Cosplay Family Spotlight: BH Cosplay

bhcosplay-familyCosplay is becoming more and more popular around the world and at conventions. I’ve personally found a lot of joy and personal confidence doing cosplay at conventions, and the number one reason I started was as an activity with my son. After seeing a great panel about Cosplay Families at Rose City Comic Con a couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to parents and families who cosplay and spotlight them here on GeekDad!

Cosplay Family Spotlight is a new recurring segment where I interview and spotlight a cosplay family. This week, I interview Brad Hallock of BH Cosplay. Interested in participating? Leave a comment here or reach out to me on twitter @billythebrick.

GeekDad:
How many members of your family are involved in cosplay?
Hallock:
Three of us–my two teenage boys (Jacob & Lucas) and me. We’ve been trying to convince my wife to join us, but so far no luck. I’m the only one with a cosplay page (BH Cosplay).
GeekDad:
How did you and your family get into cosplay and prop/armor making? Did one particular member start it or did you all jump in together? What was your first cosplay?
bhcosplay-jayne
Jayne Cobb and Dragonborne. Photo by BH Cosplay.

Hallock:

I have a buddy of mine that has been into comic books his whole life. In 2014, he mentioned he was going to Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, and asked me if I wanted to come and bring my boys. I quickly put together a Jayne Cobb from Firefly/Serenity cosplay for myself, and made two Halo helmets for my boys to wear. We had a great time! After that, I was hooked! I have always liked working with my hands, so diving into prop and armor making was a lot of fun.
GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite cosplay of yours? A favorite group cosplay you’ve done as a family?
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Jayne Cobb/Gears of War. Photo by Matt Booty.

Hallock:

My favorite cosplay right now is my Jayne Cobb/Gears of War mash-up outfit. It was my first true foam armor build, so it was a labor of love (and frustration!). My boys’ favorite cosplays are their Destiny Hunter and Titan in Seahawks themed colors. I’m in the process of building a matching Warlock cosplay to round out the Destiny set. I will probably debut it at ECCC 2017.
GeekDad:
Speaking of group cosplay, do you always try to cosplay together? Or do you all do your own thing?
Hallock:
So far, we’ve done kind of our own things; however, I really like the idea of group cosplays. They get a lot of attention, and it’s fun to be in a group. Seeing the boys in their Titan and Hunter is very cool, which is why I decided to do a Warlock so we could have all three classes from the game.
GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite piece that challenged you?
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Seahawks Titan Hammer. Photo by BH Cosplay.

Hallock:

The hammer for the Titan cosplay. It is modeled after the “Hammer of Sol” from the game, but since we were doing a Seahawks theme, I designed it around the Seahawks logo. It was the first time I’d ever done any extensive carving/shaping of a block of foam, so it was an interesting experience. It was also my first time using a new kind of metallic paint, and it didn’t work out as I had hoped, so I ended up painting it a couple of times to get the look the way I wanted. All in all, I was very happy with the way it turned out.
GeekDad:
What’s your favorite “medium” to work in (sewing, EVA foam, resin casting, etc.)?
Hallock:
I have dabbled in all of those mediums, but I prefer to use EVA foam, as I like to do armor builds. It is pretty easy to work with, cheap, and lightweight. I also like using my 3D printer. I have always incorporated 3D printing in most of my builds, which is a cool medium to work with, but 3D printing can be quite frustrating. I have an older printer, so it can be temperamental at times, and things don’t always translate to the print the way you want. There is also a lot of finishing work that needs to be done with it, and printing takes a long time. I’m printing parts for the Gjallarhorn rocket launcher for my Destiny Warlock, and each piece is taking an average of about 20 hours to print (there are 30 pieces).
GeekDad:
It’s been awhile, but I used to do quite a bit of scale model building, and I see a lot of similarities in techniques between small-scale building and prop and armor building. Have you ever done any scale modeling or smaller scale builds?
Hallock:
I loved building scale models as a kid! I had TONS of models all over my room. I preferred military vehicles (like tanks, planes, jets, and ships). One of my favorite models was the semi-truck from the TV show BJ and the Bear. Cosplay has some similarities to scale modeling in that you are putting pieces together. It would be a heck of a lot easier to build a cosplay if it came in a kit with instructions! It is very satisfying to finish a build and know that you came up with your own design, and put it together from scratch.
GeekDad:
Most of our readers are parents and, like me, want to share their geeky interests with their kids. I’ve been doing father and son cosplay with my son since he was born. Do you have any suggestions on how parents can get their kids interested and involved with cosplay and fabrication?
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Seahawks-style ‘Destiny’ Hunter and Titan. Photo by BH Cosplay.

Hallock:

The most important thing is not to push them. It’s not a bad idea to take them to a con and let them see all of the cool stuff that is there. My boys loved walking around looking at all the neat stuff. When they were in cosplay, they really enjoyed the attention when people stopped them for their photos. You definitely have to have a game plan when cosplaying with kids. Make sure you take frequent breaks, hydrate, and be prepared to deal with meltdowns! Also, remember to factor in bathroom use when designing cosplays! The key is to make sure they have a good experience. If they don’t have fun cosplaying the first time, it will be much harder to get them to do it again. I worked hard on their cosplays the second con we went to, and neither of them wanted to wear them much. You can’t take it personally and have to go with the flow. I didn’t push them, and let them choose wearing it or not. Depending on their age, it is a good idea to get them involved in the building process. The mistake I made was that we were in a bit of a time crunch, so I did pretty much all the work myself. Now my boys are like, “Hey dad, I’d really like to do a Titanfall cosplay. When can you build that for me?” It doesn’t bother me too much, because they are big enough now so I can wear the cosplays I make for them! Also, I really enjoy building them, so I don’t mind so much doing all the work.
GeekDad:
As someone who is somewhat local to you, I’d love to come and hang out in your shop and learn from some pros, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Have you ever thought about opening up your shop and doing any sort of classes or workshops to do some hands on teaching?
Hallock:
I would love to put on workshops at some point! Right now, we are between houses. We just moved to Bellingham, so we are in a rental that doesn’t have the space for workshops. I have carved out a small area in the garage that allows me to continue working, but it’s pretty tight quarters! I’ve been throwing around the idea of doing a “quick tips” segment on YouTube. Again, something that will have to wait until we find a new home and I have a more permanent workshop.
GeekDad:
A lot of us geeks would love to do something we love as a full-time job. Do you have another job besides cosplay and prop making? If so, what is it? And do you have any tips for our readers on how to work towards a passion becoming a full-time career?
Hallock:
I just retired from law enforcement after being in the field for 24 years. I am in the wonderful position of not having to work right now, as I have rental properties and other income sources (including a wonderfully talented wife). I love my cosplay hobby, and am doing some commissions from time to time, but I don’t want cosplay to ever feel like a job. Because of this, I don’t have any illusions about making a ton of money doing this, nor do I want it to be my “full-time job.” I want cosplay to be something I “want” to do, not something I “have” to do. Turning it into a full-time job will make it a “have to” job, and I don’t want that. That’s just my personal preference. For anyone thinking about working to that end, I would recommend watching a video done by Bill Doran with Punished Props about turning his cosplaying into a full-time job.
GeekDad:
Something along the lines of “Being a geek isn’t about what you love but how you love it,” is sort of the new geek mantra. Do you have anything, besides cosplay, that you consider yourself a geek about?
Hallock:
Probably 3D printing, but most of that is directly related to cosplay. I really enjoy the aspect of designing things from scratch that I can use. Several of the items I’ve printed are things that I have said, “I need a ” or “I could really use a”… It’s pretty cool making something from scratch, printing it, and seeing it used in everyday life!
GeekDad:
What upcoming conventions do you have on your schedule that people could see you at?
Hallock:
At this point, I’m not sure. We always attend Emerald City Comicon, so that’s definitely on the schedule. Since we just moved over to the west side of the mountains in Washington, I’m still getting my feet under me and finding out what’s going on over here. I know there are a lot more cosplay-related events over here. I just have to find them!
GeekDad:
Thanks, Brad! Check out BH Cosplay to see what Brad has in the works!

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