Art

Does the internet ever disappoint? Okay, it does. Frequently. But sometimes, it wins. People have been combining Frozen and Captain America: The Winter Soldier since last spring, and it hasn't gotten old yet. Not to me. I even noticed the pairing at Disney in Orlando last week where the Frozen ads for Once Upon a Time were cleverly placed right next to The Winter Soldier Blu-ray ads on every Disney bus I rode.

We've seen some cute mash-ups before (here and here), and this latest batch is just beautiful. Look:

There's even more by Constable over at DC Inside.

h/t MTV

October 29, 2014

This Star Wars and Frozen Dork Tower Comic Melts My Heart

Are you ready to see a combination of Olaf from Frozen and a wampa from Star Wars? Then you're in the right place because Lar Desousza made that happen in a recent guest cartoon for Dork Tower. He's re-created the scene where Anna and Kristoff meet Olaf, but with a sprinkling of the galaxy far, far away. It's charming. Just look:

I can barely handle this level of charming.

Read more Dork Tower comics by John Kovalic and be sure to visit Desousza's shop!

October 24, 2014

The Impala from Supernatural As a Dress

Supernatural is in its tenth season. Tenth! The Winchesters having been saving people and hunting things for a long time, and they've faced most of it together. Death, demons, angels, hell - you name it. Sam and Dean have been through a lot, and the Impala has gone on the journey with them. Also known as Dean's baby, the black Chevy has put on tens of thousands of miles over the years. The faithful car is a character in its own right, and I'm starting to notice more and more cosplayers coming up with Impala costumes. Casey of Wandering Windward did an amazing thing with her design - she made the Impala into cosplay couture.

She shared the sketch and some in progress pics at DeviantArt, and I'm in love. Casey covered all the details. The black dress has silver seams to represent the car's body lines, the Chevrolet logo is added in silver embroidery, and the garter will have a holster for a flask of holy water or a colt or Ruby's demon knife (so many weapon options!). The license plate number will be painted on the back shoulder.

Stunning, right?

Creative as all of that is, the pièce de résistance of the Impala dress is the top. It's a fiberglass cast of the front of the car, scaled to fit the dress. Seriously. It has the grill and the headlights. Casey sculpted it from oil clay, made a mold from silicone, and cast the piece in fiberglass. Sounds like she's resourceful enough to be a hunter.

See photos from the entire process at DeviantArt.

October 23, 2014

DIY Star Wars Rebels Chopper Trick-or-Treat Bag

As I mentioned earlier this week, I really like Chopper from Star Wars Rebels. I made a pair of Chopper shoes, and I had to craft a Chopper trick-or-treat bag. The hardest part of making this bag was cutting out all of Chopper's droid bits. The rest was cake. You could simplify the template more to make it easier, but if you can wield a X-acto knife (not my strong suit), you'll be fine.

Supplies you'll need:
- Chopper template printed on card stock, 6 inches wide (template below)
- Black tote bag
- Stiffened orange felt
- Fabric glue
- X-acto knife and cutting mat
- Pen

Print Chopper onto a piece of card stock. If you have to print him on regular paper, cut him out with a X-acto knife and trace the template onto thicker paper. Then, trace that onto a piece of stiffened orange felt. Cut Chopper from felt with a X-acto knife.

Mark where you want to place Chopper on the front of the bag, spread a thin layer of fabric glue on the back of Chopper, and press the orange felt onto the black bag. I put a heavy book on top of Chopper until the glue dried.

Take Chopper out with you when yo go trick-or-treating, just don't channel any of his grumpiness when you ask for candy!

Click to enlarge and download.

See more Star Wars trick-or-treat bag how-tos at the StarWars.com blog.

October 22, 2014

One Character, Different Costumes: Han Solo

Han Solo's costume is so stylish and cool that Lando Calrissian stole his clothes. Given that, the Star Wars character seemed like the perfect subject for this installment of One Character, Different Costumes. He has various outfits in the original trilogy, and I've seen cosplayers of both genders tackle every one of them. I've seen screen accurate costumes, femme versions, and dresses. If you're considering a Han Solo costume, looking at how other cosplayers have put the costume together might help you with your design.

My Han Solo costume from four years ago. I did a crossplay version because I couldn't find a replica vest cut to fit women and didn't (and still don't) have the sewing skills to make my own. I applied the bloodstripes with red hem tape.

Steampunk Han Solo, photo by BBQdPhotography. This cosplayer replaced Han's blaster with a saber, added goggles, and changed out the vest for a subtle and cool steampunk effect.

Rod of the Rebel Legion has the Bespin Han Solo costume. This might be my favorite look of Han's - it has the brown pants with yellow stripes and the navy blue jacket.

Han Solo dress design by Darling Army. This cute look was a design for a possible costume, and Darling Army has also made a Han Solo cosplay pinafore.

Femme Han Solo cosplayed by Emily, a.k.a. The Stylish Geek. I love this version of Han's A New Hope costume - it represents more of what I wanted to do with my Han look. Emily made the holster and buckles and put together the entire costume.

Hoth Han Solo cosplayed by Dan Hyatt. I adore this costume of Han's, and I appreciate that the cosplayer went to the trouble of dusting the jacket with fake snow. All he needs to complete the look is a tauntaun.

October 21, 2014

Beautiful Game of Thrones Animation

Season five of Game of Thrones is coming. It may seem like forever until spring and we still have to get through winter, but hopefully the time will go fast. It usually does. Until the new season arrives, you can revisit the past. Vimeo user Blackmeal  worked with Baptiste Pagani to make a positively stunning animation that summarizes seasons one through four of the HBO series.

The video captures the highlights of the first few seasons, and the art looks like it belongs in an R-rated storybook. I've watched it repeatedly.

Game Of Thrones, an animated journey - #gotseason5 is coming from BlackMeal on Vimeo.

Maybe HBO could make an animated version of the series to kill time until George R.R. Martin finishes the books!

h/t io9

October 20, 2014

Hand-Painted Star Wars Rebels Chopper Shoes

I've only seen about an hour and a half of Star Wars Rebels, but I already feel strongly about the story and the characters. It has a certain spirit that grabs me and the story is told in such a way that I feel like I'm part of the team - like I'm helping the Rebel Alliance form just by cheering on the crew of Ghost. The show definitely captures the tone of Star Wars by mixing humor with darkness and by showing hope in the face of what seems like an impossible situation. You can read my recaps of each episode over at Nerdist, but before I get too sidetracked with compliments for the series, I want to call out my favorite new droid: C1-10P, a.k.a. Chopper.

Chopper was described as a somewhat grumpy droid from the beginning. Executive producer Dave Filoni said that if R2-D2 is the family dog, Chopper is the family cat. He'll help but only reluctantly, and he's not afraid to talk back or complain. I adore him. The way he waves his arms around with frustration and annoyance absolutely kills me. He's instantly lovable, and I can't wait until I can purchase all the Chopper toys. I'm sure Chopper merchandise will be available soon but until then, I had to paint a pair of shoes to show my love for Chopper:

All it took to make Chopper shoes was white canvas slip-ons, a black Sharpie, and acrylic paint in yellow, orange, black, and silver. Oh, and lots of masking tape. I used the same process as I did on my R2-D2 Toms (how-to here) and the hardest part was waiting for the paint to dry between layers. The design might look better on a pair of Toms but these cheap slip-ons are a fine start. I might go back and paint the edges of the soles orange.

I've already introduced my Chopper shoes to my R2-D2 shoes, and I'm sure they'll cause trouble together when they're not being worn:

I promise to act extra sassy whenever I wear my Chopper shoes.

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