Stephen Robb of Robb Props and Cosplay is known for his impressively complex builds. Using a variety of materials and skill sets, he has pulled your sci-fi and fantasy favorites into reality. We sat down with Stephen to talk to him about his craft, background, and goals for the future.
Sticky Bunton (SB): What got you into making props and cosplay?
Stephen Robb (SR): I’d been working on craft projects for years – everything from painting to metal casting – and had a friend convince me to try out some EVA foam armour. After a 2-week build, I realised how much I loved it, went to my first convention, and was hooked – I started work on Viktor a few days later!
SB: Is cosplay your job or your hobby?
SR: Definitely a hobby for now! I’ve had work and commissions with companies like Riot Games and Bethesda, but it’s still something I do for the fun and the challenge, and it can’t compete with a stable full-time job.
SB: What do you like to do outside of cosplay?
SR: I’m a big fan of tabletop RPGs, and run and play in a few D&D games at the moment, mostly with other cosplayers! To relax, reading, baking and occasionally even playing the games I cosplay from is good
SB: I read that you’re an engineer. What kind of engineer and how have you found engineering useful in a pursuit that is often thought of as just artistic?
SR: I’m working as a mechatronic engineer at the moment, with a good mix of mechanical, electronic and programming skills. The job and the hobby really feed into each other, especially when it comes to SFX – I’ve been able to take systems I’ve designed at work and apply them to cosplay, and the skills I’ve gone to learn for cosplay have been useful at the office, and I’ve gotten to use everything from 3D printing to programmable LEDs for my job.
SB: I’m a huge fan of your Viktor cosplay. It’s stunning. But what Cosplay do you think of as being your greatest feat?
SR: Definitely Viktor so far! Although in terms of polish, Elder Maxson is probably the cleanest work I’ve ever done, but I’m constantly trying to improve, and want to do something bigger than Viktor with my next project!
SB: I noticed that you’re a blacksmith as well as a cosplayer. Do those both feed into each other creatively, or do you feel that one pulls away you away from the other?
SR: Really wouldn’t call myself a blacksmith yet! It was always something I wanted to try, so I only did a short course! I really try to learn as many new skills as possible and that was just one of them, and almost all of them feed back into cosplay in some way eventually. Sure I’ll find some way to include more metalwork into something soon
SB: Which cosplay of yours gives you the most joy to wear, or makes you feel powerful?
SR: I had a lot of fun wearing the Abyss Watcher – there’s just something about a gigantic sword and a cloak that feels right. But for a single moment, the first time I wore Viktor, having the robotic hand wave to the audience during the competition was amazing.
SB: You’ve made props and cosplay from, to name a few, Fallout, Dark Souls, and RWBY. Do you have a particular franchise that you love to do builds from?
SR: There’s so many good ideas to do, I don’t have time to stay on one franchise for more than a single build usually! I’ll always have a soft spot for League of Legends though; it’s where I started, and getting work from Riot Games has given me an excuse to keep building from their game.
SB: If you’ve planned ahead, what costumes or props do you have planned in 2017-2018? Any final thoughts or words to the readers?
SR: I’ve just started something on the same scale as Viktor – I’ll be working on the Tech-priest Dominus from Warhammer 40K well into next year. It’ll be a huge build and very electronics heavy, but I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
If you’d like to know more about Stephen Robb and to see his work follow him on Facebook.