Regalia of Weisshaupt – Part One

floral paper or parchment

I was more than a little bit apprehensive about putting together Mahariel’s armour – other than the scale maille, I haven’t had very much experience crafting with and painting foam, so it’s something of a relief to now have the most complicated part finished.

The Regalia of Weisshaupt armour, from Dragon Age II, has three slightly different designs depending on Hawke’s class.  A slightly updated version is seen in Inquisition – the armour worn by your Grey Warden contact looks like a cross between the rogue and warrior versions – but as my Mahariel is a rogue, I found it easier to screenshot reference pictures of the armour on Hawke.

The armour is listed as four separate components in game, which I broke down into the following pieces:

  • Warden Scout’s Cap: Hooded bolero jacket.
  • Warden Scout’s Tunic: Scale maille tabard; breastplate; tassets.
  • Warden Scout’s Gloves: Gauntlets and couters.
  • Warden Scout’s Boots: Gaiters and poleyns

Since I’ve just finished painting the breastplate, that’s where we’ll start…

floral paper or parchment

When I was putting together my references and writing up my shopping lists, I had planned to do all of the armoured pieces as Worbla over foam.  As it happened, I’ve not had time to play with the pieces of Worbla I bought a few months back, and I ended up just bodging it together.

The first piece I actually made was the griffon insignia and built the rest of the breastplate around it.  It wasn’t until I was ready to glue everything together that I found something I had missed in my reference pictures: the raised edge around the larger piece.  After spending a good ten minutes cursing the pictures, the computer and myself, I cut the extra pieces and layered it all up to see whether I needed to either cut a smaller pair of griffons or a taller base.  Then I decided I actually liked the effect of having the tips of the wings over the border, glued it all together and sealed it with a coat of clear glaze.

Glazed
After first coat of glaze

After  gently heat-shaping the foam, I tied the corners together to support the shape and gave it another couple of coats of glaze.  I have loads of silver PlatiKote left from the scales, so I decided to use the spray for the base colour.

First spray
After two coats of silver PlastiKote

Once it was dry I thought it was much too shiny and “new” looking, and all of the creases and marks on the foam were suddenly glaringly obvious.  I made up a bucket of not-quite-gesso* and gave it two generous coats, which have left the breastplate pretty sturdy but it still has plenty of flex.

Gesso
Second coat going on

* Not-Quite-Gesso

  • 1 part casting powder (I use Scola, which sets really quickly so I recommend making lots of small batches rather than making a whole bowlful at once)
  • 1 part PVA glue
  • 1 part warm water

Once it had set, I sanded it down (I definitely need to get a rotary tool!) and painted the front with black acrylic and PVA…

Breastplate - black primer

Then layered on the first coat of silver acrylic.

Breastplate - silver

I much preferred the acrylic paint to the PlastiKote.  Yes, it took significantly longer than the spray but I think the matte finish really suits the piece and it made weathering much easier.

Finished paintwork - flash
With flash
Finished paintwork
Without flash

I may find myself adding a little to the weathering over the next couple of days, and I still can’t decide whether I want to risk going overboard on it to work in some darkspawn blood before I seal it.  Other than that, the only job left for my breastplate is to fit all the straps and buckles!

Potions, Poisons, Tonics and Grenades – Part Four

floral paper or parchment

I have been looking forward to making this grenade since I made the first round of potions and poisons back in October.  Initially, the plan was to build the grenades out of clear Christmas baubles, filled with liquid and sealed with silicone caulk but I had a few logistical issues with them. Then I happened upon the perfect jars for the job.

I managed to misplace my gold mica, so made do with some edible glitter that I bought to experiment with drinkable potions and tonics, and added some glycerine to give the fluid a slightly more viscous consistency, since the flames it produces are described as “sticky.”

 

Antivan_Fire_Grenade
My reference image, from the Dragon Age wiki

Because the jars have clear plastic screw tops, I made a quick cover for the lid out of craft foam and spray paint.  I’ve had my Inquisition wax seal stamp for months and have so far only used it on a couple of scrolls from the Inquisitor and advisors, so I decided to cover the top in a layer of wax, stamped the Inquisition insignia into it and carefully fitted the wick with a hot skewer.

Antivan Fire - small signed

The edible glitter isn’t quite as visible as the mica indoors, but my husband got some great photos of the swirling effect outside in the sunshine.  I love the edited version above so much that I’m going to have to redo the wick at some point to add a blue LED to the tip!

And with the new addition to my Inquisitor’s arsenal of potions, I decided it was time to make…

 

floral paper or parchment

 

I keep the chest that came with the Inquisitor’s Edition of DA:I on top of a bookcase behind my desk and periodically I looked up at it and wished I had another for storing random cosplay bits in.  So when I got my hands on some thin but sturdy card and a few rolls of textured craft paper, I decided to see if I could make a potion storage box.  I’ve made a few revisions of the design and materials for when I come to build it again, but I am really quite pleased with my mock-up.  I do wish that I had waited for my Worbla to arrive instead of trying to use craft foam to make the gold edging, but I know for next time.

Potion box 02
Inquisitor’s Potion Box with the Inquisitor’s Edition chest.  I even accidentally managed to misalign my lock in the same way!

The box is lined with black foam and I made a cushion to support the bottles from some off-cuts of wadding and faux suede.  It will comfortably fit four of the rounded potion bottles; a grenade (if you don’t mind bending the wick back into shape afterwards) and two potions; or one of each of the three shapes of bottles.  I still plan to make a larger version that can hold more bottles but the little box will pack nicely into my prop bag and will give me somewhere to keep my potions safe while traveling to and from events.

Potion box 01
Antivan Fire grenade, lyrium, jar of bees and health potion

 

Photography by Darren Allen

 

What with the push at the beginning of June to be ready for The Calling 2016, I’ve struggled to fit in blogging time over the last few weeks and then with not being able to spend my usual two days asleep to recover from the working week, I had to take some time to crash once we got home from Beverley.  So I’ve had a chilled out week playing Elder Scrolls Online, watching Deep Space 9 and generally having a well-earned break from cosplay.  I do have a few updates waiting in my drafts folder that just need finishing up and photographs adding, including a write up from The Calling, so keep an eye out for those over the next couple of days.

After some deliberation, I decided that I actually do want to go to MCM Manchester at the end of July, so I’m back to sewing and crafting in the hope that I might finish Mahariel in time.  On top of that, I’ve signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo this month, having skipped April’s for cosplay prep, so the next few weeks are shaping up to be busy ones!

nymsig