Breaking records wasn’t what one self-taught engineer expected with his very first cosplay – but that’s exactly what happened.
Leo Simon, of Southampton, UK, created a one-to-one scale cosplay suit based on League of Legends character Kayle and her ‘Aether Wing’ costume.
The incredible cosplay was registered as having the largest mechanical wings on a cosplay costume, with a wing-span of 426cm or 167.32 inches.
Check out the mechanical cosplay suit in the video below:
Leo said: “I’ve seen some cosplay wings, but they’re not like this at all. I’ve never seen anyone do cosplay on this scale.
“I wasn't aiming to break the world record but after the measurements were confirmed, I thought it was brilliant.“
Leo has played League of Legends for more than 10 years, making it to the game’s ‘Diamond 1’ level – just three ranks away from the most elite ‘Challenger’ level and putting him in the top 0.1% of players in the world.
Over that time he developed impressive skills when using the character Kayle and joked with his friends that he should one day make a Kayle cosplay.
“Kayle has a particular play-style that I really like,” he explained. “The style was really aggressive and that catered to my play-style.”
Eventually Leo decided to follow through on his idea of a Kayle cosplay and settled on the character’s ’Aether Wing’ skin.
Widely considered the best skin for Kayle, the Aether Wing suit was an obvious choice for Leo, who actually extracted the character model from the game itself to start creating his real-life design.
The Computer Science graduate then spent several months researching how to build the suit before starting construction in his bedroom.
“I didn't know almost anything about how to build this kind of costume,” he said. “I was building it in my bedroom and I didn't have any tools – everything I bought was less than a hundred pounds worth of tools.”
Aside from the physical design of the suit, Leo also developed a way to control the wings and lights through an app on his phone, which connects to the cosplay suit via Bluetooth.
Aiming to finish the suit in time for the 2015 League of Legends World Championship, Leo had a mammoth task ahead of him – learning to code the software required to run the mechanics of the suit and teaching himself 3D modeling software.
The enterprising gamer used a combination of foam for the majority of the wing design, acrylic for the blue highlights, and aluminum for the frame in order to bring his vision to life.
But as the convention came closer, things weren’t looking good for Leo, who had to overcome some major challenges to get things finished.
He said: “The last two weeks of it were utter hell in terms of trying to actually manage to get it completed.
“I was working on it day in, day out, pretty much 16 hours a day. Then I found out the harness design I had wasn't really sturdy enough to properly use.
“You spend an entire year on something and then to come to a point where you might not even be able to use it. It's devastating.”
Luckily, £1,000, over a thousand hours, three thousands lines of code, and 300 components later, Leo managed to get everything together just in time for the convention.
The suit’s wings were able to go from a fully closed position to a fully spread position automatically using Leo’s phone app – alongside an impressive lighting setup that made sure the suit stood out.
He said: “I’ve never worked on something so hard. It was such a struggle to get through. It was so fortunate that everything came together.”
All the work proved worthwhile as Leo’s suit caused quite a stir at the convention.
“It was something that nobody had ever seen before,” Leo said. “It was so fortunate that everything came together. I couldn’t have asked for more.
“When I was standing around after the show this woman came up to me with her kid and the kid was shy at first.
“He ran over to my side and just stood there holding my hand and just staring at me in awe. Then as the mum walked away, the kid ran up to her and said ‘Mum, I touched an angel,’ and that just made my day.”
Now, Leo is working on a new and improved wing-suit with a view to selling his designs to the public in-future.
“I had a lot of people that were interested in purchasing or buying something similar to Aether Wing,” he explained.
“But after doing some research, I found it just wasn't possible to make that sort of thing. With the new suit I was hoping to make it so that I can actually make more of them.
“I hope in the future I’ll be able to produce things like the wings and different projects that can inspire people.”
Leo’s impressive ambition all stems from his love of League of Legends – something which he hasn’t forgotten.
He said: “Looking back over my time with League of Legends, I’ve gained a lot of friends and also a lot of skills from working on this cosplay.
“But also I’ve gained an insight into what I want to do in the future so League of Legends has had a really big impact on my life.”
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