Extended Play

Perhaps not as menacing as Harrison Krix' Big Daddy but certainly more inventive than others!

To most people, fancy dress would be reserved for Hallowe’en or attending parties thrown by overly flamboyant friends who expect their friends to be as outgoing as they are.  For some people, however, the term “fancy dress” is much maligned and is, instead, known as Cosplay.

The reason these people choose to dress up as characters from their favourite games or animated series is passion, and perhaps the need to be creative for fear of imploding.  I wouldn’t know where to start, and I’m not sure I’d ever go as far as to actually wear anything that I created if I had the ability, but there are times when I’ve looked at other people’s creations and thought, quite simply, “wow”.  In some cases, the “wow” is down to how far they’ve gone to recreate everything in as much detail as possible and try to stick as closely to the original character as possible.  Unfortunately, however, that “wow” tends to be an involuntary reaction brought on by the shock to my system that there are people out there who think that stapling a lace doily constitutes as a Queen Victoria costume.

I have to admit that, back in 2000, I purchased a full suit of Stormtrooper armour from eBay.  I couldn’t help myself, I’ve always been a big fan of Star Wars and the thought of being able to prance around the house asking people to say “TK-421, why aren’t you at your post” as I smack my helmet and shrug just really appealed to me.  It took me a whole evening and several hours into the morning to finish building the armour from the kit and, when it was finally ready to wear, I had an incredible sense of achievement… I was now a Stormtrooper!!  Problem is, the leg pieces wouldn’t go over my thighs and so I never bothered trying again.  I did still wander around with the helmet on now and again though.  Just getting my money’s worth, y’understand!

Over the years, as cosplay has become more widely known, I’ve seen some half hearted attempts at costumes.  From the person who made such little effort as to throw on a blue jumpsuit with “101″ messily painted on to the back in yellow using emulsion for that “Vault Boy” look, to the other guy who must have spent ages creating his own Brotherhood of Steel costume.  It’s not perfect, but the effort involved has to be admired.

I really must take my hat off to those people who spend all their time toiling over cutting out every piece of fabric or foam in order to build a proper costume though.  One man in particular stands out for me, a graphic designer in Atlanta by the name of Harrison Krix.  He first came to my attention when a friend posted up a link on my Facebook wall, to show me an AER9 Laser Rifle prop from Fallout 3 that he had built as a project for a friend who was attending an event in full Vault Dweller costume.  The detail in the AER9 rifle was absolutely incredible, and had me captivated as I read through his timeline from sketch through to blueprint and to final completion and realised how much skill was required to take cosplay to serious levels.

Then I saw his Big Daddy.

When it comes to cosplay, this Big Daddy from Harrison Krix sets the bar higher than anyone could possibly reach, in my opinion! Unless you're wearing those 6.5 inch stacked shoes!

I have never sent so many people a link in such a short space of time before.  Having previously seen other attempts at a Big Daddy costume (from Bioshock, obviously, not 1970s UK wrestling!), I didn’t even need to look beyond Harrison’s initial foam and cardboard body stage to know that this was indeed going to be something very special.  The finished piece took seven weeks from beginning to end, but it shows.  From wing nuts and casing bolts being made entirely from resin to keep the weight down, right through to a fully motorised drill arm… Harrison Krix’ Big Daddy costume is nothing short of spectacular.  To complete the ensemble for Dragon*Con 2009, Harrison’s fiancee took on the role of Little Sister.  When I look at what he has been able to create from scratch it not only humbles me but depresses me that, if I ever wanted to turn up at a costume party dressed as one of my favourite game characters, I’d have to pay someone else to create the costume for me because I neither have the time nor the ability to even know where to begin with such things.

How far should someone have to go to garner respect for the effort involved in creating their own cosplay piece?  I find myself sniggering at some of the other attempts by fans whilst, at the same time, acknowledging that I would probably do no better.  The difference, of course, is that I already know this and don’t want to prove it to the world by donning a plethora of glued toilet roll tubes and empty Fairy Liquid bottles and attempting to pass myself off as a Brotherhood of Steel paladin or Master Chief.  I understand that need to shout “Hey, I love this game!!” from every rooftop, but my fear is that someone will have a camera handy and I’ll be immortalised on the ‘net as being “that guy” for ever… and that scares me.  It scares me because it’s not failure… it’s ignorance of failure.  In their eyes, they have created something incredible and are happy to wander around with their chests swelling with pride while all around are people scoffing at how spectacularly bad their costumes are.  If it’s all in the name of fun, however, then it shouldn’t matter.

As the proud owner of a full size Brotherhood of Steel statue, I’d love nothing more than to don the armour myself and wander around the garden making laser rifle noises, imagining that next door’s cat is a deathclaw requiring immediate extermination but, until such times as I can either pay someone to build the costume for me (and lost five stone to fit into it), I’ll have to make do by staring at my silent friend in the corner of the gaming room.

Other Cosplayers…

I call this Cameltron

Yes. It IS Sonic.

Hello Vader

That's no moon...

... but this is!

A lad in a Paladin

Last five articles by Mark R



  1. Ben Ben says:

    Been watching Harrison Krix for a while now and have to say the one piece that has stood out for me has been the Portal Gun he made, simply superb.

    I see he’s remaking the Fallout 3 laser riffle as he wasn’t happy with the quality of it, can’t wait to see the Hylian Shield (I have a thing for shields) he’s making too.

    I’d ‘love’ to try and make something, more in terms of replica stuff though (I struggle to dress normally, let alone with costumes) , one thing I’ve always said I will try is forging me own sword at a Blacksmith, would have to be something game related perhaps Frostmourne or Ashbringer from WoW.

    I think I was born in the wrong era really.

  2. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I saw that Portal gun when I was on the site last year, it was truly incredible – can’t compare it to the original as I’ve never played it but I’d just want it anyway! I saw that his Big Daddy costume sold on eBay for only $2000… that’s criminal. I’ve yet to play Bioshock beyond the demo but if I had the money when that auction was listed, I’d have tried to win it just to have something so realistic and so pivotal from gaming history.

    I adore the Valermos Sword of Fire made by Kit Rae for the Two Worlds series, but it’s difficult to buy in the UK and I’d have a problem importing it from overseas I reckon. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d try making my own replica but I can barely put up a shelf, let alone anything as complex as building a replica.

    I’ve just always loved props though, and was heartbroken to have to sell my Wonka golden ticket to pay a tax bill years ago. The only recognisable props I have left are the original sword from Sleepy Hollow and Lorna bought me some of the rarer Wonka bags. I’d sell them all for the ability to make my own though :)

  3. Lorna Lorna says:

    Fantastic piece. I was stunned by Krix’s work…it is absolutely amazing. The Bioshock photoshoot of his is incredible, and you’re right mark, indeed sets the bar so impossibly high.

    I’m with you on the sword front Ben…I’d love to just forge my own full stop if I knew how and had the resources to pay for a smithing course…until then I’ll have to imagine owning my glass or eleven sword from Oblivion. Though I have never played it, the swords in Two Worlds also look incredible and are actually available to purchase in the states.

    That Tron bloke should have hitched down his crotch because it looks…well…anyway…moving on.

  4. Pete says:

    I don’t know who the girl with the long ears is meant to be but then I didn’t spend too long looking at them particualrly ;) My eye seemed drawn elsewhere :D

    I’ve never quite understood that level of fandom myself… I like what I like and will happily talk about it but going to those extremes? I don’t think I have it in me!! lol

  5. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I have no idea what that character is supposed to be either but I felt somehow compelled to use the image in the feature. Maybe it’s because she was wearing bright green?

  6. Pete says:

    Bright green is definitly a stand out colour :) I don’t think it could have been anything else ;)

  7. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Lee actually linked me through to another game prop several weeks ago and it’s still in my Firefox tabs because I can’t bring myself to remove it… I can’t get over how stunning it is:

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