Kodiak Cosplay may have a bear of a name, but he’s a beast in the cosplay world, bringing some of his favorite characters to life in the con circuit. He can be found at https://www.facebook.com/bearofarrakis/ or at one of the many Arizona conventions held year-round.
When did you first discover cosplay?
“Middle school, when I heard about the 501st legion. It seemed so far beyond me.”
What was your first cosplay?
“Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica, back in 2010 at Phoenix Comicon. One person recognized me, and it was an amazing feeling.”
How did you make that cosplay? Did you buy the pieces and modify them, make your own, or a bit of both?
“It was a really simple costume to make. BSG’s civilians mostly just wear normal modern clothing, so all I had to do was spend a year growing out my hair and looking for the right pieces of clothing at thrift stores. The hardest part was finding the red velvet pants, but the blazer, tie, and shirt were easy. The only thing I actually had to make was the delegate badge he had from the episode I was taking his costume from.”
What’s the most complicated cosplay you’ve done?
“Probably my Mandalorian Mercenary. It has dozens of pieces, 6 or 7 materials, and electronics in the helmet when I can be bothered to get them working.”
How much of your cosplays do you construct yourself?
“It depends. I usually source cloth parts to other people. But when it comes to armor and props I do 95% of it. The paint, weathering, and fitting is always my work. I’m working on a Max costume from Fury Road right now. Most of the costume in the film is off-the rack military gear, and I bought the leathers, but there’s a huge amount of work that goes into beating it all up and making it look the part.”
How did you learn to fabricate and distress the armor?
“I looked up a few guides on the internet. I also took some experience from my days painting miniatures as a kid. Whenever I need to learn something new I can always turn to Google, but I also like to experiment on my own. There are also a lot of very talented cosplayers in my city that are always sharing new ideas and helping each other out. Foam is one of my favorite mediums for experimentation.”
The cosplay community certainly is great! I love how we can learn from each other. I’ve never used foam–yet. How is it to work with?
“Absolutely. Everybody comes to the hobby from a different background and they can all bring new information and new tools to the craft Foam is very easy to work with, and very easy to replace in case you make a mistake. I never feel like I’m making an expensive mistake with foam, like I could with resin or something else.”
And finally, what do you consider the three most essential items for any cosplayer’s closet or workspace?
“That’s a tough one. A well-stocked drawer of paints of every variety (enamel, acrylic, spray, brush-on), a heat gun, and tailor’s tape. Measure twice, cut once. But it really depends on what kind of materials you like to use.”