CoxCon 2018 – Telford

There is a convention that been hosted at the Telford International Center by the name of CoxCon for the last few years. Back in 2017, I went along for my first time. I had wanted to go along before back in 2016, but felt a little uneasy. I figuring at the time that I wasn’t the intended demographic. Turning 40 will do that to you. But I did attend in 2017 and I had a great time. I got to meet Mr Jesse Cox and tell him “thank you” for the content. And I got to meet and befriend some amazing people. Twelve months later and I was eager to go back. I had purchased my ticket months before. I’d had a hotel room booked for myself as far back as January. But this year I was also going to help out. The ever amazing Wendy from Muse Games had asked if I would like to help out on the booth. And the awesome folks from The Cosplay Forge had also asked if I would like to help out too. So I figured I’d split my time over the weekend across both booths. And by a very happy coincidence, both booths were side by side. Happy Days!

Friday 20th July 2018 – Operation get all your stuff for the weekend up to Telford.

So it was time to find all my Cosplay stuff. I figured I’d take along nearly everything. Hoping to illustrate that with a little time and practice that great things can be achieved. And I needed my Steam Punk attire. So with the van loaded up I headed up to Telford to help both teams get set up.

Friday 20th July – Telford town center.

For those of you that have watched Scary Game Squad, you will know that there is a running joke of Davis and ducks. Proof that you should never let the internet know your fears. So I was rather darkly amused to find a load of huge ducks around Telford town center.

Saturday 21st July 2018 – I had too much fun to taker any photos. Sorry 🙂

Strewth! Saturday was a bast. I’m serious when I say I was having too much fun to take photos. In hind sight, I wish I had. I have some fond memories of Saturday that I would like to have commemorated with a photo or two. But the very nature of the CoxCon experience is one of joy. So I was on The Cosplay Forge booth. “Tiny”, my 40K space marine was front and center. And I was genuinely blown away at the response to this madness that I spent several years making. The number of people that came along and chatted. Held the Bolt Gun. Tried on the MKVII Aquila helmet. Saw the difference between the first foam helmet and number 6. The people that asked “Is it OK to take a photo?” You kidding? I’m beyond delighted. And in the evening there was a meal with the gang & friends of Muse games. A great day.

 

Sunday 22nd July – Last day of CoxCon

There is an oddly creepy feel to an empty convention hall. I was in early. Excitement for another day had made sleeping as difficult as being a kid again on Christmas eve.

But it wasn’t long before people started turning up. Some a little worse for ware as the result of a lively Saturday night.

Sunday was another great giggle. I helped out on the Muse games booth. And made new friends. The day before Id’ been passed along a message that someone had asked the guys at The Cosplay Forge if they could try on my Space Wolf. I think any other convention I’d have said no. But there is something about CoxCon. So when they came along on Sunday, I took a bit of time from the Muse booth and dressed a young lad I’d never met before in an outfit I was rather attached to. And not once did I think “This is a huge mistake”. But a warm thought in the back of my mind was one of that just possibly I was making some one’s day. And that is always worth it. Hopefully one day I may get to see all the photos from the event that people took of my cosplay build. The pride I feel as result will spur me on to do more. And that is a very good thing.

And CoxCon 2018 drew to a close. Well the event hall closed just as the last panel began. I helped with the strip & clear down of both Muse Games and The Cosplay Forge booths. Helped people get kit and stock loaded. I got all my kit back into the van. Headed back to the hotel. Had a shower. Got dressed and headed out to the post convention staff party. Oh boy! The friends I made. I was introduced to my first game of “Cards Against Humanity”. Yer – I’ll leave that sentence there thanks all the same 🙂 There was even cheese cake. I was the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. And to the fella that stopped me on the way out that evening to tell me that he liked my positivity, thank you. That was a truly lovely thing to tell anybody. Let alone me.

A recurring theme of CoxCon is the way people speak of the event and the “feel” of the place. One person described it like “A family reunion”, which I think is quite apt. I myself tweeted a reply of “It’s the Jesse Cox effect. We attend and come away better people

I should never wish my time away. But I’m already looking forward to CoxCon 2019.

 

I typically sign off these kind of blog posts with a thank you. The list is getting longer. And I can’t help be grateful of that outcome. So once again. Thank you to Muse Games for wonderful opportunity you have presented to me to be able to make people giggle and have fun. Thank you to Wendy and Jose to seeing something in me that I could not. Thank you to Jay for just being one of the most awesome and chilled out people I have ever met. Thank you to the entire crew of The Cosplay Forge, I hope I acquitted myself well on my first cosplay display sort of thing. Thank you to all the new friends that I have made. I do hope you don’t come to regret it. Thank you to all the other unsung heroes that are the volunteer staff of CoxCon. Many thank yous to all of those that attended the convention, came to the booths, said “Hi” and had fun.

And a heartfelt thank you to Mr Jesse Cox. Your hosting this event is amazing. It brings together so many people from all over the world. Lasting friendships and born from existence. And I, for one am very grateful of it.

Fully Charged Live at Silverstone

So I’ve been watching Robert Llewellyn’s Fully Charged YouTube channel for a while. They recently arranged and hosted an event at Silverstone, featuring all that is good in the electric car market to electrical generation and storage at home. There ware also electric powered skate boards. I took my motorbike out for a spin and went had a look around. The Saturday was packed. A fantastic turn out. But a little difficult to get near the displays and stands due to the amount of people there. But the Sunday was a lot less manic and it was possible to have a good look around.

Sunday 10th June 2018 – I got a ride in a Tesla Model S (I for got to take photos or video – sorry)

As a naturally inclined geek, I find all this sort of tech fascinating. The future is looking very promising indeed.

EGX Rezzed – London

The three day extravaganza that is EGX Rezzed at the Tobacco Dock in Wapping, London. Wendy asked if I would like to help out again. I was delighted to be asked and said yes without hesitation. Due to work, i didn’t get there till midday on Friday. But all was well. All the equipment was there. Everything worked first time. I didn’t get a chance to blow the electrics. Although the event staff did remember me from the PC Gamer Weekend, there was a smattering of mild good humored ribbing. And I got to embark on a three day adventure. I even got to accompany Wendy to an industry meet & greet after party event. That was a great blast.

So – to the photos!

Friday 13th April – Me & Jay in fine spirits after the first day of the event.

Later that night – Nearby in an converted car park, I get to hang out with way too many awesome people.

Later still – Me & Jay square up to Creams sugar coma. I have yet to finish one of these.

Sunday 15th April – a great final day. Although me & Jay have the menu hold music from the brawler game the next booth over engraved into our memory.

Again, BIG thank you to Muse games for having me along. Massive thank you to Wendy & Jose for continuing to be amazing hosts and accepting this semi-delinquent ginger bloke into your home & life 🙂 My undying thanks to Jay for helping me through the other side of the sugar abuse we put ourselves through. Thanks to Ben for always being awesome. More thanks to Arron & Jack from PizzaGamesFuntimes for stopping by the booth and playing Guns Of Icarus Alliance. And my gratitude to all that stopped by the booth and said hello & had fun. I was particularly touched to find that a family that I’d met at the PC Gamer Weekender had come in especially to say hello.

Building a Cosplay 40K Bolt Pistol – OK, three of them

So sooner or later My imagination will resurface and it will be time to start building more Cosplay props again. So I had a great giggle at Gloucester Comic con and Lincoln Comic con. And there was a lovely feeling of “completion”. Lets face it, it had been a build that had taken me 2 and half years to complete with it’s “off & on” schedule. But I wanted to build more props. So I had spare foam floor mats kicking around. So I figured “why not build some Bolt Pistols?”

Pepakura Designer 4 – Now I think this is the unfold pattern from Heinrich Pilerud’s Blood Angle files. I jigged the scale to “fit” my build. And by sheer fluke this meant that the wall thickness of the foam caused the build to need next to no tinkering to get the dimensions to come together. OK, that’s a bad sentence. I mean that when I cam to but the two parts of the body together, the thickness of the foam was the same as what the is was on the pattern. So I didn’t need to add or subtract material to make it all fit together.

So all the patterns are printed out and cut out. Some are for reference. Others needed to be modified to work in foam. So thicknesses and angles needed to be taken into consideration. You can see on the bottom middle where I’ve added a lot of material to the lower body of the prop. As always, some patterns are symmetrical and there for only one of a pair is required.

That all the parts cut out. So some cheap floor foam mats, some 6mm sleeping roll, some wood & PVC pipes. Oh, I’ll also need a couple of milk bottle tops.

Some of the parts coming together. What I’d learned with my bolt gun was that there needed to be internal support for the grip. Or else it would start breaking from the twisting force. SO the grip is a bit of 3 ply sandwiched between some 10mm flooring foam.

So it was all coming together. It wouldn’t be long where I would need to start thinking about painting and final assembly.

And built. Now the part that I’m not overjoyed about – painting. Seriously not my thing. So I went and helped out with the Muse Games Booth at PC Gamer Weekender (See other blog post) and then buggered off on my first ever holiday abroad (see the other blog post about that). But when I got back, I started painting up the props.

And done. This is painted in Flexipaint form The Cosplay Forge with basic weathering using Rub & Buff metallic waxes.

For comparison – On the left the first ever foam weapon prop I ever made. And on the right what several years and some practice will yield.

After there is always the obligatory “Very Chuffed” photos.

I’m very chuffed that the bolt pistol ties in well with my Bolt Gun.

BUT WAIT!

I did say some Bolt Pistols? Three of them? Yes I did…

Yes, I built three Cosplay prop 40K bolt pistols – And then gave them away. Why? Well the top one went off to The Cosplay Forge with a customisation of a Vexed Cosplay & Props logo. This was a thankyou from me to them. I originally met them all at CoxCon 2017 and they were an amazing friendly and helpful bunch. It was their help and input that helped me to finish my Space Wolf build. And for that I’m very grateful. So from maker to another, I gifted them a prop I had built with their help and products.

The other two Bolt Pistols went off to Arron & Jack at PizzaGamesFuntimes who I met at Gloucester Comic Con 2017. Their enthusiasm is infectious. So for a growing YouTube channel, what’s better than a bit of fan mail? And if your wondering “why the hell did you go to all that effort to build three props and then give them away?”, well just watch this video from PizzaGamesFuntimes channel…

When Arron & Jack got fan mail – Youtube Video

My First Trip Abroad

So I owned a passport long enough for it to require replacing, yet had never used it. Yep. Had a passport for 10 years and it was nothing other than a form of ID. Thankfully that’s something I finally put an end to March 2018. So after a lot of overtime and saving up, I joined 3 of my best friends on an 11 day adventure. Taking a cruise from Southampton to Norway, up into the arctic circle to try and see the Northern Lights.

March 21st 2018 – Depart Southampton & First days at sea

March 24th 2018 – Andalsnes

March 25th 2018 – At sea

March 26th 2018 – Tromso

March 27th 2018 – Alta

March 28th & 29th 2018 – At Sea

March 31st 2018 – Stavanger

April 1st 2018 – At sea

April 2nd 2018 – Southampton

If you made it this far through this blog post, thank you.

PC Gamer Weekend – London

The lovely and amazing Wendy from Muse Games asked if I would like to help out as a booth babe at the PC Gamer Weekender event. That was the easiest “YES” I’ve given in a long time. I originally met Wendy and the team at CoxCon 2017 in Telford. They were and incredibly warm and welcoming bunch who made me feel at ease. And thus I was able to be myself. This is a good thing I’m told.

The game is called “Guns Of Icarus – Alliance”. It’s got a strong Steam Punk ascetic, so this called for a stable outfit. So basically goggles as I was working to a nearly non-existent budget.

So with all the arrangements made, it was ff to London on the train. And it wasn’t long before I was at Paddington station.

So it was up early Saturday morning and across the city to the venue – The Olympia in Kensington. There was a short panic as the booth had no hardware. This was quickly sorted out by the amazing venue staff. Especially as I blew the electrics three times. Turns out using an American power adapter rated to 110 volts will trip a 220 volt rail. Thankfully the on site electricians didn’t murder me and just took the micky out of me all weekend 🙂 But we were up and running just as the doors opened to the public.

Saturday was an amazing blast. I had so much fun. that wasn’t work. That was hanging out with friends and having a giggle. More of a party atmosphere. As Saturday drew to close, the event staff threw a little party for all the staff.

Now a word of warning on “Sugar Coma” 🙂 So near to where we were all staying was a fantastic late night cafe called Creams. Along with a luxury hot chocolate, me & Jay chose a hot cookie dough, ice-cream and Oreo cookie dish. We went from being rather tired to sugar rush supreme. and then on into what Jay later described as “A sugar coma”.

Waking up Sunday morning was challenging.

But a copious amount of Tea and breakfast and we were all good to go and Sunday was a great blast.

My heartfelt thanks to Muse games, Wendy & Jose, Jay, Ben and all the people that came along to the booth for a fun packed unforgettable weekend.

Cheap Cosplay Armour Set Stand

So you’ve just built yourself a full Cosplay armour set – CONGRATULATIONS! Now, where on earth are you going to put it?

So for this build I used the following:

A kitchen work top off cut (Two pieces screwed together)

x4 screws

x1 3 meter metal trunking pole (Cut equally in half)

x1 coat hanger

For this to work I figured that the poles would need to bend to fit better. But as I don’t have any way of easily doing that, I opted to simply drill the holes off centre. So that the poles would plug into the base and lean forward.

A word of caution – When living in a small 1 bed flat, you will run out of room very quickly. You TV will never bee seen again. You will scare the daylights out of yourself and guests that you fail to warn.

My Cosplay Outfit Goes Out In Public

A little over 2 and a half years ago I had an idea to build my own Space Marine cosplay outfit. The catalyst? A video on YouTube of a Blood Angle space Marine. And on and off over the years I’ve finally got around to finishing my build enough for me to be happy to let it be seen in public. So Saturday 9th September 2017 Gloucester Comic-Con and my Space Wolf went out into the world. Totally worth it. Such a great giggle. And lessons learned. Cooling. Oh good grief! It was like my own personal mobile sauna.  But what did I expect? It’s 100mm foam. And maybe skiing gloves, not the best choice as it turns out. On the bright side, winter conventions will be a doddle.

 

Dress rehearsal

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

No our way to Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Gloucester Comic-Con 2017

Blessing from the All Farther

Blessing from the All Farther

Dress rehearsal

Dress rehearsal

Dress rehearsal

Dress rehearsal

Dress rehearsal

Weston-Super-Mare Bike Night

So one of my colleagues clued me in to a motorbike meet up that happens every Thursday from 6:00pm, over at Weston-Super-Mare. It sounded like a giggle, so I rode down and took a look.

Weston Bike Night

The event is ran by a charitable group raising money for The Poppy Appeal. It’s only a pound (£1) to get in. So on this particular meet up on Thursday 15th June 2017, there are about 800 motorbikes, trikes and quad bikes on the sea front lawns. A really nice friendly and relaxed atmosphere.  It’s certainly worth going along and taking a look. In fact, have a look at their WEB site for the event.

http://www.westonbikenight.co.uk

 

John Lewis is actually quite terrible

Well F*CK John Lewis. F*CK them in any and every orifice of choosing and / or making.

So lets say you buy a mobile phone from them. It goes wrong, well within warranty. You get it sorted for a repair. Not a problem. You take it to their store. Not a problem.

Then SOD ALL for 4 weeks!

Nothing. Not even a message to say “we’ve got your phone”.

So you chase them up. Apparently they don’t have a number for the repair centre, so they will have to email them. You eventually get told the wrong part was ordered. Another two weeks of silence pass. So you chase up yet again. So where the hell is my phone?

“Oh we don’t know, it’s probably been lost somewhere”.

But wait!

“Does sir know that is John Lewis can’t fix your item in 29 working day, then you can have either new item, a full refund, or store credit?”.

I did not. But it’s now Black Friday, so I’ll have that Apple phone on a “never knowingly undersold” price match. Purchase is sorted. Await “never knowingly undersold” feed back.

Get an email saying “Sorry, the item in Argos is not the same as Argos have special software that lock the phone to the first SIM card inserted. But John Lewis Apple phones are fully unlocked”.

What a crock of shit! Ring customer services, and the climb down is super fast. Thank you very much. Money returned to my account.

Now wait 2 months.

To within 7 days of pay day. After Christmas.

BANG! £150 gone from my account.

That was John Lewis. Was their a phone call? No. An email? No. A text? No. So what the f*ck happened? Well my phone turned up. So they then realized that they hadn’t in fact taken the money off me. So rather then talk to me, they just took the money. A week before pay day. After Christmas. Well I have several thoughts in my head. But basically it boils down to John Lewis screwed up, but communication is not their thing.

So I actually got a call back today from one of their staff. I will credit the fella with actually calling back. So far the only member of staff that has. But the ineffective little “individual” was of no assistance. So I want my £150 back. NOW! And then John Lewis can damn well get in touch and ask for it is a professional and courteous manner.

“That will take 3 to 5 working days sir”.

Well pay day is in two, so that’s sod all use to me.

“We could discuss a good will gesture?”

If your going to offer me vouchers you can stop right there. Why on earth would I want anything further to do with John Lewis?

So F*CK John Lewis.

Long and hard.