Charr Build Log
Updated: Jun 11, 2022
This Build Log will be about the so far lowest point of my cosplaymaking, but I try to see it as a learning experience and not repeat past mistakes. There were a lot of surrounding circumstances in my life at the time of making this costume, and in retrospect I should have just skipped the competition or changed character. I made my charr with the intention of wearing it at the SCC 2015, and all the things that could have gone wrong with it - went wrong. I'll try to write in a positive light, and I'm not upset about any of this anymore but bear with the text probably sounding a bit "whiny".
I felt a lot of pressure having to build something extraordinary when I got selected as a participant for the SCC 2015. Given that the year before my staff broke mid-performance, I wanted to blow people away with what I did this time around. It was also going to be aired live on national television. So I bit off way more than I could chew with choosing to make not only large digitigrade stilts, a fursuit, armour, and everything else that was going to go into this costume. I had never done any of those things before, at least not to the extent I would have to do it now. Here's a picture of the reference I wanted to make, a female Charr in one of the heavy cultural armours:
I uh, think this is what I wanted to make anyways. Since I never actually got that far.
Anyone who makes costumes or know some of the process, especially people who make fursuits know that fursuits are some of the most advanced costumes to make properly. It takes years and years of practice, and making realistic fursuits is definitely not for everyone. I will admit that during this time I had a lot of hubris regarding what I could and could not do, and I didn't think that this would be as challenging as it was.
To make things even harder, the company I worked for was under a change of ownership which meant I went without any income at all for two months - the two months leading up to the competition. The only thing I could afford was the materials for the stilts, which came in at an exceedingly high price due to the companies selling the metal pieces I need. They normally only sell materials to other companies, so with the added taxes and everything for me they became one of the most expensive parts of a costume I've ever made to date. About two weeks before the competition I was able to afford literally everything else for the costume. The fur, the foam, you name it. As I mentioned before this would have been a good time to realize that this was just not going to happen, but I didn't want to step down. I didn't want to give the impression that I was a quitter.
So on I trudged. I had a lot going on in my personal life which also definitely did not help the situation.
In any case, I began the costume with making the stilts. I used this tutorial on how to make them.
To start with, I measured the lengths of everything and then went to work cutting and assembling my metal pieces.
I then kept on following the tutorial, except I used plexiglass for the thigh parts instead of sintra, since I was unable to find it anywhere.
Almost finished, before adding the final holding spots for the shoes. Here you can also see the wires going from about the knee to the heel. One of these screws got unscrewed before the competition, and came completely loose on the last step up on stage. I have a poorly made video on my YouTube explaining in detail what happened in that scenario.
I made a bodysuit out of stretch fabric to wear under the fursuit itself.
When I finally had some money I got my hands on a massive amount of white fur, white wig wefts and everything else required to make the costume.
I made the head using foam and taping a base neck shape to start with.
After I had done the base, I added the rest of the shape onto it
Then I went on to make the tail, out of PVC pipe
I added a lot of wefts into the tail to get the longer hairs in before adding the fur
I also added another section of foam to the head, and tested the placement of the horns and ears. The horns were made with expanding foam, covered in tape and newspaper with a top layer of paperclay. The ears were made with the same soft foam as the rest of the head and suit.
I then started dressing the head and the other parts with fur.
I also added LED lights to the eyes, that were cast in resin using the same method as with my Ysera with water+powder silicone and a liquid polyester.
I made the props out of styrofoam, but never finished the shield anything after this stage
The base props in Styrofoam, with carving started
The sword mid-carving
And here's a photo of halfway through, testing out how some of the proportions looked together
That's about all the photos I have!
I used an airbrush to get the snow-leopard pattern on the fur. It was my first time working with an airbrush, and the only part of making this costume that I didn't totally hate. Ok that's an exaggeration, but it really wasn't a fun build.
I don't really know if I have much else to say about it, this whole post has mainly felt like a big pile of excuses but it's cathartic in a way to just write it out and have it "done with".
I do love the designs of the creatures and characters in Guild Wars 2, but I highly doubt I'll ever make a Charr again. I still have the stilts, and would like to refurbish and incorporate them into something else in the future.
The failures I experienced both making this and how everything went with the competition is something that fueled my obsession with competitions, because I have had a hard time with not being "the best". As I've matured and grown as a person I've learned that it's not the end of everything to not win every single thing that I participate in and have thoroughly been knocked of my high horse. It's also why I've chosen to take a year off competitions (as of posting this), since I did finally get back into the SCC and I feel like a great burden had lifted from my shoulders. I don't want to be remembered as "that cosplayer who always has things break on stage", and now I no longer have to.
The only few photos I have of this costume can be found in the "Other Cosplays" category.
I'll end this with a selfie I took together with the head when it was painted. I named it "Bert".
As usual if you have any questions or anything at all that you're wondering, don't hesitate to write to me!