Given the fact that Lara’s primary weapon is the bow, it is obvious that arrows are therefore an essential prop for making my Cosplay more authentic. I was hesitant at first to start making the arrows until my bow was made because I wanted the sizing to be accurate, and so didn’t start this until a few weeks ago. I knew already that I couldn’t use child’s toy arrows as they would have been far too small which also meant that I would have to spend a little more money on them. Of course, you could argue that I could’ve made the arrows from salvaged sticks around where I live; and although this would have been far cheaper, I felt that it wouldn’t be accurate to the arrows that Lara uses in the game, thus meaning I had to buy arrows and once again tweak them.
My initial thoughts of making the arrows was that I would simply buy pre-made ones and then cut the ends to make them look feathered and weathered like the ones Lara has the game; but this as I later found out was not a realistic idea. After I had bought the arrows which were professional archery ones from Amazon, I thought it would be fine to cut pieces of the ends and then paint them red and white (of which it turns out were the wrong colour) using acrylic paint to give a feathered appearance to them. However, I found that by doing just this the acrylics were too heavy for the plastic ends to handle and after drying the acrylic started to chip and fall off almost instantly; which is why I needed to think of an alternative. From the tutorials that I had seen online, it seemed as though no one really had bothered to make the arrow heads look that realistic, and this made the cosplay prop look to me a little cartoonish and simply not authentic. Luckily, I had a bit of a brainwave and thought that I could save the arrows that I had already experimented with by possibly super gluing actual feathers on to them so that they looked more realistic.
After gluing the white feathers (which I then cut up to compliment the overall shape of the arrow heads) I then painted over sections of the feathers with black acrylic as I had noticed the colours were black and white instead of red and white like I had originally thought. In order to make the rest of the arrow look similar to the buddleja branches that were used for the bow (due to the wood being much lighter), I then painted a thick layer of black and dark brown acrylic in small sections and used tissue paper to smudge this to cover the rest of the arrows themselves in order to give a weathered look to them.
Despite the initial problems that I had with making the arrows, I’m really pleased with how they have turned out because I feel they look incredibly realistic and accurate to what they look like in the game. I find that the feathers make the arrows look far more weathered that they would have looked if I had simply used acrylic paints to make them; and that if I had simply left them like that then they would not have matched the bow whatsoever. Naturally my next step now is to make the quiver so that I can put my arrows in them when I am not posing with them. I have to say that this is something that I’m finding a little daunting to do as I have been looking at existing cosplays of Lara and her quiver has always been made entirely from scratch. As I have said before I am not entirely comfortable with making something like this because it is unlike anything that I have done with my craftsmanship before; and so I will really need to do some hard research on how to go about this before going ahead and making it.