MN Adopt – Circus of the Heart

The Minnesota Force appeared at a private charity event this afternoon called Circus of the Heart to celebrate adoption from foster care. They had a bunch of fun things for the kids to do, and it was fun to interact with them!

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Costumers, from left to right: Eve Zabronsky, Kris Heding, James Douthitt, Phil Glover, Molly Fineran, Amanda Fineran, Madeline Anderson, and Jordan West.

I got to drive around Madeline’s MSE droid, which was SUPER fun! The kids loved it, and I had a blast having the droid roll around. Eventually I’ll build one of my own, but that might be a winter project.

They had a petting zoo outside, and I absolutely love farm animals so I made friends with this adorable ginger cow. BOOP.

This was also my first event with my new sideburns. They seemed to work pretty well!

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Afterward, I went with Amanda (friend and fellow trooper) to her brother Ryan’s house (who runs Ryan’s Reptile Outpost) and met so many geckos and ball pythons, but also got to hold a little fox snake and pet a tegu! This ball python was such a little (okay, BIG) cuddlebug, though. It was a day of meeting a ton of animal friends, and I couldn’t be happier.

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Children’s Hospital Star Studio

The Minnesota Force is part of a charity group called Costumers for a Cause. It’s a group of costumers who make appearances at charities and events. One of the charities we work with is the Children’s Hospital. The hospital has its own television station (Star Studio) that airs programming for the kids, and one of the segments is “Kids Clubhouse,” which is hosted by “The Dude.” Guests will play games and interact with the kids who call in or sit in the studio. The Minnesota Force will do a few of these appearances a year and it’s limited to four people each time, so I was really happy I was able to finally make one of the appearances on July 27, 2017. Here is the entire segment:

I uploaded a clip of one of the parts of the segment I’m in:

Star Studio "Kids Clubhouse"

Here was our little group:

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Costumers, from left to right: Jeffery Knotz, Kris Heding, Anj Olson, and August O’Meara.

It was so much fun! I hope the kids who watched our segment had fun, too.

General Hux – Reusable Sideburns (Tutorial)

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I’ll be taking submission photos for the 501st Legion of my General Hux costume once my commissioned costume is complete, and one of the requirements of the CRL is sideburns. Being female, I can’t quite grow my own, so I decided to make some.

I found tutorials for creating sideburns using crepe hair and spirit gum, but those could only be used once. I wanted something I could reuse in case I ever want to wear the sideburns again. This tutorial explains how to use liquid latex and crepe hair to create sideburns (or whatever sort of furry thing) you can use again and again.

This is a pretty photo-heavy tutorial, so click “Continue Reading” to view it in all its glory.

Continue reading

Air Expo 2017

On July 15, 2017, I joined the Minnesota Force for day one of the Air Expo. Pilot characters were requested, so of course the best pilot in the Resistance had to be there!

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Costumers, from left to right: Amanda Fineran, Katherine Hickman, Kris Heding, Alex Hall, Lindsey Rae, Phil Glover, Aaron Weiss, Nick Hickman, James Douthitt, and Steve Fuchs.

Our group!

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Costumers, from left to right: Lindsey Rae, Kris Heding, Katherine Hickman, Nick Hickman, James Douthitt, Aaron Weiss, and Alex Hall.

The pilot of this plane wanted a photo of us, so we obliged, of course!

One of the coolest things was being able to sit in the cockpit of a couple of older planes. I’ve never sat in the cockpit before, and it was AWESOME.

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Costumers: Lindsey Rae and Kris Heding.

Lindsey and I had a blast taking photos inside the cockpits. Maybe we’ll see Rey and Poe co-piloting in “The Last Jedi” or Episode IX? (I hope so, at least.)

It was a really fun event, and seeing all of the cool vintage airplanes was incredible.

CONvergence 2017

Are you ready for an onslaught of posts? I hope so, because it’s coming. I’m playing catch-up from my hiatus, and it’s gonna be a doozy!

CONvergence was AWESOME, as usual. I was really busy this year, and while everything I did was fun, I’m not sure I’ll pack my schedule so tightly next year.

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Thursday, I dressed as General Hux. The “Generally Angry” ribbons were a huge hit, and people were very excited to tell me why Kylo Ren is a punk-ass bitch.

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Coffee, blacker than Hux’s heart. (Just kidding – I drank it with cream and sugar.)

Thursday night was my first time working in the Mos Icee Cantina party room (hosted by the Minnesota Force). I was in charge of grinding up the ice for sno-cones. I donned a very cute apron, too. It was a lot of fun working in the cantina! We were really busy.

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Costumers: Paul Haga and Kris Heding.

Hux is not putting up with Kylo’s crap.

Friday was the “Ladies of Star Wars” panel, which I think went pretty well. We had a full room, which was awesome!

After the panel, I changed into my Poe Dameron costume and headed to the Star Wars meetup. The photo on the left is all three Poe’s that were there (photo by Annalie Munnings Morgan), and the photo on the right was a shot of the Good Guys (photo by Pari Bailey). We had such a huge group, it was nearly impossible to get everyone in the shot.

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Costumers: Bri Kerschner and Kris Heding.

My friend Bri debuted her Hera Syndulla costume! It turned out awesome!

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Costumers: Kris Heding and Paul Haga.

And I had to try and take out Kylo Ren, of course. (Bless Paul’s heart – he’s always willing to take stupid photos with me.)

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I found a tasty beverage in the bar over at the Sheraton.

Saturday was Rebel, Rebel Princess day, and also masquerade day! I woke up early for orientation, and then headed back a couple of hours later for pre-judging. Then it was back to the hotel room for food and a nap.

Masquerade was really fun, even though I was a nervous wreck. Everyone was so awesome and talented! I didn’t win anything, but that’s okay…I had a lot of fun and the experience was awesome. Lots of cool photos were taken of my time on stage, but the above three are my favorites. Top left was taken by Catherine of the Sea Photography, and the other two were taken by Peter Verrant.

After masquerade, it was time to meet up with friends!


Sunday I had planned on dressing up as Scarlet Witch, but I was just too tired, and we needed to get checked out of the hotel. Before I left CONvergence for the weekend, I found out that the Minnesota Force won an award for “Best Use of Theme” in the party room competition for the Mos Icee Cantina! It’s funny, because we’ve had the same “theme” for many years. Still, it’s nice to win something, right?

I had so much fun, and I can’t wait for next year.

 

General Hux’s Blaster

Did you know that General Hux has a blaster? He does, apparently, although we have yet to see him use it. The greatest mystery to me is where the heck he keeps it, since he doesn’t have a holster. It seems unsafe to keep it in a pocket, but…what do I know? The First Order has a problem with installing safety railings, too. My guess is that it’s all due to budget cuts because of Kylo Ren’s tantrums and having to replace everything he breaks. But, I digress…

I planned on having Hux’s blaster 3D printed, and I will probably do that in the future. But, I was made aware that Nerf released a First Order Stormtrooper blaster (their version of the SE-44C) for “The Force Awakens” and those blasters are very similar to the one Hux uses. I decided to buy one and try my hand at painting it.

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That’s how it looked out-of-the-box. My first task was to sand off any logos and imprinted text. That took a while. I also sanded the majority of the blaster so that the paint had something to stick to. Then, my next problem was filling in the space where you could pull back the slide to get the blaster ready to fire a dart. I came up with probably the most ratchet-looking solution: I used a piece of foam to fill in the gap, and then sanded down a piece of a popsicle stick to fit across the gap, and then used Diamond Glaze to adhere it to the blaster and fill in any gaps. I normally use Diamond Glaze for jewelry-making, but it worked wonderfully for this! Once it dried, I sanded everything down smooth.

Then, I taped off the part that would eventually be painted silver with painter’s tape.

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I started painting the blaster before I remembered to take a progress photo. Whoops! In any case, this is what it looked like after the sanding and prep work.

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I used acrylic paint in Payne’s Gray for the entirety of the blaster. It has a somewhat matte finish, which is exactly what I wanted. It took about three or four coats to completely cover the blaster, but the paint dried quickly so I was able to paint the blaster fairly quickly.

For the shiny black parts, I used…wait for it…nail polish! Here’s the cool thing about nail polish: it’s enamel, and it comes in every color possible, and usually you can find it for pretty cheap. The kind I used was Wet ‘n’ Wild, so that’s about as cheap as you can get. Since I had already painted the entire blaster, I only needed to do one coat of black nail polish to get full coverage.

I used my trusty Shimmering Silver paint for the silver parts. Then, I painted the matte areas with a coat of matte Mod Podge.

I also decided to add a little special touch by completely destroying and rebuilding one of the darts that came with the blaster to create a red…laser? I don’t know. Something red. I cut up and re-glued a dart, and then painted the tip with red nail polish, and then glued it inside the barrel.

And…then it was done!

Here is the reference photo:

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And here is the finished blaster:

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There are obvious differences between the actual blaster and the Nerf version (mostly because of how it needed to be constructed so it could fire projectiles), but it makes for a fun prop for conventions or casual trooping. From a few feet away, it looks pretty cool. Up close…well, I know my painting job isn’t perfect, but it was a really fun project.

Back From Hiatus

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Hey there, friends. I haven’t posted much since July, and I apologize. My mum became incredibly ill, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and passed away on the 17th of August. I can’t believe it all happened in that short of time. Even while she was sick, she told me to keep going to events, to keep costuming, and to keep doing what I do. So, I did. I have events to post about and photos to share, and I will be catching up over the next week or so. I’ll be attending a lot of events in the next couple of months, and will hopefully begin work on more costumes.

Attached is a photo of my mum from Halloween 1996. She let me dress her up as a 90s punk/grunge kid (which I also was at that time – so I guess this was a Kris cosplay), complete with pink hair, fake piercings, and metallic green nails. She had so much fun with this costume.

Miss you, mum. I’ll keep on costuming as long as you keep being my #1 fan.