You are probably familiar with the pop-culture phenomenon knows as “cosplay” which is short for “costume play” and is a popular pastime for those folks who attend science-fiction/fantasy conventions. Basically, it’s the practice of dressing up as Anime, TV Show/Movie, Cartoon and videogame characters. Some of the costumes are very definitely home-grown and some are professional to a high degree.
There is another subculture of costume wearers out there called “Furries“. This term refers to the community of people who dress as anamorphized versions of animals, and then role-play in their “animal” form. Now beware before you Google this term, there is a strong sexual component to much of the content you’ll find at any “furry” link, and to many people, the term “furry” means those people that get off on that sort of thing.
Having said that, many of these costumes are incredible and some time ago while perusing random photos from some convention I’ve forgotten the name of, I came across this incredible walrus costume.
This is the costume of a character called “Royce Cobblepot”, the creation of a fursuiter from Northern Virginia. And here’s the rundown of how the entire costume was made.
Head: The hat was from Party City (a Halloween vampire tophat). The head is a light, breathable latex/spandex mix, made by the friggin’ awesome guys at NorthFur. Visit their site at www.northfur.ca !!! They do an incredible job with everything, and they are wonderful people to work with, even from a great distance. Recently, I applied eye makeup around my eyes to blend my skin in better with the mask, and I think it works well. I still need to adjust the mask for a better fit on my head, but given other matters in my life, that’s taken a lower priority at this time. 🙂 Oh yeah, the glasses are older glasses that I had, which carry a slightly different prescription, so I can still see.
Body: Long-sleeved dress shirt was bought at Ross (oversized). Tie was eBay (Jeffrey Marlin series, I think). The coat is a woman’s long, heavy overcoat with tails from a thrift store. Underneath the shirt, I have layered (from bottom to top) a fake foam potbelly bought from eBay, a pillow wrapped across my chest (under the potbelly’s straps), a stretched undershirt, and the dress shirt. This hides everything nicely, but the fat distribution still looks odd and will definitely need some work later on. I also have an eBay-bought “Vote for Oswald” (from Batman Returns…The Penguin is supposed to be Royce’s long-lost brother) iron-patch on the coat, too.
Flipper hands: About half a yard of brown stretch velvet was cut into patterns that I drew up (I thought it was a crude sketch, but it worked!). A friend of mine sewed them together, and I stuck oven mitts inside, along with pieces of foam to make the flippers “puffier.” They work really nicely, I think, even if the foam needs to be redistributed occasionally. 🙂
Pants: Oversized trousers I found at a thrift store, that fit perfectly with the “fat.” 🙂 However, I need to use suspenders (thrift store again) for safety. The problem is, my shoulders are not broad enough to make sure the suspenders stay on…so dancing or moving wildly can cause them to slip and…*blush* They also are not long enough, so I am currently using “Napoleon Dynamite moon boots” to cover the bottom part of the leg. Spats are in the works.
Feet: Basically big swimming flippers that are snug on my feet (with socks, not barefoot). I cut out two large parts of stretch velvet from the rest of the yard that I bought, with a hole which which to put my foot in. After putting duct tape over the “hole” where the toes come out of the flipper, I covered the flipper with the fabric, then used Perfect Glue 1 (Liquid Nails brand) to glue the edges of the fabric to the bottom of the rubber flipper. THEN, I cut out a thin beige Wal-Mart car floor mat (had to use two separate pieces and “jigsaw” them on the flippers), used a toenail clipper to get rid of all the pegs, and used a 3M spray glue (I forget which kind, but it was COLD) to sandwich the fabric between the flipper and floor mat. I made sure to hold them in place for a whole day, and they seem to have held up perfectly since. Only time, dancing, and much more wild action will reveal how strong they REALLY are, but so far, they’ve been working wonderfully.
Breaking News Update! Between the time that I started this post, and now, who should randomly post a comment on this site but Mr. Royce Cobblepot himself! I was thrilled to get a comment from a “celebrity”, and rather surprised that he should have stumbled across this site when I was literally in the process of writing about him. I’m hoping he’ll agree to a short five-questions interview, and if so I’ll post the results along with links to some videos of Royce in character and in action.
Breaking News Update Update! Royce has kindly agreed to an interview, and commented profusely on the blog! If things remain on schedule, the interview with Royce will post around October 1st or before. Stay tuned. Spread the walrus word and tell your friends about the World Wide Walrus Web!