Green Flames and Ice Walls: Dragon*Con 2016

A lot of changes happened this summer. After a fairly long (arguably too long) stint in school, I had finally had enough. I decided to attempt to evolve into a real adult, found a pretty cool job in the LA area working on things for space (because space is cool), and moved out to sunny California. While the sun, weather, and food have been amazing here, my cross-country move wasn’t without stress. I had to leave behind familiarity, resources, and, most importantly, my amazing friends. As a result, DragonCon this year was an especially important reunion for all of us.

Overwatch photoshoot. Dragoncon 2016, Atlanta, Georgia.
Photocred: Zach Ernst of Ernst Photography!

This year, HaLuCyNation (aka Hanna/Hannalopolis, Lucy/me, and Cynthia/Lushan) had two major schemes in place. In case you’re unaware, BattleBots was renewed this year for a second season on ABC (and if you didn’t know, shame on you! Go watch episodes on Hulu or fights on YouTube now). All three of us were involved in the competition, but this season, we were on opposing teams :O! Cynthia was a part of Overhaul 2.0 with Charles, Hanna helped with Road Rash/Danger 4 with Dane, and I was on a team with Jamison and some grad student friends working on SawBlaze. In honor of our awesome BattleBots, our first scheme was to group-cosplay an anthropomorphism of each of our BattleBots.

SawBlaze: a Cosplay

This costume was especially fun, because we had ultimate freedom to choose outfits that really expressed our styles and wear what we’re comfortable in. I really wanted SawBlaze to have an elegant and bad-ass look. I went with an elegant evening dress and some crazy tall pumps. The handkerchief hem of the dress reminded me a bit of the dustpan pontoons too! I drew out a vector version of our SawBlaze logo (designed by the very talented Pizoobie!) and had it cut out on a water jet.



My favorite part of the look was the dragon tattoo. I have always wondered what it’d be like to have a tattoo, and here was the perfect chance! I had considered drawing my own tattoo and printing it on temporary tattoo paper (like Cynthia did for Hanzo), but I actually found a large dragon tattoo that I really liked online, so I just ordered that one. I was also pretty lucky that my backless dress showed off the tattoo location perfectly! What do you think? I kinda like it :).


Many thanks to Cynthia/Lushan for making my SawBlaze prop! Due to the move to LA, I had lost access to my machine shop resources (because, well, they’re in Boston). In my first month of LA-hood, I was unable to acquire access and time to complete my own prop, so I had to commission it to Cynthia, who did an amazing job with it. I already have plans for next iteration though :D! Maybe next time I’ll incorporate both the Saw and the Blaze into the costume :).

The MIT BattleBots

Mei: Overwatch

Blizzard game Overwatch came out earlier this year, and we all couldn’t resist jumping on the hype train. I resisted actually playing the game until I officially turned in my thesis in early June, but HaLuCyNation + our friends Julia and Maha spent many-an-hour pouring over images of the heroes, trying to decide who we were going to cosplay. For me, there wasn’t much competition. With my bangs, hair, and glasses, I almost naturally looked like Mei! In addition, we both speak Mandarin! It was perfect. If only I was better at playing Mei in real life…

There was one major issue with Mei’s costume: she’s wearing a giant coat, and DragonCon is in Atlanta over Labor Day, so wearing a giant coat almost guarantees me heat stroke, or at least an extremely unpleasant weekend. Instead, I was inspired by some fan-art and decided to make my own themed skin: Chinese Dress/Qipao Mei. My sewing experience up until this point has been fairly limited. I had sewn some simple dresses and altered an outfit for our RWBY (a very belated blog post and build report may pop up in the future!), so this was going to be a major sewing project for me. Ultimately, this costume consisted of: the dress, shoes, gun, hair pin, and the droid.


As the build report for this costume will be fairly involved, it’ll be in a separate post, but here are some photos from DragonCon! Photocred goes to one of my high school friends, Zach Ernst (Ernst Photography) and Charles.

Best friends forever: Hanzo, Tracer, and Mei!
Heroes never die!
Hanna and Lucy can't shake the paparazzi. Dragoncon 2016, Atlanta, Georgia.
We’re getting filmed. What??


Genji and Mei


Triple Tracer Stance
Freeze (love), don’t move!

Two of our other friends were unable to make it to DragonCon this time, but we look forward to the completion of their BattleBots and Overwatch costumes completion for a fun photoshoot at our next reunion :).

Now, for lessons learned. As always, looking back, I wish I gave myself more time to work on Mei. The couple weeks leading up to DragonCon were incredibly hectic (with moving into a new apartment, buying a car, starting a new job, etc), and sleep was very hard to come by :(. Alas, I will be more prepared for next time! Maybe?

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