Australia is full of amazing cosplayers — and that's not a point that's open to discussion. All you have to do is look around at a convention like PAX Aus, or Supanova, and you'll see the kind of quality that our relatively small community is capable of. Like every community, however, some of the people making amazing costumes are too busy well… making amazing costumes to ever seek the limelight they deserve.
Even though he's only been making costumes for a few years, you may have already encountered T_T Cosplay at this Oz Comic Con's Australian Championships Of Cosplay, appearing as the representative for Adelaide. While he stands out as one of the few cosplayers who really has a way with facial hair, he's also proved himself to be quite adept in foam armour making — something which requires a surprising amount of finesse and skill.
The realm of 3D printing is something that a few pioneering cosplayers are making use of to create the most accurate costumes that they can — the technology hasn't quite reached the point of being accessible to your average cosplayer, however. T_T Cosplay is one of those who has jumped on this new technology early, getting in before everyone else and straight out printing perfect pieces for some of his costumes.
He even cosplayed his own father, just to take a photo featuring him being disappointed with... himself. Confused yet?
For all the skills he's showcased so far (seriously, how many cosplayers out there are making custom beard prosthetics?) my favourite part of T_T's cosplays is the way that he always seems to fit perfectly into whatever character he's cosplaying. These 'chameleon' cosplayers are rare in the wild — but when they do pop up, they're worth taking note of.
I have a terrible secret. I love Dragon Age. And if you love Dragon Age, chances are that you'll love Spiralight Cosplay. This year alone she's made five different Dragon Age costumes — and that's not including the ones she's been making for other people at the same time.
If you've ever played Dragon Age, you know the kinds of costumes that the characters wear — armour everywhere, chainmail, scale mail, intricate weapons and ridiculous tailoring. Well, Spiralight can do it all. Even if she's never done anything similar before, I've watched in awe as this cosplayer jumps into creating intricate costumes, finding a way to make complicated costume pieces that would leave me stumped for months.
More than that, she's a cosplay machine. At a time when I hadn't even unpacked my bags from PAX, she had already drawn up plans for her next three costumes and was elbow deep in drafting armour patterns for at least two of them. The good news for my fellow Dragon Age fans is it looks like she'll be continuing on that theme for a while longer.
If you look through Spiralight's cosplay page, you'll see as many planned cosplays as completed ones, but unlike most other cosplayers, she actually seems like someone who will manage to get them all done.
There's two things I've learned about Adelaide cosplayers: firstly, they're way too good at making armour. Secondly, they've somehow managed to hide themselves away from the rest of the Australian community. CatRoulette (aside from having one of the best cat-themed cosplay names I've ever heard) is one of these secret master foamsmiths, hiding all the way down there in South Australia.
While her Facebook page hasn't been around for too long, it still catalogues an impressive array of costumes, starting with Yoshimitsu from Tekken Tag Tournament 2. This was her figurative 'baptism by fire' into the world of foam and armour making, and since then she seems to have done quite well for herself. There must be something in the water down there in Adelaide.
Her latest feat is a slick Headhunter Akali that you may have seen running around at PAX Australia — say what you will about League of Legends, but its characters and skins make for some damn impressive cosplays. The shiny armour aside, the most impressive thing about CatRoulette's Akali is that ridiculously intricate wig. For those who've never had to experience the pain of styling a wig, I'll let you in on three little secrets: wigs do not style like real hair. Styling an up-do in a wig is best left to professionals and magicians. Wigs with pulled-back hairlines are almost impossible to make look decent. The fact that she completely ignored all of these universal cosplay truths and made a fantastic wig anyway means that CatRoulette may very well be an actual wizard.
Just like Spiralight above, CatRoulette has already started working on new costumes since PAX ended, and I for one can't wait to see what she gets up to next. It just goes to show that I really need to get down to Adelaide sometime.
While this is technically meant to be a list of five great Aussie cosplayers, you're getting a bit of a bargain here, as Milly and Chloe come as a two-for-one. No matter the event, these two always seem to have perfectly paired cosplays — whether it's GLaDOS and Chell, Shepard and Tali or a Big Sister and Little Sister from Bioshock 2.
No matter what characters they're cosplaying, they've proven themselves adept with everything from armour to space-aged bodysuits to LEDs to taking amazing photos of drunk Tali (admit it, that's the only reason anyone ever really played Mass Effect 3).
Going through their quite extensive gallery on Facebook, I admire the time that these two have put into refining and perfecting old costumes — each rewearing of an existing cosplay shows that improvements have been made, and that work has never really stopped on anything that they've made. While some cosplayers continually make new costumes and never look back, Milly and Chloe know what they do and they do it well.
You may not have even noticed, as it took me a while as well, but Chloe has even done multiple versions of her impressive Big Sister cosplay — one of the regular enemy who haunts you mercilessly through Bioshock two, but also another separate costume of Eleanor Lamb's eventual transformation into a Big Sister.
Again I'm breaking my own rules here, as Michaela isn't technically an Australian cosplayer — she's from New Zealand — but unfortunately some of our funny-sounding neighbours can be even less well-known then the Australians. I first encountered her when a friend bought one of her Asari headpiece casts — and slowly came to realise that she was a cosplayer who I had admired every time one of her costumes happened to pop up, though I had never imagined it would all be one person.
While Michaela De Bruce also does beautiful historical re-enactment costumes, she has a penchant for sci fi and fantasy, with the hugest portfolio of Star Wars costumes you'll ever see. As it turns out, she's been doing this for forever — and it really shows in her work, whether it's armour, sewing, sculpting or otherwise.
Michaela also does all of this with a disability that effects her hands, just in case it wasn't hard enough to do intricate sculpting and detail-work without such a huge obstacle. She's written about her experiences with her invisible disease on her website (where you should also go to check out the huge number of costumes she's made).
She also took Elsa to Mount Doom. What's not to love about that?