Welcome to the next instalment of GAMMA.CON’s Canberra Cosplay Spotlight, a weekly look into the lives and experiences of members of the Canberran Cosplay Community!
This week we speak to Andrew “Box Cosplay”, well known for his impressive array of giant robot armour.
You can see more of Andrew at his cosplay page Box Cosplay
GAMMA.CON: Hello Box Cosplay and welcome to Cosplay Spotlight!
Box Cosplay: Thanks! Very happy to be here.
G: When did you start cosplaying?
B: Over ten years ago, I believe it was Supanova Brisbane 2004.
G: That’s a really long time, what inspired you to start?
B: I went to the very first Supanova in Brisbane in 2003 and saw everyone in cosplay and thought I HAVE TO DO THIS!
G: What is the meaning behind your cosplay name?
B: Box Cosplay? Well most of my cosplays are made out of cardboard boxes, so I thought it was perfect.
G: Speaking of which, you’ve done some awfully impressive cosplays over the years, such as Guren Laggen and the Eva Units, you made them entirely out of cardboard boxes?
B: And EVA foam. Eva Unit 01 and Unit 02 were a mix of foam and cardboard, Gurren Lagann was all foam except for the glasses. In the past I did Seele 01 and Ramiel the Fifth Angel both entirely out of cardboard.
G: Take us through the process of making a new suit of armour out of cardboard?
B: Step 1: Spend heaps of time on the Internet searching for a decent Pepakura file (Pepakura is paper craft, you can use it to make figurines out of paper) and print.
Step 2: Enlarge the templates and trace them onto foam.
Step 3: Cut the shapes out, paying attention in the angle you cut into the foam so you have a good connection for the glue.
Step 4: Use Gel based contact glue for foam, 100 times better than hot glue.
Step 5: Tweak it so it suits your body.
Step 6: Cry a bit because step five was so hard. :’(
Step 7: Seal the foam with a watered down PVA glue brushed all over it and paint it with a sponge.
Step 8: Do a test run before the con to find out if certain areas hurt after a while and fix them.
G: Where did you learn, what tips for newbies wanting to make suits like yours?
B: I just Googled cosplay instructions and watched Youtube videos. Then after a while I just thought of new techniques for myself.
Protip: If you’re in armour make sure your shoes are made well of you’ll get bloody toes like I did one time.
G: What is your favourite part of the process?
B: When I’m gluing all the parts I cut out together and start seeing the shape form.
G: What are you planning on Cosplaying next?
B: I’m building two at the moment, classic Megatron from Transformers and Awakened Eva Unit 01 from Evangelion 2.22
G: What has been the most difficult thing and what has been the most fun thing to bring to life?
B: The most difficult was Eva Unit 01, it was the first time I tried to make armour. I built the helmet out of fibreglass while wearing only shorts and a shirt and I learned the hard way that you need a HAZMAT suit whenever you work with fibreglass. Lemongrab from Adventure Time was the most fun; it was simple and hilarious to go around in. By the way I’m colour blind so every time I need paint I have to drag a friend to the hardware shop with me to help pick colours.
G: Ever had a cosplay malfunction?
B: Hahahaha, I don’t think I’ve ever had a con where something didn’t go wrong. The challenge is how prepared you are to fix it. I always bring a small repair kit in my car in case something happens.
A good example would be when the shoulder of Gurren Lagann got knocked off right before a competition, thankfully someone nearby had a hot glue gun.
G: What was your first costume?
B: Sousuke Sagara from Fullmetal Panic.
G: What was Sagara like compared to your later costumes?
B: Sousuke Sagara was made from clothes I bought from an op shop and toy guns I bought from Toy World. My latest was an AT-ST from Star Wars which I made from scratch out of cardboard and some PVC piping. I had a Pepakura model for a schematic and cut and shaped each part that went into it.
Stalking Moose Cosplay (stay tuned cosplay fans!) then taught me how to weather the paint and make it look awesome.
G: What is your favourite part of being a Cosplayer?
B: Becoming the character behind the mask and meeting the fans. It’s a chance to act like someone else for a day and just have fun?
G: Does it ever bother you that since a lot of your cosplays are full suits, you get such a great reaction and so many photos but to the majority of people you meet your identity is a mystery?
B: Not really, from my experience it seems people who have seen me before figure out it’s me pretty quickly no matter what I’m wearing. But whenever I meet new people at cons I tend to unmask and take the time to chat to them a little, so that might be the reason they recognise me.
G: Ever hang out with someone at a con in costume for the day and see them again later out of costume and they have no idea who you are?
B: Hahahaha, that has happened before. It was when I did Seele 01 about four or five years ago. I went back to the group after I took the costume off and continued our conversation while they had a totally confused faces. One figured it out after 30ish seconds and shouted “You’re the box guy!”
G: What makes you choose a certain character to cosplay?
B: It has to be from a show I like, not commonly done and has either a wow factor or something that will make you laugh.
G: What costume do you feel the most connected to?
B: My beautiful Eva Unit 01, it almost killed me and I still love it. I even have the helmet mounted on top of my piano.
G: Do you feel a special connection to the characters you’ve cosplayed?
B: I have a connection to all of them; it’s a labour of love for me so they are all special. A moment that stands out was the time I played Gendo Ikari from Evangelion and stayed in character for the day, playing the bad guy. That was so much fun that it made me decide to make villains more often.
G: What have you done with the previous armour suits you made, are they all standing up on display somewhere like the Bat Cave?
B: Eva Unit 02 is mounted at my entrance; I plan on putting a motion sensor on it so the eyes light up whenever somebody walks in the door. I plan to do the same with Gurren Lagann, but some of the other costumes I only have their heads on top of the piano.
G: Has anyone ever asked to buy one of your suits and would you sell one?
B: I’ve had people ask for commissions but not my actual suits. I’m not sure if I’d sell one of my main cosplays but I’d consider it for my silly cosplays like my NukaCola bottle.
G: What events are you looking forward to attending this year?
B: I want to try and get to as many local cons as I can but I might miss all the events after June because I might be heading overseas for a while.
G: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us Andrew!
B: Thanks, this has definitely made me think about my Cosplays in more detail!