Cosplay interviews! A weekly feature on Animetion where we talk to UK cosplayers on what motivates them, plus a cool gallery showcasing their cosplays.  Here we talk to cosplayer:

Name: Leadmill

Q: When did you start cosplaying and how long for?

I started cosplaying in Febuary 2007 at the MCM Midlands Expo in Telford.  My first project was a Hellsing Soldier.

Q: What attracts you cosplay?

The creative element is a big appeal.  I like being able to bring ideas from the pages of a manga or the television screen to life.  I enjoy the challenge of trying of making the cosplay and getting the details as close as I can to the source material.  I also like the competitive element with cosplay, and like to compete in masquerades and the challenge of trying to make my costume to the very best of my ability.

Q:  What has been your favourite cosplay?

My favourite cosplay would probably be my Shin Kazama cosplay from Area 88.  It was my first project big cosplay project and it took me months of research to identify the kit he wears and where to source it from.  The costume took about 2 months to make and a large cash investment as military equipment is not cheap!  The flight suit had to be custom made and the helmet decals were tricky but I was really pleased how it came out.  As Area 88 was never that well received over here, I never really expected anyone to recognise who I was, or what I was from, but the response I got was brilliant.  ADV Films were especially very excited about it and I got interviewed for their UK website.  It was complimented by two friends of mine (Alias.com + Juggern0ght) who were cosplaying as Ryoko and Major Roundall respectively.

Q: Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?

Wow this is a hard one as I've had some many fantastic experiences while cosplaying.  I would have to say being part of the Steampunk group at the MCM London Expo in October 2008.  I had never expected it to be as well received as it was, everyone was so nice and we couldn't move without having our pictures taken.  The positive response made all the long hours and expense really worthwhile.  We then won Best Entertainment award in the cosplay masquerade which really surprised me and made a good day even better!  The friends that I have made through cosplay, particularly Random Accent (my cosplay group), have always been memorable and add another consistently worthwhile and fun element to the hobby!

Q:  Have you had any cosplays go wrong/encountered problems whilst making cosplays?

Yes very much so.  I am chronically plagued with things not turning up in time, may they be wigs weapons or parts.  I'd say a good 30% of new costumes I debut are incomplete because I've forgotten something whilst packing or it hasn't arrived in time.  A few times I've had things break on me which is INCREDIBLY frustrating!  I remember when I was cosplaying Manabu Yuuki from Galaxy Railways the wig went completely awry as soon as it went on my head and no amount of restyling could fix it.  Then to compound my mystery one of my belt buckles broke just before the masquerade.  Despite all that I would definitely cosplay him again in future. 

Q:  Have you ever regretted cosplaying?

Sometimes I look back and think what else I could have done with all that time and money, but then I remember all the fun times I've had and friends I've made and it makes it so worthwhile.  I can't see myself quitting anytime soon!

Q:  Have you ever done group cosplay? If so how did you find that experience?

I've done a few group cosplays before, my first ever being an Area 88 group which we even had a replica Crusader jet for me to sit in.  I normally take part in groups with my friends in Random Accent as we all tend to have similar interests and work on the same kind of cosplays, it makes it so much easier to co-ordinate materials/colours and to bounce ideas off each other.   I've done Hellsing, Galaxy Railways and Steampunk groups with them.  Each time more memorable than the last.

Q:  What cosplays are you planning?

I've got a Warhammer 40,000 project in the works for MCM London Expo in May 2009, as well as a couple more Resident Evil projects, possibly for Kitacon.  Although a couple of friends may have talked me into cosplaying from Final Fantasy as well.  I may also update a few of my older projects such as Manabu (from Galaxy Railways - ed.) or HUNK (from Resident Evil - ed.).

Q:  Do you have a dream cosplay?

Yes.  Pip Bernadette was my previous dream but I recently after many months of work managed to complete that cosplay.  My all time ambitions would either be a Terran Marine from Starcraft or a AV-98 Ingram from Patlabor.  I'm going to need to learn how to vacuum form first though!

Q:  Do you have one piece of advice that you would give to cosplay virgins?

I found when I started out, that making your first project a background or lesser known character is a good way to ease yourself into the hobby.  It is a good way to gauge where your strengths are and can form a base for future projects.

Q:  Do you have an account with the website Cosplay island/other social networking sites?

I sure do, I can be found as Leadmill on both Cosplay Island and Cosplay.com as well as a couple of others.

(click any picture for a larger image)

Leadmill as Pip Berndotte from Hellsing (manga version) - photo by redkunLeadmill as HUNK from Resident Evil series - photo by Rob BuxtonLeadmill as Corporal Adrian Shepard from Half Life: Opposing Force - photo by www.cosplaysnap.co.ukLeadmill (left) as Officer Simon & aliasdotcom (right) as Seras Victoria - both from Hellsing.  Photo by aliasdotcom

Leadmill as Shin Kazama from Area 88 - photo by seraphim-cryLeadmill (right) as Shin Kazama from Area 88 - left is aliasdotcom as Ryoko Tsugomo from the same series - photo by www.cosplaysnap.co.uk

Leadmill as Hunk from Resident Evil series - photo by Rob BuxtonLeadmill as Manabu Yuuki from The Galaxy Railways - photo by Carrie www.cosplaysnap.co.ukLeadmill (right) as Institute Soldier from Hellsing (OVA series) - left is sjbonnar as Alucard from the same series

Leadmill as Major Maes Hughes from Full Metal AlchemistLeadmill as Officer Simon from Hellsing

Leadmill as Shin Kazama from Area 88 (OAV series) - photo by sjbonnarLeadmill as HUNK from Resident Evil series - photo by seraphim-cry of www.cosplaysnap.co.uk