Since 2015, cosplay costume builder Brad Biddle has stunned cosplayer crowds and social media followers with his incredibly detailed Transformers cosplay creations. From full-on towering transformer costumes and props with ornate details, Brad wastes no time or talent dreaming up his next build, all of which you can find behind-the-scenes footage of at his YouTube channel, BMB COSPLAY.
We sat down with Brad to learn more about his experiences that led him to cosplay and pick his brain about the best cosplay materials and processes you can utilize in your own designs today.
Without further ado, Brad Biddle.
We Sell Mats™ & Brad Biddle: Q&A
How to Make Cosplay? Is there a Cosplay Process?
I’d say yes, there is a cosplay process. However, everyone has their own process to building cosplay. Mine is a fairly simple concept. First, figure out what character to make, and make sure it’s something that you’ll be dedicated to creating.
Next, you need to figure out what type of material will work the best for the build. My material of choice is EVA Foam. It’s a great product; it’s inexpensive, very easy to work with, and extremely forgiving if mistakes are made.
After you decide on who/what you’re cosplaying, picking a good starting point is essential. I like to start off with the helmet. I do this for two reasons. 1) You can’t change the size of your head. When you build the helmet first, it helps with proportioning for the rest of the costume. For example, if you build the body of your cosplay first and it’s not proportioned correctly, you might end up with a large head on a tiny body. However, by starting with the helmet, you can use it as a reference to size the rest of the costume. 2) Finishing the helmet will keep you motivated to reach your goal.
It’s easier to imagine the finished product when you have a face to put with the costume, so it helps to keep you focused. Once you have a good plan of attack, take your time, build it how you want it to look, and most importantly…Have fun with it!
How Did You Start Cosplaying?
I started shortly after my first son was born. For Halloween in 2014, I made a costume designed as a “Mech Warrior” (Mech Warrior was an old computer game with giant war-fighting robots). My Mech featured an “operator” who was my 4-month-old son in a baby carrier on my chest. The costume was a huge success in my neighborhood. After seeing how happy it made people, I decided to get serious about making costumes, and a new hobby was born, cosplaying.
What are Some Easy Cosplay Ideas for Beginners?
It’s actually hard for me to identify what would be easy for a beginner, but I’d have to say simple armor builds, maybe something medieval. It would have a few basic armor pieces formed to your body and smaller props like swords, shields, etc. However, even the easiest cosplay has the potential to be arduous. It all depends on how far you dive into it.
How to Make a Cosplay Sword
Depending on the size and how rigid it needs to be. You can sandwich a yardstick in between two pieces of foam cut out to a sword shape, then glue it together. Cut the knife-edge out with a blade. Add some battle damage with a rotary tool, and sand everything down. Then seal it with Plastidip or a PVA glue, then add paint as you see fit.
If you’re making a toy sword for kids, skip the yardstick and keep the size small. You can make it with one layer of foam or use different colored foam glued together to make a fun multicolored sword.
What is the Best Material for Cosplay Armor?
Material selection varies depending on the cosplayer/builder, but for me, EVA foam is the best material for armors. It’s easy to cut, form, and mold. It holds paint well, and it doesn’t get damaged easily.
What's the Best Cosplay Materials?
In my opinion, EVA Foam is the absolute best material. I’ve also used foam insulation board, plastics, wood, aluminum, and I’ve even upcycled some everyday items that would be thrown away or recycled like bottles, bottle caps, and other items.
Some cosplayers use materials like cardboard, foam core board, Worbla, thermoplastics, fabrics, resins, and other materials. The best material is whatever material the builder feels most comfortable with.
What Other Cosplay Armor Materials have you used?
I primarily use EVA Foam, foam insulation board, and aluminum for some of the framework around the torso.
How Do You Use We Sell Mats Cosplay Materials Foam?
I’ve been using We Sell Mats™ (WSM) EVA foam since I first started. There are other brands out there, but my workshop has stacks of WSM foam. That’s mostly due to the high-quality substrate, density, and overall strength of WSM foam. I use it for 90% of my cosplay builds. I use it to build the bulk of the armor, structural framework, and cosmetic finish pieces. It’s also great for helmets and props.
What's Your Favorite Cosplay Costume You've Made?
That has to be Soundwave, from the original 1980’s Transformers cartoon series. I finished building it in September 2021, after starting it in 2018. It stands at a menacing 8.5 ft tall and weighing in at around 60 pounds.
Design Your Next Cosplay Masterpiece with We Sell Mats™ Cosplay Materials
No matter where you are in your cosplay design journey, We Sell Mats™ makes it easy to find the best EVA foam serious cosplayers like Brad rely on to create intricate, massive, and impressive works of art we can all appreciate.
Shop We Sell Mats™ today to stock up on your cosplay must-haves, and be sure to follow Brad on Instagram (@bmbids), Facebook (@OBXMegatron), and YouTube (BMB COSPLAY) to see his latest and greatest builds!