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    Posted August 28, 2013 by
    Concord, North Carolina
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Dragon Con 2013

    Southern Ingenuity: Creating Ms. Clever


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     LadySol is a long time Dragon Con vet: 'I have always enjoyed cosplaying the lesser characters or creative concepts from Fandoms rather than main characters. I have always stressed to fans when I guest at Cons that you need neither money nor elaborate screen accurate costumes to cosplay, everyone can do it with a little imagination and creativity, so my statement is not so much about gender as it is about using your imagination. Focus on concept rather than image, why be restricted to what is portrayed on the screen? The sci-fi universe is vast so don’t limit yourself because of your gender, funds, weight, or race and don’t worry about what other people think. It’s all about involvement and fun.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    Junk is the South's Greatest Resource. It's true! Surely you remember in Gone with the Wind the scene where Scarlet pulls down curtains to make a dress? Well, it's a great visual to show how Southerners have learned over the ages to make do and move forward! Today we have a fancy word for it, Repurposing, but here in the South it’s simply a matter of cultural know-how. Southerners aren't ones for sitting around wishing for things, if they want it but can't get it, they'll make it! I come by it honestly.
    This year for Dragon I wanted to Cosplay from the Doctor Who episode, Nightmare in Silver by Neil Gaiman. Lucky for me, in the episode, the Cybermites converted both men and women, so the way I see it there is no reason Mr. Clever couldn’t be Ms. Clever. My husband is Cosplaying the part of Webley, the Cyber assistant, so in actuality this is a great couples Cosplay.

    2 Problems. No funds for a new cosplay, and even if I had funds, there are no costumes or props available for this episode. So, being the Southern Lady I am, I set to work thinking of what I could use from around the house to make the cyber props.

    Ms. Clever and her Partner

    Materials: Cheap Mousepad from Walmart, Elmer's Glue, LED candles, LED Christmas lights, silver and grey metallic paint, string, soldering wire, old kids bicycle helmet, broken cell phone, watch parts, old silver phone cord, craft tool kit, and super glue. Spirit Gum for piece attachment, and headband for the battery pack.

    Making Ms. Clever

    I drew the basic shape on the mousepad in white crayon (One mousepad makes 2 patterns), cut it out, and used one for practice painting. Once I felt confident, I painted the actual pattern.

    After letting that dry, I used a single hole punch to cut holes out for the lights and began building dimension by using grey string soaked in watered down Elmer's glue.

    After dry brushing the string in silver paint and securing everything with a dab of superglue,

    I took the flashing LED Christmas lights, trimmed off the strand to leave only the 4 lights I needed, and put the lights through the holes on the piece. Then I poured Elmer's glue on top of the lights for the dome effect, and hid the wires by gluing them to the back. Once the main piece was done, I made the small cyber relays the same way. I cut out small strips from the mousepad, glued and painted them, and then attached them to the face piece with superglue. The battery pack for the lights will hide out well in the bottom of a headband, under my hair.

    Webley, Ms. Clever’s Partner

    So I took one look at Webley’s cyber face piece and knew I didn't have time to do an exact replica (Dragon is a few days away). Instead, I took the base idea of the Cyberman eye plate, along with the way the episode portrayed how the Cybermites worked, and tried to come up with something similar.

    First, I took apart the bicycle helmet to leave only the styrofoam base. Using a steak knife which I heated on the stove, I cut out the base pattern of the Cyber Eye piece and the head support, which I painted grey. Once that dried, I went and used a darker grey to add shading.

    Then I tore apart the old broken cell phone, grabbed some old watch parts, and cut, arranged, and glued the pieces on the base. After that, I took apart the LED Candle and fastened it into the Styrofoam through the back. I poured Elmer’s glue over the light to create the dome, then I made fake solder by using Elmer's Glue and painting it. I also painted the main Cyber eye piece with an acrylic satin gloss. I attached the bracer and added the silver phone cord for the Cyber relays.

    Ms. Clever's pet, the Cybermite!

    With the Cyber face piece being the main part of the Cosplay, I wanted to add a little extra to the outfit, so I deduced that Ms. Clever would have a pet Cybermite.

    I used a leftover piece of Styrofoam from the Cyber eye plate and molded with a hot knife into the basic body shape of the Cybermite. I painted the mite grey, added Elmer’s glue to give dimension to the segments and painted those silver. To simulate the light/lens that makes the Cybermite’s head, I painted the base blue and filled it in with Elmer’s glue to create a dome. Once dry, I added cut soldering wire for the antenna and legs, and glued a pin set to the base so that I can attach it to sit on my shoulder or lapel.

    The Golden Ticket

    In the episode the Doctor uses a golden ticket to disrupt Mr. Clever’s circuitry. I simply took some gold metallic tissue paper from the dollar store and cut it into shape. With a dab of reusable poster glue, I can add and remove the ticket from my Cyber face piece with ease.

    So that concludes the main pieces of my costume and how they were made for under $10.00.

    At the very end of the episode, Nightmare in Silver, we saw the cybermite drifting in space. What you didn’t see is how the Cybermite made its way to the South, upgraded Lady S and her husband, and is seeking the Doctor for reintegration.

    So lookout Dragon Con! The Cybermen are coming to upgrade you and Ms. Clever is leading the way! I have progression photos of my pieces and props along with photos of the completed items on my blog (you can find the link on my website: www.ladysoliloque.net) under the ‘blog’ button.
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