In summer, 2017, I was specifically looking for a project to enter into
the TwitchCon 2018 Cosplay Contest. The concept art for the Naga
Queen, by Olivier LeDroit, for Heroes of Might and Magic jumped to the
forefront of my cosplay idea library. It had many qualities which I
thought would be a challenge and would also be visually appealing in
I will choose a project based on challenge alone and The Naga Queen
provided, so much so that I found myself requiring an extra year to
work on the project with the intention of entering at TwitchCon 2019
instead. Naga required foam-smithing for the headdress, tail and
weapons. Sculpting for the mask, textile creation for the gown,
engineering for the obi, and exacting detail across all of it.
The headdress is based on a second hand child's bike helmet and
extends my height to a bit under 7 feet. It's created out of panels of
EVA foam, covered in 2mm foam strips for hair, painted. The beads
are attached to the foam with actual hair pins. The flowers were
deconstructed and reassembled, each petal creased with an iron,
then painted and beaded. Hair ornaments are based on wooden
dowels with the bells of a windchime added to the tips.
The mask is sculpted from layers of EVA foam, and Dremelled. The
lips were sculpted from EVA foam clay. The eyes are foam with a
plastic pic-nic spoon placed over the top for a glassy effect. This is
held to the headdress with rare earth magnets.
The tail was constructed by placing a series of foam circles in
graduating sizes around a cardboard structure, then divided into
manageable segments which screw together. Each segment is
covered in strips of hand cut and Dremel beveled scales, also
graduating in size until you reach the tip. The underside of the tail,
which is constructed out of foam glued to heavy lycra, can be
removed, held in place by velcro.
|Copyright 2019 and 2020 Going Ape Costume and Becky Lee Evans. All rights reserved.
The weapons, kodachi, katana and ko-naginata, are based on PVC and covered in sculpted foam. The handles on the swords are wrapped in
nylon strapping with a gold tag on the hilt which reads, "Going Ape Costume".
All the foam pieces are painted to suit. Black for the hair. Gold for the crown. Red for the weapons. Black, white and silver for the tail. These
are painted in layers for depth, with dry brushed black, gold, silver, turquoise or red in appropriate spots. The finishing touch is the clear
acrylic top coat which includes a small amount or white pearl pigment powder to provide a soft luster.
The bodice of the gown is based on large foam shoulders and snapped into place. The foam shoulder structure is covered in fabric, painted,
and a great deal of pearl cabochons glued to the underside. The fabric portion is lined white twill with machine embroidered leaves I digitized
myself sprinkled throughout. The A line wrap skirt is similarly constructed, lined with a heavy black fabric, but ombre dyed white to black to
the bottom. Each piece is trimmed with a yellow bias edge, a silver strip and a red length of ribbon between. Between the leaves, pearl beads
are hand sewn in a sprinkled pattern throughout. The removable sleeves are likewise ombre dyed, embroidered, beaded and trimmed.
The sleeves, skirt and bodice are highlighted with strips of seafoam green fabric with a heat transfer foil geometric pattern applied. The gold is
tripled stitched on the edges with red thread and then each gold corner dry brushed with subtle red paint. The sleeves also feature a dark
yellow chiffon streamer with burgundy red rings and dots glued along burgundy fabric marker lines. Each ring and dot were hand cut.
The obi is a based on a wide belt of EVA foam which zips in the center front. A foam structure in the back was engineered to hold the katana
and kodachi at the proper angles as well as provide the curve for the tabs of the obi to lay on. I designed and tiled the print of the obi fabric
myself and had it printed. Each motif was highlighted with dots of light blue and turquoise craft paints, triple topstitched with gold thread, then
additionally stitched in black thread with a herring bone pattern. The fabric stretches along the front of the foam, velcro-ed into place on either
side, with a red nylon rope placed at the front and held at the back with large pearl buttons. The back tabs of the obi feature a gold foil leaf
design and trim matching the headdress and the gown.
Gloves, balaclava and mask all had to be painted to resemble snake skin. The gloves and balaclava were sewn from a white lycra and hand
painted with silver, black and turquoise acrylic craft paints. Fake nails were painted black and glued to the gloves. More cabochon pearls
glued to the fingers. The balaclava is cut in such a way to hide the straps of the bike helmet used in the headdress.
Finally, the fan staves were an Asian market purchase with the fabric dyed, and painted, in a cherry blossom pattern free hand. Tassels were
made from rayon fringe yardage, trimmed with braid and pearls.
I was delighted to have been accepted into the Larger than Life category at TwitchCon 2019, with both my headdress and tail extending over a
foot away from my body. This competition was by far the best competitive cosplay experience in my career thus far. The Naga Queen was
awarded the first place prize in the Larger than Life category.