CosBlog # 30: BioShock's Big Sister

by Meagan Marie on Aug 04, 2010 at 07:15 AM

Sometimes it takes a village to pull off a particularly ambitious costume, as evidenced by this spot-on Big Sister recreation from BioShock 2. Cosplayer Riki LeCotey walks us through how the team was approached by College Humor to fabricate the costume, details the long and arduous process of piecing it together, and shares the final product with us below. Honestly? 2K couldn't have come up with a better Big Sister ensemble if they tried.


Who: The Character

Big Sister from BioShock 2

Why: The Decision

Lab 604 (comprised of Chris Donio and I) were contacted through the grapevine (Mary Stanley via Nathan Sharatt, who is also responsible for this Bioshock-related number) by College Humor to build this costume. Chris was asked to take the roll of project manager and work as the lead sculptor on the costume.

We took on the project because Chris and I always loved the look of BioShock – there is just something about underwater art deco. It never crossed our minds to build this costume for me because I would have been the littlest Big Sister ever, standing at a whopping 5'1". It was also an opportunity to challenge ourselves with an insane deadline.

We were fortunate to be allowed to work in the local SCAD facilities for everything except the molding and casting process, which we did in our own studio.

What: The Process

Normally I don't keep track of the hours it takes to make something, but in this case there was a firm deadline. From when we were signed on, we had 10 days total. For approximately the first six days there were only three of us working on the project – Chris, Nathan, and I. Making the deadline was looking rather bleak, so we were fortunate enough to enlist the aid of Cathy Jones, Danny Ashby, Duncan Shirah, Daniel Valdez, Joe Hernandez, and Adam Foote. Without all of them, this project would have never been finished.

Any and all materials we could find were used, including old candle fixtures and a Starbucks cup. We thought we’d be saving time with found objects, but in the end there are very few found objects on the costume. We mostly fabricated out of MDF, then molded and casted.  In total there are over 22 sculpted and molded pieces.

Writing out the entire process would be cumbersome, but we’re in the process of working on a detailed description for a later date. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact A detailed description of the leather work can be found at

Where and When: The Debut

We debuted the costume at the Georgia Aquarium in February. College Humor dictated that the video was to be at the GA aquarium given the game takes place under water, it seemed like an obvious choice.  Something about riding whale sharks may have influenced them, too. You can check out the video below.

I’m a huge advocate of giving credit where credit is due, so below you can find a list of all contributors, no matter how much or how little they helped. Without everyone the costume would have never gotten done.

Nathan Sharratt - Production Head, Design Engineer, Project Manager, Fabricator, Model
Chris Donio - Fabrication Lead, Lead Sculptor, Caster, Design Engineer
Riki LeCotey - Sculptor, Mold Maker, Fabricator
Cathy Jones - Seamstress, Leather Designer
Danny Ashby - Sculptor, Fabricator
Duncan Shirah - Fabricator, Metal Worker
Daniel Valdez - Lighting, Electronics
Joe Hernandez - Cage Engineer, Fabricator
Adam Foote – Fabricator
Chris Lane - Additional Fabrication
Joe Pavich - Additional Leather
Lindsey Lewis – Photoshoot Model
Drew  Crozier - Photographer
Miracole Burns - Unused Corset prototype, Reference Modeling
Jennifer Barclay
- Additional Assistance
Danny Hong
- Additional Assistance
Meredith Placko - Additional Assistance
Matt Lewis - Additional Assistance

The Gallery

Links: The Cosplayer

While Riki didn’t model the costume herself, she's a very established cosplayer with numerous costumes under her belt. Check out her rendition of Wasp below, and her full cosplay portfolio here.

Miss the past few CosBlogs? Check out the CosBlog Hub for a full archive!