Gears of War Cosplayer Studio Visit

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Gears of War Cosplayer GroupSome of our biggest fans traveled hours to celebrate the launch of Gears of War: Judgment with us on March 18th.  They brought with them an arsenal of amazing hand made COG armor which they proudly wore for a tour of the Epic Games studio.

Along the tour the costuming group had the opportunity to meet Art Director Chris Perna, Assistant Producer Andy Bayle, and CEO Tim Sweeney who were truly impressed by their costuming talent and honored to have them visit.

Among the costumers were Brian Mead and his wife Robin as the ultimate Gears of War couple, Marcus and Anya.  Dale Harvey wore his incredible golden Palace Guard armor while George Lampard and his friend Cruz Cockman represented the Carmine brothers.  Miranda Dombroski was all armored up in her own original female COG design made with real steel plates!  The group was kind enough to share their passion for creating these costumes in the video below:

After the tour the group joined the Epic Games team for a few of the local midnight launches for Judgment.  Having them along made the events even more fun and it was very exciting to meet such creative Gears fans!  Check out more great photos below.

Attention: Los Angeles Gears of War Fans!

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Sam-Byrne-Flame-Grenadier-Cosplay8Funny or Die and IGN are putting together a comedy web show centered on the upcoming game “Gears of War: Judgment” for Xbox 360.

The video will be hosted by comedian Kumail Nanjiani, best known for “Portlandia,” “The Indoor Kids” and the new show “Newsreaders.” They are in need of Gears fans in the Los Angeles area who have fan-made Locust and COG costumes.

Chosen fans will participate in a sketch comedy video shoot the weekend of February 9th and 10th.

Fans who are available and interested should send photos of their costumes and headshots to the following email:

You must be eighteen years or older to participate!

Dale Harvey’s Boomshield Pendant

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Boomshield Pendant, by Dale Harvey

boomshield3For my first project of the year, I wanted to make a Boomshield to go along with my Locust Theron Guard Cosplay.  That build is going to be out of EVA foam, but of course I need to have a few templates created in AutoCAD.

Once this was done, I liked my current design and wanted to see if I could quickly turn it into a 3D design and make a cool necklace that my wife or I could wear if we wanted.

The 2D to 3D conversion wasn’t that difficult since I work with AutoCAD every day, and once I scaled the finished 3D model down to something a bit more wearable, I exported my work off to Shapeways. Within a week, I had the awesome first prototype sitting in my hot little hands.

boomshield2It wasn’t until I actually got the model in my hands that I cooked up the plan to drill out a few holes and see if I could wire the finished product up with a few LEDs.

Over the course of the last two nights I got to prime, and paint the white puck with its base colors. Using a sponge and paper towels, I added a bit of texture to the drying paint.  As the paint was drying, I cut four small pieces of wire and twisted them together in pairs and then went about attaching them to a coin battery holder and the LED lights that they would power.  Granted, putting a resistor on the wires would have been a good idea, but I decided to just go with the straight circuit as space was at a premium on the back of the pendant.

After a few applications of hot glue to hold the wires down and to keep the post of the LEDs from shorting each other out, we had our final finished necklace.

This is a base prototype and as always I learned a ton from making it! To make it nice and neat I was going to put I nice cap on the back to hide all the wires and such, but the Locust are inventive by nature, so I felt that leaving the wiring exposed on the back was a better choice.

Thanks for taking a look!



Zadra’s Anya Stroud Cosplay

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Anya CosplayEpic Gamer and Gears of War Fan Zadra from the Epic Forums shared some pictures of her fantastic cosplay of Anya Stroud. Her attention to detail is amazing!

Zadra says, “As a big Gears of war fan, when I saw Anya Stroud finally geared up as a COG soldier in the third installment of the game, I became very interested in trying to replicate her armor.”

Zadra explained that the costume took about six months to build. “Using detailed character model images and NECA’s Anya Stroud action figure as reference, I created detailed pattern templates which I transferred on to EVA foam. I molded the foam pieces using a heat gun, and carved textures out with a dremel tool. Each piece was coated in plasti-dip before spray painting and adding more details with acrylic paint.”

You can read more about the Anya Cosplay on the Epic Forums.

Epic Gamer Cosplay: Sam Byrne

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While cramming for exams, Epic Gamer and forum member chanzlyn decided to create a Sam Byrne cosplay. She hoped to have the cosplay done in time for GenCon 2012, and while it was close, she managed to get it done.

The resemblance to Sam Byrne in some of the photographs is uncanny!

Chanzlyn said used craft foam and EVA for the armor and she had a blast creating it. She also enjoyed posing for pictures for and with fans at GenCon.

What is next for this amazing cosplay artist? Time will tell, but we’re sure it will be amazing, whatever it is! Watch for her latest creations on Lucky’s Cosplay Facebook Page.



Epic Gamer of the Month: Dot Stasny

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Hey guys, welcome to this week’s edition of “Epic Gamer Artists.” Tim here, sitting down with Dot from the Epic Gamers Community, who makes the awesome stuffed Tickers! They are quite the fan favorite, as well as the folks at Epic. Now let’s dive in on how she goes into creating them!

Tim: Tell us a little bit about yourself, and what you do.

Dot Stasny TickerbunDot: I live in a small town in Connecticut and I work for Microsoft doing inventory, as well as some freelance Production Assistant work for a TV/film/documentary production company. I went to school for live audio engineering for theater, but my main interest is in foley/voice over recording. Eventually, I hope to get into that field.

In my spare time (of which I don’t have much,) I’m pretty much a giant nerd – I’m a member of the 501st Legion, a Star Wars costuming group and I have my own Stormtrooper armor. I’m not as big a Star Wars fan anymore, so I’m looking to branch out in costuming – I really want to get a set of Gears COG armor going, as well as a set of Halo armor.

Other than that, I try to spend as much of my limited free time relaxing as possible, but that never happens! Usually I’m sketching patterns for new projects, drawing for my own enjoyment, reading or watching really bad horror/sci-fi movies.

T: Are you a gamer? Pretty sure you’ve played some Gears of War!

Dot Stasny TickerbunD: I’ve been a gamer pretty much as far back as I can remember! My grandparents had an Atari for us, so I spent a LOT of time playing Mouse Trap. When I was like 5, my cousins used to troll me by making me play E.T.- The Extraterrestrial, saying that ET needed my help. I spent hours sitting in the TV room while my cousins ran around outside playing and doing fun things and I was trying to float ET out of holes.

I’ve pretty much only been a console gamer – Atari, NES, Genesis, N64, PS1, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3. I really dig handhelds, but I can’t get into them as much, unless it’s Pokémon, really. I also have a Sega Game Gear, but after I lost the AC Adapter, my parents refused to mortgage the house to buy batteries for it.

Dot Stasny TickerbunI LOVE Gears! I actually got into Gears pretty late – I only had my 360 for a few months before Gears 2 came out, and picked up Gears 1 maybe a month or two before Gears 2, but after playing some co-op with a co-worker who eventually became one of my best friends (because we played so much Gears together,) I was totally hooked.

T: In terms of what kind of medium you use, what would you say it would be? I’ve noticed you enjoy working with sewing things up!

D: For making the plushies, I pretty much only use jersey knit material. When I first started, I just went to Wal-Mart and picked up a bunch of 4XL t-shirts and used them for ticker material, and for the most part, still do, because it’s less expensive and it’s easier to find the colors I need. I originally started making plushies out of t-shirts only because that’s what I had laying around the house, but I’ve been looking into trying flannel and fleece for future projects.

T: Your Tickers are quite the fan favorite. What gave you the inspiration to make these stuffed buddies? I think you’ve captured Flak’s and raczilla’s heart with their cuteness.

Dot Stasny TickerbunD: Thanks! It basically all stems from Twitter. Cliff Bleszinski tweeted about pet ticker costumes. Looking back, he probably wasn’t 100% serious, but I got bored and made a ticker costume for my rabbit, Blossom, mostly because my cat would have nothing to do with that. From “Tickerbun,” I met Stacey/iFlak and she was really cool, so as a “thank you” for all the support for my silly bunny costume, I made a Tickerbun plush for her and sent it down to Epic.

After I made plush Tickerbun, she forwarded a request from someone else at Epic requesting real tickers, so I was just like “I got this” and” that’s how I got into making the plush tickers.

T: I think I remembered you making a Lambent Wretch… I thought that was pretty awesome. Tell us a little bit about him.

Dot Stasny TickerbunD: Yep! I made a plush Lambent Wretch for Zilla when I met him at PAX East. I actually had made a regular Wretch for iFlak out of the leftover material from the ticker request and sent that down. When I found I was going to be meeting raczilla at PAX East, I was already making a ticker for someone else and didn’t really want to go down that route, I was nowhere near satisfied with any of the other ideas I was throwing around, and I didn’t want to send him a standard Wretch because I’d already done that, so I tweaked the original Wretch patterns to make it Lambent. It’s basically a palette swap, so I like to think of them as Smoke and Noob Saibot.

T: Have you drawn anything related to Gears?

D: Actually no, it never really occurred to me. I do draw, but usually it’s just animals or dinosaurs or cartoony, cutesy things. The closest thing I’ve ever done that was remotely close to fan art would probably be the holiday card I sent some of the folks at Epic this past Christmas, and that was primarily just “Photoshopping” pre-existing pictures into a holiday scene.

T: Before we end this, what do you want to say to your fellow Epic Gamers in the community?

D: Everyone in the Epic Gamers community is fantastic! The passion you guys have for all things Epic and for gaming in general is insanely awesome! I’m proud to be among the ranks of the Epic Gamers!

We have chosen Dot to be our Epic Gamer of the Month! Dot will receive an Epic Edition signed by Cliff Bleszinski and an Epic swag bag. Thank you Dot for being an Epic Gamer!

Epic Gamers: Onyx Guard Cosplay

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Last week at Epic Games, we were treated to a visit by a member of the Onyx Guard. Actually, it was cosplayer Tonka1675, who created an amazing replica of the Onyx Guard armor. Epic Games Technical Support Manager Preston Thorne joined Tonka on his tour of the studio as Dr. Adam Fenix.

Tonka was really excited to meet the artists who created the Onyx Guard character, and they were just as excited to meet him.

The original concept was drawn by Senior Concept Artist Jay Hawkins and it was modeled by Senior Character Artist Mike Kime and skinned by Senior Artist Mike Buck. Technical Animator Jeremy Ernst did the rigging.

Senior Environment Artist, Bill Green, invited Jordan to a photo shoot this past weekend and he kindly obliged. The photos are fantastic! Thanks to everyone who participated in the tour and to Tonka and his wife for taking the time to make everyone’s day here at Epic Headquarters!

We had the chance to ask Tonka a few questions about Gears of War. his Onyx Guard armor and what he has in store for us in the future.

Flak: How long have you been playing Gears of War?

Tonka1675: I started playing Gears 2 because a lot of my 300 Spartan costuming friends played it on Friday nights.  At first it was very hard to adjust to the 3rd person viewpoint after so many years of playing FPS, but after playing through 2 I went back and played through 1.  I really began to love the series during 3’s beta release, and that’s when I knew I had to do a costume from the series.

F: What attracted you to the series?

T: The great cinematics, gritty and detailed characters and environments, and Horde mode!

F: What made you decide to do a Gears of War cosplay?

T: This project started as a group.  All of my Gears friends have their own character that they use exclusively when they are on the COG side.  I loved the Onyx Guard from the minute he was released as a MP skin, so I claimed him.  As things came up, it slowly dwindled down to just me in  armor, but a few of the others have pulled off non armor versions in time for Dragon Con this year.

F: How long have you been doing cosplays?

I have been costuming for a long time, but seriously for about 10 years.  My beginning with serious costuming started with the 501st legion, a Star Wars costuming group that focuses on raising money for children’s charities, and is where my background in armor making comes from.  About 4 years ago I started branching out into other genres and now I really try to focus on learning at least one new costuming skill per project.

F: Could you tell us a little about how you made the Onyx Guard?

T: Because I knew I was going to have to  start before everyone because of the greater number of pieces, I started way back in January.  After a month of planning and starting on the basic pieces.  One night I just happen to be bored and posted a shot of the Onyx Guard to my facebook page as a future project.  That’s when my Friend Preston Thorne stepped in.  Preston is an employee at Epic, and went through the process of getting me approved to receive unreleased references.  That’s when things really started picking up because I didn’t have to wonder what something looked like, I had every angle I could possibly want.

I started with the chest/back because I knew that it would be the key to getting the proportions right.  Every armor piece on the costume is made from EVA anti-fatigue floors mats, so the process involved making paper templates from the references, cutting it from foam, dremeling or adding the details, heat shaping, and then painting with Plastidip spray and adding the attachment points.  The helmet is made through the pepkura process of making a base from cardstock and layering it with fiberglass, bondo and spot putty.  The lancer is a repainted NECA lancer where Preston gutted the existing electronics and added LED’s, and I created waterslide decals to replace the ones I painted over.  Thankfully I’m a teacher, so I had the entire summer to work on it.

I won’t say that it’s perfect, but it is accurate to the point that I recreated the boot soles and added parts like the helmet jaw line eyelets/lacing that aren’t even visible when playing the actual game!

F: How long did it take?

T: Officially, 6 long months!  Though as I have learned over the years, a costume is never really finished.  It will continually be in the process maintenance and upgrades like adding new weapons!

F: What was the hardest part about creating it?

T: The hardest part was that while I knew quite a bit about armor making and how it needed to function as a costume, but I hadn’t ever worked with any of the materials that I made this costume from.  I had to learn the pepakura process, how to work with foam, EL and LED lighting, sound boards, and creating 2 part molds!  Throw on top of that the fact that it’s very hard to get the proportions right because the Gears characters are so much more massive than the average person, it was quite a rewarding learning experience!

F: You recently visited Epic Games Headquarters as an Onyx Guard, how did that go?

T: Everyone at Epic was so welcoming and  complimentary of the work I had put in.  One of the highlights was the opportunity to meet both the Illustrator and 3d modeler of the Onyx Guard. It’s one thing to be told by other costumers you did a great job, but when the people who created the character are blown away, that’s the greatest compliment a costumer can receive!

Another highlight was getting to play Gears Judgment with the game testers while dressed as the Onyx Guard!  The new controls took a bit to get used to, but I can’t wait until it releases next year!

F: Your wife also does cosplays, are you two going to any conventions this year?

T: Absolutely!  We are leaving in a few days for Dragon Con in Atlanta, and we are looking forward to meeting other Gears costumers at the Gears of War panel on Sunday.  We also will be attending a gaming convention in Raleigh, NC in 2.5 weeks.

F: What is your favorite part about doing cosplays?

T: Definitely making them and helping others to make their costumes better.  I love the challenge of taking on costumes that require me to develop or learn new methods to accomplish.  I rarely ever take commissions because of the time involved, but I love to get together with other costumers and have workshop days where we all bring projects to work on.

F: What is coming up in the future?

T: The plans for next year include a Steampunk Spiderman, Mass Effect N7 armor, and Neo from the Matrix Reloaded.  Neo was my last costume I made before I got serious and I’d like to see the difference in what I can do now compared to then.  I also used to compete internationally in Martial Arts, so a Green Power Ranger may be in the future if time permits!

Thank you Tonka!

Epic Gamers: Sam Byrne and Flame Grenadier

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Recently, in the Epic Gamers devianART group, we came across a photo of an amazing Gears of War cosplay. We contacted the artists and asked them a few questions.

Flak: What made you decide to do a Gears of War cosplay?

Billy: Well, my wife and I have been making costumes for a couple years. We started out doing costumes from other games and last year I was at Dragon*Con in another suit of armor I had made. I met someone from Epic Games (Preston Thorne) who was with the Nightmare Armor Studio guys. I told him I was thinking about doing a locust, kinda joking, but when I got home I told my wife that because I had not seen one at Dragon*Con I really want to make one. And so it all started from there. And of course, since I was going to do a locust I wanted my wife do a COG. I showed her all the females in the games up until now and she really loved the look of Sams armor details so we with that style when we built hers.

Heather: I immediately knew that I wanted to make a Sam costume. I didn’t want all the additional sewing that went with Anya, and I liked that Sam is a brunette.

F: How long have you been playing Gears of War?

B: To be honest I bought the first game right after it hit the shelves and have been a fan ever since.

F: What attracted you to the series?

B: I’m a massive fan of shooters of all kinds, as well as horror and sci-fi movies, so the game had everything I could dream of.

F: How long did it take to create the costumes?

B: The Sam costume really didn’t take that long to make, maybe three months of building and about a month’s work of painting and detailing.

H: I made the belt and packs, and the arms, and the pattern for the chest. I also made all the underarmor and padding. My husband built the boots, the backpack and chest. I did the paintwork.

B: Now the Flame Grenadier has taken some time. We started it about a week after last Dragon*Con and really are still tweaking it and trying to get things just right before Dragon*Con this year, so almost a year.

H: We worked on the bodysuit together, which took two full nights to apply the latex coat. Billy did ALL of the foam work on the locust, beside the codpiece and the packs. Again, I did the paintwork.

F: What materials did you use?

B: Most of the suits are made from EVA foam, like the floor mats at the hardware stores. The Flamer’s bodysuit is latex and cotton layered over a Captain America muscle suit and painted.

F: What was the hardest part about creating the costplays?

B: Really the hardest part of both suits has been trying to get all the little details most people would never see on the suits and the Flamer’s skin suit.

H: This is the first time I’ve really gone full out with making a costume instead of just relying on my husband to make it, so I had to get used to making the patterns and using a Dremel.

F: After Dragon*Con, where else do you plan on wearing the suits?

B: We’ve been asked by the local Gamestop manager to wear them at the midnight release of the new game.

F: Where can we see more of your work?

H: I will be working on a Locust Queen costume this year, so check out my deviantArt account if you’re interested at My husband also updates our costume progress regularly on his Facebook page.

Thank you Billy and Heather!






Dale Harvey Cosplay: Queen Myrrah’s Helmet

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Sculptor Dave Wilson and cosplayer Dale Harvey walk us through the process behind the helmet of the Queen Myrrah cosplay for Dale’s wife, Kim Harvey.

Queen Myrrah Cosplay Project

by David Wilson

Much like every other helmet I’ve sculpted I began by building up the larger shapes on a replica of my own head (made in plaster and fiberglass, to serve as a mannequin). Using soft clay I was able to quickly build up the general shape of Myrrah’s helmet, using concept art from Google as my main guide. It was not long before I had something resembling the helmet, and could begin to refine shapes and work on the symmetry of the piece.

Eventually I managed to get it to a stage where I was happy with it; everything was symmetrical and nicely laid out. From there I began the heavier detailing phase, cutting all the recesses into the piece and I began using the inside face of a broken car light as a texture stamp to portray the patterns seen in the varying recesses in the helmet. Safe to say, this was very time consuming!

After I managed to complete this section of the build I had to then go in and add all the circular details, which was probably the easiest part of the entire build. From there it was a quick wash with Isopropyl alcohol and a final smoothing and I moved on to mould making.

I masked off one side with clay, poured the silicone on that side making sure to get every detail, masked off the other side and poured that side. When I pulled the silicone off I had to slice along the ‘wings’ in order for them to come out, which presented the problem of tearing occurring, but with care it all worked out well.

Then it was on to the casting process, I use a special two part plastic mix that cures extremely quickly and is very good for roto-casting (more jargon). The end product of this (with some cleaning up of flashing and overflow) can be seen in the pictures. The casting was then boxed up and sent off to Dale, to await his wonderful paint job and lighting work!

-David Wilson (Aka, XxCALIBERxX or XxDaveyWaveyxX)

by Dale Harvey

Since David had done such a good job with my last request I had full faith that he was going to be able to pull off, what at first I just saw as a awesome gift for my wife. As soon as I started seeing his progress pics I got really excited as to how I would paint it, and what else I could do to make things really special for my wife, as she always takes care of me while I cosplay. Let’s let her get in on some of the fun!

Before David’s final cast arrived I started making my wife a few pieces of locust armor inspired by Queen Myrrah for her to wear at Pax East if she wanted. Just a few pieces of Thigh, Forearm, Belt, and Shoulder armor for her to able to slip in and out of quickly if she so desired. I got lucky and got all the pieces finished right before the helmet arrived, and when I pulled it out of the shipping box, all I can say was that it was lovely.

Like giddy little Kids, I quickly had my wife try her new haberdashery on, and found that we only needed to make a few adjustments to the sides, and the opening at the bottom. After a few hours of cutting, sanding, and fitting and refitting, we found the sweet spot where she could wear the helmet comfortably and have full range of motion with her head.

The next day I started to paint and color match the helmet, mixing a primer gray with a metallic gray spray paint that was supposed to have a “hammer” metal finish to use as the base, and then finding and using Jacuard paints to give me just the colors I wanted for her helmet.

I’ve been asked why I don’t do much weathering of my props, and the best answer I have is that I feel that over the course of time that they will be in used that they will get scratched, dinged, broken, fixed and repaired so many times that they will start to get that “weathered” look naturally.

While the paint was drying, I started working on the lighting, and wired four red LED lights to two coin batteries. I started planning a way to stow the batteries and wires in her helmet without them being affected by heat and sweat. To accomplish this I coated the exposed contact points with hot glue, and then glued the wires into the inside of the helmet. Problem solved for the moment. After the paint was completely dry, the LEDs installed and a thin layer of padding were added to the inside.

I want to give a huge thank you once again to David Wilson, as his raw cast of the Queen Myrrah helmet was the real star here, I’m just glad I was able to add something special to it and make it unique for my wife.
-Dale Harvey

Epic Gamers on deviantART

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Last year, Arukun14 from Team Epic Gamers started the Epic Gamers Group on deviantART.

The group has grown to over 200 members and there is some really amazing artwork that the members have posted. You can find fan-art for Gears of War, Infinity Blade, Fortnite, Unreal Tournament, Bulletstorm and Jazz Jackrabbit. We’d love for you to join us!

Many of the artists who contribute to the group have been featured in stories on our community site and on our Facebook pages. If you would like to join and contribute, your art can be digital or traditional, 2D or 3D, photograph or video, cosplay or papercraft, we’ll definitely consider it. We will also accept fan-fiction.

You can see more at the Epic Gamers group on deviantART, or the Official Epic Gamers Forum.