Making travel-yui

Last year I explained how to take a mask as big as Yui overseas, which involved getting her a protective drum case to herself that could go as checked-in luggage. But there are times when this is expensive, or where you want to be able to throw a mask into carry-on for a quick meet up.

Carry-on luggage restrictions are tough, with many airlines giving you a maximum width of just 25cm (or sometimes even 23cm). Yui was 28cm at a minimum and without any protective padding. I could have bought a half-mask or smaller mask, but people wanted to see Yui at the events.

So this project, travel-yui came into existence. Can I make a mask that looks pretty much like Yui (it’s okay for it be to slightly different, it’s a younger or older Yui from the past or the future), but that’s possible to kig with everything fitting into one carry-on airplane suitcase? And can I do it in time for the German latex ball? The rest of this post is the journey we took to make it happen.

Design

Step one is to make a 3D model of the final mask. I used Blender on Linux using photos of Yui as a reference and made a 3D mask. Blender has a (very) steep learning curve, and it took me a full week from having no Blender knowledge to having the final object. Getting things like the eye shape, width, height, and positioning were the hardest but most important to make this model look good.

It’s worth noting here that “copying” a mask brings up all sorts of concerns, from copyright to ethics. I could have, for example, just used a 3D scan of the original Yui mask, but although this would have been far easier I decided to design it in Blender myself but using Yui as the reference. The company that made Yui is no longer operating, but I did also check with the people behind it and who made Yui originally to make sure it was okay with them to do this as a personal project before I went ahead.

I made the design as a usual 3/4 mask design but then removing the back panel and then adding in some cross supports. The supports can be easily added and removed using screws. I planned to print the ears separately and add them on at the end, but ran out of time (and you rarely see original Yui’s ears anyway).

Printing

I got printing inspiration from both Helenako and Bluegail, who had printed their own masks and not only made them available but also given lots of details of the build process. Since Helenako even had the same printer (CR-10) and filament (Prima Value White PLA) it gave me confidence it would all work out. They also had some great tips on smoothing prints and using wood filler on the outside and cheap epoxy on the inside. In hindsight we’d probably not use wood filler again because it got very messy and is really tricky to wet sand. But more on that later.

I printed the front section in three pieces to eliminate overhang and too much support material, using Cura 4.0 for slicing in .28mm layer height but using the adaptive layers function so areas like the nose would be down to .1mm in places. The first print failed so for stability printed the next one upside down (although I did forget to rotate the model so the Z seam ended up on the face of the model rather than the back, oops, more sanding needed!). Total print time was about 20 hours for the main piece, under 2 days for everything. So we now have a crown, a chin, and a main piece, and two back pieces.

Finishing

After printing, I passed the prints off to Jade for finishing. She noticed the chin on my model had ended up being too smooth once printed so she used putty to sculpt a more pronounced one. The next steps of sanding, filling, sanding, priming with filler primer, sanding, filling, sanding, sanding, sanding took her quite some time, a few hours a day over a week. But the end result is super smooth and flawless and the print lines are completely invisible.

Painting was next, using standard car paint acrylic in a custom kigu colour, then a matt clearcoat normally used for minature models. The clearcoat really helps the mask have a non-shiny finish. We already had a spare set of Yui eyes, so just reused these to save some time (even though the eye openings were not exactly the same size).

Hair was next, we made a removable wig cap out of felt (next time we’d use something that doesn’t stretch and break as easily), then sewed the wigs to it. Bits of foam were added to the wig cap to get the hair to sit right (next time this could be built into the 3d model). Styling the hair took a few hours, and we ended up adding more wefts to the side, straightening, thinning, and cutting again after the first outing.

I’m really very happy with the result. There are a few things with the design I’d tweak for printing another mask (I think the mouth ended up a little high, the chin and nose should be slightly more pointy) but these are easy enough to change for next time.

Thoughts

I didn’t expect the mask to be durable, it’s a PLA 3D print, so it will probably crack or break if dropped and melt if it gets too hot. But it suprised me how it’s held up — travel-yui has made a return trip to Germany, a trip to Montreal, and been in a hot car boot in 45C weather in Arizona and survived without incident so far! And I can always reuse the wig and print another one. Although Jade might not be so enthusiastic for another week of sanding.

MFW 2019

Off to Montreal for Montreal Fetish Weekend, but it was more like a whole week of fun events. I got to kig with some old and new friends.

I wore my new Sakura themed pink dress and we walked the fashion show catwalk. I was a little nervous and so ended up forgetting all my practiced walk and did a really quick cat”run” instead.

We took a walk around Montreal, taking the Metro station into the centre. I think we suprised the locals and tourists with a few hundred people in the most amazing latex and fetish outfits. I really enjoyed the walk, it was a nice day with a gentle breeze and everyone wanted to stop us for photographs. I wore my blue kawaii latex dress for the walk.

For the main event I took the Sakura dress with LED skirt overlay to the dance party. We arrived early and quickly headed to the dancefloor where we danced the night away. When we went outside to cool off we met some latex models including Biana.

I really enjoyed my time in Montreal, the people were so friendly, and I’d love to go back some day.

Photos: Jade Tatsuko, laloux, Akari, Blanche. Dress original design by Black Sheep Latex

GFB Week 2019

In May 2019 we went to the German Fetish Ball week in Berlin. I kigged at one event, the main ball on Saturday night, and it was a lot of fun. Before it got too busy I was able to get in some dancing on the dance floor, then watched the fashion show before heading outside for some cool river air.

It was amazing to spend time with old and new kigurumi friends. I’ve already booked for next year!

Photos by Jade, Original Dress by Black Sheep Latex.

Summer Meet 2019

This summer a few friends met up in Derbyshire for a fun weekend of kigging and sight-seeing. Jade had organised a visit to the Peak Rail station and we got to get photos with the staff and a steam train. We’d have liked to have ridden the train too but we didn’t have enough time so instead we just took some photos, explored, and had ice cream. The station staff were so friendly and helpful to us and all wanted photos.

Back at the house, Yuna and Xelphie had brought over a selection of inflatable animals, they were so squeeky and hugable! I particularly liked the shark and I think I’ll have to buy one of my own soon.

Photos by Jade, Dominic, Helenako, Xelphie, and Yuna.

There are also YouTube videos in 3D VR of us playing on the pool toys, see my channel

Yorkshire Cosplay Con 2019

Yorkshire Cosplay Con is one of the highlights of the year. It’s a great con; a nice size with lots to see and do, a great crowd, and accepting organisers. This year was no different and so we had a really large crowd of nearly 20 of us; with kigus attending from all over the UK, Europe, and even the USA.

We played, we took photos, we had fun, we had Spencer Wilding (of Darth Vader fame) asking to try on a kigu mask, and we even went bowling which I think is a first for UK kigus? I didn’t do so well at bowling this time, came third, but it was still great fun.

Photo credits: Dominic, Jade, Yuna, Richard Roberts, Helenako, Natalie

Unicorn Race 2019

Another spring weekend away with Skye. We had amazing weather, perfect for Unicorn riding!

Photos by Jade Tatsuko.

Yui’s 2018 review

2018 marked the 2nd anniversary of my life as a kigu and was full of fun, events, and meeting lots and lots of friends:

Spring

We started the year with a long weekend latex retreat away in the country. Skye and I took over the hotel reception for a while.


Next was the local Glasgow Anime event, Raicon. I think Yui looks a bit like IF from the Hyperdimension Neptunia games so I cosplay her sometimes. For this Raicon I wore a new IF outfit taken from the Sega vs Hard Girls game.


In May me and Jade went to Anime North in Toronto. Anime North attracts a lot of kigus from around the world because as well as the convention there is a lot of off-con fun and trips organised by Neko Niko. This year we attended BBQs, bowling, and the highlight was certainly the trip to Niagra falls. Everyone was so friendly to us, I’d love to return one day.


Summer

Straight back to the UK and we were off to Yorkshire Cosplay Con in Sheffield. We’re always made to feel so welcome at this Con and so Kigus travel from around the UK to meet at it. It’s great to spend a couple of days at the Con, and during down-time spend time chatting and having fun, food, and card games with friends.


This Summer was so hot in Europe so to cool down Jade and I visited Luka in France and had a great weekend hanging around her pool. She even made me coffee like a good maid should.


Back to UK and an off-meet with Convoluted (here wearing Juniper), Jun, and Nora. We visited a Scottish castle ruins and the weather was kind to us.


At J-Con, a Derby Anime event, I danced to the tunes of Nyokee in my LED skirt. It was also the first outing for my new kig, Coconut from Nekopara, made by DAME Kigurumi. Jade wore her Maple mask and together we had lots of catgirl fun.


Back to the November Raicon in Glasgow and another outing for the Nekopara kigus along with Convoluted. Coconut got recognised so much and so many people wanted our photographs.


Autumn

More latex for Halloween with my new petticoat and a 3D printed necklace.

I really love my 3D printer which I got at the start of the year. I’ve made necklaces for Halloween, Bowling, and Christmas, and buttons and other parts for my cosplay outfits. The most ambitious project was the LED skirt for my magical latex girl outfit which has 3D printed LED sleds that slide into pockets in a custom latex circle skirt.


Next up was another long latex weekend away in the country with Skye and another hotel for us to help run. I’m so happy with this chlorinated latex swing dress which BlackSheepLatex designed just for me with my input; it’s covered in cute hearts. Would you like to visit a hotel where all the staff are all Animegao Kigurumi?


Winter

And, just like that, 2018 was nearly over. Just time to fit in a weekend event with a couple of dozen European kigus in Derbyshire. Tennis Anyone?


Throughout the year I did some streaming on Ezcapechat, not quite at the 2017 level when I was on several times every week. We did manage to get in some games of Fibbage though.


We hope 2018 was good to you too.

On behalf of both myself and Jade we wish you peace and prosperity for 2019.



Photos in this post were taken by Jade Tatsuko, Keital, Perrine, Hoson, Dominic, Naomi, Grimmothy. Also many thanks to everyone else who took photos of me or was a handler.

Kigton Hall 2018

A weekend away in the country with Skye. Photos by Jade Tatsuko.

J-Con 2018

We went down to Derby for J-Con in August 2018. This was a really fun con. On the Friday evening I wore the Magical Latex Girl outfit with my new LED skirt and got to dance to some great live music from Nyokee.

On Saturday my new girl, Coconut from Nekopara, made her first public appearance. It was great being recognised, everyone loves a catgirl.

Photos: Jade Tatsuko, Cloud Tied, Dominic

Paris 2018

In August 2018 we visited Luka in France and had a fun weekend hanging out around the pool. Luka even said she’d be the maid and comb my hair and make tea, but she was far too mischievous and spilt the tea and went to rest in the hammock.

You just can’t get the staff these days.

Photos by Jade, Luka, and automatic-camera-chan.