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Bloodelf Paladin (World of Warcraft)
// Photo by Hemlep Fotografie
Svetlana Quindt
aka Kamui

Years of Cosplay: 10
Nuremberg, Germany
kamuicosplay.com

Germany never fails to bring forth an excellent collection of talented cosplayers renowned worldwide, and Kamui is no exception. She is a master of craftsmanship, and a huge fan of elaborate armors, which she always succeeds in creating flawlessly. Kamui likes to imagine herself as a dangerous Barbarian rather than a pretty girl in a dress, and she always wins her fights with foam, Worbla, circuits, LEDs, and other materials that might seem strange for a girl to work with, but which always bring to light her talent as an accomplished cosplayer artist.

You are an already established cosplayer. Can you tell us how the road was until this point? What were the ups and downs?
For me nothing really changed over the years. Surely, I expanded my skills, learned to work with new materials and techniques, got more friends, but cosplay is still the same for me as it was ten years ago: Being creative, enjoying conventions and hanging out with friends. There were moments when I cried when something didn’t work, there were sleepless nights before an event, there was stress before a performance on the stage and there were these wonderful moments when I put on a costume for the very first time – this was always a part of cosplay for me and will always be. However, the last 10 years were very exciting for me, and the best part of such a long experience is not just having a wide range of knowledge, but especially calling so many wonderful people from the cosplay community my friends.

 
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Alexstrasza (World of Warcraft) // Photo by Jakob Schwarz
 

Germany has a wide range of good cosplayers, and a lot of related events. What can you tell about the overall cosplay scene in your country?
The cosplay scene in Germany developed starting with the mid ‘90s, along with the anime and manga culture. Unlike in the US, cosplays from movies and comics are still not that common and comic conventions are very rare here. The German cosplay scene is also very focused on sewing, and not that much on big costumes out of foam, cardboard, LEDs or thermoplastics. Many good German cosplayers are great tailors and they are able to create the biggest, most detailed and perfectly sewn dresses, robes or suits, but armor and props are often a huge challenge for them. The scene is now changing a bit, since armor costumes are so popular these days, but at German conventions you’ll mostly find pretty dresses rather than bulky armors.

You seem to prefer armor-based outfits. Is there a special reason for that, or simply a personal preference?
When I’ve started cosplaying, I had a lot of bad experiences in sewing, since I’m very, very bad at it. The old, half-broken sewing machine of my dad, which I was using at that time, was also not the best way to improve my skills. So I haven’t had a lot of fun sitting in front of these machines of doom. However, when I’ve started to play World of Warcraft, I just fell in love with all these wonderful pauldrons, helmets, bracers, swords and staffs. I discovered pretty quickly that I’m much more of a crafter than a tailor, and this is how, in time, the sewing parts of my costumes got smaller and smaller. Now I only sew if it’s really necessary, and I choose costumes with big armors on purpose, since it’s much more fun for me and I know what I’m good at and what not.

I surely want to expand my skills and try to sew a little more here and there, but I also just prefer to be a wild, dangerous Barbarian than a pretty, beautiful girl I guess.

 
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Barbarian (Diablo 3) // Photo by Jakob Schwarz
 

Until now, what was the most difficult armor you’ve ever made? What was the main obstacle in the creation process and how did you overcome it?
Only two weeks ago I’ve finished my Protoss Wizard, a costume which I designed completely by myself from head to toe, because my only reference material was a tiny pixelated picture. Originally, it was just a Battle.net portrait, and not a character that existed in the game, but I just loved the idea of giving the Wizard from Diablo III the armor of a Protoss from Starcraft II. And to make this mix just perfect, I thought it would be a great idea to add a staff from World of Warcraft. I’m a huge fan of the Blizzard franchises, and so the Protoss Wizard should be not only my big dream cosplay come true, but also my proof of love for this amazing company.

I started with this project early in October 2011 and went through different designs over the years. I experimented with materials and had creative breaks. But even with so much time, I finished it in the very last hour before the convention and especially in the last month was like a crazy monster that haunted me even in my dreams. At a first sight it’s just a normal armor costume like many of mine. At a second sight, you’ll see that it’s much more. One of the challenges was to create a complete costume with a prop of over 2 meters length for a normal suitcase.

 
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Protoss Wizard (Starcraft 2) // Photo by Benjamin Schwarz
 

So I was not only limited by the design, I also had to construct it in as many and as small pieces as possible. In addition, it was especially hard to achieve this for a staff. Although the hardest part were the lights, which are all controlled and powered by a chip on the back of my costume. I didn’t just want a simple glowing effect – I wanted them to pulsate and the LEDs in my weapon to move in crazy patterns. I spent weeks and months until I found out which hardware I needed, how to wire all the 33 LEDs, which energy source I needed and how to program the controlling microchip. In the end, with all the experimenting and fails accounted, it took about 800 hours, 1500$ and a ton of different design attempts to create the costume. I redid many parts again and again until I was satisfied, cried a lot because of failures and problems in the last week and almost haven’t slept at all in the end. But it was all worth it. Despite of the costume being everything else than comfortable, it’s a great feeling to finally wear the Protoss Wizard!

 
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Human Warrior (World of Warcraft) // Photo by Ramona Stanek
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Human Warrior (World of Warcraft) // Photo by Solarisfire Photography
 

What are your following plans as a cosplayer? Do you have a special character you’d like to portray in the near future?
With my last costume, the cosplay year is pretty much over for me. At the moment I’m working on some commissions for Blizzcon 2013, but I don’t have any fixed plans yet. I’d like to create the Daedric armor from Skyrim, I’m also in love with the new Crusader class from Diablo III and I still have a crush on the female cryptonian armor from Man of Steel, but there are no fixed plans. I also admit I really like the idea of mixing the Witchdoctor from Diablo III with a Zerg from Starcraft II.

                  

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