The Dorky Diva

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Welcome to The Dorky Diva! I'm Savanna, a Star Wars fanatic who tries to sprinkle fandom into every day life. Follow along for new cosplay updates, outfit inspiration, beauty reviews, convention coverage, and more!

The Clawdite Chronicles 12.28.21 - Making the Holster, Helmet, and Finishing Touches

We've (almost) made it to the end of The Clawdite Chronicles! I'll be doing one final update with "reveal" photos of my Zam Wesell costume, but today I will be covering all of the details for how I created the holster, helmet, and finishing touches. 

Making the Holster

After making the leather skirt for this costume, I still had enough leftover leather hide to create the holster, helmet brim, and abdomen detail. I wanted to dye these pieces all at once so the color would be consistent throughout. To make the holster, I used reference photos of the holster made by Cal at Far Away Creations. The photos of the holster he made for his wife really helped me understand the overall shape of the holster and how to cut the leather. I made a pattern out of paper and affixed it to the cummerbund to make sure it was the right scale. I also made sure to test fit the paper around my blaster to be extra sure that it would all fit together. After that, I used the paper template to cut my leather pieces, which consisted of three major pieces and five small strips, totaling eight pieces altogether. 

Once the pieces were cut and beveled, I used my original dye ratios from the skirt to determine what color I wanted the holster, helmet brim, and abdomen piece to be. I ended up going with shade 5.4 and added in a tiny bit more of the oxblood and brown colors to bring out the richness and depth of the red undertones.

After the pieces dried, I assembled them with leather glue. To finish the holster, I affixed the inner piece with two metal snaps (just like the screen-used costume) and weathered the edges of the holster with some acrylic paint. This piece has such a beautifully organic shape and I was worried that I wouldn't get it right, but I'm pleased with the end result and love how the blaster fits in it perfectly.

Making the Helmet

The helmet was easily the most frustrating piece to make for this costume, which is why I saved it for the very end. The base helmet I had was a little nicked up and not perfectly symmetrical, so I filled the low spots with Bondo and attempted to fix some of the symmetry issues by filling/sanding out the Bondo before priming and painting it all over again. Once that was "done" (it's still not perfect), I mocked up the ears and created a blueprint for the armatures by measuring small plastic strips and bending them into the shape that I needed. After that, I mounted the ears to the helmet with some aluminum bars, bolts, and epoxy. I intentionally wanted the ears to be removable so I could take them off (along with the binoculars) when I needed to travel with it. Those pieces are very delicate, so I don't want to risk banging them up too much on the way to an event or convention. 

As I mentioned above, I made the helmet brim at the same time I made the holster. To make the brim, I really just started with a guess at the shape and slowly whittled down an oval shaped piece of leather to create the right shape. This is one piece of the costume that I hope to upgrade in the future. I'm not very happy with the overall silhouette of the brim, as it need to taper down more in the front, but it works for now.

When the ears were fully mounted, it was time to make the binocular armatures. I had purchased two different sizes of hollow brass bars that would fit together, just like the real one in the movie. Using the blueprint I created, I was able to figure out the exact measurements for the brass bars. Once they were bent at the correct angles, I was able to fit them together and mount them to the heim joint at the center of the helmet's ears with a gob of JB Weld Steel Stik. When the JB Weld was dry, I sanded it down smooth and primed the armatures gray. Then I painted them aluminum just like the rest of the helmet. 

Finally, I mounted the binoculars to the armatures with a tiny ball-socket rod used for RC cars and a dab of CA glue. Then I weathered the helmet with a mix of black, purple, and brown paints, slowly building up the grime and giving it an overall dirty looking wash.

The very last detail to add to the helmet was the veil. This was a fairly simple piece to make as it's basically just a trapezoid shape. I used the same purple microsuede that I used for the cape/hood to make the veil and I lined it with a red satin. One side is mounted to the helmet with a small O-ring and the other side connect with a magnet sewn into the corner of the veil. 

Finishing Touches / Small Details

The most intimidating part of the Zam Wesell costume is the mountain of small details to execute perfectly. I skipped over this a little in my build process, but while working on the major pieces like the skirt, chest armor, belt, and whatnot, I was also slowly working on a lot of the tiny details. This includes all of the things listed below:

- painting and weathering the hand plates and thumb guards, attaching them to the gloves

- attaching rubber hoses to the midsection greeblie, figuring out how to affix those to the leather vest

- connecting the chest armor, midsection tubes, stomach armor, and ovary greeblies all together

- hand-tying the leather skirt to the under belt, attaching greeblies to the under belt to be hidden by the cummerbund

- painting and attaching the toe armor and toe darts to the shoes

- sewing the black ribbed cuff for the left forearm armor

PLUS test fitting everything, color matching, and weathering along the way. Below are a few photos of the painted toe darts, the forearm cuff, and shoes before the toe darts were attached. 

And that pretty much wraps up the entirety of this build. The last and final post will show off the full-body photos that I took at Emerald City Comic Con.