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Shield Sister

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Prints of this costume (and others) can be found here:

Aela the Huntress from the game Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I have to say that Aela is one of my favorite badasses in this game. Being a werwolf is just bonus points in my book. I had planned on making this costume much later this year, but I had the opportunity to do a snow shoot in lake Tahoe with one of my favorite photographers. Sadly, this was one of those costumes that just took WAY more time than you ever thought it would. I ended up not being able to shoot with him but, it allowed me to finish Aela at the speed it needed to be and not rushed. In the end it was worth it because I'm really happy I took the extra time on this to create it how I envisioned it.

About the Construction
When I set out to make this costume, I was very determined to make it look as authentic as possible. I considered using vinyl for the garment portion of the costume, but decided that it would not give the look I wanted to achieve. So I went to Tandy leather and got one of their clearance/cheaper hides for this project. The original color of the leather was light warm red-brown. It was the closest color hide that I could find in my budget. Being as it was not the color I wanted, I de-glazed the hide and re-dyed it a darker color. Since Aela's outfit is so unique, as it is a backless leotard with a four-part loin cloth/skirt....thing, I didn't even try to look for a base pattern to modify. I drafted own patterns by draping spare cotton on my dress form. Aela's 'top' looked like a leotard to me based on how taught it was vertically. However, since she doesn't have a true back to it, just straps, I ended up making a spandex thong that then snapped to straps coming from my waist. The leotard then goes around my neck in halter. For the loin cloth, it really is just a glorified belt with four panels sewed to it. For all the straps on this costume, I glued to pieces of leather together with rubber cement and then stitched them together. The hide I was using was to soft to use on it's own and needed to be reinforced in order to keep everything in place. I used a mixture of snaps and domed rivets to hold all the straps in place. At some joints I did sew it for extra stability.

For the armor I used a new material called Worbla. It's a thermal plastic that is super easy to work with. I got mine from Yaya Han here:[link] For the hip armor I used Eva foam for the base, then used strips to do the all the details and googly eyes for the rivets. The plates have snaps on the back and just snap to the loincloth/ skirt. The front plate's base is also eva foam base with details done worbla too. The gauntlets are eva foam bases, with worbla edging and detailing. I used the same re-dyed leather to also cover parts of the gauntlets. Real rivets were used on the gauntlet because I was afraid glued re-painted googly eyes would be too prone to being knocked off. The gauntlets stay closed with lacing on the back. For the arm cuffs, the base is craft foam covered in Worbla. The turquoise gems I got at Michael's, so no clue if they are real or not (I would wager a no on that one! haha). The cuffs just slide up my arm and stay on their own. Chest pieces are also eva foam, covered in Worbla, and detailed with the same gems as the cuffs. They have little loops in the back and piece of leather is strung through it and attached on each side of the top. Similar to how I made the rest of the armor, I used Worbla. For the bulk of it I used craft foam as base, but unlike the other pieces I sandwiched the craftfoam between two layers of Worbla. I did this so it would extra sturdy and because I was going to be attaching more Worbla to the underside. The rings on the back are held in place with Worbla as well. For the front a strip of leather with a snap feeds through the fur to the body suit and snaps in place. All the armor pieces were then primed black, then sprayed with hammered metal spray, then silver spray, then given an black acrylic wash, and then finally highlighted with rub-n-buff.

The chainmaille was made by hand. Wire was coiled which were then cut into the rings. A 4 in 1 weave was used in this maille. The chainmaille is then held in place to the loin cloth/skirt via rivets. If you want a good tutorial on the who process I recommend following this: [link]

The sword was made by :iconice_Man_props:. I did the detailing on the hilt and weathering of the sword. I also used more craft foam and Worbla to make the scabbard for the sword. It too snaps to my belt.

The shoes were boots that I purchased. I removed the fringe and dyed them a dark brown to match the leather boot covers I made. The boot base helps keep up the cover, but I use a belt too.

The wig is a lace front wig that trimmed up. It was purchased from; the color is 130.

Finally for warpaint I used BenNye creme make up in green and black. I did a layer of black then added a little green to give it that super dark green, almost black, look. It was set with BenNye translucent powder.

Of course if you have further questions let me know!

Costume made and worn by: Windofthestars
Sword made by :iconiceman-props:
Photo by: :iconbgzstudios:

More of this costume
Image details
Image size
719x960px 348.78 KB
Shutter Speed
1/125 second
Focal Length
150 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
May 26, 2013, 8:41:34 PM
© 2013 - 2021 WindoftheStars
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Valmont-jose's avatar
wow its a great job.  amazing.
earthman3's avatar
Should have her mid werewolf transformation
ElSerginio's avatar
MikaniaC's avatar
awesome cosplay!!!
Erunir's avatar
Amazing work!
Now, that's a nice arrow to get hit by in the knee ;P
aly-uchiha913's avatar
Amazing work!!! This is just fantastic! Also, thanks for all the links in the description (helped me get some ideas for some cosplays I want to work on in the future). Keep up the great work!

Peace Out! ^_^
RogueWriter3201's avatar
I...Guh...This...It's...Wow :O_o:
Lycandeer's avatar
Holy sh- that's a costume?!
X-WindDance-X's avatar
This is definitely the best Aela the Huntress cosplay I've seen. Everything is incredible from the outfit to the expression to the environment. This is marvelous. You really made her look bad ass.
devduck01's avatar
This just am amazing costume and character
Iazcutler's avatar
Check above, Bethesda! Is this way Aela should be modeled...Actually, all nord women... hum... actually, all Skyrim woman. See the strength, and beauty at same time. Her eyes are wild and sweet. A warrior woman (I know she is an archer) in her true image.
etaru's avatar
this turned out so amazing Mel!!
I had tried everything because of this im always one step ahead ive finally reached the top keep this between us
MandalorianKnight's avatar
I was wondering when we would see this outfit again. Amazing as always my friend.
pumpmonger's avatar
Wow! I love the armor, so real looking. You look so strong and barbaric with the face paints. All around beautiful!
Damien-the-Ogre's avatar
It's a fantastic costume from a great game (I was on a quest with her only last night, lol)! :D
You've done an incredible job and I really appreciate the time you've taken to give such thorough and detailed construction information.
Kcchi's avatar
Pokolpok's avatar
The face paint is amazing!!!
aoifasd's avatar
Beautifully done!
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