Gerry Bernard got into creating elaborate costumes when his son was born five years ago.
When he and his wife took their son out for that first Halloween, Bernard’s son wore a generic children’s store-bought costume.
But Bernard didn’t want his child to grow up with store-bought, he wanted him to have homemade exceptional costumes.
For his son’s second Halloween he made a fireman costume complete with a mini firetruck.
This new-found love of costume designing and building led him into the cosplay world two years ago and the Langford resident will be attending the Capital City Comic Con this weekend at the Victoria Conference Centre.
For the Van Isle Comic Con event in Sidney last year he created an original concept soldier costume that was post-apocalyptic themed, complete with LED lights, which won first prize.
He started making his Ravenguard Space Marine costume because he really wanted to challenge himself. He searched online and YouTube how-to tips to learn how to make it.
Bernard said the hardest part was translating the 2D drawing into a 3D figure.
He went to the dollar store and purchased two-foot by four-foot paper templates to create a small 3D figure, starting from the bottom of the costume and working his way up.
All of the products he used he sourced from Canadian Tire or Walmart, he said. He made stilts out of particle board plywood, and used foam tiles to glue onto the plywood’s outer structure.
In the costume, he stands just over eight feet tall and weighs about 40 pounds. “It’s light, but cumbersome,” he said, the stilts make it tricky to find footing on anything steeper than zero degrees.
A family man, with two children and a day job, it took him six months to make the costume, but he figures he could have done it in three months if that was his only focus.
Bernard is hoping for first place at the Capital City Comic Con, but he said there are a lot of talented people in Greater Victoria so he’s not sure if he will win, but he knows he’ll have some fun.
Bernard’s family and friends have noticed he has a knack for creating and building and have been telling him he should be a costume designer on movie sets, he said.
For now, it’s a fun hobby and he enjoys learning from and sharing his trade with others in the cosplay community.
His next step is to use technology to his advantage and start testing out computer programs where he can input measurements and it can give him a blueprint for a costume.
His next project will be a father-son one as his son wants to be Adam from the movie Real Steel.
Capital City Comic Con takes place on March 16 to 18. For more information and tickets, visit Capital City Comic Con at tourismvictoria.com or follow @capcitycomic on social media for updates.