Zach Fischer’s Valkyrie

Zach Fisher's Valkyrie

I’ve loved Zach Fischer Illustration‘s work for a long time, and I wanted to finally cosplay one of his incredible redesigns. What better way to do it than by cosplaying his Valkyrie (I call myself Valkyrie Studios for a reason xD)!

Reference Photos

Blueprints

If there’s one thing I really enjoy about making cosplays, it’s details, and on this project there’s a ton–from intricate knotwork and bevels, to a pile of horse heads. And I wanted to do all of it–including some more complex alternate pieces!

Using cling wrap and tape patterns of myself I sketched out blueprints for each of the armor pieces for my Valkyrie. After this I went into Illustrator and recreated them to scale, cleaning them up in the process.  It was my first big blueprint project, and 29 pages later I think I did a pretty good job. If you’re interested, you can pick them up by clicking on the box below.

Armor

I was really excited about this project because it was my first chance to start making things with Black Worbla, a new smoother type of the thermoplastic that I’d fallen in love with using. And the stuff is amazing. It’s smoother, easier to work with, and gets finer points when rolling out bevels, which is nice.

Made the usual foam pattern to test the shape of my vambraces.

Adding the details was fun, and I used a combination of strips, bevels, and hand sculpted bits to make it pop.

For my greaves, I used the cling wrap and tape method to get a copy of my leg. Though it’s best to add some extra to your pattern because worbla and foam are thicker and then your pieces will no longer line up in the back (especially if there are overlapping pieces).

I was pretty happy with how they turned out, and I chose to have them attach via friction fit, so there’s no strapping or anything holding them on.

I made boob cups using two layers of black worbla (it shapes very well and doesn’t tear) stretched over a large acrylic sphere I got on Amazon. The underbust area was based on a bra and I sketched out the areas that stuck down more.

I sketched out the feather pattern on the upper edge of the breastplate, laid down the detail strips, then cut away the excess material so there was no longer a round edge. I also cut down the breastplate in the front because I keep forgetting that I have a shorter torso.

This is how I attached the straps for my armor. First I would heat up a section of the back area, and cut a slit. Then I make a stub that wraps around my rectangular ring, heat it all up again, shove it into the hole and squish the worbla around it.  It stays really well this way even under stress.

I had a lot of fun with the headdress, which I got to fit my head perfectly (but forgot to account for the wig 😛 ). Just wearing it makes me feel infinitely more badass.

I patterned my thigh armor the same way as everything else, then carved in the details while the worbla was heated with a wood sculpting tool. They were attached with grommets and string as well as velcro that would sit on my tights to prevent them from sliding around.

Fixing some pieces, and starting to make my hand armor at a friend’s house.

All the hand pieces were shaped around my hand in a glove (I had recently learned not to do it on my own fingers since the glove adds material and having circulation is good xP). These then were primed and attached to the base glove using superglue.

I had some scraps of 8oz tooling leather laying around, and luckily I had just enough for the tabard pieces.

The leather was dyed black and armor details were added with worbla and painted silver.

So many pieces, but they all looked really good!

Painting

Everything got three coats of black Plastidip, but unfortunately the last coat sprayed on kind-of gloppy because it was cold outside, so it looked much less smooth than it could have. Then I sprayed it all with Kryolan Aluminum, which looked really great for a metallic.

Here you can see the difference between the base coat of silver, and what the armor looked like after weathering with black using my airbrush, and several shades of silver (gunmetal, silver, aluminum).

Sewing

Because I’ve never made a formfitting bodysuit before, I started with Yaya’s “Ultimate Bodysuit” pattern and some performance fabric that didn’t look too much like plain spandex (since my local fabric stores didn’t sell 4-way stretch pleather 🙁 )

Let’s just say it required a LOT of adjustments, and as a person with a short torso, I was suprised by the fact that it wasn’t even close to long enough. I also added more fabric around the hip area because the openings went very high up.

Cutting out the stupid boob window!

The whole thing put together with reflective silver piping.

I sewed  thigh high leggings, and then pinned them to a pair of dancer’s tights that would help keep them up.

Stretch stitch all day long.

Sword & Spear

I was excited about making the weapons for this costume because I’d only ever made a bow and a staff before!

The spear head was made from two pieces of balsa.

These were sandwiched together, then I sanded the edges down.

This was then covered in black worbla and primed.

Here’s what it looks like with some weathering.

The spear head was attached to a 1″ dowel that twists apart with an embedded screw in the middle. The whole thing is about six and a half feet tall.

The worbla portions were primed with three layers of wood glue (since they’re not bendy).

Then, like the armor, everything got several coats of Kryolan Aluminunm.

The sword was cut out of a large piece of 36″ x 4″ x 3/4″ balsa wood to keep it light, and then had Apoxie Sculpt details added.

The whole thing was covered in black worbla for strength and durability.

I hammered in some nails to keep the quillions strong and to create a core for the horse heads I had to add.

I did a Twitch stream where I painted Dragonfang, the sword, that you can watch.

After painting, I wrapped and sewed the leather grip.

Wig & Makeup

Since apparently I needed to grow my blonde wig collection, I bought a Dany in Ash Blonde from Arda Wigs. It’s a really nice lacefront, and I think the color works better with my skin than some of the other light blondes I’ve tried.

I wanted to have a more viking-y war paint than the makeup that Zach had on his original design, so I played around with several styles until I settled on this, with a dark blood red lip.

Wings

The wings I made were large, frustrating, and a ton of work. I’m very happy with them, but I couldn’t have made them happen without advice and inspiration from The Crooked Feather, Air Bubbles CosplayZak Labs, and my Dad.

I sketched myself out on butcher’s paper, drawing the size of the wing I wanted. This was used to figure out feather lengths, as well as the inner skeleton. These were attached to a backpack inspired by Air Bubbles Cosplay and ZakLabs.

The frame of the wings was made from 3/4″ Square Aluminum tubing. I made a 1/4 scale prototype first to figure out the joints, then transferred that to metal, drilling holes for feather attachments along the way.

100 feathers were hand cut from a light cotton in various sizes I had figured out suing my template from above.

Wire was sandwiched between two halves of cotton fabric using spray adhesive.

These large feathers get attached with bolts to the pre-drilled holes, 25 to a side.

Over a thousand real feathers (turkey quills and goose shoulder feathers) were hand airbrushed with a design reminiscent of a snowy owl.

Once attached, the big feathers were held together using string to keep the ones on the ends pointing out and defying gravity.

A “sleeve” was created to hide the upper area of aluminum and to provide a surface for the real feathers to get glued to.

A view of the backpack on, and the rear of the wings.

All the large feathers were attached, and ended up being a 12′ wingspan.

The mechanism was made from a cordless drill motor that pulled on strings to raise the wings. (Note: I do not recommend this. Go with pneumatics.)

The wings up with fully feathered sleeves. I added a white boa to the very top edge (I was running out of feathers and needed something downy).

My wings just barely fit in my trunk with all the seats folded down (success!).

The judges were really impressed with my wings (and everything else) at Emerald City Comic-con, and I came home with Second Place Overall! It was an amazing experience, and I’m super grateful and proud to have won.

Final Photos