At Comikaze this year, a new category of cosplay competition has been added to the ranks. The “Prop Making National Championship” allows prop makers who are passionate about their craft to showcase their hardware to Comikaze con-goers both on stage and up close at a gallery to be created in South Hall.
The brainchild of Kit Quinn and Steven Meissner of SoloRoboto Industries, the props-only contest was an idea they had while visiting Dragoncon in Atlanta this past year. While talented cosplayers who focused on sewing showed off their elaborate garments, Kit and Steven’s crew passed around each other’s painstakingly made props, excited to show off and learn more about techniques used to develop each piece.
Kit Quinn and Steven Meissner
They noticed that in normal masquerade contests, the costumes were often judged as a whole, so if an entry had a fairly simple body suit, but combined with a helmet that took months to make, it was often overlooked. Although cosplayers can, and do, create both impressive garments as well as props, oftentimes they tend to specialize in one, and this contest was developed to showcase the talents of a category often dismissed as an “accessory” to a costume.
Starlord Helmet made by SoloRoboto Industries
In the past few years, access to information and tutorials on how to make props has resulted in an extreme jump in quality. The evolution of a props making contest seemed only natural to Kit and Steven. The pre-application for entries ensures that each item has ample time to be checked for quality, as well as proof that the contestant actually made their prop themselves. Kit and Steven emphasized how crucial it was to be sure that none of the entries were simply re-casted from another prop, and also that each prop represented a solid mix of practical building techniques and prop making technology. Any props made completely from 3D printing are not considered for this contest. Steven emphasizes, “We really tried to write the rules in a way that encouraged diversity of the kinds of props submitted. We didn’t get two of anything in the submissions.”
Goliath mask sculpted by Holly Conrad
This year at Comikaze, the contest will feature 25 elaborate prop pieces, such as helmets, armor, guns, and wearable props. Fans can expect to see all of these pieces up close and personal in South Hall, and also vote on their favorite piece up until Sunday morning of the convention. During the live stage show that afternoon, prop makers will present their items to the audience and show off their impressive technical aspects, while a panel of judges vote for first, second, and third place among the entries, as well as announce the fan favorite. The first place winner will receive $1,000 from Comikaze, and will be chosen by judges Holly Conrad (Heroes of Cosplay), Fon Davis (Battlebots), and a representative from Vocademy makerspace.
Skyrim sword made by SoloRoboto Industries
The deadline to submit to the contest has already passed, but if you’re an aspiring Prop Maker contestant, be sure to check out the competition this year.
Kit and Steven hope to bring this type of prop contest to other conventions to highlight the amazing things being made by fans across the world.
Where would you like to see this contest take place next?
Featured Image: SoloRoboto Industries