Tali’Zorah vas Normandy comes to life with this amazing cosplay and photography. Meet Nebulaluben and Erikku-kun who will go all out realizing the imaginations of their favourite game developers.
Last year I had the chance to interview Laura aka Nebulaluben about her Satele Shan cosplay for TORWars.com. Her Satele set not only floored me with how magically real it turned out but was also very well timed to coincide with the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Now Nebulaluben is launching her cosplay for sale on posters and they are available internationally! The option of being able to buy posters of cosplay online is enchanting to me and I hope this is a notion that will spread among cosplayers. Especially since I’ve followed Nebulaluben’s work with photographers like Hidrico, who are adept at adding to the scene and mood of the shot with thematic digital alterations. So overall it seemed to me a good time to re-acquaint ourselves with this particular imaginative and creative pair of Spanish cosplayers.
Nebulaluben and Erriku-kun are a Spanish couple and cosplay partners. Time and again they hammer home for me just how enchanting cosplay can be for the viewer in the crowd, as well as the artist herself. I have done a couple of costumes for LARP events myself some 10 years ago and it was engrossing to work on those projects. That gives me the slightest bit of insight into the problem solving involved in costume-making in general but these two amazing players take a hobby to an art form.
Note: Between Nebulaluben’s mum and myself the responses in the interview below have been tweaked for legibility.
Nebulaluben and Erikku-kun have been together for 9 years and have cosplayed together since 2009. She’s an occupational therapist and he works as a lathe operator – when they aren’t taking on the personas of some of gaming’s greatest characters that is. Generally the costume work between them pairs down to Erriku-kun on props and Nebulaluben doing the sewing.
So far, which is your favourite costume?
My favourite costume of all I’ve worn is Eliza Cassan. I love Deus Ex – Human Revolution and I specially like the outfits in that game because they look like actual fashion pieces. I’m also very fond of my Tali costume. It’s one of the most difficult costumes we’ve made and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Erik’s favourite is the Jungle Pirate one from Lost Planet 2. He is very proud he achieved to make a working gatling gun using a drill engine. Personally, my favourite Erik’s costume is Zer0 and his favourite costume of mine is Bayonetta.
What can you share about the Tali costume? I’d love to know how on earth you guys made the helmet for one!
Well I can share a lot of things! Tali is one of the most difficult and complex costumes we’ve ever made. I can say I hand painted all the white spiral/wave white pattern on the purple fabrics. It took me about a month to paint that, working about 5-6 hours a day. It was crazy, such an exercise in patience.
We first made this costume in 2011 and then, in 2012, we remade a lot of things because I wasn’t completely happy with it. Erikku-kun built a vacuum forming table for us to make the helmet from scratch with the right proportions. We made a cast of my head, then I made the clay cast over it for the final shape of the mask and, finally, we vacuum formed it with PETG plastic. After that, we painted it using an airbrush. You can see the full process here in our blog Other pieces of the mask are made of craft foam and we added a led with a vumeter for it to shine as I spoke, but it didn’t work at the con because it was very noisy. Anyway, it’s so funny speaking while wearing it at home!! You can see the full process here in our blog.
I also remade some ornaments using better and more durable materials such as Worbla and I made another bodysuit for it to have a better finish. A curious thing is that I made some hips and butt padding to get a better Quarian shape. All my friends liked it and they spent the time at the con touching them! (I enjoyed that a lot).
what is it like to wear?
I always thank the character designers when they make outfits without high heels, so the Tali costume is comfy and easy to walk in. It’s also one of the warmest costumes I have. It’s a bit tiresome to put on as it’s got a lot of pieces. I need Erik’s help to put it on and the worst part is that, as the gloves have only 3 fingers, I can barely use my hands. The mask is comfortable, but it tends to steam up, so I can only wear it for short periods of time. Above all, I like it because it’s one of the few costumes I have that don’t make my body ache after wearing it for hours.
Oh man I can imagine Tali-zorah complaining about her mask steaming up! Especially around Shepard, of course. Whoo boy!
– cough – Moving along.
What made you pick Tali to cosplay specifically?
When I first played Mass Effect I was new at cosplaying and all the designs I saw while playing it seemed to be so incredibly difficult for me. I couldn’t even imagine myself making that impossible kind of armors, bodysuits, Asari heads, helmets… all that stuff. At that time, there were a few Mass Effect cosplayers and, as I didn’t have references, nor the knowledge to make any of them, I decided to wait until I could make something acceptable. Well, at that time I made an attempt of Asari that I saw in a concept art drawing, which was wearing a hood and it came out… kind of decent?￼ Now I see it and I hate it, but I was very proud of that a few years ago and I have very beautiful pictures.
When Mass Effect 2 was released, the first character I thought about making a cosplay of was Miranda Lawson. I even bought the fabrics! But, as I played the game I saw I didn’t like her. She is such a bitch in my gameplay!! At the same time I started growing fond of Tali and the Quarians. My friends also encouraged me to make it and I thought it could be an interesting costuming challenge, so I ended up making Tali instead.
The Tali Voyager is hands down my favourite along with Homeworld. Which of the Tali photos are your favourites?
That’s a very difficult decision! I’m very fortunate that I have a lot of them (and there are more to come. I don’t know when we are going to stop). To begin with, my favourite pictures by Hidrico are the one above, “Tali Voyager”, which represents some of the highly photo shopped pictures we have. Well, it’s photo shopped, but he didn’t ‘shop my costume! I don’t like it when the photographers change the costume or the model, I love Hidrico’s work because he creates wonderful environments and I feel glad that I can be part of his art. It’s 50% costume and 50% dreamy fantasy madness.
Another picture I really like is this one by Àngel Ortuño Julià:
I love the pictures by this photographer just because of the opposite reasons that I love Hidrico’s: he doesn’t use Photoshop. Here you can see the costume as it is, in a nice place we found near the convention (Salón del manga de Barcelona ). You can even see the place and the flashes reflected on my helmet. I’m very fond of these pictures because they were the first we took when I remade the costume. A few days ago, Jesús Clares sent me this edited picture and I’m totally in love with it ￼ It’s a picture we took at a convention, so I didn’t expect he was going to make such a wonderful work!
You’ve cosplayed as FemShep as well, are there any other Mass Effect characters you’d like to try?
Yes, I did! And yes, I’m planning in making my FemShep armor (the one my Shepard wears in my gameplay) from ME3 and I’m very excited I get to convince Erik in making a Kai Leng costume. I’m also very happy that some of my cosplay pals (such as Sumyuna ￼) have started playing Mass Effect and making some costumes. So I hope I can be part of a big ME cosplay group in the future.
*Photography by Taichia.
What can we expect or hope to see from you two in the near future?
We are currently working on Fiora and Talon from League of Legends. We usually try to make costumes of characters or games we like, but this time we felt we owed our friends some costumes from a game they love, as we have asked them so many times to come with us dressed as our favourite characters. It’s being a curious project for us and it’s also very exciting as we are going to be part of a 21 people strong cosplay group!
Thank you Laura, for your patience with this article! I am looking forward to seeing what next you two will present in collaboration with those phenomenal photographers. In the mean time, where can we online-stalk you?
Leave a greeting below for Nebulaluben and Erikku-kun. Tell us which costume or photo-set is your favourite and why.