(Re)Making of Arthas Menethil

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After 5 year of Warcraft cosplays we’ve finally made it and travelled to Blizzcon 2018.
It was our very first Blizzcon and we also participated as contestants of foreign costume contest for the first time. This year the rules have been changed and this time there wasn’t anything like “first 100 entries” but there was a pre-judjing and the rule of several ready check-ins for all contestants. We didn’t have any new costumes this year except BfA Jaina, so we decided to bring her with Arthas. And we were shocked when host announced that we both won in our categories! Jaina won in “Artisan Crafts” while Arthas won in “Large Fabrication”. After so many remakes we decided that this was the end of the story and Arthas is complete according to our current skill level (for the moment of November 2018). So, we decided to make this blog entry about how Arthas was built and how it was remade.

Let’s start then!

It took about 4 months of not-daily work to make the armor. We used PVC or EVA foam as a base and covered all parts with Bubblestar (Russian Worbla).

The pauldrons were made from many layers of EVA foam and covered with Bubblestar as well. Both shoulders were painted by hand with acrylics.

The chestplate was made from EVA foam only.

And here is how the first version looked in May 2016.

Despite the fact that we were happy to have finished it, we made too many mistakes and most of them were about proportions. Too flat and too small chestplate, low detailed armor, ugly skulls and of course – a print instead of the chaimail. Since that we started to hate deeply any print which is supposed to imitate the real chaimail or something with 3D effect. We also don’t recommend anyone to use a chainmail print because it always looks fake. Nothing looks like a chainmail but the chainmail.

So, the next step was a chainmail. Aoki bought steel rings but with busy timetable it took four weeks to make a chainmail for Arthas. And not even the full plate but several pieces of it. Two pieces for arms, one for the neck, one for the body between chestplate and the belt and two biggest ones for legs. It also turned out too heavy, so next time we’ll use aluminium rings for our chainmailed costumes.

The chestplate. The previous one fitted Aoki but when it comes to fantasy armor we’d not recommend to make the armor completely fitting your own body. It should imitate the body of the character and character’s proportions as well. So, Aoki had to think about his own and Arthas’s proportions at the same time. The new plate is wider with a bit more round part on the chest. The base was made from EVA and covered with Bubblestar. Aoki painted it by hand with acrylics.

Same year (2016) in October our Arthas looked like that. New chest proportions and the chainmail improved the whole look. But we had to travel with this costume too much, we wanted to upgrade it and wear the costume which would show our current skill level. Poor details, small belt and skulls were still a problem.

Next year Aoki started to learn sculpting, casting and molding. His very first casted parts were new arms and skull for the new belt. Sculpting allowed him to increase the amount of details, create texture and play with it a lot. Also Aoki casted new small skulls for each pauldron and did new armor parts for wrists. 
Oh, we also repainted the whole armor several times.

How Arthas looked in October 2017. It seemed that we could abandon this costume and do something else but sometimes Aoki feels bothered about unfinished things like this costume. We decided that we’ll make new greaves and remake all fabric parts someday in the future but for some really special reason. And the next year we finally have got this reason…

Aoki passed into “Top-25” contest to Blizzcon. We decided to do our best and remake all parts we didn’t remake before. The wig, the belts, glovers, the cloak, all fabric parts and the rest of the armor. Aoki sculpted and casted new greaves, this time with aluminum powder.

He worked with much more lightweight urethane resin than before, so he recasted also the arms, belt and skulls. He covered all parts with black acrylic and then polished them. Due to this aluminum powder started too look more metallic.

New vs old comparison: greaves

Old vs new: the belt

I helped with leather and fabric parts of the costume.
I found a really good wool for the black parts of Arthas costume. I zigzaged all ornaments for the belt piece on my sewing machine. I did the cloak from the same fabric. I cut the edge of the cloak with cutter, weathered it with sandpaper and painted it with an airbrush to imitate the frost.
I replaced all pleather belts with natural leather for more realistic and convincing look.

Despite the fact that we didn’t remake the pauldrons from scratch we changed them a lot. Aoki sculpted additional details on them with Epoxy sculpt and sanded them 100 times to make them smoother and more accurate. Same he did with upper greaves.

Driven by nostalgia feelings Aoki decided to make a guitar from the Frozen Throne ending, instead of traditional Frostmourne. He did Frostmourne already twice, so he wanted to make something new and different. Aoki designed all details on the guitar himself but kept the silhouette of the original guitar. It was fully casted out of colored semi-transparent urethane resin with aluminum powder.

And whole armor was repainted once again to make all armor parts – new and not too old ones – look the same together. Final look with the guitar before our departure to Anaheim.

And this guy was our main source of inspiration

Finished look on the details

The gloves are also made out of natural leather and it’s good for the arms because they don’t make you sweaty.

We also replaced the wig. The previous one was a too short low-quality lace-front from Ebay. The new lace-front wig from Wigisfashion looks much better and more natural. We always prefer unhelmeted version because of Warcraft III nostalgia when Arthas was a Lich King’s Death Knight. This is the most badass version of a character for us.

Photos from Blizzcon stage

Well, this is the whole Arthas story. Of course we felt frustrating when we didn’t make this costume for the first time as well as we wanted but never too late to learn, right?

We may not use this costume anymore but never say “good bye”. We’re very excited about Warcraft III Reforged announcement so Aoki will come back as Arthas once again, in a new armor.

Thanks for reading!

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