This year, not only am I doing PAX, I’m also going to DragonCon the following week! I hear that those folks in Atlanta take their costuming pretty seriously, so I had to make sure that my costume was up to par. I chose Hawke from Dragon Age 2, because I haven’t done a fantasy costume yet, and I already look a bit like the title character from the cinematic intro.

Update: My friend Nate Zimmer did some really amazing photos of this finished costume. You can check out his photography here and see the full Dragon Age 2 photoshoot here.

Hawke - Fired Up

I planned on using all foam PVC for the armor, but to start with I built it all out of cardboard and masking tape. This way, I could easily adjust it for size and look/feel before committing to carving up plastic.
Hawke Armor - Step 1
Hawke Armor - Step 2

Once I had all of the pieces planned out, I cut each flat section out from 1/8″ foam PVC. Nearly every piece of the armor was flat, so I didn’t have to bend anything. This made the construction very straight forward. Each seam was connected with fiberglass for maximum durability.
Hawke Armor - Step 3
Hawke Armor - Step 4

The seams on all of the armor pieces were filled in with Bondo and sanded down smooth. My goal was to make sure each piece was made out of a single piece of metal as though it had been forged. I also added “battle damage” cuts, dents and scrapes in the PVC to aid in the weathering later on.
Hawke Armor - Step 5

Once all of the armor pieces were finished, they were all primed black and then painted with silver Rub ‘n Buff. In hind sight, I could have probably just used a metallic spray paint and got nearly the same look in far less time, but at least it looked right.
Hawke Armor - Step 6

The armored gauntlet was a fun challenge. I ended up making each finger segment out of two pieces of foam PVC that were epoxied together. I then heated the pieces and formed them around the glove with my finger inside. Then, each finger segment was epoxied straight to the leather, overlapping so that the fingers could still bend (for the most part).
Hawke Armor - Step 7

With all of the armor pieces assembled, I went and weathered the armor pieces. I just used black and burnt sienna acrylic, a paint brush and paper towels. This was pretty tedious, but it really helps sell that it is real, battle-worn metal armor.
Hawke Armor - Step 8

The doo-dads on the neck armor were sculpted out of Sculpy and painted with acrylic.
Hawke Armor - Step 11

There is a tiny bit of chainmail on the upper left arm. I went all Lord of the Rings on this. It’s just PVC pipe that I sanded, cut into rings and wove like real chainmail.  Then I sprayed it with a black primer and silver spray paint.
Hawke Armor - Step 10

Unfortunately, I didn’t take many photos of the tailoring aspect of this costume. Here’s the breakdown:

  • The tunic was made from scratch out of denim and attaches with velcro. I weathered it with various acrylic paints.
  • All of the leather pieces were made from cheap vinyl, sprayed with brown Krylon Fusion, and finished with acrylic paint.
  • The fur neck thing was made from synthetic fur. I hot glued layers of squishy foam under neath it straight to the tunic. This gave it some good volume without needing a whole bunch of fur.
  • The belt was a tricky beast. The buckle was cut from 3/8″ foam PVC. The whole thing velcros closed in the front behind the buckle and has the cape thing sewn to the back of it.
  • The boots were picked up from Goodwill. The foot armor pieces were zip tied straight to holes cut through the boots.
  • All of the armor pieces have washers epoxied to the back of them. this gave me anchor points to zip tie the armor pieces to the vinyl “leather” pieces.
  • The “leather” straps have nylon straps sewn into them so that they can be buckled without stretching or ripping.
Here’s a shot of the belt in progress:
Hawke Armor - Step 9
Now, onto the staff!  The blade was cut from a piece of 1/4″ foam PVC (my favorite medium).
Staff - Step 1
The blade got the same treatment as the armor. Weathering scratches/dents, primer, metallic paint, and black acrylic weathering paint.
Staff - Step 2
The shaft of the staff was made from three pieces of 1″ x 3″ wood that were glued together. I carved the wavy, branch-like shape using a reciprocating saw and a belt sander. I also made lots of manly grunts.
Staff - Step 3
The orb thing on the base of the staff was made from cardboard and Bondo. I made a cross section of the shape I wanted out of cardboard and filled it with resin, then sanded it down to the egg-like shape. The tentacles around the orb were made from Sculpy. A 1/4″ bolt went through the base of the Sculpy and into the wood to attach it. The orb and tentacles were all epoxied together.
Staff - Step 4
The rest of the staff was finished with stain and black acrylic paint. I wrapped a red  band around the shaft and red string around the base of the blade. This was all held down with epoxy. The metal dots on the shaft are some fancy upholstery tacks that I found at Ben Franklin’s. The spike things on the base of the blade were cut from 3/8″ foam PVC. The bands of metal on the shaft are craft foam that was epoxied to the wood and painted to look metal. Finally the orb was painted with acrylics.
Staff - Step 5
That’s it folks! The costume is complete! You can see more photos of the costume on my flickr page.
Hawke - Finished
I took the costume to PAX 2011 and DragonCon 2011 and I got some really great responses and feedback! I even got my photo taken with Felicia Day!
Hawke - Felicia