Props; 'Toys' versus 'Replicas'

Avatar for Indiana Jolly Indiana Jolly

Topic started 2 weeks ago

Hey peoples!
I was hoping there's a few con-goers out there who have more experience in this area than I do. I've actually never gone to a con while cosplaying a character that has weapons. Just never wanted to deal with the stress of waiting through that 'security check' line. But this year, I have my heart set on attempting to do 'Rick O'Connell' from The Mummy. As most of you know, he's always heavily armed. I was planning on using kids toy guns with a more convincing paint job to give them a more authentic look, but then I read the props policy for Denver Fan Expo 2023. Here's what they have to say...

"Live firearms including airsoft, modern, hunting or historic, either functioning or de-commissioned, are not permitted at any FAN EXPO HQ event. Replica firearms made from metal, solid resin/plastic/rubber are not to be brought onto convention grounds. All other firearms/projectile weapons are required to have orange safety tips at all times on convention grounds.

No props or weapons capable of firing any projectile or powder charge of any kind. This is for the safety of both yourself and the people around you. Nerf guns and other foam dart guns ARE allowed, but they must not have any foam darts loaded at any time."

I sent an email to the Fan Expo group to see if someone could clarify the difference between 'replica' and 'toy' but haven't received a reply back yet. Anyone have any insight on the subject? I've got some time, but I want to start working on these ASAP.

Avatar for walkerofdarknes walkerofdarknes

1 week ago

Okay, I've made and taken a few weapons to cons, both "edged" and "guns". From my own experiences, touching up a kid's gun into a more authentic one would certainly pass inspection muster. In most cases, it's what the average cosplayer does to get good weapons for a cosplay.

From my own understanding, a "toy" is made from lightweight hollow plastic and is almost impossible to use as a weapon in any form, because it will collapse/crunch/shatter under any real force. A lot of toy guns are colored differently (like bright blue) as a legal matter to help police officers identify them as fake at a critical moment. A "replica" tends to be made to look authentic from the start, and might be made from solid resin/rubber. The replica would have a bit more weight to it, and a lot more durability, which means in a tight spot you could theoretically use it as an actual weapon, perhaps only once, but maybe more than once.

You will want to see about the orange safety tip though. If you can't find one pre-made somewhere, you can get it maybe by cutting down some pool noodle or using orange painter's tape (my preference of choice so it doesn't adhere to my weapon's paint, but you'd have to carry the roll with with you if you wanted to take it off to take some pictures).

Avatar for Indiana Jolly Indiana Jolly

4 days ago

Thank you, Walker! I appreciate the clarification. I had a gut feeling that was the case, but when their description listed metal, resin, plastic, rubber, etc. (which most kids toys are made out of those materials) I started to doubt my understanding of the rules.
And thank you for your insight on the safety-orange tips for weapons too.
Pretty sure I'm going to leave them on and paint around them. I can always paint over them with photo editing later. ;)

Avatar for Frozen Angel Frozen Angel

10 hours ago

Maybe not what you're looking for but I had somewhat of a "wtf" experience regarding convention weapon/prop rules and/or restrictions, at the last convention that I attended in southern Finland. I'm sure that there are plenty of differences between American and European conventions including their rules but Tracon in particular (the convention I attended last year) had implemented some changes to their weapon AND costume rules, which frankly, put me off a little. I'm not 100% sure why the change took place but if I recall correctly, it was partly because of the situation in Europe which I can fully understand.

There could have been multiple rules changing (I don't remember anymore) but the ones I do recall are the ones that affected me and my costumes. I was originally going to bring my Germany (Hetalia, WW2 uniform) cosplay to the convention but their new rule being "no military themed or inspired costumes being allowed" smashed that plan, unfortunately. There was a few exceptions like Seraph of the End and Attack on Titan costumes being fine. I heard from a good friend of mine that many Finns online got very annoyed and upset at that particular restriction because first off, they had been working on their costumes for a long time and the new con restriction came so late - after that they released the tickets! A lot of people who already bought a ticket, had everything in order and got so mad when they couldn't bring their projects (that some worked months on) to the event. As you can guess, plenty of people decided to sell their tickets forward and skip the convention entirely.

However, it didn't end there. Along with the costume restrictions came this very vague and confusing new restriction regarding props/weapons as well. Also it didn't help that con staff said different things to different people. One of my costumes for the convention was old Link (A Link to the Past) and because I wasn't sure what this mess of a rule was, I was in touch with someone who worked at the con. I explained my character of choice, length of sword and material, which in my case was wood. I was told to not bring the sword to the con, as it was a solid weapon and would not break on impact (whatever that means), so I settled with a cardboard sign instead that said "Has anyone seen my Uncle? He went out in the rain and hasn't come back". Most people didn't understand the sign (it's an older game by now) but the few who did, they loved the idea! I was told that I could bring the shield with me (made of foam) but I choose not to, Link without a sword just doesn't feel right, you know? :/

At the con, which I did enjoy, I was SHOCKED to see cosplayers that had with them LARGE weapons out of all kinds of materials! I especially remember this one Genshin Impact cosplayer (I can't recall character right now, not into the game) who had a MASSIVE at least one meter tall weapon! Looked like a mace or staff or something, could have been a sword as well, main color was black. I saw no "security check" tape on that particular weapon either, which baffled me! How on planet Earth did she get past the security at the entrances (people who check if you have a valid ticket when entering the building) with that enormous weapon? I'm saying this as someone who couldn't even bring in a wooden sword measuring 82 centimeters.

It's safe to say at this point that people got different explanations of the set of rules to them, some more strict some less, and I personally think it should be the same rules that apply for everyone attending the event. Sometimes I wonder if the convention crew themselves even knew the rules and restrictions properly. If you're wondering, no I did not see any military themed/inspired costumes at the con aside from the two series that I mentioned earlier. I also didn't see any props that was and or resembled firearms of any sort. If Tracon in particular keeps the same rules going forward, I'm gonna salute it farewell and start attending 18+ events like Desucon instead or other conventions, that gives you as a cosplayer more freedom. This is because I nowadays mostly do characters that have a historical source of inspiration (Hetalia, Kantai Collection, Azur Lane etc.) and sit on plenty of characters with either uniform inspired designs and/or bigger weapons. Tracon is gonna give me a hard time with these costumes, so no thanks mate I'm moving on!

Also Indiana Jolly, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your Cursed Jack Sparrow costume, that one blew my mind when I saw it the first time! It's arrrsome!

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