Process

Warsong Commander: Making-of

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I fell in love with Wei Wang’s Warsong Commander artwork as soon as I got my beta key for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. And when we finally decided to go to Blizzcon 2015, I immediately thought about making a cosplay of this character.

Well, one month before Blizzcon, Warsong Commander was soooo nerfed that she became useless as possible (as people often tell me «RIP Warsong Commander»).

Anyway, I’m really proud with how this costume turned out, as it took at least 500 hours of work…

Ref pics

I first used Wei Wang’s original artwork as a reference, of course. But, as the shield covers the main part of this costume, I had to imagine missing elements. An other Wei Wang’s illustration inspired me a lot. This is the one that appears on the cover of «The Art of Blizzard» (I asked Santa Claus for this book afterwards).

Warsong Commander - Wei Wang
Warsong Commander original artwork by Wei Wang

The Art of Blizzard - Wei Wang
«The Art of Blizzard» cover by Wei Wang

According to these ref pics, I drew my own sketch to make a clear idea of how my costume would look like.

Re-drawn model
Re-drawn model

Axe and shield were simply re-drawn flat. An effective method to see the different parts that compose the whole thing (especially for the shield, as it appears to have an intricate assembly).

To avoid writing a too long article, I detail axe and shield making-ofs in 2 distinct posts (see links below).

Warsong Commander axe cotes
Warsong Commander Shield

Armor pieces

1. Patterns

To get pieces that fit to me, we chose to wrap body parts with tape in order to get patterns (as we do for sewing).

Gauntlet drawing on masking tape
Gauntlet drawing on masking tape

Transfer on the foam sheet
Transfer on the foam sheet

Foam pattern
Foam pattern

2. Foam

Once the shape is drawn and cut, we transfer it on the foam and add parts of details with a glue gun.

Border cutting
Border cutting

Gauntlet foam basis
Gauntlet foam basis

3. Worbla

When the basis is done, we apply Worbla (thermoplastic sheet) to harden the piece and get the right curve (around my wrist ie).

We apply Worbla on the foam basis
We apply Worbla on the foam basis

Worbla evazote
Basis is done

Worbla armor gauntlet
It takes the shape of my wrist

4. Details (Worbla / Deco art / Dremel)

Once we have pieces with the right shape, we add some details. Some are made with Worbla, as for pikes that we shaped using scraps, and that we sanded to make them cleaner and sharper.

We also use an other type of thermoplastic, called Worbla’s Deco Art (small white balls). For the skulls, I first sculpted a Plastiline model (sort of clay, you can see the review there –> https://www.blackowlstudio.com/en/material-plastiline/), then we made a silicone mold out of it. We tried to make a cast using Worbla’s Deco Art, this was first just a test, but we are quite satisfied with this result! 🙂

Maël also added some notches to most of my armor parts with a Dremel.

Pikes worbla
Pikes: shaping and sanding

Worbla gauntlets
Worbla gauntlets

Molding Worbla’s Deco Art
Skull molding with Worbla’s Deco Art

Worbla leg plates
Worbla leg plates

Notches added with Dremel
Notches added with Dremel

Cleaning of the borders with a felt polishing wheel
Cleaning of the borders with a felt polishing wheel

5. Painting

When the pieces are finished, we have to smooth them (Worbla has a rough texture). In this aim, we apply several layers of primer, that we sand each time a bit finer. The number of layers depends of the degree of «smoothness» that you want at the end.

For my armor pieces, we chose to apply a silver spray undercoat on the whole surface. Next, I added other colors with a brush, firstly black to give pieces a more natural look, then a few tints between red and brown to color them.

Lastly, I added some watered-thinned red paint squirts by shaking a big brush over my armor pieces. Be sure to protect everything around with a tarp to avoid repainting the walls 😛

Priming
Priming

Silver spray painting
Silver spray painting

Leg plates - silver paint
Leg plates – silver paint

Leg plates - silver + black paint
Leg plates – silver + black paint

Red-brown painting
Red-brown painting

armor worbla foam
There’s gonna be blood !

Belt

This single piece took us several days of work… I began by sculpting of the central Plastiline skull while Maël prepared the Worbla basis.
Then, we molded the skull with silicone, and made a cold cast out of it (polyurethane resin + aluminum powder). We use this aluminum powder mixed with resin and also to coat the mold, this gives a metallic look to the piece when sanding it with steel wool.

Maël also had to work a lot on the basis, especially on the teeth which needed to be sanded a looooong time…
As for the other pieces, we first primed the belt, then applied silver spray paint (only on the basis, as the skull already has a metallic look).

Resin doesn’t stick to Worbla, so we had to screw the skull on the basis.
For the painting, I just added a bit of black to give the silver an older aspect, and painted a part of the belt in brown (burnt umber).

Plastiline sculpt, silicone mold, cold cast
From left to right: Plastiline sculpt, silicone mold, cold cast

Assembly test
Assembly test

Black paint over silver parts
Black paint over silver parts

Worbla belt
Finished painting

Behind the piece, we placed Worbla loops to pass the leather belt through and attached the chain mail.

To make your own chain mail, see tutorial here (https://www.blackowlstudio.com/en/tutorial-chain-mail/)

Studded straps and faux-fur are missing here, but unfortunately I don’t have any picture for these steps.

Belt loops and chain mail
Belt loops and chain mail

Worbla Belt (front)
Belt (front)

Breastplate

After Worbla breastplate basis was done, I made a pattern with masking tape. Once the patterns were done, I transfered them on fake leather and glued these pieces on Worbla using neoprene.

When I was sure that the fabric sticked totally to my breastplate basis, I glued Worbla armor parts with neoprene (again), and added some details over them.

Before priming and spray painting, I had to cover fake leather with masking tape to keep it clean.

As previously, I add black paint with a brush on silver parts.

Tape patterns
Tape patterns

Glueing fake leather with neoprene
Glueing fake leather with neoprene

Worbla add-ons
Worbla add-ons

Silver painting
Silver painting

Without masking tape
Without masking tape

Worbla breastplate
Finished painting

Cloak

1. Dyeing

For the cloak, we can speak of a total improvisation… I cut the shape directly from my fabric (fake leather on the inside, I don’t know for the other face but it is quite soft).

Then comes the dyeing… I laid my damp cloak flat on a tarp at the ground. I randomly put some paint everywhere, spreaded it with my hands and poured some water over it. Firstly, brownish tints to give it a dirty look, and then some red-ochre-brownish mixes, increasingly red as I went to the top of the cloak, giving a nice gradient.

First dyeing
First dyeing

Painting mix
Painting mix

Making the gradient
Making the gradient

Waiting for it to dry...
Waiting for it to dry…

2. Sewing

Once dry, I cut my cloak and re-sewed it with a big ochre embroidery thread to give it a stitched look as on the original artwork.

Stitching with embroidery thread
Stitching with embroidery thread

armor cloak
Basis is done

3. Finishes

After that, I painted the… horde logo ? with white textile paint. I am rather a newbie on World of Warcraft, so if an expert could explain the origin of this symbol, I would be glad to read it 😉

Logo drawing using a pen
Logo drawing using a pen

White textile paint
White textile paint

I then sewed fake leather straps on the top of my cloak, as well as faux fur, in which I cut holes to pass the straps through.
After Joris studded the straps, I painted symbols with ochre textile paint. Once again, we don’t clearly see these symbols on the original artwork… so I took «The Art of Blizzard» and copied all the symbols I could find (matching to the character) and drew them randomly on the straps.

Strap fixation on the cloak
Strap fixation on the cloak

Hole in the faux-fur
Hole in the faux-fur

Studded straps
Studded straps

Textile painted symbols
Textile painted symbols

cloak armor cosplay
Finished cloak

Prosthetics and makeup

1. Wig

If you want to see how I made the dreadlocks on my wig, you can read this tutorial (https://www.blackowlstudio.com/en/tutorial-dreadlocks-wig/)

Wig arda wigs
dreadloacks wig
dreads wig

2. Teeth

I made my orc fangs with Worbla’s Deco Art, to have a prostethic that fits to my own jaw.
You can find the full tutorial there : Tutorial : Crafting fake teeth

teeth worbla deco art
tuto worbla's deco art

3. Makeup

I prefered to buy ears from Aradani Costumes to save some time.

For the makeup, I chose a light green from Kryolan aquacolor line. And for the darker stripes, I used an old Snazaroo metallic green paint I already had in the back of my drawer (it comes from the time when I painted child faces at school fairs).

I applied collodion to dig some scars, and added fake blood.

We also put some Kryolan fixing spray for the makeup to hold.
Problem with it is that even after 3 showers, you still have some green that stay… –’

Kryolan aquacolor cosplay
after 2.5 hours of makeup

Weapons

1. Axe

To avoid this article from being to long, the axe making-of is available in this post.

eva worbla
weapon worbla
wood
axe cosplay worbla

2. Shield

The same for the shield : see the making-of here.

eva shield
shield wood worbla
warsong shield assembly
warsong commander shield

Complete costume

1. At Blizzcon

Warsong Commander Blizzcon 2015
Photo : Blizzard

Blizzcon 2015 Costume Contest
Photo : unknown

Warsong Commander Blizzcon
Photo : John Jiao

Blizzcon 2015 Cosplays
Let’s play «Where’s Waldo Warsong Commander?»…

2. Winter Photo Shoot

(Photos by Black Owl Studio)

Warsong Commander Cosplay

Black Owl Studio Cosplay
Blizzard cosplay
Hearthstone Cosplay
World of Warcraft Cosplay
Orc Cosplay
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marie@blackowlstudio.com

Marie Katzenmayer, 25 ans, est illustratrice freelance. Passionnée de game design, de musique métal et fan de Tim Burton, ses spécialités sont le Pepakura, la sculpture et la peinture.

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