I have never been one for reading superhero comics, but the Marvel movies that have been appearing over the last few years have brought me into this whole new world! Particularly Iron Man, Thor, and Guardians of the Galaxy have been my favourites, how about you?
So when I was commissioned to make a femme Loki last year, I was thrilled. The cosplay was based on Loki’s outfit from Thor: The Dark World, with a few slight alterations to make it more flattering on a female body. That was a huge success and a lot of fun! Then the same client commissioned a new Loki cosplay this year, this time based on his outfit in the comic Agent of Asgard. Since I had never read the comic, this required a lot more research, but I was really excited by the design of the outfit, especially the scale maille element. SCALE MAILLE!!!!
Sourcing the right materials took some time. Eventually, I found emerald scale maille scales at The Ring Lord in the US. The dark green suede for the coat was also particularly difficult to find. The green silk for the paneling on the shirt and the coat sleeves and shoulders was the same silk we used on the first Loki outfit, which gave it a nice feel of connection between the two.
As with every custom made creation, the process began with measurements, pattern drafting, a mock up and fittings. Only a couple small adjustments were needed in the pattern so we soon had a perfect fit. Then it was on to the real thing! I started with the shirt and trousers (yes, I really wanted to get to work on that scale maille!!!). I used a heavy cotton drill for the base, to provide a strong support for the weight of the scales. Even though they were aluminium, 1400 scales still weighs a bit! Each scale was hand sewn to the fabric with super strength beading thread, instead of being connected with metal rings as with traditional scale maille. Attaching them directly to the outfit made it easier to incorporate each panel into the whole garment. Once most of the scales were attached, the gold foiled denim edging was applied. I designed the edging to sit over the top of the scales as a flap, so no fragment of the cotton backing would be visible. As you can see in these photos, I left one or two scales worth of gap around each panel, so the scales would not interfere when I needed to sew these panels into the rest of the outfit.
The sides of the shirt were carefully aligned diagonal strips of emerald silk, and the collar and sleeves were a soft and comfortable green cotton. The trousers were black stretch sateen; the little bit of stretch made them very comfortable, especially for wearing all day at a comic convention! Once everything was pieced together and all the other details were done, the last rows of scales were carefully sewn under the gold edging and the shirt and trousers were complete!
Using suede for the coat gave it a lovely weight and body, and helped it flare beautifully when she walked, revealing the emerald green satin lining. The collar was luxuriously thick synthetic fur, and the silk paneling on the sleeves and shoulders and gold trim echoed the materials of the shirt, creating a cohesive full outfit. Thick brown leather and antiqued brass buckles made the straps on the front and back of the coat.
This cosplay also required accessories; belts, gloves, greaves, and of course, horns! The fingerless gloves were made with stretch for comfort, and the antiqued brass buckles matched the buckles on the coat. The belts and greaves were made with the same buckles again, and the same leather as the straps on the coat, to tie everything together. I detailed the greaves with soft black leather and hand painted gold edging.
And finally, Loki’s iconic horned head piece! The horns for the Agent of Asgard variation on his outfit are significantly smaller than the movie version, but they still took a lot of work. The base of this head piece is a guard framing the face. Since it does not extend to the back of the head, it is entirely front heavy, and keeping the weight of the horns to a minimum was imperative. To this purpose, the core of the horns was expanding foam, carefully shaved to the correct shape. They were then wrapped in the thermoplastic Worbla for strength and stability, painted with many (MANY!) coats of primer, and sanded smooth. The head piece was also Worbla, which allowed the horns to bond strongly to the head piece, making everything very sturdy, and ensured the cheek guards could be sculpted to perfectly hug the client’s face. After more priming and sanding, the piece was airbrushed by my colleague Tom Miller, who has all the painting skills, and he layered the colours exquisitely to bring depth and realism to the horns. Black elastic secured the horns to the client’s head, and blended invisibly into her hair.
Whew! So much work, but so worth it! My lovely client wore this to Melbourne Comic Con, and looked amazing! Here are a few photos of her on the day.
Photography by Carly Van Groeningen
Photography by TitanZee