The Witcher: Wild Hunt
In conversation with Eredin cosplayer Kevin
In July 2014 CD Projekt RED made a call for „The Witcher Cosplay Competition“. The creative and talented Witcher community, which sent already tons of great fan art, musical tracks, fanfics and other stuff to the game developer, was asked to become active again. This time the community had to create something special and its hard work would be rewarded. Supported by professional cosplayers (Eve Beauregard, Nadya Sonika, LeeAnna VAMP, Shappi) they devised a competition to portray a character from the witcherverse. The following criteria were taken into consideration:
- Likeness to character
- Presentation (i.e. how you look in the costume or how your photographs present it)
- Wow factor (overall impact of the costume, i.e. how low did our jaws drop)
The final projects had to be submitted to the advisory board - consisting of the said cosplayers and some CD Projekt RED team members - by 30th of October, 2014. The board then began sifting though the flood of submissions.
Today we want to introduce you the winner of this contest. Here is an interview with Kevin, who dressed up as the King of the Wild Hunt himself. So let's go!
Dove: When I saw your costume for the first time – it was on DeviantArt, shortly before the end of the contest – I was already impressed, if not to say excited. That you won with it does not surprise me at all. What inspired you to choose Eredin, the king of the Wild Hunt? Could another character or another game/anime/manga etc. have been an option?
Kevin: First, thank you for your support! It is a real pleasure to see such enthusiasmfrom the witcher's community for my work!
Secondly, Eredin was a friend's project but I stole it MOUHAHAHA ! No, the truth is, I have always loved challenges so I wanted to make the general Caranthir but finally I made Eredin because my friend gave me some artworks and some contacts from CD Projekt. After a first prototype of the helmet, Shappi (an amazing Polish cosplayer and also the official Saskia [the dragon slayer of The Witcher 2]) encouraged me to finish it for the contest.
Furthermore, the costume IS really cool, scary, challenging and Eredin is THE bad guy... so what else?
Dove: Indeed, what else!
Do you have any special connection to the witcher story, a witcherly background, i.e. did you read the books or play the video games before?
Kevin: I discovered the witcher's world with the first game in 2007, but before finishing it I had already bought the two first books and read them in order to fully enjoy the universe. After finishingthe game for the second time (but not the last :D), I watched the Polish series to enjoy this world again in a different way.
Dove: Is it your first cosplay?
Kevin: To be precise, I was working on a Warhammer 40k project and a Varia suit from Metroid Corruption before Eredin, but I put all projects on hold for the contest so Eredin became my second finished costume.
My first one was Isaac Clarke from Dead Space because I also love Sci-Fi! o/
Dove: And how did you come to this hobby?
Kevin: I began to make costumes because my father and I have always loved to watch "making of"s and other bonus footage (to do : "OMGGGG THAT COSTUME/SET/DECORATION !!" something like that :)) on blu-ray/DVD for every movie we saw.
One day during a game of Dead Space 2, he told me "Do you want to make the costume?" I said "yes" so... there it is!
Dove: What had posed the biggest challenge for you on that Eredin costume? And how did you approach the process?
Kevin: The biggest challenge on this costume was the rib cage because I did not want to create a leather effect with paint. It would have been too easy (I love challenges, do you remember ? :D ) so I really used some fake leather on the entire plastron and then I used some foam to make the bones part. The problem was that the foam (rib cage) did not hold on the fake leather…
The neoprene (glue) saved me…
Dove: Did anyone help you in the process? To built the cosplay parts, the photography etc.?
Kevin: Yes, I have always loved to work with my family/friends or my sweet girlfriend, but I am a perfectionist and always demanding with myself and the others. So generally I prefer to make everything myself to appreciate every detail. But I was REALLY LATE so I had to beg for help to make it in time. I asked my girlfriend and my best friend to cut some pieces for me (it was easy enough for everyone) and I asked a portraitist friend to make a photo shooting with me the last week. And I recieved the photo on the last day… LUCKY ME!
Dove: Sounds like a thrilling time when you were pottering around. How long did it take you to build the costume? And may I ask you about the financial input?
Kevin: It took 2 months (I did not work every day so…) and it cost around 600 € because it was the first time I used foam and worbla, so I had some fails at the beginning.
Dove: Some of our forums members were interested in how it feels like to wear the armor, i.e.:
Community: When you don the complete suit of armor, do you need help?
Kevin: Yes, I just need someone to help to put on the armor… alone it is too hard.
Community: How about the ease of movement, i.e. the head, the legs, the arms and upper part of your body? Are there any handicaps?
Kevin: I can move my legs and my head easily, but with the arms I am a little bit limited because the size of the plastron is too big. It is not heavy at all, it is made of foam THANKFULLY! o/
Community: Can you see everything in this helmet or is the view limited?
Kevin: Can I see? NOT…AT…ALL. I made small holes on my prototype, but I did not have the time to makethem for the contest version (the photo shooting was really fun because of this). I will (must) improve it.
Community: When you wore the whole armor set for the first time – did your family, your friends or buddies recognize you in this outfit?
Kevin: Mmmmh, my family and some friends recognized me (obviously) because I told them or they helped me. But my other friends who did not knew it, learned it by the contest.
Dove: There were also some more technical questions from our community, like the following:
Community: Which materials did you use for your costume?
Kevin: Like I said before, I used some foam (plastazote), worbla, fake leather and a little bit of polystyrene.
Community: How heavy is the full armor set?
Kevin: I have no idea, but it is not heavy… It is more or less made of foam. o/
Community: And what was the basis you used to form/mould the bulky looking helmet?
Kevin: I bought a construction cap with a small shell (just the size of my head) and I put it in my sculpted polystyrene. Worbla covers the sculpted polystyrene.
Community: How did you form the individual elements of your armour?
Kevin: I made some templates out of paper before. When I had my pieces in foam, I just had to gluethe parts I wanted to gluetogether and my pieces directly had the final form. Is that clear enough? ( : s)
Community: How did you manage to create that "old/used" look?
Kevin: It was the magic of painting skills… No just kidding! I just used some wax with some pigments (dark brown, red, orange and black) in accordance with what I wanted to do… (rusty/dirty/old effects).
Community: Did you have any prior experience making cosplay costumes or other handicrafts of this kind?
Kevin: I made just one costume before. It was the «security suit» from Dead Space 2. I used some kind of plastics and tissues so it was completely different to craft compared to Eredin. The only thing those costumes have in common is the painting part.
Dove: Okay, that's all from the community's questions, now to a different subject. An artist is never satisfied with his work. How about you? Are you still working on some details or improvements?
Kevin: Yes, (finally someone can understand!) I am still not satisfied! I am actually working on the shoes and the pants - again. I want to rebuild my plastron and the face part of the helmet - I am crazy about details - but I don't have the time for it… for the moment.
Dove: Now that we've learned about the costume and your crafting skills – how about the man behind the mask? Tell us something about you!
Kevin: Oh,that's a good one… what about me? Mmmmmh, my name is Kevin, I live in France - I am not far so see you at every gamescom ! ;D.
I am 24 and I made my first costume when I was 21. I have a maintenance diploma, which has nothing to do with making costumes… Hey, what did you expect? :p
I am just a guy who loves Shappi… (oops :D) Sci-Fi, Dark Fantasy and cyberpunk - CD PROJEKT I AM COUNTING ON YOU FOR CYBERPUNK 2077! - and every popular series. My hobbies are playing video games, watching movies and now making costumes… I plan to do a sculptor formation (because I love that) and it will serve me for making costumes…
Like I said before, I am working on a Warhammer 40k project and a Samus Aran from Metroid Prime corruption, but I work really slowly, I take my time.
Dove: One of the photographs shows long brown hair below the helmet – is that you or someone else?
Kevin: Ahaha! About the hair, I used a female wig. I destroyed the myth, don’t you agree?
Dove: Absolutley! :D
Another question: how did you hear about your win? How did you feel in that moment? What does it mean to you?
Kevin: How did I learned my win? It was a shock… I was playing Halo Combat Evolved when I heared the sound of a facebook notification. A friend who participated in the contest as Philippa Eilhart told me literally on facebook «Hey dude, you win.» I remember that I was thinking «win what?». I had completely forgot the contest so she shared the link of the witcher contest forum page with me… I was speechless…
Dove: I can imagine that. After all that doesn't happen every day, and there were really many and skilled participants.
Some last few questions about your price.The Grand Prize included - among other things - a bunch of money. Do you already have plans for what you'll do with your prize money?
Kevin: Give my prize to my bank… XD
Dove: Another part was attending several game industry events to show off your costume to Witcher fans. Has CDPRalready mentioned some special dates or tasks for you?
Kevin: Yes, there are so many events but I can’t talk about it so, STAY TUNED! o/
Kevin was a very kind and humorous interview partner. We thank him much that he took the time for this interview which has taken place partly by email and partly as a chat in late November. We wish him the best for his journey with CDPR and a lot more of his great cosplays!
Featured images: (for more see the Facebook link above)
Witchers Journal, Vol. 2, No. 5 December 22, 2014, p. 12–18