Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let's make Cosplay: Batty Hammer

Hello! This blog post for Let’s Make Cosplay is dedicated to the Batty Hammer! I accidentally broke one of my girlfriend’s props and so this was what I made for her to make up for that. If you want to see more detailed videos about how to make this fun prop, check out Knives' videos on Youtube at

First things first. Here is the list of materials and tools you will need.

                Materials: You will need: approximately five feet of 0.5 inch pcv pipe, around 3 feet 0.5 inch dowel rod, 3/4 inch PVC pipe, one inch PCV pipe, wonderflex, resin, a 4 inch cardboard tube, EPS foam, 3M insulation 78, #8 one inch Philips flat head wood screws, washers, black and sliver acrylic paint, and varnish.

Tools: You will need a hand saw, an exacto knife, a heat gun, a dremmel tool, a yanky push drill, a Philips screwdriver, a rasp, a file, some sponge brushes, a paint brush, a 80 grit sanding sponge, a mixing container, some mixing sticks, some paper towels, a fine tip marker and rulers.

The first thing we have to do is layer the PVC pipe for the handle. In order to do this you will need to heat them up with the heat gun to make them expand. After you do that you’ll need to fit them all up into each other. The half inch PVC is for the handle. You will put the 3/4th inch PVC pipe over that and 1 inch over that. You will be putting the hammer head on the top of this pipe and adding the stuff on the bottom of this setup.

In order to avoid sculpting all of the parts I decided to choose to layer pieces of pipe over other pieces to achieve the same effect. However, since the pipes are different thicknesses I chose to do other details with wonderflex.

I chose to utilize a half inch dowel rod to give the handle more rigidity. I inserted the wood into the bottom so that it could give some support and act as a plug for the bottom so that I could pour resin into the entire handle portion and around all the different size tubes. If you would like to learn more about mixing resin please consult the blog post for that. I have realized that it’s much better to fill the entire base with wood, so next time I may choose to do this method with more wooden dowel rods.

Now we need to move to the hammer head. I wanted to create a dented metal look so I chose to make the endcaps out of foam. Since foam has a frazzled and weird texture it can be painted to look like dented metal. It also makes the end caps nice and soft so if the weapon is actually used it won’t hurt on impact, thus making it safer for photoshoots.

You will need to start by cutting slits at the top of the handle. After you cut these slits you are going to heat them up and bend them so that you can turn them into tabs that can hold screws that will go into the hammerhead. After that you will need to begin sculpting, shaping, and carving the designs with a handsaw. After the detailwork is done you should get the wonderflex (which is good for detail work). Heating up the wonderflex allows it to be applied to other surfaces (you can heat it with water but I prefer to heat it with my heatgun). I completed the bottom of this prop with wonderflex scraps. Never throw away wonderflex scraps! You never know when you’ll need them!  

After you’re done with the head of the hammer, heat up the top of the pipe and start attaching the head of the hammer to the handle. Make sure you put in heavy screws. Note, this is a bad support structure for a prop like this but this is a very small hammer so no big deal.

Next we’ll work on the wings for the hammer. Again, using wonderflex for this is great. I chose to cut the frames out before I cut and stretched the wonderflex and formed the wings over scrap to do the raised part in the wings (similar to sculpting it out of clay). Just make sure you keep it in its shape until it’s cool or the shape will fall out! I chose to make the crosses out of wonderflex as well since it mounts well to itself once it’s heated up.

Now to get started with painting. Make sure you PRIME everything before you paint it. If you don’t, the paint job will be inconsistent. Plastics ESPECIALLY do not take paint well so you have to prime the materials with a base coat first.

Once you’re ready to mount everything else together after priming the prop, grab a washer and set it on top of the crosses and wings before you screw it all together onto the hammer. The washer protects the wonderflex from the screw so that it won’t rip through the material.

After that, start working with the silver paint. Metallic paints are weaker for pigment so you’ll need to base coat over the primer with a similar color. I chose to spray paint the head of the hammer. HOWEVER, note that spraypaint eats through foam. If you choose to spraypaint the hammer make sure the areas with foam are well covered. Tape off areas that you aren’t painting a specific color and go back to those sections after the paint dries and you can take off the tape safely.

In order to give the prop a more defined look I chose to base it in silver paint before I did a black wash. The black will go into all the cracks and crevices and shows the details of the hammer much more clearly.  After that I did some dry brushing to illustrate some more wear marks and dents. The dry brushing leaves some ray edges as highlights where it’d be more shiny in war and it also allows other parts to have more shadows.

There you have it! A batty hammer! As always, if you have questions, please feel free to contact us at and check out our videos on our Youtube channel! 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lets Make Cosplay: Mecha Chibi Wings

Hey guys! This is the blog post containing the instructions for Mecha Chibi Wings! A viewer asked for this tutorial but she’s a teeny tiny Asian girl so big mech wings won’t work for her. Chibi wings are much more reasonable for a girl her size to carry and wear around as part of a cosplay. If you're interested in looking at the videos which have more details about how to make this fabulous prop, please check out the videos on Youtube at

The first thing you want to do before you start building any project is to make a preliminary plan or schematic. I recommend you try to make a plan or schematic for a few reasons.

1.       You can use a schematic to estimate the cost of the project by planning out what materials you are going to use, how much of it you will need to buy, and any equipment you may need. It allows for you to start a rough budget what you’re going to do, which is always good when your checkbook is feeling a pinch! I always price my things on the back of the schematic to see how much my project will roughly cost me. As a side note to budget management, the key is to not do a lot of big projects frequently. I have a huge mech project like once a year or a big project that’s like $600. That’s bad as a huge chunk but not as bad if I break it down into small payments over the course of the year.
2.      Creating a schematic also allows you to plan out how you’re going to create the prop so that you’ve got a guide on how you’re going to do it and you aren’t fumbling around as you make the prop. This way you can try to foresee some problems that might occur and adjust for them ahead of time so you don’t waste materials (and money) later on.
3.       A schematic also gives you an estimated weight and look of the final project.

Alright, so before we get started you’ll need your tools and materials. For this project we needed the following materials. You need 3mm. PVC sheeting in red, white, and black colors. You will also need 3mm. transparent red acrylic sheeting, IPS Weld on #3, a 2 mm. carbon fiber rod, two push release key rings, some medium density fiber board (MDF), #4 half in, some Philips flat head wood screws, marine power PC 11, and some black and red acrylic paint. The tools you will need include a hand saw, heat gun, yanky push drill, Philips screwdriver, pliers, rasp, file, sponge brushes, 80 grit sanding sponge, fine tip marker, and rulers.

The first thing that we want to make is a back support.

Having a back support piece is crucial because it allows the weight of the prop to spread across your entire back so you aren’t putting the entire strain on your shoulders. If you watched the video you can see what kind of shape I cut out and how I molded  it to my body so that the weight isn’t all on my shoulders. This kind of back support spreads the weight evenly across my entire back and it is heat formed to fit my body so it’s nice and comfortable.  Having this kind of a back support is so much nicer than having to put all the weight just on my hips, shoulders, or my back.

With that being said, the first thing that were going to do for our chibi wings is make the back support. Since we are making heavy ones and not your typical feather wings, you will need a plate to steady the wings so they don’t flop everywhere. You will also want something to harness the wings to (like a bra).

We’ll start off with a piece of PVC. The reason we choose to use pvc is because it is thermaformable. For her, I want this to be 8 inches by 4 inches. I cut out two separate plates. One of the plates is going to attach to the bra later on and another one of the pieces will attach to the wings themselves as the main support.

If you look at the first video you will see what kind of shape I chose to cut out.  You will need two of these pieces cut out. The reason for this second piece is so that it will support the wings on your back to make sure that they don’t flop over.

After you’ve figured out how big you need it cut to fit yourself you can cut on the plastic. If you’ve never cut plastic before I have posted a tutorial online for that and you can check it out (NEED LINK). As you cut, be aware of the angles that you are cutting. Some of these angles may be very small and it will be harder to cut from that side. Cut from the side with the widest part that needs to be cut and move to the smaller angle.

Now that you have both your parts cut out, we need to punch some holes in so that we can create supports on the side so that these wings will stay even and not sag in one direction. In order to do this we’re going to drill some small holes. The more holes that you put in means the more support this piece will get since the weight will be distributed over a large area. I’ve decided to put nine holes on each side.

Now guys, this is super important. When you drill these holes make sure that these holes are ¼ inch apart. If you put them more apart then you put extra pressure on the thread you will handstitch in later. If you put the holes closer together the thread can saw its way through the plastic over time.

So now you’ve got two plates cut to fit you with the holes punched in. Time for your next step. Pick one of the two pieces as the one you want to strap to the bra. This will be what pushes against your body and supports the rest of the piece. Now make sure that you file down all the corners. The last thing you want is for some sharp and pointy corner to be digging into your back.

After you file all the corners and make sure they’re rounded off you’ll want to get the heat gun. We’re going to use that gun to shape the support so that it molds to your back. You’re going to want to roll the edges up a little bit so that they don’t push into your skin. This piece will be under whatever costume she’s wearing. The other piece will be on the wings itself and doesn’t pose as big a problem. This piece that we’re working on now ensures that she can put the wings on or take them off without taking off her shirt. Mark this piece with an X so you make sure that you don’t confuse the two pieces.

So we need to have these lock together. The piece that you want to be directly on your skin on your back will be worn underneath your shirt and the piece that connects to the wings directly will be on the outside.  We need to have these lock together quickly and easily. For this she will need to put a buttonhole on the back of her shirt or have a shirt that buttons up in the back. The bra will support  the wings. Hopefully we will make these wings as light as possible and we won’t put too many elements into this.

So here we’ve got two small rings and two small clasps. These are going to be used to lock our wings to the support. We want two of them to make sure that the wings don’t pivot. What we need to do is insert the clasp into one piece and we want to insert the two rings into the other piece.

So how do we get these rings onto the PVC? Well, we are going to start out by drilling a hole smaller than the ring itself. We will need to make a hole in the middle. You will need to make sure that the tool you are using will drill a hole smaller than the ring. Carefully push a hole into the middle of both pieces of the back support.

After you’ve pushed your hole in, pick up your heat gun and heat the PVC. Be careful to make sure that the plastic doesn’t bent its shape. We want it soft enough that it will be easy to fit the ring in. Go ahead and poke the ring into the hole. The ring has small lips and we want to make sure the PVC wraps around those edges.

Now we’re going to put the clasp into the other piece. This one we want to mark because we have to make sure the clasp and the ring line up are even. If they don’t line up the prop will be unbalanced and structurally weaker. After you mark your hole, drill into it again. Keep in mind that these fittings need to be really snug. If they aren’t the props won’t hold properly and they won’t be as structurally sound. This side we have to make sure we know what side we’re putting the clasp in. The other one didn’t matter as much because the ring is the same on both sides. Since the clasp has buttons on one side that lock onto the lip of the rings we need to make sure that we insert the clasp so that the buttons will match on the right side to push the panel with the support.

As a note, all of you can likely see that there’s a small gap between the two panels. That is to allow for her shirt to sit in between the two panels. Don’t worry about that. The wings will stay stable as long as we put two rings and clips.

Now it’s time to start the actual wing parts. I chose to go with matte colored PVC because it is easier to work with. Acrylic is nicer and more pricy but I use different tools for that so to keep it simple for this prop I chose to go with the matte.

Draw your wing frame shape out first. After you draw this out you can begin sawing out the pieces from the PVC. MAKE SURE that you keep things small when using acrylic vinyl. PVC sheeting is fragile so try to keep them small to reduce the risk of damage. I chose to use MDF for the base of the wing frame. Since this is just the frame it doesn’t need to be thermoformed or altered. It just needs to be cut. This material is stronger and cheaper so it’s good to use.

As you see at 4:40 in the 3rd video of the series, located at you can see that I chose to use more of an L shape. This will be how the wings stick out from the back. I will have two pieces of this cut with one piece of acrylic in the middle and I will put as many screws through these pieces in the middle as I can so that it will hold in place without breaking.

Since you need one for each side you will need to cut a total of four L pieces of the first PVC and two L pieces with the acrylic. This way you have two pieces of regular PVC and one piece of acrylic for each side. After you cut all your pieces we will need to put the screws in.

To make sure that the wings can have a little bit of spring we will have to make sure that we don’t mount them directly to the center piece. To do this we will mount them using an acrylic rod. The rod I chose to use was a 2 millimeter rod. It’s thin but it’s still really strong. I’d suggest using carbon fiber rod. It’s pretty expensive so I’d recommend just getting what you need (any specific amount). DO NOTE: One problem that you will have is combining the materials. I don’t have the really strong cement stuff that you’re supposed to use but for now I’m going to put it into the center piece.

In order to get this rod in I need to drill a hole big enough to thread the rod through. You will want to put this hole about two inches in from the end of the wing frame. After you drill the hole you will heat up the carbon fiber rod and set it between both frames before you bend it so that both ends are parallel with the frames and they stabilize the wings to the support. After you attach the wings that way we need to make supports to make sure that the wings won’t snap off. I chose to make a triangular section out of MDF right underneath each wing so that it would help prop the wings up.

After you’ve got the base done you’ll need to pull out your colored PVC. Cut your pieces to how you want them to look for each wing. We will be screwing the PVC into the support before we use the heat gun to thermaform the plastic. Notice that we’ll be layering all the PVC strategically so that each upper layer covers over the screws underneath it.

When you heat this plastic you need to make sure the gun is always moving and that the light is just on one part you get hot and cold zones . You can warp the plastic or burn it if you don’t do this correctly. Also, you need to be very careful when dealing with acrylic PVC. It’s super fragile but can be thermoformed. However, it melts at a much lower temperature so be careful when you use it.

The girl who suggested this prop ended up getting thick bindings to use. She picked up bindings similar to the ones that are used on backpacks and that is how she added additional support in addition to the back support.

There we go! Chibi Mecha Wings! If you have any questions please feel free to ask! 

Who and What is the Final Cosplay Corps?

Final Cosplay Corps (FCC) is a group of extremely dedicated and passionate group of cosplayers who avidly attend anime conventions around the country. The group is made up of a great bunch of people who love to create impressive works of cosplay. However, the members of FCC are just as dedicated in trying to help other cosplayers reach their highest potential as well. Everyone involved with FCC started from the bottom and worked to achieve the workmanship they have now. Contrary to many elitist cosplayers, the cosplayers in FCC take pride in helping other fellow cosplayers learn how to improve their skills. They understand that everyone needs to start somewhere and love to help others grow and learn more.

FCC started unofficially after Chris Farabaugh (Millions_Knives) went to his first anime convention and decided to work on large cosplays after that. Since these cosplays often required the help of multiple handlers, Chris and his friends often worked together to make sure that he could get around conventions without risking other people’s safety. The group officially formed at Anime Central in 2008 and was finally titled Final Cosplay Corps at the C3 Picnic in 2008.

Knives often looks for people with a variety of skill sets to join the group. Also, he respects all cosplayers that do their craft well, even if their craft utilizes materials he personally prefers not to use. He is trying to gather people with various developed skills to join FCC so that the group can help each other and others.

Currently FCC is broken up into three divisions, Core Members, Ninjas, and the Tactical Squad.

The core members are the members who specialize in cosplay construction.
Chris Farabaugh: millions_knives: Specialization in Prop Constuction
Seneca Farmer: This_chick 25: Specialization in Sewing
Amanda Saleski: haku_hei: Specialization in 2-D Design
Eric Kubicek: spazchan: Specialization in Steampunk
Bret Luitze: Akiba64: Specialization in Cardboard Prop Construction

Ninjas are members who choose not to cosplay or help with construction but help the group with other things.
Blake Williams: djeclectic: Ninja of Automobiles and Music
Trent Wexler: rawkz0rz: Ninja of Visual Effects and Media
Kim Jarvis: gadgets: Ninja of Tranportation
Jon Norman: xenoblade: Ninja of Heavy Lifting
Savannah Watkins: sweet_sunshine: Ninja of being a Chibi (Real Designation TBD)

Members of the Tactical Squad handle matters online, whether it be video promotion, blog posts, and all that fun jazz.
Sirin Avci: Fullmetal_C: To Be Announced
Nicholas Pollitt: Kasin: To be Announced
Kasey Zhong: Kasemei: Tactical Supervisor of the Facebook and Blog Posts

Have any questions for us? Please feel free to contact us via the Youtube page or here! 

Welcome to the Final Cosplay Corps Blog!

Why hello there! 

You have reached the blog site for the Final Cosplay Corps! It is likely that you have come here to look up more information about us and what we do and we would like to take a moment to thank you for visiting! We love giving out advice for cosplay help and we always love having visitors! 

If you haven't already checked out our Youtube channel please feel free to go and look at some of the great tutorial videos that Chris Farabaugh (millions_knives) has already put up there! The url is . We are currently working on getting blog posts up for each project and once we get all the backlog up we'll consistently keep posting up new blogs with information from the videos! 

If you have any questions for us at all, please feel free to post here, contact us on Facebook (Final Cosplay Corps), contact us on Youtube, or email us at!