As you can see from the screen shot and Youtube video above, the bow and arrow are Lara’s primary weapon throughout the course of the video game. It is the first weapon that Lara uses to defend herself, before that iconic scene where she not only kills for the first time, but also obtains her signature pistol; and so in order to be true to the character it is vital that I have this as part of my Cosplay props. Naturally and understandably however, I have never actually made anything of this calibre before and so didn’t feel confident in my craft-making skills to make this scratch myself. Another concern that I had for myself was making the iconic vest that Lara wears in the game, and making the blood look authentic enough to almost look real. I had been searching on Youtube for tutorials about dying vests and then adding fake bloody but once again I felt as though I would not be up to the challenge to make it look ‘screen accurate’. Having already been scouring sites such as Etsy, I came across a fellow cosplayer who had a shop called ‘LittleShopofYamatai’, with whom I decided to purchase a starter bow from her; I also purchased the ‘First Blood’ vests from this shop, with the intention of tweaking them slightly once they had arrived.
While these were being posted to my flat in Leeds, I began to make the trousers that Lara wears in the game. From looking at videos of the scene I wanted to particularly Cosplay as Lara; along with researching concept art and studying my very own 8″ figure of Lara, I noticed that even very early on in the game’s narrative that there was a lot of wear and tare to these already. I decided that I quite categorically didn’t want to roll around in the mud in the trousers that I purchased from Amazon, mostly for hygienic reasons and began to look at alternatives to making the pants look dirty and worn. Looking at the materials that I had, I found that if I used coffee beans and water and applied this with cotton buds I could recreate the look while still making the trousers comfortable and suitable for me to wear at the convention. I then started to sprinkle coffee beans on to the trousers and then soak the cotton buds in to water and dabbed and spread the coffee beans along the legs and top half of the trousers so that it looked just as dirty as the images that I had been studying. Naturally, my once the coffee beans and water dried over the course of a couple of days the aroma of coffee became ever present; however I much prefer this than to smelling of dirt and mud all day in my defense!
However once my starter bow and top had arrived, I opened the packaging to find that the bow had been severely damaged during its delivery. This is something that I had anticipated happening from hearing about Cosplay props breaking during any form of travel due to being delicate. With the extra string that was sent along with the bow and super glue I had also bought I was able to then restring the entire bow myself by gluing the buddleja branches where they had snapped and eventually tying it back together.
The bloodied vest top however arrived in perfect condition and I am going to tweak it ever so slightly with fake blood so that it matches my Lara Croft trousers.
So far I have to say that I’m really pleased with the progress that I have made so far. Although I did not make the top and bow by myself I feel that tweaking and restringing the bow actually helped me gain a little bit more confidence in the idea of making the costume myself. Obviously these were the hardest things to get right as once slight difference can make or break the costume, but I have to say that it is coming along really well and looking like the artwork that I have studied so far. My next step is the start making the holster and gun from the scene where Lara makes her first kill.