Against all odds, I managed to finish my plain clothes Keith Voltron cosplay for SDCC 2016 last week.
Keith is the pilot of the Red Lion in the all-new Voltron: Legendary Defender show from Netflix and DreamWorks. For a recap of my work in progress up to this point, you can read my previous article. I was really down to the wire on this cosplay–I literally was still working on it 2 AM before I left for the airport at 5 AM the day before the con started!
After assembling the base jacket pieces and test fitting it (it fit perfectly!), I had to do my first zipper. Well, I didn’t have to, but Keith’s jacket has what looks like white trim down the center of the jacket. I aim for function over form if I can help it, so I made it a zippable jacket. Also, I try to always line my clothes to give them a nice finish, but since I knew I’d be wearing this at SDCC and later at DragonCon, I wanted to keep it on the cooler side. I lined the collar and cuffs where untidy seams might be noticeable, but I left the rest of the jacket unlined (for now).
I took my scrap foam dagger to my belt sander and free-hand sanded it down to the shape I wanted. I heat sealed it, sanded off the rough bits, and then coated it with black PlastiDip. I then took some leftover fleather strips I had from my old Steampunk cosplay and wrapped the hilt. I followed that with more heat sealing and more PlastiDip. For the blade, I did a couple of coats of Rust-oleum Metallic spray paint followed by a little bit of DecoArt Silver Spark Metallic Lustre Wax for the blade edge. I finished it off by using some acrylic paint for the straps to make it a little more realistic looking. I did a base coat of plain brown followed by a mix of green, rust, purple, and black for weathering and in the crevices.
After a final coat of Bondo and 2-in-1 Filler & Sandable Primer, I was ready to start painting my bayard. With two days left until SDCC, I was going to be right under the wire getting three different masking and painting jobs in. And then I dropped it down a flight of cement stairs. Needless to say, I spent another day refilling and primering and sanding the bayard. With only one day left, I set to work on the final paint job.
I started off by masking all the white and red areas. Because I felt like the black under area and grip should be a bit more organic, I used black PlastiDip again. This not only gave it a nice thick coat, but it also made it a little spongy like the grip of a weapon should be. It also gave it a better hand feel. Once the PlastiDip had dried (but probably not enough) I masked it off again and sprayed the high gloss white areas, then masked it off a third time to do the high gloss red areas. I finished the last coat of paint at around 2 AM and went to sleep for two hours. I got up at 4 AM, checked the bayard, and, as expected, it was still a little tacky to the touch. I carefully wrapped it in plastic wrap and stuck it into my carry-on bag. I knew that if I put it in my checked bag it would get totally beat up.
The bayard survived the journey and only had some very minor, barely noticeable spots from creases in the plastic wrap. I got so much interest in the bayard that I decided to finally open up my own storefront for custom props. Right now the only thing in there is the bayard, but I am open for business! I have a couple of other things I’m planning to add shortly, but I have a feeling the bayards will keep me busy enough for the near future. I’m also going to take commissions. I already have a Rover from Voltron as a custom commission as well!
I love the way everything looked all together. Believe it or not, because I was down to the last-minute before getting on a plane, I never even tried everything on together until I walked out the door to go to the con! The only things I changed between the first and second day was my hair and wearing my handkerchief around my neck. I don’t have much experience with styling hair and wasn’t too happy with my hair day one, but day two came out much better in my opinion.
At the Con
Because Voltron is a relatively new show, I only ran into a handful of other cosplayers and the majority of them happened to be Keith as well! I saw one Hunk, and while I didn’t see her in person, I saw a picture of the cutest little girl as Pidge. I also got to meet and take photos with some of the crew and cast of Voltron (Tim Hedrick, Lauren Montgomery, Joaquim Dos Santos, and Emperor Zarkon himself, Neil Kaplan)!
Keith also got to be a Headmaster and Batman!
For the most part, the cosplay held up really well. The biggest issue I had was that after two days of walking many miles in my boots, some of the foam peeled away from the base boots. I think I need to take some sandpaper to the boots first to make the Barge adhere better before re-attaching the foam. Also, my feet hurt–a lot. The second biggest issue I had is that I dropped my bayard getting out of the car on day one! Dropping any prop on the asphalt is not going to end well. Don’t drop things on hard surfaces! My bayard was instantly “weathered” and while it wasn’t really noticeable, especially in photos, I knew it was there.
My next goal is to finish the sword and to build out a set of paladin armor for DragonCon. That gives me just over one month. It’ll be tough, but I think I can do it!
Thanks to all who stopped to take a photo of me or with me. If you have any photos of me, I’d love to see them! Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @billythebrick, or check out my cosplay page on Facebook.