Level 3:5 – Recon and Advance

23 Jun

Once we had decided to enter our Subject Delta and Eleanor Lamb into the Crown Championship of Cosplay at C2E2, we began looking at certain aspects of our pieces with a more critical eye. Just as Sara looked at her syringe panel and decided it was lacking, I too looked at my drill and decided that the turbine section was in need of improvement.

Subject Delta Cosplay Drill Subject Delta Cosplay Drill Arm Support











This simply would not do!

So, as hard as it was — I dismantled  it and went back to the drawing board and hardware store. As disappointed as I was to be starting over, I knew I could do better and building the first turbine section actually did a lot for me as far as figuring out how to make each section fit together. I would stay with the same basic “cylinder” design in order to ensure that it would fit back into place with the rest of the drill.

I started off with a sheet of light gauge, galvanized steel. I used a pair of metal cutters and cut out an identical strip of metal to match the previous pre-fabricated piece I had used. A tip? Don’t forget to wear gloves and goggles. I got a couple of minor cuts and had a brief scare when the sheet flipped up and hit my cheek. It was a flat slap on my cheek so there were no cuts but Sara just about died watching it happen.

IMG_0693 IMG_0697

This would serve as the base of the turbine section.

Next, I cut out a strip of 2 mm foam to serve as the base of the bladed section, the outer shell of the turbine. I then cut out slanted, recessed parallelograms all along the strip with alternating raised sections.


I then hot glued the foam piece to the metal cylinder and affixed the raised sections with short strips of the weather sealer. This way I could build the bladed sections of the turbine in the same way I did for the main blade of the drill.

IMG_0698 IMG_0699

Already looking much more accurate and awesome then the previous attempt!

I then hot glued small, foam parallelograms to each side of each of the weather sealer sections and then hot glued them together along the edges to form slanted, foam wedges. Once complete, I then attached the new turbine section to a newly crafted wooden hand section.

Subject Delta Drill Turbine Cosplay Subject Delta Drill Turbine Unit Cosplay

Now that’s what I’m talking about!!!

To finish off the turbine section, I drilled a series of three holes through each section of the recessed panels.

Subject Delta's Drill ReferenceWith the new and improved turbine section complete, I attached it the body of the drill and moved on to some detail work. I searched high and low for a good way to make the beveled gears that are attached in clusters around the outer edge of the drill near the turbine section, but never quite found what I wanted. I did however, find some interesting toy gears at a local robotics store.  They gave me a few to use as they no longer sold the kits they came with, but not enough to complete three clusters like I wanted. Not to be discouraged, I used the toy gears as templates and cut some additional foam gears out of 5 mm craft foam. I cut them out and glued them together in layers of two and four so that I could have some levels with the gears. Now, if we had a Dremel (that’ll be one of our next purchases) I could have beveled these pieces myself, but I was really happy with how they turned out.

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Now it was time to breathe life into our drill with some  paint! So, I set up my paint room in the basement laundry and got to work!

First, I sealed all the foam pieces with Elmer’s glue. Then I sprayed on at least half a dozen layers of Shellac onto the drill. This step was critical to ensure that all the different types of materials would appear to be the same once coated in paint. To make the drill more visually appealing, I decided to go with a two-tone color scheme. I hit the body of the drill, the gears, the stabilizer bars and the bicep coupler with some of the Dark Steel then used some of the Antique Brass for the fore arm coupler and gear spacer at the base of the drill. I then finished it off by hand painting the hydraulics with black acrylic paint and steel for the fixers.

Subject Delta's Drill Bioshock Cosplay

Subject Delta Drill Bioshock Cosplay Subject Delta Drill Bioshock Cosplay

In order to keep the bicep coupler in place, I made a leather band to wrap around the coupler with a costume velcro strap. I detailed the leather band and strap with stitching and hot glued it into place.


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I then weathered it. The first step in this process entailed using the process described in our Weathered Metal Effect tutorial and black acrylic paint. After that was done, it was time for the fun part; the blood! I bounced back and forth between a realistic blood and a stylized blood but in the end I decided that stylized blood would be more fun. I used the same Venetian Red acrylic paint that Sara used on Eleanor Lamb’s suit. Instead of painting it on using brush strokes, I globbed it on in patches to mimic splatter and pooling patterns. Also, let’s face it, this is a drill, it’s going to have gummy messes on it.

Subject Delta Drill Bioshock CosplaySubject Delta Drill Bioshock Cosplay

Here’s a series of shots to show you the details from various angles.

Subject Delta Drill Bioshock Cosplay Subject Delta Drill Bioshock Cosplay

Subject Delta Drill Bioshock Cosplay Subject Delta Drill Bioshock Cosplay

Of all the things we built, this was the most satisfying. The helmets were amazing and gratifying but there was something about this hefty prop dirtied up and bloodied that made me actually feel like Subject Delta. Thank you so much for sticking with us as we wrap up our documentation on this cosplay. Hopefully you had a good time or were able to glean some steps from our process! — TCG


One Response to “Level 3:5 – Recon and Advance”


  1. Bill Doran Punished Props Interview – Part Two | Scanner Drome - June 28, 2014

    […] Level 3:5 – Recon and Advance […]

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