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Cosplay Construction Spotlight: Brand’s Space Wolf Armor Pt 1

7 Minute Read
May 13 2018
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Brand’s Great Company has forged a gorgeous set of Space Wolf Armor to honor his passing. This week we’re going to take a closer look at how it was constructed.

This month we are continuing our tribute to Brand’s Great Company, and the artists and cosplayers who stand among their ranks. Recently a gorgeous set of Space Marine armor was completed for Brand, and I wanted to take a moment to truly appreciate the kind souls behind its creation. Hatton Cross Steampunk and a team of highly skilled artists teamed up to create the armor to honor our fallen Space Wolf, and this week we’re going to take a close look at how it was constructed. Today, we’ll take a look at the build, and some of the detail pieces. You can see the full construction gallery HERE.

The Inspiration

“When I first heard about Brand, it was because his uncle had posted on a Warhammer 40k group asking for some words of encouragement to his nephew who was getting ready to battle cancer at 12 years old. I know this is a horrible battle and that you never know how things will go. There were two things though that really stood out to me:

  • In every picture of him he was smiling, even when he had lost his hair to chemo and surely sick as a dog and in terrible pain, he smiled.
  • The 40k community rallied behind him like nothing I’d ever seen. People in something like 30 countries started sending miniatures, books, props, well wishes and money to this kid and his family.

This inspired me considerably. Since I am a cosplayer and have no skills whatsoever for painting the little guys, I decided I would make him his own Space Marine armor. This, of course, posed two immediate problems:

  • Since he was in the UK and I am in the USA, I couldn’t make it to fit him without the Pepakura files being resized to fit him. I asked a few people there and found the amazing Dave Dayman who worked his ass off to get me the pep files.
  • The material costs were not cheap. I had a lot of people asking what they could do so I said I’m making a list on Amazon with the materials I needed and posted the link. Within a day and a half, it was all purchased. Again, I could hardly believe it.

Then the boxes started arriving.

The Build

I had already solidified the design I wanted to make, based on speaking with Brand’s father Rob and this is roughly the design we settled on. I do not know who to credit for the art as it was pulled off google images with links to re-posters. If anyone knows, I’d love to credit them.

It took a while before we started to build it. Partly because we were hoping to film it for a potential TV show and Brand fancied the idea of his build being on TV. His prognosis was also expected to beat cancer, and in theory, we had plenty of time. Tragically, this turned out to be not the case.

On April 3rd, I received a post from Alan (Brand’s uncle) that he had suffered a seizure and upon investigation, tumors were found on his brain. His prognosis had now turned to terminal. The news hit me with a tidal wave of sadness and guilt for having waited to start the build. I knew that none of this mattered, only that we get cracking on Brand’s armor. I knew the clock was ticking so we assembled the team to get started.

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That team was me, Dave Lee, Michaela Lee, Jessica Lee, Jordan Gonzales, Joseph Lee, Valerie Lenz, Michael & Suzanne Parodi, Tony Lee, Darla Lee, Chris Arendt, Wheeler Stone, Lori Fueling, Jeff Church, Andrea Corina, Robin Orru’ and Andrea Saccomandi. Thursday night, Michaela and I started cutting out the templates from the pep files that Jordan Gonzales had printed for us.

We worked until 2:30 in the morning that night. I took a vacation on Friday so we could get in the workshop and get started. The next day, Joe, Valerie, Jordan, Jessica, Mike, Tony all joined us in the workshop to begin the arduous process of tracing and cutting out all of the foam pieces. By the end of the day Friday, we had amassed a bunch of piles of the various parts to assemble. We may have finished some of the parts, but it’s a bit fuzzy at this point. Lots of caffeine and people feverishly working on getting it done.

 

 

I believe the initial plan was to have it finished by Monday night (starting on Thursday) so we could get it to him in time. I know that this was unrealistic now, but the build was fueled by pure, raw emotion and a whole family determined to get Brand his armor.

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Tragically, I awoke Saturday morning and checked my email and such before heading to the workshop. I saw the post from Brand’s mother that he had passed away that afternoon.

I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the emotion that comes from loss and lose perspective on the ones that suffer the most. All I could think about was his family and how horrible it must be for them. I decided that we would shift gears a bit and instead of breakneck speed, we would focus on more detail than you could shake a stick at. My father Tony is amazing at high-speed carving with this Dremel-like/dentist tool carver, and so he started to put Celtic knotwork on it. With speed the motivation, we would have likely skipped this, but now we had more time and wanted it to be as amazing as we could make it. Here are some pictures of the build and Tony’s knot work.

The Codpiece

As we were working on the armor, some of our long distant team members were feverishly working on their individual parts to send to us. This is the codpiece made by Lori Fueling. It is handcrafted out of leather.

WIP pic of the wolf skull that hangs in front of the breechcloth, made by Lori Fuelling.

 

WIP pic of the wolf skull that hangs in front of the breechcloth, made by Lori Fuelling.


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The finished piece for Brand’s Space Wolf power suit. This goes in front of the breechcloth.

The Belt

Wheeler Stone, aka Doc Stone Studios, was busy making a leather belt. He put so much detail into it knowing that it would be mostly covered up by the fur and the skull. Like all of us, he knew that it wasn’t important to do so that others could see it but rather that is was done. We would know, and Brand would know.

WIP of leather utility belt for Brand by Wheeler Stone of Doc Stone Studios.

 

WIP of this leather utility belt for Brand by Wheeler Stone of Doc Stone Studios.

 

Brand’s belt is done thanks to the amazingly talented Wheeler Stone of Doc Stone Studios.

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The Wig

Next, AnneMichelle of AnneMichelle Hair started working on a wig for Brand. This was started before his status changed to terminal, but even though it had, she continued to make it for him. It is important to note that she makes wigs for cancer patients and is a wonderful human being. She is also an Emmy Award winner for her work on Saturday Night Live, so now we had celebrities working on the project!

 Wig, completed. Birdie Ryelove and AnneMichelle Hair.


 Wig, completed. Birdie Ryelove and AnneMichelle Hair.

 

 Wig, completed. Birdie Ryelove and AnneMichelle Hair.

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~Join us next week for more Cosplay! Coverage~

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