Sunday, December 10, 2017

Galen Erso Preview

THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS STAR WARS (ROGUE ONE) SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE, THEN DON'T READ/SCROLL THIS POST! DON'T CARE? SCROLL AHEAD!

Hello from a galaxy far, far away!

On the same day (3rd December) when I reviewed my Imperial officer cosplay costume I also took the chance, as the weather was pleasant for once, and did a photoshoot preview of my young Galen Erso cosplay. I love some of these photos and I'm really grateful to have Shiro Samurai (le bro) as my cosplay photographer :)

For those interested, here is the background to why I choose to cosplay young Galen Erso:

Cosplaying as Galen Erso was a must since I saw the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie at the local cinema when it came out last year in December. I personally liked Rogue One better than The Force Awakens while my bro preferred The Force Awakens, a matter of taste I guess. I was captivated and taken by Galen's story and character by storm, so I just had to cosplay this guy in the near future. It's such a strong and tragic story and it pulled at my heartstrings. A lot. So guess who was sobbing like a little kid in the cinema when Galen Erso died in that one scene where Jyn Erso (his daughter) tried to save and take him with them? I got some mad feels right there. For some reason, those tragic "parent-child" stories just gets to me and the same goes for those, well-written, sad "bad guy who is actually not a bad guy" stories and well, Galen Erso's story had a fair share of both. This story alone is a good reason why Galen Erso is my new favorite character from the Star Wars universe. On the second place comes Anakin Skywalker followed closely by Obi-wan Kenobi. I mean, who doesn't like Obi-wan Kenobi, seriously? <3

Galen Erso is also a character (like many others in the movies) who have different designs and also ages in the movies (reality, duh!) as they make new ones. For a long time, Galen remained as a mysterious character you only heard the name of and knew basically nothing about. Rogue One opened up his story and character (at least to me, for the first time) and in the movie, there was also this one flashback scene, where you see young Galen Erso in his Imperial uniform speaking with his colleagues. Later in that same scene, Galen goes to another room to hug and cuddle toddler Jyn Erso up, who had -very likely- been waiting for daddy to come. This scene alone was feels materials for me. #tragicshit
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Anyway, that's the backstory and why I choose to cosplay young Galen Erso from Star Wars. This cosplay was different from all of my others since it was my first non-anime character, aka my first "western" cosplay. I'd like to, once again, give a thanks to Shiro Samurai and Ri-kun for their makeup tips for Galen, as I really appreciated it. You see, I was pretty lost myself, haha. Galen was also the first costume where I decided to use my own filthy real hair for, as my natural color happens to be close enough to his. So when I could use my typical Scandinavian hair for a costume (some other Star Wars cosplayers recommended me to use my own as well, if possible) I took that opportunity and well, I must say that it did felt a bit weird to put on cosplay makeup without using a wig. The makeup was a new experience in itself too and I think I did the beard okay-ish too, for being my second try.

Before I give you guys the preview photos I also want to give a big, warm thank you to CosplaySky for sponsoring me this lovely costume and making this preview possible in the first place. Another thanks goes to the Etsy shop Interstait Designs from where I bought my screen accurate rank bar (he does a wonderful job!). So if you're looking for a rank bar to complete your Imperial officer costume of choice, please check him out and be amazed at the quality! I'm loving mine! *thumbs up*

Without further ado, here are the photos!

Cosplayer: Frozen Angel (Galen Erso)
Photographer & editor: Shiro Samurai

I forgot to close the collar after the costume review photos were taken on the first batch of photos. My apologies, I fixed the collar on the second batch of photos though.







After the first batch of photos, we went indoors to warm ourselves up a bit and Shiro Samurai took the chance to take some lens review photos on the same go, as the sun was still up. Later, closer to sunset (around 13:00 local time), we went outdoors again and searched for another location to take the remaining photos at, which ended up being a forest nearby.



Probably my favorite of this photo session.
Shiro Samurai edited, with my approval, one of the photos taken (not the same one as above but almost) to be completely black and white, like photos were back in the days. I like the atmosphere in it.


Last but not least, I know Galen Erso is a "good guy" wearing a "bad guy" uniform and I guess this two sides of one coin reference goes for me as well. You see, I'm really serious most of the time but at the same time I'm a walking goofy, derp a herp. Yes, you knew it already, didn't you?

Bonus Pictures!

I swear these were put into existence solely because I seriously ran out of poses to make! #curseofcharacterswithnoweapon(s)

The obligatory "NOOOO!" photo. It's fitting for his story, seriously! xD
That booty will do just fine.

This has the "I'm fabulous" pose and expression and I was even trying to pose seriously! The proof that my face is living its own life and doesn't give shit xD
Hope you enjoyed this preview post and I can't wait for the The Last Jedi movie premiere (like most of the nerds by now) so next time, I'll write about my cinema experience but for now, see you peeps around!

Monday, December 4, 2017

[Sponsored] CosplaySky Review: Star Wars Imperial Officer Cosplay Costume

Hello everyone!

As the title says, to my very surprise, I got another sponsor contacting me! This time, it was CosplaySky (United Kingdom) who took contact on the 29th July 2017 and asked if I was interested in a sponsorship with them. Of course I said "Yes" as I love to help and support others, be it costume stores, friends or the cosplay community. A few days after CosplaySky contacted me, I browsed through their store to see what costumes they had. I didn't end up with my first costume of choice, as they were sadly out of fabric to make that particular costume so I went with my second choice which was an Imperial officer costume from Star Wars. I placed this costume request to CosplaySky on the 7th of August and they returned to me on the 9th August with a positive reply. This change was no biggie at all for me, as I wanted both the costumes about just as much. But now, when I think about it, especially during this time of the year, I'm really happy that I ended up with my second choice knowing that the new Star Wars movie is coming to the cinemas soon <3

I gave CosplaySky the details they needed to make the costume and after that, the game of waiting began. Meanwhile I was waiting for CosplaySky to make and send the costume, I bought myself a rank bar from Etsy (more about this in the next post) and I was really happy to see that the said Etsy store created character specific rank bars on request, so I got my hands on a screen accurate one for my favorite Imperial officer of choice, who is without a doubt, young Galen Erso.

The next news came on 22nd August, aka the day CosplaySky had finished the costume and sent it for travels abroad. Sadly, the postal services were delayed somewhere in the world, so I got the costume first at 30th September. Since I was in the middle of a really tough internship I had to postpone the review until I was done with the internship and had recovered enough from it. Somewhere during the second half of November I started to feel better and since then, I have been preparing and planning for this review. It was enough of a challenge to find a day that worked for both me and my photographer. A day that also had good weather during those very limited and precious hours of daylight, when the making of this review was even possible.

With all the waiting, prepping and planning behind that has finally become a result, I'm more than happy to be able to write and get this review out. I also want to thank CosplaySky for their patience and understanding of my situation and I hope that they are satisfied and happy with this review of mine, I surely am!

So, well, let's start this!

Even if this is a sponsored review, my thoughts and opinions will always be 100% genuine and my own. I despise dishonesty of any kind and I strongly believe honesty to be the best policy towards my sponsor(s) and readers in the long run. I will never compromise my honesty as I want others to learn and grow as a business/person. Thank you for understanding.

Yesterday I woke up early (3rd December) and waddled my way to bro's place at the other side of town and once there, I almost immediately started to put on the makeup and soon the costume. I want to thank both Shiro Samurai and my good ol' friend Ri-kun for their makeup tips for Galen, as I was completely lost myself. A few days before the actual review, I did a quick makeup test at bro's and we both agreed on that I needed to buy more appropriate makeup before the actual review, so I did.
Now to the cosplay photos and the costume itself; since this was a sponsored costume, I didn't pay for it and it was, just like my previous bought/sponsored ones, custom size and made in my own measurements for a better fit. The costume came in a turquoise-green plastic bag and was folded nicely inside a costume bag with a resealable zipper. I really like the idea that the costume is inside its own bag, as it helps protecting it from getting dirty or damaged during its journey towards the new home. I found the costume in my mailbox once it arrived and I'm always happy to find stuff in my mailbox, as it means that I don't need to fetch it from the other side of town, yay~

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

Costume in its original packaging.
Costume in its costume bag.
The color of the uniform on the second photo is of brighter green shade than the costume actually has. These two photos were taken on a day when the light setting wasn't the best. The full body photos below of the costume (taken during a sunny, cloudless December morning) shows the color better and what it actually looks like. This costume has one of those colors that vary a lot in shade, depending on the light source and light settings it's exposed to *shrugs*

Before we move into the full body costume photos, I just want to drop this official reference of young Galen Erso in his Imperial uniform. Just so that you guys have something to compare the costume I received with (and my makeup, if you'd like).


Below you'll find photos of my received costume along with a list of items that was and was not included in the costume. Enjoy.

This is what was included:
- Uniform jacket
- Pants

This is what was NOT included:
- Rank bar
- Those pocket details (please inform me if you know what they are)
- Belt
- Boots

Cosplayer: Frozen Angel (Galen Erso)
Photographer & editor: Shiro Samurai

Note to those fellow Star Wars cosplayers out there reading this: I know my boots and belt are not screen accurate to the movies but I had to go with what I had, as I had time restrictions. I plan to get an accurate belt in the future for my Galen Erso cosplay, when I debut it. Boots are not a big deal for me, as I take durability/comfort/economy over accuracy here.

Front.
Left side.
Right side.
Back.
Alright, there you have the costume and I must say, honest as I am with my reviews, that I personally think CosplaySky did a wonderful job in recreating the well-known Imperial uniform (501 Legion one) that we all geeks love and know from the Star Wars universe! Want to get your own Imperial officer costume and cosplay your favorite dude (or dudette for that matter) from the Dark Side? Get yours from the links below and have tons of geeky fun at your next cosplay or nerdy event! :)

Link to CosplaySky main page: CosplaySky Online Costume Store 

If you need or want the same uniform but in gray, you'll find it here: Star Wars Imperial Officer Gray Cosplay Costume

After being outdoors and reviewing the costume and doing the preview photoshoot on the same go, I got my fair share of time to take a better look at the costume and the quality of it and I must say I love this one, seriously! The seams are clean and the overall sewing job is of good quality. No loose seams, hanging threads or fraying edges or anything else that would rip apart easily. A solid, good quality costume for a decent price, if you ask me. Value-wise this is a good one too. When it comes to the color of the uniform (this is a matter of personal preference too) I dig the color of the fabric as it's not too green nor gray, it's just in that sweet middle spot in-between. At the costume page, it's labelled as "olive green" and I'd say it stays pretty true to that. The fabric is labelled as "heavy uniform cloth" but to me, it feels more like a mixture of medium-weight synthetic fabric with (maybe?) a bit of a cotton-ish fibers/touch to it. It's a wee bit different from the fabric used on my Prussia (Hetalia) costume that I bought from them last year, which is a bit more static to the touch.

The Star Wars costume is still really nice to the touch and comfortable to wear overall, with no itchy or irritating fabric. CosplaySky nailed the measuring part and the costume I received, fits like a hand in a glove (note: do not add extra centimeters to your own measurements, if you pick custom size). I can walk around and sit down, bend myself in whatever position I need to be at without needing to worry for something to start tearing and that's a good thing. In other words; nothing on the costume is too tight or too loose and I want to give CosplaySky a "good job!" pat on the shoulder for this one too. Nice one! Last but not least -and probably the most crucial part of a costume- we have the pants. Unlike the uniform jacket, the pants didn't have a lining making them less sturdy than the jacket. The pants "poof" towards the side as military pants tend to do and they have a basic "zipper and button" closure system and belt loop rings, if you need to use a belt for a secure fit. I didn't. Sadly, I and my photographer forgot to take detail photos of the pants, so I hope you guys get an image of what I'm trying to describe anyway.

One thing that mildly surprised me (not in a negative way) was that at the end of each leg's hem, there was 3 buttons. This surprised me because I've never seen it done on a costume before, so I dunno why they were there in the first place but I guess it's an option (as the fabric had a cut in it so that you could layer it over the buttons, which of course, had button holes) to either keep the fabric at your leg's end tight or loose, depending on comfort. I decided to close mine as I don't want the fabric to sway around and get dirty or stuck somewhere.

Anyway, enough talking here are more photos of the costume:

Front side. Notice the seams.
Right shoulder.
How to open the costume's front and take it off/put it on.
You fasten the front part of the uniform with buttons.
A (kinda) hidden zipper.
Small pockets on both the left and right side. According to reference art character seems to have some kind of object in each of them.
How the collar is put in place. Hook system.
Lower uniform jacket or "skirt" and pants that "poof" towards the side.
Back seams.
I don't have much more to say about this costume as I am personally really satisfied and happy with it. There is not that much to say about the costume itself as the costume doesn't have many details or things to photograph and write about, as it is after all, a clean, stylish, iconic and simple design. Oh and if you compare the costume to its stock photo image on the costume's page, it's 100% accurate if you ignore the belt on the photo which is not included in the costume itself. This is even mentioned if you scroll down and read the costume information.

If I have to say something I want to change/want CosplaySky to improve upon, on this particular costume, is the choice of fabric used. The current fabric is by no means bad but it could be better, especially for uniform type of costumes as their fabric tends to be thick, sturdy and well, warm. I happen to have some uniforms in the nerdy part of my wardrobe (other cosplays/costumes) and some of them have a more thicker fabric, be it cotton, wool or whatnot. What I'm trying to say is that uniforms overall (as far as I know) tend to have, as I already said, a sturdier fabric. So if uniform cosplays had a type of fabric more similar to actual ones, by default, I would LOVE them even more and yes, I would pay the money for that quality on a cosplay costume. Apart from that, I didn't raise my eyebrow to anything on the costume at all. With the costume summed up, let's take a look at CosplaySky as a store:

When it comes to CosplaySky as a store, they are fairly big by now which means they have stocked up on plenty of different costumes from many different series in their shop, ranging all from popular series to lesser known ones and costume/item-wise; they have everything from full costumes to weapons/props, accessories to boot covers and more. CosplaySky's customer service is (from my experience) fast, friendly and really helpful and understanding. They are China based (not everything from China is bad!) and their English is understandable. The making process of a costume is fairly fast (depending on the costume) and they ship with express shipping, meaning that if you need the costume for a deadline they can help you get it in time, you just need to let them know. What I want to say at this point of this review is that CosplaySky is a store that has good quality costumes, price and value-wise, so you get a decent, solid costume for your money. The costumes might not be perfect detail/accuracy-wise but they are solid nevertheless and you get pretty much what you see. If you need to re-adjust size (this can also happen, if measurement is taken incorrectly) or add/remove detail(s), this is easy to do if you have some basic sewing knowledge and time on your hands. Plus, CosplaySky uses their own stock images for their costumes, which at least, makes me feel safe buying from them, knowing that they are not scammers or ripping off other stores' stock images. When it comes to customer service, CosplaySky is very friendly, fast to reply, understandable and helpful being professional at what they do. They seem to value their customers and everything went really smoothly -for me- when they took contact with me and told me the reason behind why I couldn't pick my first costume choice and advised me to pick another costume from them, for example. I'm really happy with CosplaySky, the costume I received and the service they offered and I would personally return to do business with them.

Oh and if you've been looking to buy a costume or know someone who is interested in buying one, by all means check CosplaySky out! You might just find what you're looking for in their vast selection of costumes and costume-related items. If something tingles your fancy in this costume section, don't forget to use the discount code FA18 to enjoy a 12% off on your purchase. Discount code is valid until the end of January 2018. If you're looking for currently popular costumes CosplaySky recommends the following ones: The Pennywise Clown from IT, Jon Snow from The Game of Thrones (season 7) and Izuku Midoriya (Training Suit) from My Hero Academia.

Final Grade (from A-F): A
Recommend to others:
Yes

All in all, at the end of this review I want to give a big thank you to CosplaySky for contacting me and offering a sponsorship along with a lovely costume. But I also want to thank them for their understanding of my situation and I hope that we'll stay in touch for years to come. Thank you CosplaySky for making this review possible and for fulfilling my geeky Star Wars cosplay dream, since I saw the movies for the first time back in 2013.

Anyway, thanks for reading everyone and I hope you guys found this post informative and interesting. Next up is a preview photoshoot of Galen Erso followed by the Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie premiere post, so stay tuned if you don't want to miss those two! But for now, may the Force be with you and goodnight! ;)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lens Review: Flora Diva Pink

Yo all!

I'm back with another lens review for you guys hope you don't mind too much and this time, I'll be reviewing the Flora Diva Pink lenses. These lenses were originally bought for one of my planned genderbend cosplays, namely Milla Maxwell from Tales of Xillia. At first I thought Milla had red eyes (as I also mentioned here) until I, much later, took a closer look and realized that her eyes are actually more pink than red. Sadly, I didn't start working on said cosplay this year, despite getting the lenses for the costume. Life just had other plans and I, other priorities. The good news is that I can and really should try the lenses out -before they expire too, lol- and see if they are a good fit for my Male!Milla Maxwell cosplay, whenever I start working on it, that is. So without further ado, welcome peeps to the last lens review of 2017 - Flora Diva Pink!

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

Lenses in their original vials.


The batch of photos below are taken during a dull, very cloudy November noon at Shiro Samurai's place.

One lens in. Notice enlargement.
Natural roomlight.
Facing window, indoors.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
Facing sun, outdoors.
Back against sun, outdoors.
As expected by now, have the distance photo featuring my "outfit of the day". This time, I tried to do something new and went for a more fashion expressive, cute, boy-ish look.


Lens review:

Color: 7/10
I'm not a fan of pink at all but the color is of a soft, nice shade, yes.
Comfort: 7/10
I felt them in my eyes but had no issues with them like dryness or itchiness and whatnot. I only wore them during the review but I bet I could wear them for a con day too.
Design: 6/10
A clear, pink color with black streaks going towards the pupil. Not one of my favorite styles but pleasing to look at.
Enlargement: 5/10
Small enlargement, looks better on you as well if you have small eyes.
Naturalness: 4/10
Color-wise these are not natural at all, I mean who has pink eyes since birth? No one. At least the black streaks and the softer shade of pink help these look a bit more natural to non-cosplayers, compared to red and neon colored lenses for example.
Opacity: 8/10
These cover my real color really well, I must say. But I don't like it how the lens pattern just stops abruptly towards the pupil and plenty of your own color shines through. Many lenses have this, I know it's normal, but on just these lenses it's just so visible to me.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Lens Review: Dueba Gossip Green

Yo peeps!

In my last post where I reviewed my Dueba Gossip Blue lenses, I said that I will also review the Dueba Gossip Green in the near future and here I am, about to do just that. The Dueba Gossip Green will also be the first pair of green lenses that I will review here at my cosplay blog. Frankly, I was a bit surprised to find out that I didn't have a single character in my cosplay list -so far- that have green eyes, despite green being such a common eye color in the fictional world of anime, manga, comics, video games etc.

Sadly, these lenses have the same story and fate as the Blue's I reviewed in the past, so if you have seen that review you know the drill. If you don't, well, I tell you now; recently I re-discovered the Dueba Gossip Blue and Green in my possession, with both of their expire date past, by a month or so, after believing for a long time that I gave them away to a good friend of mine. Because of this unfortunate "finding out too late" I had to send them both straight to the trash can immediately after the reviews were done. Not risking my eyes, even if they felt comfortable. The positive thing is that these were freebies just like the Blue's... not like I would pay for them myself, lol. Anyway, that's the story and now let's see what the Dueba Gossip Green lenses look like!

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

Lenses in their vial bottles.


The photos below are taken during a half cloudy, half sunny October morning/noon at Shiro Samurai's new apartment. I reviewed these lenses after the Blue's, hence the same light setting on the photos.

One lens in. Notice enlargement.
Natural roomlight, indoors.
Facing window, cloudy.
Facing window, not sun side.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
Facing sun, outdoors.
Back against sun.
My outfit for the distance photo was inspired by the Biker trainer class as seen in Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen. Yeah, I have totally been playing my retro games lately and I love them so much! Nostalgia right up my face, man <3


Lens review:

Color: 7/10
The green color is visible and I like the shade of it.
Comfort: - / -
Won't be graded. See reason above at the beginning of this post.
Design: 4/10
A simple, natural design with a halo effect and a variety of colors to resemble the human eye more. I personally don't like these all that much and that's because the amount of yellow in them is just too much for me.
Enlargement: 5/10
There is a small enlargement. Good, if you have small eyes and don't want to look flippin' alien.
Naturalness: 7/10
The halo effect (which is adding transparency to the lenses) and the shades of colors, along with the yellow next to the pupil make these look pretty natural. I guess the Dueba Gossip lens series are more of a fashion lens than a cosplay one. These do resemble the human eye after all.
Opacity: 6/10
As someone with gray-green eyes, I say that these cover my natural color surprisingly well. Thanks to the halo effect, your real eye color shine's through, if you like it that way.

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Curious about other colors from Dueba Gossip? I have reviewed the following: Blue