Dustin is an enthusiastic tokusatsu fan who builds props and costumes based on the characters he loves. His cosplays and work-in-progress shots can be seen on his Facebook page. He also runs the Tokusatsu Cosplayer Community on Facebook where he encourages other cosplayers to discuss and share their work.
What got you interested into cosplay?
I lived in Seattle from 1991-2001 and every year there was a parade that ran through town. They would have clowns and floats, but they also had a few Power Rangers in the crowd. One year after the parade, I saw the Rangers getting out of their masks and it blew me away. I understood it was just people in suits, but ANYBODY could get a costume. Why not me? I didn’t end up cosplaying until high school at a local convention, but that moment as a child was the spark that started it all.
When and how did you discover tokusatsu?
It was in my senior English class. We had computer access and I wanted to look around for Super Sentai since I wanted to see what we didn’t get over here. Instead, I found the opening to Samurai Sentai Shinkenger‘s first episode and it was so cool! In my free time, I watched through the show and caught Kamen Rider Decade commercials. That’s when I went headfirst into everything Kamen Rider and it became my favorite tokusatsu show.
Can you walk us through your process in creating a cosplay?
First, I always get as many reference pictures as you can from the show! For replica helmets, I’ll make the mask out of card stock paper, fiberglass it, and sand it. Then I do a lot of heavy detail work with Automotive filler and a dremel rotary tool.
If I need a cheaper light weight helmet, I’ll make it using EVA foam/Craft foam. I always make a paper patterns first, sometimes using Pepakura Designer, but if I cant get a good model, I free hand the patterns until I get the shapes I need.
For body armor, I’ll wrap my body or just limbs in aluminum foil, duct tape it up smooth, and cut it off. I transfer those to paper if they need tweaking and if they look good, they go straight to foam cutting. Lastly, I add 2-3 layers of Plasti-Dip spray rubber to make the armor durable before painting.
If you could cosplay any character, who would it be?
This is hard because I have a few dream suits. My first one is Kamen Rider Decade because I tried to make his suit first, but it is not one a beginner should try at all. The next one I would like to do is Garo because I love everything about the suit. The last two I’d like to tackle are Shin Kamen Rider and a Sentai Mech.
What is your favorite tokusatsu series and why?
That’s like asking me what my favorite between food, air, or water! One of my favorites would be Kamen Rider Decade for showing me a way bigger world of Toei tokusatsu. Another favorite of mine is Kamen Rider J because he was the first Rider I ever met. Lastly, I have to also include Choujin Sentai Jetman for Gai. I just love him as a character so much.
What’s the funniest experience you’ve had while cosplaying?
My second real attempt at a Rider cosplay was Kamen Rider OOO TaToBa Combo. When I wore it at Otakon, a Japanese guest and his son ran into me on the street. The boy was latched to my leg yelling “OZU OZU OZU!!” and we took some pictures. Afterwards, I gave him a W core medal I got earlier that day. The father was very happy to see his son excited and anytime we crossed paths at the convention he would stop to say thank you again. It makes me happy to know to somebody I was a Rider.
What advice would you give to yourself when you first started?
Pain is power, study pattern-making, buy a bandsaw, and don’t stop! Even if the suit is a flop in your eyes, you had fun making it and people will love it! Trust me.
Where can we find your work?
You can find my work on my Facebook page at The Next Decade Props and Costumes. I post my work-in-progress shots there and I plan on selling some of my patterns in the future! I also run the Tokusatsu Cosplayer Community on Facebook. You can come hang with tokusatsu cosplayers from all over the world and learn to make your own suits! Lastly, you can also find me with the Zeron Xepher family on YouTube and at ZeronXepher.com.
Do you have any cosplays you’re currently working on that you’d like to share?
2017 is gonna be very busy for me! I’m currently working on: Kamen Rider Agito, Kamen Rider Genm Lvl X Dangerous Zombie, Ankh’s arm for a friend, and the AkibaRangers! I’m remaking my old suit and I got a team set! I can’t wait to show Animazement how delusional we are in May!
Be sure to say hi to him and his team at Animazement when they are the AkibaRangers!