We have all heard by now that TwitchCon 2016 was this last weekend, and that some amazing cosplays came out of the event (10 of which you can see here). What was by far the coolest though, was the 8 foot tall “Lionhardt” rendition of Overwatchs tank character Reinhardt. Created by prop designer and builder, Chad Hoku of Hoku Props, the suit was a masterpiece of detail and hard work. The judges agreed and Lionhardt won the day, being awarded the grand prize with a trophy and a check for $15,000. We reached out to the official Hoku Props Facebook Page and was lucky enough to secure an interview with the man behind the armor. We won’t be covering every single question, but touching on the basics and summing everything up at the end, so don’t worry, it won’t be to long!
BLG (Bonus Level Gaming): Alright Chad, your head must be spinning right now, your face is all over the gaming community and Facebook Overwatch groups. How did it feel winning the grand prize?
Hoku: Winning felt great, I think the other two competitors had winning costumes too so I was just completely touched that the judges chose me.
BLG: Well you clearly put a lot of time and effort into it, not to mention material costs. How long did you spend working on this costume? And, dare I ask, how much did it all cost?
Hoku: I cant give you the exact hours but I’ve worked on it for essentially two months from sun up to sun down. I’m just going to rough ballpark this but in total I probably spent $1,200 – $1,500 on materials and components. For example the stilts cost around $100, but all the paint I used was more like $250 since it was really nice paint. keep in mind a lot of that was wasted with experimentation. I ended up changing paint twice because I wasn’t happy with the coloration, I also will probably start repainting everything just because I’m no longer under a deadline.
BLG: I personally am very curious to know, why Lionhardt specifically? Seems like a big project to take on for your first cosplay.
Hoku: I picked Lionhardt specifically because he is missing his left eye, as am I. So I get felt a connection with that particular aspect. We are making a costume for my girlfriend Sammy as well. That costume will be Mei.
BLG: One of the biggest questions I think, is this. What’s next? And what are your plans for your prize money?
Hoku: The only thing I know I’m using the prize money for is covering the expenses entailed in constructing lionhardt and I also promised to get a corgi for Sammy if we won. She is amazingly supportive and we worked on the costume together through her birthday and so I told her, thinking there was no way I would win, that I would buy her a corgi if we won. Looks like I’m the proud new owner of a corgi pup(at least soon).
Chad was amazing to get to chat with, and his passion for what he does definitely shows. We spoke quite a bit about how much work went into this, and how it wouldn’t be possible without support from his girlfriend Sammy and his friend and assistant Jason, both of whom join him for his twitch streams. Future plans include taking Lionhardt and Sammy’s new Mei costume to Blizzcon, and we discussed the potential for an amazing cosplay of Xmen’s Cable. The Hoku Props facebook page is blowing up, having a little over 3,000 followers on Monday when we first made contact, and having over 10,000 just three days later on Thursday. All this publicity is well earned however, and we here at Bonus Level gaming want to see it grow even better. If you’re interested in seeing more of Chad’s behind the scenes work, or just to get to know the man behind the shield, be sure to follow his page on facebook and his twitch account which will be linked below. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook at Bonus Level Gaming.