Closeup of Medusa's hat, made of crinoline like fabric and wire. Headpiece for the Medusa Cosplay I, liliSliph, was attempting to make.

Medusa Post Mortem

TLDR: I tried too much too fast with too little time.

After TI6 I wanted my next cosplay to be mindbogglingly amazing. I scrolled through the treasure caches and picked the most vibrant, absurd, gigantic thing I could find and decided, "Yeah, I can be a snake lady on a budget." I absolutely love scales, making Medusa the perfect choice. She didn't, and still doesn't, have much in the way of sets to choose from, so I settled on the most bejeweled of them. Big, green, and gravity defiant.

Medusa's bra/top, unpainted, by liliSliph. I know now that this was an incredible mistake. This costume has emotionally drained me. After a year of aggressively not thinking about it, going about my life with much more pressing matters, I've come to the comfortable conclusion that I can and should just let it go. Cosplay is suppose to be a fun hobby right? I tried new techniques, imagined how cool I could look if only I just powered through, but ultimately burned out and ran out of time and budget. TI8 is coming up and I thought, "Maybe I can pick it up again and craft my way through," but I really, really can't. I've tested my limits, and have decided there are other things I actually like doing with my time. Plus, I don't have the money for new materials.

I've at least learned a few things that could serve as tips to other cosplayers though. Some stuff to think about when you're trying to build your first colossus:

  1. When trying new techniques, start small. Very small. Complete that small thing and then figure out whether you're comfortable doing it again. Don't go hardcore with a big, complicated, multidisciplinary project and then realize you had no practice under your belt and nothing's coming out quite right. You'll find that maybe you really don't like the technique you're using, but you're committed because you've already spent so much time making so many things. For example, I don't actually like sanding EVA foam, or gluing stretch vinyl to said foam. EVA foam is just not my medium and sanding it is hell.
  2. If your event's in August and you haven't started by September you're already behind. Multidisciplinary cosplays take about 6x longer than your estimates if you're new to the techniques. Projects with methods you're use to will typically take 3x longer than any estimates.
  3. Be careful when saying, "I'll figure it out later." You'll be caught at the last minute trying to execute a new idea that will completely screw you over time wise if it doesn't pan out.
  4. Similarly, don't leave things you think are simple or easy for later. If you do them now, you'll be able to visually see progress that can boost your confidence. You'll also avoid poor craftsmanship if you run out of time from doing all the big stuff first.
  5. Sometimes you can't "craft" your way to success. If your aiming for movie quality, but your budget's low, you're going to lose.

Medusa's bra/top, unpainted, plus wire cage tail by liliSliph. There are things I can be proud of though. For one, everything is proportioned amazingly well, even the snakes. The bra and hat create a fantastic silhouette. I also love the hoops. They're so springy! If only I had gotten around to the crinoline stabilizer and scales.

I'm open to having someone else take a shot at it though. Imagine how spectacular you'll look after using your amazing painting skills to hide all the flaws. Huge, shiny, maybe even a little scary. Think of the claws, and sweeping tail. Think of the seas you'll be able to pose in front of, and the doorways you won't be able to walk through!

The whole set includes:

  1. Neck piece with jewels
  2. Collar/Bra Ensemble (including aluminum frame)
  3. Snake head piece
  4. Snake tail hoop skirt with waist belt attachment/butt pillow
  5. Snake tail cloth covering
  6. Foam snake tail tip with jewel
  7. Bracers (Separate parts: leather base, foam details, foam fins)
  8. Jewels for hat and waist
  9. Hip and butt flaps (Separate parts: foam base with leather attached, golden foam details)
  10. Foam belt "buckle," plus foam belt attempt
  11. Scraps of of golden stretch faux vinyl, 2ish yards of green stretch faux vinyl
  12. Printed uncut papercraft of the hat
  13. Pepakura and Blender files for each part
  14. Illustrator file of bow

See the gallery for details, and DM me on twitter if you want more information. I don't want to look at it anymore, so if you're interested in any of the pieces I'm willing to sell. In the meantime they're going in a box under my bed.

Medusa Cosplay Gallery - Imgur