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Ornstein Build Log

Updated: Jun 11, 2022


Undoubtedly being one of the more famous/infamous bosses in Dark Souls, Dragonslayer Ornstein was also a huge challenge to build in reality. It's one of those builds that I overestimated how long it would actually take to make, and most of you probably know by now that I'm not great at keeping my schedules. I started working on Ornstein in the winter 2018/2019, with the intention of having him for the SM Qualifier competition at ComicCon Gothenburg in April 2019. That didn't happen (I switched my cosplay to Tyrande instead which honestly wasn't all that bad given that I placed 1st). I then wanted to have him for DreamHack Summer, and then I tried to manage him for Pixelmania but alas, it took me all the way until DreamHack Winter to finish him.

My choice of materials for this build is 90% foam. The exceptions that aren't in foam are the fabric parts (coat and pants) and the chainmail. And technically I guess also the hair for the helmet and the pvc core for the spear. But other than that, it's all foam. Now I'm no novice when it comes to working with foam, but the incredible amount of details was a bit unexpected.

I used primarily the statue by First4Figures as reference, since it has more details than looking at the in-game models of Dark Souls 1. It's also licensed and approved by FromSoftware so it's an official reference to use.

The statue (exclusive version).

So without further rambling, let's dig in to the actual crafting.

To start with I made paper patterns of every single part of the armour from thicker construction paper. I looked at the pictures of the statue from First4Figures website since my own statue didn't arrive until late October in 2019.

Working out the shoe bits and lower leg pices, and the back of the chestpiece

More work figuring out the chestpiece

Figuring out all the layers to the front, and then adding the shoulder

Patterning the skirt part and how I want it layered

Chest, shoulder and skirt patterns done, and starting work on figuring out the helmet.

Ornstein's helmet was the second helmet I ever made, and it wasn't a simple helmet either. It's one of the parts I struggled the most with and the piece I finished up last when I was able to look at the statue properly.

After I had made all the patterns I started the foamwork. I've used various thicknesses of EVA ranging from 2mm to 6mm. I've also used FoamClay for a majority of the decorations, and I'm quite happy with how it went given my very limited use of FoamClay previously.

Taping together everything for the legs and the shoecovers

After gluing the pieces together and adding foamclay, testing the fit

Marking the decorations for the back chestpiece, and the chest taped together

Trying out the fit of the chestpiece and the elbow thingies

Drawing the patterns for the skirt pieces

Starting the foamclay work on the skirt pieces

More foamclay on the skirt pieces, as well as starting the detailwork on the front of the chestpiece

The completed chest pieces and shoulders, ready for attachments. I always find it a bit ironic how the back is way more detailed than the front.

Leg and shoe pieces all done, ready for attachments

The base sculpt of the helmet, as far as I was able to pattern it. And my assembly of wigs and hair for the ponytail.

One ridiculously long wig, and then attaching the hair onto a styrofoam puff to get additional volume.

Starting work on the face

Base of the helmet done and ready for detailing

Adding detailing and sculpts with FoamClay.

The finished elbow bits

The stage of completion of the cosplay when I applied to DreamHack Winter.

The final step to the armour was painting it, I chose a rubber spray for primer and then a gold spraypaint on that. I did some shading in brown after that but it's very minor/hardly shows.

Gold paint in progress

The armour bits for the hands, which I hotglued onto the gloves.

Finished gauntlets.

That's pretty much it as far as the armour goes, so let's move on to the clothes.

I chose a linen-look fabric for the coat and the pants in some kind of synthetic (I would guess Polyester). For the gloves I chose a red stretch suede since that type of fabric is very easy to make gloves out of, and I know the glue will stick well to the surface. Another thing that I guess could be considered fabric work is the harness that I attach the chainmail and the shoulders to, which goes underneath the armour but above the clothes.

testing the fit of the gloves

The coat and pants. The pants are made with a simple 4-piece pattern and has a drawstring closure. The coat is made in a 4-piece pattern for the body part with slits going down about where my hips are. The sleeves are made with 2 pieces each. The edges of the coat are burnished using a candle, since it's synthetic fabric it melts the edges and gives a rough look instead of making a stitched hemline (which wouldn't look quite right from the reference). The coat has an eyelet lace closure in the front.

The aforementioned harness laid out on top of the clothes with the chainmail underneath.

The reason i chose to have a tube/skirt of chainmail and a harness instead of a proper chainmail was mostly due to the weight. It's made with old iron (?) rings so it weighs a LOT. I'm not very muscular so for me to walk around with something weighing as much as it would have with a full maille, well let's just say it wasn't an option. The weave is a standard European 4-1 weave.

Last but not least we have the spear of course!

I started out with printing a photo I took of the spear on the statue and then using posterazor for scale.

Putting all the pieces together

Checking the scale... This photo always cracks me up hahah, I got some help from a colleague to take the photo since I couldn't pose the paper pattern properly and still fit in a mirror.

After I was happy with the scale and the pattern, I started the build itself. I've used a pvc pipe core and EVA foam for everything else (with some additional foamclay).

Getting the bases done and dremling them smooth

Adding more things and details

The finished spear before priming and painting

The bottom piece. This part is separate from the rest of the spear and detaches when I don't use it or transport it. Since this spear is more than 3m tall it's impossible for me to have it standing anywhere with the bottom bit on.

For once there's basically only one thing I don't have pictured that I need to mention.

* The armour is attached with velcro and snapbuckles and some elastic straps

* The ponytail styrofoam puff is glued onto a long screw that goes through the back/top part of the helmet

* I deliberately didn't add the teeth for the helmet since that would've made it impossible to breathe the way I made it

All in all, I'm pretty happy with my Ornstein cosplay but I would reconsider remaking the helmet. It's the piece I'm the least happy with and when I recently tried it on it seems to have hardened in such a way that it's almost impossible for me to get on again. So perhaps it'll do with modifications but I'll see when I have the effort for that. Also I'd like to work up a better paintjob (despite Ornstein being.. well shiny and gold).

I'm most likely going to have some more photoshoots with it after I'm done with some improvements, for now it's one of the warmest costumes I own which makes it hard to wear any time during the year with more than 10 degrees plus (celcius).

I hope you've enjoyed this log and as usual if you'd like me to explain anything further don't hesitate to ask!

For the few nice photos I have for now check out the dedicated page!


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