Sunday, May 20, 2018

Lens Review: ICK Adora Blue

Hello all.

I finally managed to find a gap in my very busy working schedule! *le gasp*

Yes, I have finally landed a full-time job next to my other two smaller jobs (one of them I should be able to complete within this month) and this basically means that -with such a busy schedule- I simply just won't have the time to write here as often as I'd like to. Don't worry though, I will keep on writing and posting here whenever something nerdy is coming my way but -from now on, as to be expected- my posts are going to be a bit more delayed than usual since a big chunk of my time goes to work and resting, obviously. I will, however, do my best to get posts out within a reasonable timeframe since the event/photoshoot etc. took place. So with that said and done, welcome to this year's first lens review and that will be the ICK Adora Blue.

This pair of lenses have been waiting for a review since I wore them for my updated Original Casual!Germany photoshoot back in February. If you want to see how these lenses look on an actual cosplay then by all means check that photoshoot out.

Alright. Let's start this review.

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

Lenses in their vials.


The photos below are taken during a sunny day in May with clear skies and plenty of warmth for us vikings, lol. I can't remember the time of the day when these photos were taken but I want to recall that it was either noon or afternoon.

One lens in. Notice enlargement.
Natural roomlight, indoors.
Facing window, sunny.
Yellow apartment light.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
Facing sun, outdoors.
Back against sun, outdoors.
Here comes the distance photo.


Lens review:

Color: 9/10
Very clear and intense color. Great for cosplay.
Comfort: 5/10
I kept feeling them in my eyes constantly and not in a comfortable way. They were a bit stingy and even when I took them off, I felt like they were still in my eyes! UGH! But I could endure them for a few hours, if I had to. Maybe I just got an unlucky pair, who knows? But I'm not buying these again.
Design: 7/10
I like them. There is not too much going on and they're not boring either. I like that black outer ring and shade of color.
Enlargement: 5/10
There is an enlargement but it's not anything big. If you have small eyes, like me, it should look alright on you.
Naturalness: 4/10
Despite blue being a natural eye color these lenses just don't look natural to me, color-wise. Just look at that intense, deep shade of blue. I mean, how many humans out there has such an eye color? You tell me.
Opacity: 9/10
I don't need to repeat myself, do I? These are really opaque and it shows, even from a distance.

That's it for today and stay tuned for more lens reviews to come in the near future!


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Kummacon 2018 Summary

Hey every geek out there!

Yesterday I came home from my first con since Kitacon 8 back in 2016. As you guys know, I haven't visited any convention during 2017 as I needed a break from this fancy hobby. I originally didn't have plans to visit Kummacon but had mildly considered it, if the chance would occur and it did. A few weeks before the con, I came across mom and stepdad during a mid-day walk and they told me that the family is going to Oulu at one of the days when Kummacon is being held. I was taken by surprise! This because mom and stepdad also had business in Oulu. They drove us all to Oulu and while they did their business in the city, I and Shiro Samurai spent said time at Kummacon instead.

Our car hit the con building's parking lot somewhere around 11:30 (Finnish time) if I recall correctly and from there, I and bro walked to the front of the con building. My first impression was neutral until I stepped inside and explored the place. After the first look around, I must say that the peeps who organized this event did a really good job. Kummacon got its stuff done right and the good atmosphere was there too! It was a notably better event this time around than it was back in 2016 (in my opinion) when it was held at the Pohjankartano building. This year the con was held in the city's international school (kansainvälinen koulu) from 28th to 29th April and there was no entrance fee. If you ask me, a free entrance is always appreciated at small cons ^w^

A short summary about the con itself can be found at the end of this post. Now, let's see what my con day was like!

All photos taken by Shiro Samurai.

Part of the con building's front.
Omake's table near the entrance.
Kummacon's schedule booklet. The con's theme was Cosmos.
With said theme, we all could expext to see our favorite characters from a galaxy far, far away scattered all around the place.
First floor.
This trooper was standing next to Omake's table.
When we got inside, we headed straight towards the Dealer's Hall as Shiro Samurai said that there might be a seller selling Pokémon TCG singles there. Since I was looking for specific cards myself, I decided to tag along with my fingers crossed. Luck was on our side and we quickly located this one seller who was selling varied Pokémon cards, ranging from the very first Base Set to the newer sets. They also sold these non-playable Pokémon "picture cards" with just the mon against a background featuring colors of its typing. I have no idea if these cards go under a specific name though. Anyway, after checking through the collection of cards she had for sale, I ended up buying 5 holofoil cards. One of them was Base Set Nidoking. A card I've been wanting to hold in my hands at least the past 10 years, after trading it away as a child and regretting it. Hard. This particular card has a lot of emotional value to me as it was one of the very first holofoil cards that I pulled as a child and man, I treasured it so much. It was one of those finest memories in my TCG childhood... until I pulled Base Set holofoil Blastoise! :D

Yeah, I was that kid who pulled holofoil cards out of my ass -almost- every single time I got a booster in my hands and, sadly, I was dumb enough to not realize their value and did some really bad trades as well. I still regret one of them deeply.
 


With the cards in our hands, we headed towards Urumi's table and from there, we grabbed more Pokémon merchandise, this time in the shape of keychains. I hesitated to buy at first because I wasn't sure if Urumi was selling official goods or not, but my worry vanished when bro confirmed me that they only sell legit stuff.

Part of Urumi's table.

Pocky stand. No con without Pocky, I guess.

Next to Urumi's table was this seller who was selling mostly beverages and bakeries. They also had some Harry Potter items for sale. The Slytherin scarf tempted me but not the price, lol. I might just as well sew my own, we'll see.

Bakeries and beverages.
Colorful yummyness.
The seller's mini Harry Potter corner.
When we had seen everything the Dealer's Hall had to offer, it was time to change the course and take a peek to see what lies upstairs. So we headed there. Upstairs we were met by a big Artist's Alley that took almost the entire floor! The sight of this made me smile. We checked the sellers through and several of them had really pretty stuff for sale! But I personally would have liked to see more magnets and creative, self-made stuff and crafts such as scarfs, pillow covers, bracelets and rings for example. It didn't take long before I and Shiro Samurai was standing in front of Waittiz and Sysirauta's creative table of awesomeness. Everytime I spot these two talented peeps table at a con, I can't help but marvel at their beautiful creations! I hope they start selling magnets in the near future, as I'd be a customer for sure! Be it original or fanart. Sadly, I didn't end up buying anything from their table this time but I ended up buying this small, sticker-like dragon magnet from SaQe-Art's table. I love dragons and the magnet I bought reminded me of Fatalis from the Monster Hunter series so I just had to get it, haha.

Second floor.
Part of the Artist's Alley on the second floor.
Waittiz and Sysirauta's table.
Aside from the Artist's Alley, the second floor also had the big scene where Kummacon's cosplay date, cosplay competition and other activites would take place, or so I assumed. As per usual, I didn't attend any panels or the like as I barely knew what was going on during the con days. I know I could easily figure it out by looking at their schedule for example, but I just couldn't be bothered since very few activites even catch my interest to begin with. The second floor was also where the con's free water point was for those thirsty among us. I always greatly appreciate it when a con has a water point located somewhere in the building because then you don't have to scout the -often- unfamiliar town/city for the nearest supermarket or kiosk to fetch a drink or two. Once done checking through the big Artist's Alley upstairs, we decided to head downstairs again to check out what more Kummacon had to offer. It didn't take long before the two of us found our way to the board game room, the anime karaoke and last but not least, the fleamarket.

Best supervision sign I've seen at a con *thumbs up*
A table with various board games from the board game room, duh.
Since I have no interest in board games I just took a quick peek around to see what's hip and happening and afterwards the two of us hit the fleamarket. We went to see what was being sold there just for fun and so my journey towards the best deal of the con began. What I found in the fleamarket was a copy of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for Nintendo 3DS. The price? A measly 10 euros for an amazing, legit good game! Guess twice who bought that game in a heartbeat ;)

You see, I'm a big fan of Monster Hunter since the days of Freedom Unite for PSP and I also own 4 Ultimate. For a while now, I have been thinking about adding 3 Ultimate to my MonHun collection as many of my friends own it too, but what was holding me back all this time, was the game's underwater mechanics and a dumb fear of fighting Gobul. I have read much opinions, many negative, about the underwater fights/mechanics and it just didn't reel me in (pun intended). Despite all the opinions and reviews I read about the game, I was still curious about it and so I ended up saying to myself "If I can find 3 Ultimate for a really good price, I will get it" and this is exactly what happened at Kummacon's fleamarket. A great game for a great price. According to my friends who own the game, they enjoy it greatly and say that it's pretty different from 4 Ultimate and that it has this nice, tropical/paradise feel to it. A paradise that is -in disguise- filled with waay too many quest bombing pickles :'DD

To say the least, I was really happy to find a copy of 3 Ultimate. With the game in my hand the rest of the con hours was spent on laughing silently at memes and funny pictures placed around the con building and to play some Pokémon Go upstairs. I was hoping to get that Shiny Wailmer or Magikarp but I had no luck this time. Yeah, there was this statue at the con's front yard and said statue was a PokéStop. The best part was that someone was burning lures on it during Kummacon's opening hours (at least during Saturday, I wasn't at the con on Sunday) so it was free lures for everybody.

Kummacon's Cosmos theme wasn't limited to just Star Wars.
Outdoor area, not the main entrance.
In the main area there was two Daleks standing. They were well-made and in front of them -as far as I know- stood at least 1 or 2 people kinda guarding them. Close, behind them, on the window, this hilarious picture:
It says "Don't annoy the Daleks!".
 That one was easily the funniest picture in Kummacon, in my opinion. Man, I got the day's laughs from it. Thank you Kummacon for this beauty! xD

During the con day, there was one thing that surprised me and that was the lack of cosplayers. Sure, it's a small con and all but it felt there was less than usual, even in small con standards. This actually made me happy that I didn't cosplay. Because if I did, I would have needed to get up at flippin' 05:00 (Swedish time) to put on my Galen Erso (Star Wars) costume, as this was my original plan. Yeah, we left fairly early towards Oulu. This is also why there was no cosplay plans post before this summary, as I went to the con as a filthy casual feat. my Hetalia t-shirt. No regrets. I'm not keen at all to get up very early to spend hours on makeup when neither I nor Shiro Samurai knew about the location the con would be in, in other words; if there would be a good photoshoot location nearby or not.

Mom and stepdad came to pick the us up like a hour or so before Kummacon ended for Saturday. With everyone crammed in the car, we started driving homewards. All went well and it was a nice little family trip. All in all, I was more satisfied and happy with Kummacon this year and I'm very likely to visit Kummacon in the future, if my job/life situation allows for it. End comment: Totally worth it.

Kummacon 2018 Summary (only for Saturday the 28th April):

So what made Kummacon good? I would say a good, correctly-sized location (despite kinda crammed at times with congoers) for the event's size and helpful and friendly personnel. The con also had plenty of activities for the visitors to take part of. At least, people didn't seem to get quickly bored. Myself, I was only missing a video game room but luckily I had Pokémon Go and my Nintendo 3DS with me, that I didn't end up playing, lol. This must have been the first small con where I didn't feel that time was standing still. Kummacon's Dealer's Hall was rather small and crammed but I was happy that they got at least Urumi's store there, as they are known for selling legit goods and that Pokémon TCG seller who also sold geeky/alternative clothing. I was perfectly content with that. I'm not a shopaholic and I'm also very specific and critical towards con merch nowadays. The selection was small-ish but there was a decent variety of goods that the stores sold. A big plus goes to Kummacon's Artist's Alley. The peeps there got -almost- the entire second floor to them and that was much needed, as there was surprisingly many sellers this time around. Great job, well done! *pats con personnel and crew on their shoulders*

The building was also easy to navigate in and I just really enjoyed the feeling and overall atmosphere of Kummacon. The memes and those random funny pictures placed around the con surely did their job. All in all, Kummacon was a small con with a laid-back feel to it but it also had enough life in it to keep me interested to stay there for a few hours. For being a small con with free entrance it was surprisingly good and easily one of the better local/nearby cons I've been to, if not the best. When it comes to the con's activities, I can't speak for that as I didn't attend anything. Overall the con seemed to be well-organized and it was nice and thoughtful of them to add English translations to their activity/location signs for those -possible- non-Finnish visitors. Oh and that water point upstairs was a great add now when the weather is getting warmer up here in the north, thanks! I don't think Kummacon was located in the heart of Oulu though (as I didn't recognize the area) but it was alright for my part, as I just came for a "few hours visit". I left Kummacon with a good feeling and this is always a great thing.

Before I end this post, this is what came with me back to Sweden. Photo is taken by me.

Looking forward to get into MH3U.
Thank you Kummacon and everyone reading this shit. Now I'm out.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Who Are You Calling a Midget?! - Edward Elric Progress Part: 1

Hello all.

I'm back with quite the surprise. I seriously never thought that I'd be sewing my next costume so soon! I had no plans in doing a cosplay before well, maybe April or summer, if even that. But here I am, giving Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood that high priority push sorry Link, I get back to you in spring/summer :DD all thanks to that cosplay hype inducing conversation with my good friend Firith. Since my buddy recently finished Brotherhood and was all stocked up to cosplay from it, I got the perfect opportunity to finally bring the fullmetal brother Edward Elric to life! Edward has been on my cosplay list for a while now and he happens to be one of those cosplays that I'm not too keen about cosplaying alone, for some reason. Maybe because he's kinda over-done and not too interesting design-wise? Dunno. But if any of my friends would end up loving the series as much as I do (read: possible pair/group cosplay) then I'm more than thrilled to do this little guy.

The idea to cosplay Edward Elric didn't come from me watching the anime, as many might think. No. It was more of a, how to say, coincidence that I even ended up watching the anime in the first place. To be honest, when I started watching anime some years ago, I wasn't that interested in Brotherhood as the design didn't reel me in. Yes, I can watch a series only because the design/style speaks to me. So how did I end up watching those 64 episodes of Brotherhood? Well, it all started when I was browsing cosplay.com years ago and found this popular thread called "Who Do I Look Like? Who Should I Cosplay?". Usually, I don't care about these kind of topics but I decided to be mainstream and post a photo of myself for shits and giggles, just to see what happens. Pure curiosity. It didn't take long before I had people suggesting me different characters. What I noticed though, was that several persons suggested me the same character over and over again, with one person writing something along the lines of "OMG you would make a VERY handsome Edward Elric!" and well, after receiving such a grand comment, I just had to watch the series and I'm so glad I did! Not only did people recommend an amazing character to me, I also got introduced to one of the best anime out there. Brotherhood blew my mind more times than I can count and Edward Elric stood out as my favorite, after that I plowed through all of those 64 episodes of awesomeness. Aside from Edward, I really liked King Bradley, Van Hohenheim, Greed and Olivier as well. Damn, what a cast... I'm speechless! <3

Before I drift away into "praising the hell out of what Brotherhood is" let's go back to the actual cosplay progress; So, the cosplay progress of Edward won't be a long one and that is because I only need to sew two parts of the costume myself, luckily. What I need to sew will be the black jacket-ish shirt and his iconic red coat. The rest of the costume, to my surprise, was already waiting for me in my wardrobe and some parts I could even borrow from my older costumes! Booyah! This costume won't be 100% accurate but I don't even care. I go with what I have, if I deem that it looks good enough for the costume. I'm not picky with accuracy, unless it's one of those characters who is dear/close to me. Yes, while I dig Edward a lot as a character, he's not that dear to me compared to other characters.

Now to the cosplay progress itself.

Anyway! On the 19th February mom picked me up and I stayed the weekend over at her place to sew on my new costume and spend time there. When I came to mom's and during the time she was at work, I went to the attic to look for a fitting fabric for the coat (we decided to start with it) and luckily, I didn't need to search long before I laid my eyes on an almost ideal fabric for it! It was this sturdier cotton fabric in this beautiful wine red hue! I absolutely loved this fabric at first glance! The problem reared its ugly face when I and mom noticed (after that she came home) that the fabric wouldn't be enough for the pattern we were originally going to make the coat out of. What we had to do was to find another pattern that would work for our fabric restrictions and the next days, I was plowing through mom's huge ass amount of sewing magazines in hope of finding that pattern we could use. I found like 3 or 4 different ones that could work and by looking at them together during the evening, I think our best bet is in one of them.

The issues didn't end there, no no. The next day (20th) when we decided on the best possible pattern (so far) I came across Problem Number 2 - the magazine had no pattern sheets! I looked for them, checked other magazines of the same brand, not there either. I couldn't do much more (I'm not confident/skilled enough to draw my own patterns by hand yet) so I let the project be for now and continued with reading my book until mom came home. I don't think we progressed any further that evening -aside from discussing the patterns- as we were watching television together and having a good time. I did tell mom about the "I can't find the pattern sheets" the following day and she was just as surprised as I was! She told me that she knows that there should be patterns in those magazines but she also recalled that back in the days, when she was running her fabric store, customers sometimes took/forgot to put back the patterns in the magazines. I'm just hoping we can find it and if not, I'm sure mom will find a way around this.

I don't know what more to say and I know that the photos is what -many times- makes a post interesting to read and since I don't have anything to show you guys this time around, have a sum-it-up gif of how I felt when the entire shit of a situation revealed itself for me :'DD

Mr. Bean is gold xD
We will look better into this the next time I go to mom's, which will hopefully be in the near future. Gotta add that I did, indeed, find 2 possible patterns for the shirt though, so let's see which one of those is the better one when I start sewing.

Oh and regarding the Automail (metallic arm); For now, I don't plan to make it nor in the near future. I might do it one day though, if I feel that I really want to upgrade the costume. But for now, I skip it.

Until next time!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Old Costume Gets a New Look - Original Casual!Germany Photoshoot

Guten Abend.

2018 is here and I thought about starting off this year with something that is both old and new, in a way. You see, I had plans to photoshoot and eventually "re-debut" my original casual version of Germany (Hetalia) after that I found better gear for the costume back in 2016. Aside from getting all the stuff together for the new version of the costume, the photoshoot just didn't happen until, well, today.

While I didn't have any particular issues with the old design itself, I started to feel -as the years passed by- that the entire costume idea (even for being an original casual) was too rushed and, how to say, "straight from the closet" you know? I already knew back in 2015 when I debuted my Original Casual!Germany for the first time at Desucon Frostbite 2015, that I can do better and eventually will. So here I am, giving you guys -in essence the very same costume- but just with a new coat of paint and in 2018 standards. Here we go, enjoy!

DISCLAIMER!

I'm aware that the character I cosplay in this post might wear details/symbols that can be offensive or emotionally unpleasant to others. I, as a guy with his heart and morals in the right place, just want to make it clear that I DO NOT support, agree with, believe in or have any other connections to the ideologies/beliefs that the character I'm cosplaying is representing. Readers, please keep in mind that what I'm wearing is JUST A COSTUME and shouldn't be taken as anything more than that. Thank you.

Cosplayer: Frozen Angel (Germany)
Photographer & editor: Shiro Samurai





The default coloring on the photo below looked way too bright, so both I and Shiro Samurai agreed to give it a different color scheme. Turned out pretty neat, if you ask me.


All the photos were taken near Shiro Samurai's apartment and sadly, this photoshoot was cut short because of the freaking cold. I bloody swear it felt like -20 degrees but it was probably just around minus 15 to 18. I had a hard time to withstand the cold, as I've been feeling weak-ish since a few days ago. So I just had to keep the uniform with or on me to not freeze too much. Yes, the uniform jacket is actually surprisingly warm. For the new design, I went with a field gear look and when it comes to historical accuracy, the new design is definitely more legit as it has two WW2 German army surplus/reproduction items (shirt and belt for those interested). The old design had nothing, aside from maybe the bullet in the necklace, lol.

For those of you who haven't seen the old design from 2015, you can find it below. Feel free to compare the two and tell me what you think!

Design back in 2015.
and...

Design in 2018.
Before I end this post; I just want to say that as someone with a big interest in history, I always aim to improve and upgrade my historically inspired costumes to be, well, more legit. My goal is always to find that sweet balance between historical accuracy and costume-y. I just admire my passions and it's so cool when they can walk hand in hand at times <3

I want to thank Shiro Samurai for providing me quality photos throughout the years and for borrowing me his toy gun from one of his costumes. Thank you bro, stay awesome!

Oh yeah, I also wonder if I should try (at least once) to use my own hair for any version of Germany? Just a feeling that it might yield the best results. The wig looks too cartoon-y for him, in my opinion, so I don't know if any amount of hairspray will fix the problem. Let me know what you think of this peeps! Feedback is greatly appreciated.

Sedä pane (ei se sesxi) pyssy pojs xD
 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cosplay Year 2017

Within the coming hours 2017 is history and behind us, as it's time to welcome 2018 through the door. So what to say about 2017? Well, to say the least, it has been a different and memorable year for me. During 2017 I didn't attend a single anime convention, as I decided to focus solely on my life and what I want to do with it. It felt great to take that much needed, long break from all that stress that comes from the life of a cosplayer (not to mention the costs). Instead, I used the time to just relax my stressed out mind and to take care of myself and my life. The best moments of 2017 was when I saw Sabaton live in Luleå for the first time and when I went to visit Germany again in the summer. I also really enjoyed and valued the family dinner at mom's during the same day, 6th December, when Finland got its 100th year of independence. Lovely stuff baked in one very important year <3

I must say that even if I didn't attend any cons during the year, I didn't regret it at all. Hopefully, this long break will help me to enjoy the coming conventions a bit more. When it comes to cons of 2018, I will try to aim at either Närcon Vinter or Närcon 2018 and possibly also Tracon, if my economy and life situation allows it. I also want to say that larping has ignited quite the spark of interest in me, ever since I discussed it with my good friends Janina and Pumpkin, who are larpers themselves. I have told them how I've been feeling about cosplay lately and that cosplay, as a hobby, seems to be lacking in the experience department for me. I'm not lying if I say that cosplay has lost some of its excitement and glow for me. I need to experience something more, something that is more alive and more important to me as a person, somehow. It's really hard to explain how I feel about cosplay and I can't help but wonder, if larping is what I have always wanted to experience? Anyway, I don't think I will fully drop cosplay (if larping happens to be more of my thing) but I'm definitely giving larp and cosplay larp a try, if the opportunity presents itself for me.

Anyway, since I didn't attend any conventions or any manga day events or the like during 2017, it means that this year will go without the fancy "Cosplays of the Year" image. However, I did wear two different costumes for quick preview photoshoots but, well, that doesn't count.

Here is my "Cosplay Year 2017" summed up in a Monster Hunter themed gif. Enjoy.


I'm obviously the hunter guy, the Konchu (orange monster ball-thing) is my cosplay plans and well, the Rajang (big monkey dude) is my life, lol xD

Before I end this post, I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this journey through 2017. Special thanks goes to Janina for letting me stay at her place some nights during my travels in Germany and for great company. I also want to thank my other good friends, who have supported me throughout the year and been there when I have been in need. You know who you are. So thank you guys and gals, you are all awesome and I couldn't wish for better life companions <3

Happy New Year 2018!