The lights are on
When I spotted Dessi Desu from across the hotel lobby at Katsucon – dressed as a character from one of my favorite RPGs – it was admiration at first sight. While it’s impossible not to marvel at the grandeur of Dragoon armor, I’m personally ecstatic to see Meru’s regular form brought to life, with Dessi embodying both the demure and dangerous aspects of the character. Also, I’m totally jealous of that giant hammer.
Who: The CharacterThe character is Meru from the Legend of Dragoon in her regular form.
DecisionThe Legend of Dragoon was my very first RPG, so constructing a costume from this game was a must on my cosplay to-do list. I decided on Meru for a combination of reasons. While playing the game, I ended up liking her quirky and fun personality. I also liked the whimsical nature of her design, along with the organic shapes on her costume. Not to mention, she’s petite girl with a giant hammer!
ProcessThe actual costume ended up taking about two months for me to make, with me working on it on and off. Unfortunately, the hammer was not completed for the first time I wore my costume. The hammer took about two weeks for me to create, which I completed a couple days before Katsucon. Working on Meru had a lot of firsts for me, so the process ended up being a little experimental at points. It was the first time I had ever worked with heat n’ bond, satin stitched, and created a large prop.
I ended up choosing to use casa satin for all the elements along my waist, the hair bow, and the ties on my shin guards. Everything else I opted to create out of vinyl and faux leather. I really wanted the materials I used to be reflective of Meru’s whimsical spirit, but still reflect the rustic Legend of Dragoon aesthetic. All of the shapes were individually cut with a template I created as a guide. Depending on the materials, I stitched the shapes onto the costume piece or adhered them using heat n’ bond. Each shape was then satin stitched for a more polished appearance.
The accessories were created with the use of paperclay or casting epoxy. The ornament along the top of the loincloth was created through a casting process, which entailed sculpting the piece out of clay, creating a mold using the sculpted piece, and then finally pouring casting epoxy into the mold for the final product. The bracelets and ornaments on the sash were created using paperclay, which were then sanded and painted with gold acrylics.
Meru’s hammer was created with an assortment of materials and techniques. The base started out as a dowel rod, going through a cylinder of corrugated cardboard with an axel piece inside for added support. The cylinder was then covered in expanding foam, which I then carved into, so I could create the basic shape of the head of the hammer. Then, the head of the hammer was covered in paper mache. After a great deal of priming and sanding, I was able to move onto the detail work. I drew out the shapes on the hammerhead as a guide, before applying any additional materials. Once the layout was complete, I was able to break out the ever reliable paperclay for the organic shapes and craft foam in select areas. Paperclay was also used on detail work for the handle of the hammer. With everything dry, I sanded the paperclay and moved onto the painting step. While painting, I placed a great deal of emphasis on creating shadow and highlight on the head of the hammer for creating depth and making the details shine.
As for the cost f the costume, I can honestly say I’m not sure. I avidly coupon for my costumes, in order to keep costs down, so my purchases do tend to be spread out.
Where and When:
The DebutMy Meru costume was first debuted at Otakon 2011; however, I did not have my hammer completed in time. I re-wore Meru to Katsucon 2012 with my hammer in tow, along with the bangs of my wig styled, and some red contacts.
Water is a major factor in shooting Meru. Luckily, Otakon and Katsucon both provided photographers and I with a fountain or manmade stream of some sort. Coincidently, photographers and I have also been fortunate enough to find areas in convention venues, where there are backdrops with color palettes that correlate with my costume.
The GalleryPhotography by LJinto, Joseph Chi Lin, and Anna Fischer.
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