Here’s a little factoid for you: I freaking LOVE Borderlands. I love everything about the series, from the gorgeous cel-shaded artstyle to the crazy characters. And the ladies in Borderlands are pretty badass, none more so than Mad Moxxi, the Hostess of The Underdome and owner of far too many bars. She’s sassy, she’s crazy and she doesn’t take trouble from anyone. I decided that I HAD to cosplay her at some point (I worked at a bar at the time, which seemed perfect!), so I scoured the internet and bought myself a competitively-priced purple Mad Moxxi outfit from Borderlands 2. It was gorgeous and, at the time, perfect. I never actually got the chance to wear it.
I’ve been working on fixing up my Mad Moxxi for 3 years now, but never really made much progress. After almost finishing my Supergirl costume (and seeing how well that turned out when I put my mind to it) I decided enough was enough, and that the sultry Moxxi had to come out and play eventually. I say fixxing up because the costume is actually pretty terrible, and had a lot of inaccuracies. I decided to start with two of the easier parts: Moxxi’s holster and belt.
Mad Moxxi’s Holster:
The costume I bought came with a pleather thing that I’m pretty sure was meant to be the holster. It wasn’t bad, but it was extremely unstable and I wanted to use it as a bad for while I was out and about in costume (anyone who knows Moxxi knows she doesn’t exactly have a lot of pockets…)
At first I wanted to make the material sturdier, so I sewed some card along each internal side, which helped to stop the material from folding together. I then wanted to work on reshaping it a bit, and decided to use some lightweight foam to redesign the outsides (I used kids crafting foam from a £1 shop for this). I superglued it to the outside of the material, and then glued the edges together around it. For the moment I have only covered the front, sides and back (the bottom is still purely material).
I only encountered one problem doing this: material bunches, which resulted in a slightly wonky edge on one of the holster sides (you can see it in the middle picture if you look closely). Luckily it wasn’t anything too major, and was fixed by adding a tiny piece of foam to cover the gap. I also made sure to leave room for the belt loop (which was actually a little pointless, but more on that later!)
I’m still not that used to documenting my entire process yet, so unfortunately I didn’t get many pictures of me painting the design layer by layer, but basically:
- Starting with the front cover, I coated the black material in a medium grey acrylic paint. I think I’m developing a new fondness for acrylic paints, since it not only spread well but dried perfectly!
- I mixed up a light grey and added the lighter detailing a little bit at a time. I also mixed up some mid grey and dabbed it around the edges, to make it look less like I splotched a light paint on it and more like a gradual cel-shade fade.
- Once this was completely dry, I used a black Sharpie to add the cel-shading detail. This included the black outline, the heart and kisses and the holster name: Ruby. This was then highlighted with an extremely thin paintbrush and white acrylic paint, to complete the cel-shading detail.
- Rinse and repeat for the sides (the back is still black for the moment!)
Once that was all done, it looked a little something like this:
Proud as pop with how that turned out! In fact, let’s have some side-by-side pictures!
Before and after: the left is what I paid a fair bit of money for, and the right is the finished altered holster!
Side by side comparison with my reference image.
I know that the actual shape isn’t right for 100% accuracy, but I’m pretty happy with the finished square holster for the moment! I’m thinking of adding a little pocket inside to keep my phone in so I can use it to carry my daily essentials while walking around, so that’s going to be interesting!
With the holster done (for the moment) it’s time to move on to….
Moxxi’s Belt and Pain-In-The-Butt-Buckle:
The belt itself was pretty easy. I managed to find a wide white leather belt in a charity shop (only cost £2.50) and painted it Moxxi’s brown using acrylic paints. I painted both sides, even though the back was a horrid material, so that the belt would be brown from any angle! I also touched up the edges a few times, to make sure everything looked A-OK.
Once the brown dried I grabbed my trusty black Sharpie and marked out where I wanted the lighter patches to go, as well as starting to add the cel-shading detail (like the outside black lines). I let this sit for a bit before mixing up some pale yellow and adding the lighter patches – at the moment it didn’t matter about going over the edges of the black because I planned to do another layer anyway!
I then added in the highlights with white paint and my extremely thin brush, and finished it off by going over the black detailing two more times (to make sure it was nice and dark). Maybe twice was a bit overkill, but it looks AWESOME.
It was at this point that I realised the belt wouldn’t actually fit through my old belt loop! I fixed this by using some of the old pleather from the original belt (which was black and extremely boring). I measured how much room I’d need, added in a few cms for extra movement and sewed the material in place (and only stabbed myself with the needle a handful of times). It fit together perfectly!
The buckle is the one part I’m still not happy with. I wanted to make a quick version that I could use for the moment, so I glued 3 layers of foam together and shaped it to resemble my reference images. I then painted it dark grey and used the Sharpie to draw on the triangle patterns (the internal pattern was left until last). I detailed the ‘metal’ using shades of light grey and white acrylic, and painted the inner portion a light blue. Finally I traced the geometric design and added it using a fine-liner.
I’ve read that a few people made the buckle using clay and painted it, which seemed to work pretty well, so maybe I’ll give this a try at a later date? For now let’s take a look when everything is put together:
I enjoyed making this so much that I might make more cel-shade belts, just for the heck of it! Hope you’ve enjoyed reading how I made the belt and holster (and I really hope you like the finished work, I’m extremely proud in case you haven’t noticed!) If anyone has any tips on how to improve the buckle I would really appreciate them! For now it’s time to move on to tougher parts…