Hoku Props


Hello people, Marieke here, taking over for Clara Cow, interviewing our great Cosplay judges and guests for Anime 2017.
Since her Highness, Miss Cow, is out speaking with Donald J about bovine rights in the USA, she sent me out into the country to talk some serious shop with two of our new cosplay judges for this year.

So, Hoku Props. Can you tell our audience what the cosplay scene is like in your country?

Cosplay in the US to me has a few different categories, it’s hard to just classify it in one! There's the people who just do it to have fun, people who take it as a serious hobby, and then those who look at it in a business aspect. I currently reside in the Los Angeles area, and being a stone’s throw away from Hollywood, I see a lot people who use cosplay for business. I have a lot of friends who have used the skills they've learned from cosplay to further their careers not only in the cosplay community but also the movie and TV industry. 

Wow, that is so interesting! Let’s roll on to the next question straight away. If you are judging cosplay, what are the things you look at, specifically?
Do you have a pet peeve that nobody ever gets right?

As a prop maker, I very much enjoy looking at people's armor and props. I really like it when people think outside the box with their builds, as well as when they add effects to such as lights or smoke. It’s fascinating to see the ingenuity that people put forth when designing their cosplays.

As far as pet peeves go... one of the biggest struggles when working on a costume is attachment and rigging. More often than not when building a costume from a game or anime you face some logistical issues in recreating the look of an armor which is not designed to be functional when physics are involved. As I said, I love seeing how people solve these problems, and it’s so disappointed to see a costume fall flat because of poor logistical planning. 

Over here, the cosplayers mostly drink beer and soft drinks and eat cheese and bitterballen. I especially love COW bitterballen. Which has nothing to do with that Bi… the lovely Clara.
What is typical cosplayer snack food in your country that we should all try?

Taquitos. Seriously, taquitos.

Have you ever visited fan run events outside of Northern America? If so, what was your impression of them, as opposed to commercial run events like Blizzcon or Twitchcon? If not, what are you expecting to find at your first endeavour?

This will be my first convention outside of North America. I'm incredibly excited to see what the cosplay community has to offer outside of the USA. Cosplay is something that transcends every barrier, and brings all of us together in a welcoming community. I'm also looking forward to meeting some of my international friends including Twitch regulars from my stream.

We heard your armor making method is a lot different from the traditional robot/mecha builders in Asia and Europe, who often rely on paper craft can you explain how you work to us?

 I have a very strong foundation in 3D modelling, because of this I design a considerable amount of each costume and prop in 3D software like Maya and Zbrush. This allows me to look for many logistical issues and modify things without it taking much additional time and money. Out here in the states we have facilities which you can go get a 3D body scan of. This allows me to import that scan, and build/modify a set of armor around a specific person. This also gives me an opportunity to consider which materials will work best with the costume, if it's thermoplastics or casting I mill out the large forms of each costume section on my CNC Router and either mold or vacuum form the costume or prop in pieces. If its EVA Foam I can bring the models into another piece of software I use that I can create patterns with, those then can get laser cut and assembled.

So, some of the obvious questions now, like: How long have you been cosplaying?

You could say I've been cosplaying for about 5 years. I am more of a prop maker than a cosplayer though. I do however allow myself 1-2 costumes per year which I try to go all out on. Ex: Lionhardt

What is your favorite cosplay? (That you made yourself)

Lionhardt really was over the top for me, I love the cosplay itself even if it’s a monster to move around in.

What is the least favorite one you made?

My least favorite costume I’ve ever worked on was Dark Helmet from Spaceballs, while I like the finished costume and character the production was really a pain, the shell of the helmet is vacuum formed and you get about 1 good helmet for every 3 vacuum form pull attempts. It is also fragile so it can break incredibly easy.