I use a neoprene diver’s hood to cover my neck while wearing the gas mask. The downside is that it’s yet another layer to wear so things get pretty sweaty!
With regards to the materials, this is going to depend on your prop making skill level and the range of tools you have, how much time and money you have or are willing to spend on the construction, as well as factoring how much potential crush-and-knock the props’ll get. We don’t travel anywhere interstate so our props aren’t deconstructable but they are pretty sturdy. And with sturdiness does come weight!
Looking at the Backscratcher and the Detonator, these are my prop-making partner’s thoughts:
I used a light coating of black spray paint… I think it was a satin one that consort used for some of the props. It can give a good, smooth gradient, but it was still a little sticky and shiny after it’d dried, whether from the nature of the paint or the vinyl is was sprayed onto, I’m unsure. However, it turned out to be a plus since it allowed me to use charcoal dust. I had a stick of willow charcoal that I just rubbed on a rough piece of paper ‘til it powdered and then rubbed the powder onto the spray painted areas with a cotton wool ball. I think I started from the bottom and worked my way up so that I wouldn’t destroy the gradient. Not only does it darken the soot effect, it also stopped the slight tackiness of the spray paint. I think I’ve only had to touch it up once, and the only thing I really need to keep an eye out for is water. That said, I stood in rain for a significant time for a poxy Guiness World Record a while back and I don’t think it ruined anything.
I guess it depends what your suit is made of as to whether the above method’ll be of much use. Just the spray paint ‘d work on fabric. I’ve only used Plastidip on the glove finger tips.
Hope this helps!
Whilst there hasn’t been much free time lately, we’re chipping away at cosplay-related stuff where possible.
Consort tried some 3-D printing for the bonesaw screws. They have to be sealed before using the spray filler because some erosion does occur otherwise. It was a bit of a test run to see what the material was like. It might be a way to create the bolt in the Sniper rifle.
Here’s consort working on the handle for Pyro’s fire axe. The MDF was proving hard to sand so he got a bastard file which has a much greater tooth and can shape a lot faster than other files.
And I made a red shirt for my 6 foot Engie friend. She’ll put the class icon badges on herself. It’s the same style and colour as I made consort’s Sniper shirt.
I need to make a pair of Sniper trousers in a couple of weeks’ time… that’ll be a scream.
The propane tank is made primarily from architectural foam, which is easier to carve than polystyrene. This image is basically the structural foundation of the propane tank, made of interlocking pieces of the foam. Once that’s assembled, the “gaps” are filled with wedges of the foam and carved back to get as close to the tank shape as possible. Car body filler is then used to coat the foam and fill in any gaps. It comes up pretty rough, so you then have to sand it back - it’s a long process and you may have to reapply the car body filler in some areas if there are cracks or gaps or you’ve sanded it back too far. Spray primer is then used to the smaller gaps, with repeated sanding and primer spraying. In this image you can see what it looks like after car body filler application before sanding (on the left), and after sanding (on the right). The propane tank on the right shows a bit of blue in places - this is not the foam, it’s the spray primer. You may end up sanding most of it off, but it helps get a smooth finish. Once the tank details at the top were added, it was spray painted, and faux warning stickers added.
The boot guards are made of black furniture vinyl with velcro to seal them at the back, as well as velcro that attaches them to the front of the legs of the suit - this stops them from slipping down too far. I’m pretty sure this is the only post that deals with the boot guards. Not much info, but it’ll give you an idea of the shape you’ll need.
Grenade cannisters are made from PVC pipe, sealed at both ends, and spray painted. The handles are made from acrylic sheeting that was heated and bent into shape, and then screwed to the tops of the cannisters. In order to prevent the cannisters from moving around independently on the bandolier, they’re bolted to a piece of acrylic that sits behind the bandolier strap, which is why they line up correctly when I wear them rather than flopping about all over the place. Due to the weight, the bandolier has to be bolted to the suit at my left shoulder to stop the weight of the cannisters from pulling them down and out of place. The bandolier is a neoprene strap… it needs to be heavy-duty because it has to support weight without ripping.
If you use this link, it’ll show you pretty much all the posts relating to the Pyro cosplay. The earlier ones deal more with the construction side of things, whereas the more recent posts are mostly photos at cons.
Not anything comprehensive, I’m afraid. It’s actually my partner who builds the props, and he has something on his blog, but like I said, it’s not complete:
The usual way to start is to get the prop in Gmod/Maya, scale it so that it’s sized according to your height (e.g I’m only 5ft 2in so the flamethrower is scaled so the relative sizing of it to me is the same for Pyro who’s taller than I am). Then a schematic is output and we print that out and use it as a template for the pieces. Sometimes the pieces can be things like a Malteasers bucket or a tupperware drinks bottle… it’s a matter of keeping your eye out and looking in shops for pieces that are the same size and shape.
If you’ve got specific questions, just let me know.
I bought an actual gas mask off of eBay. The model is the Russian GP5 (available in white and black). I got mine from a seller in Lithuania, but there are other locations. Have a look at this link.
Yeah, not sure how you’d recolour yours as I’m not sure how mask of the mask is elastic. I’m guessing it’s open-backed rather than a whole-head mask. Probably dyeing is the only way but not sure how receptive elastic is to that.
Even with the GP5, the whole head isn’t covered. I have to wear mine with a scuba hood underneath otherwise my neck shows.
Thank you! It’s always lovely to get a message like this.
A lot of work went into the cosplay, more so for my partner than for me! The flamethrower was a behemoth in terms of labour time.
Occasionally I get requests for a Pyro suit and/or flamethrower, and I always feel bad for basically saying it can’t be done. The resulting cost would be just too extreme… for the whole shebang we’re talking in the thousands, and that’s before shipping is taken into account! And I know no-one’s up for paying that. The only reason we could afford it is because it was something we really wanted to do, and all the labour that went into it was unpaid.