Friday, 13 February 2015

Cosplaying Renly Baratheon. Part 1: The Crown

After last year discovering the delights of “cosplay” playing "Arrow" , I am now raising the ambition a bit. I am working on creating a costume for Renly Baratheon, the unfortunate (well, aren’t they all?) young king from Game of Thrones. A character already very appealing in the novels, the TV series (and Gethin Anthony’s apt portrayal) showed an even more engaging character, with quite an interesting wardrobe to match. I will of necessity portray an older Renly (let’s pretend he was not murdered) and set my eyes on this costume.


Now this looks deceptively simple, but if you start to study this, this may well be the most complex costume created for the entire series. I need some simplifications…The whole project can be split into three: the crown, the breastplate, and the clothes and accessories.
Let’s start with the crown. I have seen many ways to make this: from thermoplastics, pipe cleaners, and clay  all the way up to 3D-printing, but I decided –after ample study- on paper mache. First and foremost because the result will be light on the head yet sturdy enough, and secondly because the materials are dirt cheap and easily available: just newspaper and ordinary flour. I found Jonni Good’s Ultimate Paper Mache website absolutely indispensable in setting up this project.
How does it work?
The crown can be split up into the head piece and what I call the ‘antlers’. There are three different types of antler used in the crown, and these I made from copper wire which was subsequently covered and ‘sculpted’ with aluminum foil to get the sketelon shapes. These were then covered with paper mache, using strips of paper and Jonni’s recommended uncooked flour paste. I found this technique quite satisfactory, and the antlers dried in front of a fan within an hour or so (it is important that they are thoroughly dry, otherwise mold may set in). What you get is a set of little antlers that are quite sturdy, but can still be shaped to give the best look and fit.
The head band was made from a slender plastic belt which was strengthened with copper wire and treated the same way: first shaping it with aluminum foil and then covering with paper mache.

Then came the fun part: putting it all together using superglue. That’s the stage where I am at now. I will give it another layer of paper mache to secure all the glue points and then it is a matter of grounding, painting and varnishing it. After that, it is on to the armour which is a bit more complicated and involves the use of the thermoplastic Worbla sheets (as well as a duct tape dummy!). That’s going to be fun!!!


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