Me Grimlock Huggable: Knitting a Dinobot

I really wanted to challenge myself this year for TFCon and I wanted to cosplay one of my favourite Transformers.  It’s not that I don’t like Optimus Prime – and I did have fun knitting/wearing that cosplay – but honestly he’s not in my top 10 favourite characters.  Last year’s Optimus (aka Yarnimus) cosplay was a test to see if I could recreate a boxy robot as a huggable yarn monster.  Once I figured out what worked and what didn’t I knew that I would be able to start experimenting further so that I could knit my favourite Transformers.

I don’t know why I decided to make a Grimlock cosplay.  That’s just the character that popped into my head when I was figuring out what I wanted to do for TFCon.  And I wanted to take it one step further by giving myself the ability to transform.

Robot-mode was fairly easy.  The bulk of that part of the cosplay is athletic wear because I knew that would make things easier for me in a number of different ways.  Given that this cosplay is layered and very warm to begin with, I wanted to stay as comfortable as possible.  And since I planned on wearing this cosplay in July, I made sure to get a shirt made from a wicking material to help keep me cool.  Also, the focus of the cosplay is dino-mode, and I knew the details of robot-mode wouldn’t be visible all the time, so I didn’t want to waste too much effort on that part.  Especially when I knew dino-mode would take a lot longer to complete.  Besides, I knew I would have more fun if I spent my time dressed as a dinosaur rather than as a robot.

Dino-mode was trickier and required a lot of planning.  I wanted to make something that would look like Grimock, that would allow me to “transform”, that would be comfortable and structurally sound.  The body was easier to figure out as I simply had to make a large cape that would cover as much of my robot body as possible.  The design ended up being fairly simple, but it took a lot of time to knit the individual pieces and stitch them together.

Then came the head.  I knew in my mind’s eye what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t figure out how to execute it using my traditional cosplay construction techniques.  I wanted to make a structurally sound head that looked like Grimlock’s and that could be pulled back to unveil my robot-mode.  I figured I could make the head from cardboard and cover it in yarn, but I had no idea how to deal with the structural elements that would allow the head to sit and move the way I wanted it to. It was Mark who gave me the idea to wear a backpack and to put the cardboard from the head down into the backpack for structure.

I bought the cheapest backpack I could find and butchered it.

I cut it up so that all that was left was the laptop holder and the shoulder straps.  (Cosplay on a budget tip: I saved the pieces of backpack that had been cut away and repurposed them for other cosplays).  Grimlock’s head is attached to a long, flat, piece of cardboard that goes all the way to the bottom of the backpack and has been secured with duct tape and yarn.  And, of course, the whole thing is covered in yarn!

I am very happy that I have been able to re-create Grimlock using yarn.  My cosplay is relatively comfortable and, most importantly, it looks like Grimlock! I can’t wait to wear this cosplay this weekend, and I am very excited to be attending my second TFCon! When I’m not wandering around the convention, you’ll be able to see Grimlock on Saturday at Retro Joad’s booth in the dealer’s room. Remember: I will not have my full range of motion, and my peripheral vision will be limited – If you would like a picture or a hug, please ask.

Bonus: Every time I wear a full-body yarn cosplay, someone is able to come up with a yarn related nickname for my cosplay (i.e. Knitcrawler, Yarminus Prime, Croch-Abe).  If you have a nickname for my knit Grimlock I would love to hear it!

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