Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WIP: Pyrrha Nikos (Comic Fiesta 2016)

Comic Fiesta was over 3 months ago, but my motto is "Better blog late than never". :P So here is my very simple and quick work-in-progress of my Pyrrha Nikos cosplay that I debut at Comic Fiesta 2016. It's less of a tutorial, and more of a record of my construction notes. Hopefully, it'll be able to help other cosplayers, or at least provide some ideas and inspiration. =) Take note that I'm a total noob at this so please don't expect too much, haha.

Photo by Thomas Kuan/Black Rabbit Photography

Pyrrha Nikos - RWBY

No cosplay construction can begin without reference pictures, so here they are! I was really drawn into Pyrrha's character and design because of the red/gold theme, and the warrior/gladiator vibes, while still being really feminine. This has been in my plans since early 2015, but I just didn't have to guts to challenge an armour cosplay.

I started work less than a month before Comic Fiesta, with much help from Raz. But cumulatively, we probably only used 10 days. xD"

Disclaimer: This post is image heavy!

Leg Armour

We started by making a mould/pattern of my right leg, using lots of cling wrap and masking tape. Just wrap your leg or whatever part you're moulding with layers of cling wrap, then cover it with layers of tape.

Get a trusty friend to help you!

Draw your patterns on the mould, then cut it out carefully (don't hurt yourself!)

Once it's out, you get a replica of your leg! Cut out the patterns accordingly

The cut-out patterns

For parts that are rounded and curve, just give some slits so that the piece can lie down flat, there's no science behind it. Remember to label the parts and the sides they should be on (or you'll be sorry!) Since the armours are identical on both right and left sides, I only made the template for one leg, but cut two sets of foam, with one set being the reverse of the other.

The right side is the cut-out piece, and left side is a reverse pattern of that

For the knee piece, we used a heat gun and moulded the foam over a round object. In our case, it was a gacha capsule.

Moulding the shape while the foam is hot

Day 1 progress!

Velcro and elastic bands were attached to the shin piece so that I could stretch it to fit my leg through, and fix it with the velcro. The knee piece is later attached to the shin piece, and the thigh piece just sits on top of that without any fixation. I might have to do something about that, because the thigh piece keeps moving off center when I walk.

Disclaimer: My costume/armour are not 100% accurate due to time and ability constraints. So I just did my best with it. ^^"

The spray paint process and putting everything together will be covered lower down!


I used this art to help me draw the pattern for the circlet. The lazy woman's technique to drawing it is to crop out the side view of the circlet, blowing the image up on the laptop screen, and tracing the pattern on a paper directly over it. (that lazy woman is me)

I first drew out the pattern on paper, then stuck it together and tested it out on my own head. I made some adjustments and after I liked what I see, I cut out the pattern on foam.

Testing out the pattern on regular paper

The circlet cut out from foam!

Remember to give some extra head room for your circlet, keeping in mind that it has to accommodate both your head and the wig. The best way of course is to measure the circlet diameter while wearing your wig. I didn't, and I originally felt that my circlet was sitting kinda loose. But with the wig, it fit snugly (thankfully), and I didn't even use any form of fastener or bobby pins.

Also, the pointy part that is sticking out and away from my head, we later bent it in slightly with the help of a heat gun.

After spray painting (which I will write about later), I attached the circlet chains from some leftover jewellery chain I bought.

Making jump rings to join the chain to my circlet

Everything connected together

My jump rings were bent out of orthodontic wires because they were available to me. Just get regular jewellery wire. :P I also coloured the jump rings with a gold marker pen as they were originally silver. I simply poked the holes on the circlet using a pen. Of course, I checked how the chain looked like in those positions before poking the holes.

For the little gems on the side, once again, because I'm studying in a dental college, I used denture acrylic resin to mould the gems. Usually, I would rely on clay to make my accessories and embellishments.

The transparent resin has a nice shine to it

Painted with marker pens

Finished gems

I kinda liked how the marker ink look on the resin. It still has a bit of the translucent feel to it. Again, I fixed the gems to the circlet with jump rings.

Completed Circlet!

Armband and Bracer

These are kinda straightforward and I don't have much pictures of the process.

The armband was made with two different thickness of foam

The inside of the bracer

The right side of the bracer

The shape of my bracers are kinda inaccurate. The wrist end of the bracer was supposed to flare out, and you might wanna take note of that when designing yours. The back was fixed with 5mm grommets. We didn't have a proper "hole puncher" so we cut out the holes manually. The string is just a regular black shoe lace.


I picked a leaf out of Sheena Duquette's neckpiece construction when making mine. Do check out her blog! She did an amazing work with Pyrrha.

I made the arrow pieces once and duplicated them when cutting out the foam

Cut out foam pieces

Testing out the neckpiece

Side view

I made a mistake in making my neckpiece a little too short compared to the official art. The bottom/pointy part of it isn't slopping and sitting on my chest either. Mine is kinda like a choker while Pyrrha's is like... a neck brace. xD I used a thinner foam as well, so that my neckpiece is not actually choking me.

Usually, I would make the gem out of acrylic resin, but I was convinced by someone *ahem* to buy one to fix to the neckpiece.

So, I bought this hairclip and salvaged the gem by heating it with the heat gun
(the other gems can be used for other projects!)

Glued the gem onto the neckpiece


On closer look, Pyrrha's emblem actually has some finer details on it. The round gold base piece was moulded using heat gun and foam again, like the knee pieces. While the emblem was cut out from thinner brown craft foam. The entire hemisphere-shaped emblem thingy is glued onto a cardboard for more strength. A small piece of foam is glued to this cardboard so that it forms a loop for it to be slot into the belt.

I've been told this looks like a delicious bun...

I bought a regular belt, then removed the buckle and spray painted it gold. I randomly experimented and added my leftover grommets (spray painted) to the belt holes to give it the gold colour just like Pyrrha's belt. Except, one hole will be without the gold trimming because the prong wouldn't be able to go through otherwise.

I never knew belt buckles could be removed :'D

Poking the grommets into the belt holes! :D

Belt done!


Pyrrha has two pouches, one is wider than the other and has two buttons. I can't find the link right now, but I referred to a Batman Utility Belt tutorial for the draft of the pouches.

The draft kinda looks like this (emphasis on kinda)

I used brown craft foam again

Sewing while on the car to KL :'D

Adding the buttons

I just hand-sewed the edges of the craft foam together. Then, I sewed snap buttons on, and created the "buttons" on the flap with yellow craft foam. Like the emblem, I added elastic loops to the back of the pouches so that they could be slotted into the belt.

The pouches are, of course, kind of frail. I tried keeping my handphone in it but was worried that it was too heavy for the foam poach, and that someone could steal it easily as it was on my back(side eheh). The snap buttons are also kinda inconvenient as they were too strong to fasten/unfasten quickly. One of the pouches actually tore because my friend pulled on flap instead of the buttons. ^^"

Weapon (Miló)

Pyrrha's sword-javelin-rifle thing! Honestly, I can't comment much about this other than show progress pictures as Raz did most of the construction and his own home. ^^" I helped with some of the cutting and painting!

Of course, the ideal was to create Pyrrha's weapon that is fully transformable into its three forms. But we didn't have time so we just picked the sword form, which I felt was the best choice as it would be easier to carry around and pose with and could be used alongside the shield. I made it about 2/3rds of my height, from waist to feet height, which was about 1 metre.

The body (I like how the pipes/barrels peek out)

The blade

Using some close up reference pictures of the sword, I drew on the patterns using gold and black marker pens after spray painting. I realized that Pyrrha's emblem was actually at the round joint between the blade and the body

I practice drawing it once so I wouldn't screw up the real thing :X (I was doing it freehand)

I don't have a full picture of my sword to show for tho, other than on my cosplay photos.

Shield (Akoúo̱)

Front View

Side View

Inner View

This was another hit and miss. We did most of it by estimation (again) and did not plan it ahead of time. We made a lot of mistakes when cutting out the holes on the sides. We kind of overdid it and there was no undoing that. Luckily, it still worked out somehow. |D So lesson: make a draft before doing anything hasty! (we didn't have time so we were hasty, haha)

I estimated the size by comparing it to my back. Which I would also like to note, I have no idea how Pyrrha attaches it to her back along with her sword. Polarity, I guess? ;w;

Using a mat and a pan for size estimations :P

Nanananananana BATMAN

We moulded the foam with a pan and a heat gun. You can kinda see that the chunk I've cut out was too big. |D I should've used something with a smaller diameter to measure it.

I used a plate as guide for drawing the lines with a black Sharpie. I even made a template for the spiral patterns

Completely drawn with Sharpie |D

The inner part

We added a hard cardboard as a base for the foam shield. Referring to the reference picture, I spray painted the edges of the shield and covered the middle part with black felt (because I didn't have black spray paint at that time). I also attached black elastics that fits my left arm while wearing the bracer so that I could carry the shield around. Of course, the original design didn't have these, and the shield was supposed to attach to a groove on the bracer, but hey, I don't have the semblence of polarity. ;w;

Spray Painting

All the armour pieces were spray painted with gold, and some parts of the sword was in red. Before spray painting the foam pieces, it is advised to prime the surface, popularly by using wood glue or mod podge. This is to "seal" the pores of the foam, so that the paint will go over it smoothly. It's kinda like putting foundation over your face when doing make up. You may have to apply several layers of primer to achieve the ideal results. There are tutorials on the net on how to do this and paint foam, unfortunately I don't have one to link to (just ask Google!)

However, instead of priming the foam, we just ran the heat gun over all the foam surfaces to heat and "seal" the pores. It doesn't have as smooth of a surface compared to priming, but it gives quite good results too (and saves lots of time).

Heat gun!

Foam pieces before spray paint

After spray paint!

After spray painting the sword parts!
(the pipes were held with a string so that it could dry without ruining any of the rounded surface)

If you can notice, the gold spray paint looked a little dark and bronze-ish on the black foam. It isn't very accurate, but kinda gives a nice touch to the armour as it looks more realistic and "worn" this way. If you compare the pieces that have a dark base compared to the ones with a white base, you can see that the spray paint turns out differently. The blade pieces, for example, looks like a bright yellow-gold compared to the rest.

To avoid this discrepancy in colour (even for other forms of paint), you can paint the piece first with white before using the desired colour. =)

Clothing (Skirt, Corset, Sash, and others)


First of all, I have completely no confidence in sewing fitted clothes. Especially for a corset-like top as Pyrrha's, I decided to get my tailor to do it for me. It's basically an off-shoulder top with some boning to form the shape, and a zip at the side. The top is actually a little too long for my liking., and the colour I picked is a little too dark (but I guess that compliments my skin tone, haha).


I wanted to buy a regular short pencil skirt from a shop or something, but couldn't find the right colour (dark brown). In the end, I bought a stretchy dark brown fabric, folded it along the grain, and sewed it only on one edge against the grain, to maintain its elasticity (I didn't have elastic thread). It worked! |D I might be doing this the wrong way, but hey, whatever works. 8D //shot

Sash (not the actual thing)

The sash was kinda odd. I took Sheena's idea again I tried to make the body and tail into two separate pieces. I would have one shorter piece that I tied around my waist, and another "tail" piece that I attach over the knot. The tail piece was a rectangular piece that was given a curve cut, then folded in pleats. I think my fabric choice might've been wrong (too heavy) as it didn't have that airy fullness that Pyrrha's have. I don't really have pictures of how I did this, so I hope the description wasn't too confusing. .w.

Daiso to the rescue!

I also wore a regular black thigh high socks and long gloves that I bought from Daiso.


This is a very sad and frustrating story. I had the choice of buying a read-made Pyrrha boots from Taobao or making a boots cover. I decided on the latter as I wanted to save money and try out a new skill. So, I bought a black heels with red soles (aka faux Louboutin) that I've been using for normal and other cosplay, and wanted to make a boots cover for Pyrrha. I used these two different tutorials in making my boots cover, and considered making the part that folds down and flares out at the top on a separate piece. I failed on several attempts, and it was the night before I had to travel to Comic Fiesta and I have yet to completely pack my luggage. I was worn out, tired and disappointed that nothing worked, so I just went back to a regular boots and cut out the gold trimmings from yellow craft foam and stuck them on with double-sided PVC tape.

Meanwhile, here's some pictures of my failed attempts. TT

Following the slip-on boots cover tutorial

It actually looked -kinda- ok?

I didn't know what I was doing, and didn't like the results TT
(plus, this covers the red soles, which defeats the purpose)

Attempt 2 with a different approach

I tried to make the flaring shape with craft foam as base.
I... really don't know what I was doing and how to make it work.

I did at least 3 different boots cover. But all failed. ;w;

To make things worst, one of the soles of the replacement boots I ended up using started to open the night before my Pyrrha cosplay. Raz had to fix it for me in the morning with super glue and send it to me at the convention hall late afternoon because he was too tired from his midnight shoot and I had to man my doujin booth. At least it worked out in the end, I guess. ;w;


When I bought clip-on wigs, I would regret that I didn't buy a regular long wig. Now that I bought a regular long wig, I wish I bought a clip-on wig. :') It's so hard to tie a ponytail with a regular wig! (something I learned with Marle's wig too) It looks better since the ponytail actually "emerges" from the hair, but it's too hard for me since I don't have a foam head. ^^" I guess I should stick with a clip-on.

I bought this 100cm red wig. What I did was tied a low ponytail, then clipped the ponytail up so that it looked like a high ponytail, without the pain of doing it manually. Thanks to Kiku for the last minute save with the hairclip. ^^

Final Results!

I don't have much pictures of my full costume from that day itself (and my shield is always in the way :'D). But hopefully, I'll have the chance to cosplay Pyrrha again in the future. ^^ Once again, a huge huge thanks to Raz for pushing and helping me through this journey. ^^ I hope to improve as a cosplayer! But I think I'll never be able to shake off this ghetto-ness of mine. :P

Quote of the Day: "Do you believe in destiny? When I think of destiny, I don't think of some kind of predetermined fate you can't escape. But rather... some sort of final goal. Something you work towards your life." - Pyrrha Nikos, RWBY

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