Today’s cosplay spotlight is MisterXero aka Sean Cho. Not only is he an excellent cosplayer, he is also a prop master. He has been designing and creating intricately detailed props for years. You can find a few of his props for sale at his online shop.
He does more than merely 3D print, he turns them into true works of art. His master craftsmanship truly shows in his cosplay.
We asked Sean to randomly choose a few questions for his interview, and here are the results:
PopCultHQ – What is your favorite movie?
Sean – One of my favorite movies is Terminator 2 – Judgment Day. The special effects blew me away and I was enamored by the action sequences. The fact that John Connor was around my age at the time made it fun as it was cool to see kids your age on screen and made it relatable.
My other favorite movie was Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop. I loved every minute of it, even though it would take me years to realize why I loved it. One of the first costume pieces I ever made was Robo’s helmet, using cardboard strips and aluminum foil. If memory serves me right, I believe I used one of those red Transformers Tech Spec readers as the visor lens.
PopCultHQ – How much research goes into your characters?
Sean – An insane amount. I usually start by using Google Images. Once I get a general idea of that I’m looking for, I search for behind the scenes or conceptual photos. I like behind the scenes stuff as that tends to have brighter lighting and hard to find angles. Conceptual art lends some clues as to how the final piece came to be. Next, I try to look for found pieces or everyday items that were used to create movie props. If a high enough detail image is found and I cannot find it elsewhere, I use 3D modeling to create it.
A few examples of these techniques include my Mortal Kombat X Kung Lao costume. The game provided a character viewer, so I used it to look at the details of the tunic and the embroidery patterns on the pants. I was able to find or create the exact pattern on the pants and have it embroidered on my pants. Using screenshots, I duplicated the exact patterns for the chest and back symbols and had those embroidered or screen printed. Often when I 3D model a part, I would go back to the original reference picture and try to superimpose the 3D model into the picture to see if the details line up. This was done extensively on my Rogue One builds for Chirrut, Baze, Jyn, and Cassian.
PopCultHQ – Do you belong to any cosplay groups?
Sean – I am part of the 501st Legion. They are a volunteer charity group specializing in screen accurate, canon costumes of characters from the Star Wars franchise. Our main focus is to bring smiles to fans everywhere and raise money and awareness to charitable organizations such as Make-A-Wish and others. Being able to ‘troop’ in costume, bringing joy to kids and adults alike, while benefitting a good cause is win-win.
I also belong to The Finest – A G.I. Joe Costume Club. We are also a canon club that focuses on high-quality costumes based on the G.I. Joe franchise. Like the 501st, we also raise money for charity, however, we focus on primarily military charities, which aligns well with our group.
I also belong to a few ‘for fun’ groups, namely The Judge Dredd Costuming Group and The Colonial Fleet, (Battlestar Galactica) and others.
PopCultHQ – What is your dream convention?
Sean – My dream convention would be like DragonCon, but with half the people and it’s closer to Chicago. I love DCon because it’s like an annual vacation for me. It’s nice to take a few days and get away from the real world and hang out with friends, some I only get to see once a year. There seems to be something for nearly every fandom there.
PopCultHQ – What was your first cosplay?
Sean – My first costume, (other than my failed Robocop helmet in fourth grade), was an Iron Man suit I made from pepakura files and craft foam. I used 3D printing and LEDs for the arc reactor and 3D printed the helmet. I have since sold the suit, but I am happy to know that the person who purchased it uses it to visit kids at Ronald McDonald houses. It’s great to know that your creations can have a positive impact on someone’s day. My helmet was sold to ESPN to use in one of their talk shows during the time when Age of Ultron premiered. I’d like to think it’s still in the ESPN offices somewhere.
PopCultHQ – Do you make your own costumes?
Sean – For the most part, I make what I can based on what my skillset enables me to do. When I started, I could not sew, but in the last few years, I have learned to use the sewing machine and now I am able to use it to create some simple garments and do repairs, etc. My primary strength is in 3D modeling and printing. I use this extensively in a lot of the costumes and props I make. The repeatability and the precision is what attracts me to this process.
I have created several bespoke costumes for others as well, namely several of the original cast members of the Mortal Kombat game franchise. It was a thrill to create these costumes of characters I literally grew up with for 25+ years.
PopCultHQ – How did you chose your cosplay name?
Sean – MisterXero – The name has its roots as my XBOX Live gamertag as well as ties to my love of heavy metal music. The theme carries into my costuming. I believe when I am in costume, the character is set front and center. The costumer behind the mask becomes non-existent. Fans are reacting to your character, the costumer should set aside all their judgement, bias, and just concentrate on giving the audience a good experience so they can leave feeling good about your interaction.
PopCultHQ – Is there anything else you would like to say or highlight?
www.facebook.com/XeroProps is my facebook page. I post finished costumes as well as projects in process.