SL Comic Con Cosplay Contest


Photo we took at the prejudging

Salt Lake Comic Con is the third largest con in the US.  The cosplay contest equally as large. I entered my Sanctuary Base Space Suit  last year and didn’t make it to the stage round, so I was really thrilled this year when my Missy/Cyberman made it past the prejudging (done the week before) and onto the big stage.

The cosplay contest was on the final evening of the con and we had spent all day at the con so by the time the contest rolled around we were already pretty exhausted.  The cyberman isn’t very user friendly to wear (you can really only wear it for about an hour before it’s too much) so we didn’t wear it to con that day.  So that meant a long walk to the car to get the cyberman (which fills a large lawn bag) and then a long walk to a bathroom to get the thing on.  It was comical really.  My daughter would hand pieces of her Mandilorian over the stall to me and then I’ll hand back pieces of the cyberman over the stall wall to her.

Then the nervous standing and waiting.  It’s fun to talk to the people around you and look at their amazing costumes, but also a little intimidating because they all look so good.  But there is a feeling that you’ve found kindred spirits because you have so much in common.

waiting for cosplay contest

Waiting for the contest to begin.

Then comes your few minutes on stage, they play the music and you have about a minute to pose and smile and move in a way to show your cosplay in the best light.   My daughter and I didn’t practice in advance (we didn’t really know what to expect) but we came up with a little skit of sorts where the cyberman walked in a straight line and Missy danced around him with her umbrella.   I have no idea how it looked or if it worked but people clapped and told us we did a good job (the contest is online somewhere but I don’t have the guts to watch it).  on stage

In the end we were called up to receive an award and I was totally shocked!  There were so many good costumes there, I didn’t expect to win anything.   Then the awards for our category were called – Third, Second, First, and my name wasn’t called at all. So I thought that it was probably a mistake.   But then at the very end we were called to the stage and given the “Judges Choice” award.   We took a bow at center stage and everyone clapped.  It was really fun and a thrill.

close up judges choice


Here is a collage of some of the other people who we were competing against that day to give you an idea of the amazing talent.




Missy Goes to SL Comic Con

Missy tardisI had a fabulous time at Salt Lake Comic Con.  I dressed all three days as Missy.  Missy is a great character to portray and I had a great time wearing her skin for a few days.  I ended up alone for one of the days and it might have been one of my favorite days because it forced me to meet and talk to new people. I even had lunch with someone (another cyberman builder) who I had only met online.

Jenna Coleman was one of the guests and I waited in line to ask her a question.  When I made it to the microphone she called me “Missy” and told me I had a great costume.  The camera panned to me and the entire audience (5000+) applauded and cheered.  It was amazing, and I was so happy to be able to ask Ms Coleman my question.

Bolstered by that experience I also asked questions that same day of Felicia Day and Christopher Gorham (who I was able to meet later in person).

I took hundreds of pictures with people, half of which thought I was Mary Poppins. I even had one father ask me to discipline his children (?).  If they called me Mary I’d be sure to smile in the photo, but if they knew I was Missy I was able to scowl, smirk, and I even got to kill an Osgood or two with my device.

Cosplay folks we met

It was also really great to spend some of the time with my teenage daughter, who had made her second ever cosplay.  She also got stopped for a lot of pictures and had a really good time.

The Doctor Who Experience

Yeah, today I was just hanging out with Matt Smith, Billie Piper, and Karen Gillan. No big deal.  It was just me and them and several thousand other rabid Who fans. Even though I’ve watched many of these panels online, it still made me mist up just a little when these Who actors took the stage at my local con.  Matt and Karen are My Doctor and Companion, the first ones this face saw, and while Capaldi and Coleman has maybe taken tops for my affections, there will always be a special place in my heart for these two.   All three actors were lovely and it was a real joy to be in a room with so many other fans and their amazing energy and enthusiasm.

doctor who actorsAnother great thing about Doctor Who is that it is something I share with my family. None of them are as big a fan as I am, but my teenage daughter is close.  Here is a picture of us in front of the TARDIS at the con.  We are in my Eleventh Doctor 7b cosplay and my new Twelfth Cosplay.  I haven’t taken the time to get good pictures of these costumes, but we had a fun time wearing them today.


A few other random observations about the con.  In the first two days of the con I have only seen one other Twelfth Doctor cosplayer.  There are Eleventh Doctor  cosplayers everywhere.  While, I admit, it may be somewhat related to the fact that Matt Smith was at our con, I was still surprised.  I also expected to see a lot of Missy’s but I only saw one, and that one wasn’t outstanding.  (I’m seriously thinking Missy as my next cosplay. That would be very sewing intensive.)   On the flip-side, we counted 38 TARDIS dresses. We even saw one or two we liked.

Sanctuary Base 6 Build: Helmet part 2

helmet 2I’ve had to do a lot of trial and error on the helmet build.  I’ve just never built anything like this and there is no pattern to follow. Basically, I’m just making it up as I go.   The problem I’ve run into is that the shield and the helmet have different curves, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to compensate for that and still get the general look and shape I want.  I spent a whole afternoon building some side pieces that ultimately I ended up throwing out because they just didn’t work with the curve of the face shield.

I realized I needed to start building on the shield and then work my way out from there.   So I covered the shield with plastic wrap and then duct tape.   I drew on the duct tape with a sharpy the shape I wanted and that made the pattern for the 1/4 inch foam.

This is the build so far:

For now the visor is not attached, as I'll have to paint and everything before I glue it in.

For now the visor is not attached, as I’ll have to paint and everything before I glue it in.

I’ve also worked on a few of the detail pieces.   I experimented with a burning gun on foam for the first time and am happy with the result.  It does stink though, so I had to do it out in my freezing cold garage.  Not fun.

helmet 3

Doctor Who: Last Christmas

Since Death in Heaven a month ago, I’ve been super excited for the Doctor Who Christmas special, Last Christmas. While others have been counting down days to the holidays, I’ve been counting down days to Doctor Who. So after presents were opened, unboxed, and played with, I changed into my black “twelve jacket”, grabbed my new sonic screwdriver (Thanks honey!) and settled in to what was the real highlight of my Christmas day.

Last Christmas: Trust Nothing

Last Christmas capstoned many of the themes of series 8 involving the relationship between Clara and the Doctor, specifically addressing the lies they told one another at the end of Death in Heaven. While lying became a big part of Clara’s character in series 8, I believe that the events of Last Christmas closed that theme by showing that all falsehood should be stripped away. With the Doctor and Clara struggling to throw off the webs of the Dream Crabs deceptions, the plot of the entire episode literally became – discover the truth or die.normal_dw2014-lastchristmas0012

Only 13 seconds in and we see the yellow lights on the banister. Yellow lights appear throughout the episode, like dream crab spider webs weaving and hanging from every surface. Every dream sequence has them and they don’t disappear until the very final scene. In the “mirror” discussion threads on Gallifrey Base it is largely accepted that often times in Doctor Who, yellow is used to signify death. (On a side note, generally the Doctor is blue, Clara red, and this season yellow was often Danny’s color (especially in In the Forest of the Night). Foreshadowing perhaps?) Anyway, so here we have Clara waking up in a house that has the yellow Dream Crab webs of deception and death. Oh, and a chair lift.

normal_dw2014-lastchristmas0542Enter, Santa. Santa is wearing red. Please note that we don’t see the doctor’s red lining this entire episode, the Doctor is wearing black/blue and Clara is wearing blue (usually the doctor’s color). Clara tells the elves to “shut up” – very doctorish.

The polar base is also full of yellow lights, not just Christmas lights and Christmas trees, but random yellow lights on the consoles and wall, even their head cams when they are activated. The lighting in general on the polar base is fantastic!


Notice this “morgue” shot is from the Dream Crab’s point of view.

Notice that the crab face people on the beds are covered with sheets. If this were a infirmary you would expect to see blankets (especially on a polar base that is obviously cold), but instead there are sheets, like a morgue.

Clara his haloed by the yellow lights.

Clara is haloed by the yellow lights.

Now back to the lying theme.

Clara: So we’re dying then
Doctor: Yes
Clara: Why
Doctor: Oh, it’s complicated (Notice the vague answer. That comes into play later)
Clara: How long do we have
Doctor: No idea.
Clara: Just, Doctor, give me something to do.
Doctor: Trust nothing. Accept nothing you see. Whatever happens – interrogate everything.
Clara: In case it’s a lie.
Doctor: In case it’s a lie.

So to live, to combat the dying, they must not trust lies.

normal_dw2014-lastchristmas1475The Doctor later talks about the Dream Crab keeping you in a relaxed state, they keep you happy. He even describes it as merciful, as they dissolve your brain.  The lies told in Death in Heaven were like this. Both Clara and the Doctor wanted the other to be happy; they were trying to be merciful. But in the end they hurt each other.

The scene where Clara is attacked by the dream crab is both beautiful and heart breaking. The lighting is incredible. The white light coming from above as she hides from the table and the illuminated crab slime is perfect!   And here we get to the very core of Clara. She’s sorry. She’s sorry for all the lies she told Danny. Her lies resulted in his death. She’s not concerned for her own life as much as in her last minutes she is seeking forgiveness for the lies.

normal_dw2014-lastchristmas1513In Clara’s dream state there are yellow circles on the curtains and Danny enters wearing red.  Danny is Santa and Santa’s roll in the dream state is to provide salvation. This is fitting for Danny. He is no longer in yellow; He is now wearing the red of the martyr.

There are more yellow dream crab webs of deception and death, handing akimbo from the ceilings and walls. Can I just add that the sound editing,  is fabulous when the doctor’s voice, distorted, is trying to break through, and then it all fading away into Clara’s theme.


Entering Clara’s dream, the Doctor talks again about how the dream crabs deception is an “antiseptic”. Lies are an antiseptic to mask and cover pain and hurt. Lies don’t prevent it; they just cover it while it gets worse.


After waking from the Danny dream there is a great eye shot of Clara. Looking someone in the eye is a metaphor for seeing the truth.   In this shot Clara tells us that she is not okay, truth, and also she sees that they are still in a dream, truth.

Look yourself in the eye.

Look yourself in the eye.

The manuals they read that predict their death are what color?


And the flare that Ashley lights?


Now in the sleigh the dominant colors are blue and red: the Doctor and Clara. It is also where they are reconciled. They see the truth more clearly now.


normal_dw2014-lastchristmas3633In Old Clara’s home the dream crabs web of deception and death are still present. The Doctor put a yellow paper hat on Clara’s head. Old Clara is close to death. The Christmas cracker is yellow and reminiscent of Clara opening a cracker with old Eleven before he regenerated.

normal_dw2014-lastchristmas3757In the last and true wakening, The Doctor wakes up In a sea of red (the volcano?), and Clara’s bedroom is blue. There are no yellow lights.   Clara asks for a mirror. She wants to see herself clearly. She wants to see who she truly is with all the lies swept away. She smiles and declares it “good”.   She is redeemed.

The episode ends with Clara and the Doctor running off hand in hand. Clara is in white, the doctor black, the Yin and Yang together again. They are light, and happy, unburdened finally from all the deception and lies. The Doctor talks of second chances, and isn’t that what redemption is after all?


Bonus:  Look at this wonderful shot of the doctor framed in a chaos of blue lights. Credit for all screen shots goes to

Bonus: Look at this wonderful shot of the doctor framed in a chaos of blue lights. Credit for all screen shots goes to

Doctor Who: Deep Breath

Deep Breath: Who Frowned Me This Face?

Now that series 8 is over, and we only have the Christmas special to go, I thought I’d do a rewatch of the series to see all the little nuggets of goodness that Moffat has left for us that we missed on first viewing. Like all other who fans, I was very excited, and a bit trepidatious, to see what this new doctor would bring.

I think it’s more than just a gimmick that Deep Breath starts with a dinosaur.  I think it’s a reminder that the doctor, even though he has been a young man for the past couple regenerations, is really an old and ancient creature, and now his new face better reflects his actual age. The theme of faces, as a reflection of the true nature of individuals, seems to caries throughout the episode. vlcsnap-2014-08-24-23h38m20s112_zps7cd9e9ae

Capaldi just explodes out of the TARDIS, he owns the stage from the first word. At first he can’t seem to differentiate the faces of his friends. He doesn’t remember Clara’s name, and he calls Vastra and Jenny the “green one and the white one”, referring to the colors of their faces.

vlcsnap-2014-08-23-23h52m38s105_zpsf1cdc16fBack at Vastra’s we get face references, “the mirror is furious” and Vastra covering hers with a veil as a judgement against Clara. Clara throws Vastra’s arguments back at her by commenting about her own “pretty face,”  and we are again reminded that Jenna Coleman can talk really really fast.

vlcsnap-2014-08-24-00h07m36s127_zpsf131cad3 Is it just a funny joke when Clara gets hit in the face with the newspaper or is it a symbol of what this experience is like for her?  Then Strax gives Clara an exam, looks in her eyes and tells her about her own personality. Amazing the things we can tell about people by looking them in the face.

In the alleyway, the doctor refers to the air as “bitty” – another face reference. Then the doctor gives a great speech about faces.  “Why did I choose this face? It’s like I’m trying to tell myself something.”  The conclusion of the speech is that he doesn’t like his face.  He doesn’t like his new self, and this is a theme we see developed throughout the series with the “Am I a Good Man?” arc introduced in the next episode.

Clara finds the newspaper advertisement for the Impossible Girl.  We know now, that that ad was placed by Missy. So somewhere, vlcsnap-2014-08-26-22h20m21s128_zps9754acb4Missy is running around Victorian London. Perhaps that is where she got that smashing dress and hat?  This whole aspect of the Missy plot is a bit weak, but as they say on Verity Podcast, we will do some “hand wavery” and not worry about that.

vlcsnap-2014-08-24-00h29m50s150_zps41b794baOn to the table scene, one of the best scenes in the whole series.  This is our first really good look at the fabulous chemistry that Miss Coleman and Mr Capaldi have.  And have you noticed how low Jenna Coleman’s voice can get? This sexy low voice coming from such a small woman?  Anyway, the Doctor finally exposes the truth of what is truly going on in the restaurant by ripping the face off of the waiter, seeing what’s behind his face. Clara calls is a “mask” but then the Doctor puts the face on Clara saying, “look, it’s a face.”   Clara is disgusted by the idea of the false face, and casts it aside.

vlcsnap-2014-08-24-00h35m55s228_zps5c9f2fb9vlcsnap-2014-08-24-00h35m02s211_zps49dfc037Now we meet the clockwork faced man. Half human face, half robot face (amazing special effects here). It’s a robot that is trying to change who he is inside by changing his face on the outside. But it doesn’t work that way, does it? The Doctor comments that the robot’s eyes look “fresh.” There is some great eye symbolism in this room and we see both Clara and the Doctor become the pupil, or focus of the eye.  If eye’s are the windows of the face to the soul, then both Clara and the Doctor take that role.  We see Clara’s inner eye, in her flashback of her first day of teaching, and then Clara awakes, the center of a circle, made of circles – the center of an eye made of eyes.deep breath eyes

The Doctor enters wearing a false face and then removes that face to confront the clockwork man. The Doctor has revealed his true face, which also reveals his true nature as the hero of this story.  He tosses the face to Clara who, for the second time this episode, casts the false face aside. She is unable to hide her face, or her true feelings of unease with this new Doctor.

vlcsnap-2014-08-24-08h06m00s201_zps0fa01c5cThe Doctor and Clockwork Man have a great conversation about trading faces.  Of course this is all a discourse about the Doctor and his regenerations.   Can you change faces the same way you change broom handles? If you change your body 13 times are you still the same man?  “There’s not a piece of you left. You probably can’t even remember where you got that face from.”   And then there is that great camera shot of the clockwork man looking at his face in the mirror, and on the other side the Doctor is also looking at his own face in the mirror.  They are the same.

tumblr_inline_nax9wtXSKe1rq1srg After the phone call at the end the Doctor accuses Clara of not seeing him and begs her to “Just see [him].”   She responds by walking up to him and looking very intently at his face.  Then she hugs him.  We learn in Death in Heaven that the Doctor doesn’t like hugs because it is a way to “hide your face.”

Clara will spend the rest of series 8 trying to see the Doctor’s face, to see the Doctor for who he really is, at the same time, Clara will try on a few new faces of her own. At the same time the Doctor will spend the rest of series 8 questioning what his own face means, what kind of man is he?

Doctor Who Sanctuary Base 6 Space Suit: Helmet Part 1

I love a good challenge when it comes to crafting costumes, and after seeing Kill the Moon I knew I wanted to make one of those orange space suits.


For this project so far I’ve used:

  • 1 1960’s motorcycle helmet (the old style helmets are a lot smaller than current day helmets)
  • 1/2 inch EVA foam pads from Harbor Freight  $10.00
  • Aluminum foil
  • Heat Gun which I also bought at Harbor Freight for around $14.00
  • Duct Tape
  • Sharpie
  • Box Cutter
  • Total cost to this point: $24.00

This is my first time making an EVA helmet so I’ve relied heavily on this great YouTube tutorial by Ted Smith.

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I covered the helmet in aluminum foil

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Then using short 4 or 5 inch strips, I covered the helmet with duct tape.

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I drew pattern marks, labeling F for front and B for back, R for right, L for left.  Don’t forget the hash marks!

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I cut out the pattern and then chose the side I liked the best.  This ensures that both sides will be identical. Make sure to cut out the hash marks

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I pined the patterns to the foam, drawing in all the hash marks and marking front back, left.  Then I flipped them over and drew them again, this time marking right.

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After cutting the pieces out with a box cutter (fresh, sharp blade is required and make sure you are cutting at 90 degrees), I heated them and gave them each a curve. Watch the youtube video I reference above for more info on this step.

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Then very slowly, and carefully I hot-glued the pieces together. I’d only glue an inch at a time and then hold.

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And there you have it. The base of my space helmet.