Life Out There with Faith Roswell

As a Wasteland Warrior, Faith Roswell is no stranger to the European post-apocalyptic scene. But as an established travel blogger, she’s also no stranger to what the rest of the world has to offer.

Faith hails from the UK and may be best known for her blog “Life Out There” which covers her travels all around the world, specifically at events that focus on the post-apocalyptic side of things.

“I’ve always been interested in the end of the world,” Faith tells me, “especially the ways in which people would relate to each other, and over time my style evolved until I looked as though I’d walked out of a Mad Max film.”

Faith’s interest grew deeper as she found herself wanting to learn more and more about real life experiences with this genre. “There are just so many ways the world can end, so many approaches to the genre in films and books, and the fact that it is such a genuine threat makes it fascinating to discuss!

“For a long time, I thought I was the only strange survivalist-type weirdo walking around in giant boots but as soon as I learned about Wasteland Weekend, I decided I’d go the next year no matter what. So that’s what I did in 2016!”

Photo by: Event Master Photography

As a former professional model, Faith knows how to work the camera, as evident by her Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. She says that she started her blog as a “travelling clothes horse” but soon realized that her large following was more interested in her travel stories than her photoshoots.

“So I started a new blog for my adventures and it grew from there! I now write about my adventures around the world – especially urbex (urban exploring aka looking around abandoned places), covering the ‘how to’ of solo exploring, sharing travel tips and pictures… and have a ‘no yoga poses on a mountain’ guarantee.”

Faith considers herself a professional adventurer now, spending all of her time and energy on her craft. “I travel the world visiting abandoned buildings and vehicles, unusual festivals, hidden sculptures, local legends, and interesting communities – and then I come home and write about them. I’ve filmed documentaries and done some public speaking about my experiences and though I’m usually asked about urbex, I’m also a huge fan of anything postapocalyptic – I’ve visited four countries for major events so far, and I’m planning my fifth for 2018.”

Life Out There has evolved into quite an adventure in itself, spanning the gamut from a beginner’s guide to Wasteland Weekend to a week-long log exploring abandoned prisons in Romania to “a visit to one of Belgium’s most notoriously guarded castles.”

Plus, Faith offers more tips and tricks for those looking to live out a similar adventure, including “a full-disclosure guide to how I travel so cheaply, skills to learn in case of an apocalypse, and my ‘Seven Dubious Wonders of the World.’

“I’m planning some giveaways at the moment,” she continues. “I’ll be giving a notebook just like my own journal away, with personal messages from me, extracts from my travel diary, postcards from current tours, and bonus tips for adventurers! Instructions will be on my Facebook and Instagram pages.”

Back in January, I interviewed Chris and Mika from Rad Roach Gear, who are part of the European Wasteland Warrior scene. Faith is also a member of that elite group of costumers, so I asked her how she got involved. Was there an initiation? Did she have to sacrifice anything?

“I introduced myself in a Wasteland Weekend forum and found an email in my inbox the next day, asking me if I’d like to join the Warriors at Wacken Open Air metal festival, as a prospective member. I already followed the team on social media but it didn’t click that it was THE Wasteland Warriors until more of the team started mailing me and I recognised their profile pictures.

“Wacken was my first major music festival and I hadn’t thought to check the line-up. I was on a nine-hour bus journey when I thought I should probably do that. When I saw Iron Maiden, Ministry, Steel Panther, and Twisted Sister listed, my screech woke up half the bus. Whoops…”

Faith also had her first go at cage fighting at Wacken – an experience I’m sure she won’t soon forget. “I was ridiculously nervous but I was fighting against friends and we’re all super supportive of each other – and I happened to win my first one! You’ll definitely see more of my character “The Deathhawk” in the cage…”

Faith’s current ventures have taken her all over the world as she strives to see each and every abandoned corner that lacks the love from mainstream blogs.

“I got to experience Junktown for the first time. It’s a postapocalyptic festival in the Czech Republic. The climate and atmosphere is very different to Wasteland Weekend and I love both! Junktown is based around an abandoned military base with bunkers and permanent structures built by the tribes, which they work on and revisit throughout the year! It’s definitely worth a visit, especially to certain places in the grounds which are home to some very interesting and elaborate legends about the ‘new world.'”

“I visited two ‘free’ communities – Christiania in Denmark and Slab City in California – before heading back to the Mojave for Wasteland Weekend 2017… but you’ll have to visit my blog to see what happened there!”

As for her next adventure, she says that it will be a bit closer to home. “I’m doing a cyberpunk tour of London, and then I’m planning my travels for next year. It’s going to be even more action-packed than this one and might possibly include two new countries for me to explore.”

Photo by: So Say We All Photography

As I often like to do with these interviews, I had to ask about any advice for those looking to share a similar experience as Faith’s. Since her expertise spans both blogging and costuming, I figured that this would be a good time to get some wise words on both topics.

“Costuming is always a work in progress; I don’t think a single person I know feels their outfit is 100% finished! It will evolve over time. Watch videos on Youtube; Nuclear Snail is excellent and many of the Wasteland Warriors members have their own channels for costuming. Pinterest is full of ideas… and the Wasteland advice is: ‘needs more dirt!’ If you think your outfit is weathered enough, it probably still needs more dirt.

“For bloggers, find a niche and then consistently fill that market. It can take time to build a following which can be really disheartening. Sometimes it feels as though nobody is looking at or caring about what you do but you have to stick with it if it’s your passion!”

Greetings from the Humungus: An Interview with Jim “Tank” Dorsey and Faye Murman

Faye Murman gave up her comfortable New York photojournalist job to follow a nearly naked man around the world. If that sounds crazy to you, then you might not know Jim “Tank” Dorsey.

Luckily for you, Faye is working on a documentary about Tank, his friends, and the intense dedication they give to portraying their favorite Mad Max characters.

“In a nutshell, what this documentary is about is the world of Mad Max cosplay, which I didn’t know existed until I started this documentary,” she described to me in an interview we did for the Through the Aftermath podcast. “It’s about a global group of friends who are just so enthusiastic about this really specific thing, and it’s told through the point of view of Tank, who I would think most people would agree is the leader of this group.”

Faye rides along on the Humungus Machine while filming at Wasteland Weekend 2016. Photo courtesy of Faye Murman

The feature-length documentary — entitled “Humungus: A Documentary” –is Murman’s first, and something that she believes is worth the sacrifice. “This has changed my life in every facet imaginable,” she revealed. “I knew that Tank was just as dedicated to this project as me, and that gave me enough confidence to jump ship and — to say a corny cliche — to follow my dreams.”

The Humungus documentary started filming last June, making the last 10 months something of a whirlwind adventure for Faye and Tank. Although she admits that she had no idea who Tank’s Lord Humungus character was when she first met him during an interview for her previous job, working on this film has quickly turned her into a fan of the franchise. During that time, she has filmed him at Dragon Con, Wasteland Weekend, and various Comic Cons around the country where Tank makes his rounds not only as Lord Humungus, but almost a dozen other characters. And Faye even talked about joining Tank in a few of his costume groups for Dragon Con this year.

A month-long trip to the Australian outback is what really turned the tide for Murman, where she admits that she found the voice and true vision for her film. Not only that, but the people of Broken Hill and the Silverton area where Road Warrior was filmed all seemed to have their own Mad Max stories, whether it was someone’s relative on the set construction crew or a paramedic on scene during the filming. “It was like shooting fish in a barrel, finding people with Mad Max stories,” Faye said.

Faye and Tank at Winter Con 2016. Photo courtesy of Faye Murman

But it was a surprise lunch with Hugh Keays-Byrne that really made the trip that much more remarkable. “When he walked in, I looked at Tank and said, ‘Oh my God, it’s the Toecutter!'” In addition to Mr. Keays-Byrne, Faye and Tank were also able to interview Bruce Spence (the Gyrocopter Pilot), Emil Minty (the Feral Kid), Vernon Wells (Wez), Kjell Nilsson (Lord Humungus), Virginia Hey (Warrior Woman), and a few other stunt men and people who worked behind-the-scenes on the films.

“The moment that Tank approached Kjell, dressed as Lord Humungus, that was the first time that those two had ever laid eyes on each others,” Faye described. “It was a moment that I stressed about for a month, and don’t even ask me how I slept the night before. Because if I screwed this up, how could go on with myself?”

Turns out, Tank and the original Lord Humungus really hit it off in what Faye describes as “the most wonderful bromance.” Tank even picked up on mannerisms and personality traits that linked him to the Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rolla actor himself. “I’m listening to him tell stories in his very animated way,” Tank recalled, “and the fish is getting a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger, and I’m going, ‘Oh my God, that’s how I tell stories!'”

All of these brushes with fame started to establish a level of attention for themselves. “We got treated like a bit of a celebrity while we were in Silverton,” Tank said. “We made the newspaper twice, we got on the radio twice, we were on the evening news one night.”

Tank and Faye take a break from the Wasteland Weekend desert heat. Photo courtesy of Faye Murman

But none of this should come as a surprise to those who have had the pleasure of interacting with Tank. He has a certain element of charisma that combines well with his work ethic and attention to detail. “There’s something about Tank,” Faye mused. “People are just drawn to him and they come to him and they ask him these really sincere questions in earnest. They look up to him. It’s so honest, the look in their eyes. Tank has something that other people can acknowledge, whether it’s subconsciously or not, and whatever Tank has in him, it inspires. And I think that people see the work that Tank puts into this passion and I think they think, ‘Yeah, I have a costume but it could be ten times better if I changed X, Y, and Z. Let me step up my game here. Look at what this guy’s doing and look how […] successful he is.’ I think that bringing this movie to a wider audience, a global audience, hopefully sparks that same kind of enthusiasm and dedication to the audience that it does to people Tank comes across in real life.”

The documentary should take another year or so in post-production, plus Faye says that she wants to grab a few more shots at Wasteland Weekend in late September of this year. After that, it will be handed over to a few editor friends who are graciously volunteering their expertise to get this film done.

But there’s one scene that Faye has already dogeared as the finale for the film’s newly discovered vision. “There Tank was in all his glory, dressed up as Humungus, just living this moment, just reveling in this moment. His back was to the camera, and I’m not gonna lie, my eyes filled up with tears because in that moment I knew I had the closing shot.”

You can listen to the complete audio interview with Tank and Faye in the player below or over at Episode 64 of the Through the Aftermath podcast, and you can learn more about the documentary at its official Facebook page.



The King of the Body Swap: An Interview with Thomas ‘Cupcake’ McElroy

Thomas “Cupcake” McElroy has been wrenching on cars since he was a kid, thanks to his father’s love of the classics like a 1956 Cadillac Coupe or 1968 Fleetwood. “I was more into the smaller, faster things like the ’60s Mustangs,” Cupcake told me. “I do appreciate the big stuff more now. Have two Cadillac Hearses now myself.”

McElroy says he got into the whole post-apocalyptic scene because he doesn’t believe that every single car is worth a frame-off restoration. “With a trailer queen car you don’t get to play with it once it’s done. I like cars I can take out and drive and not worry about a scuff on the paint.”

Photo Credit: Fantasies Muse Photography

Some of Wasteland Weekend’s most iconic cars were built by Cupcake, including the 1967 Mustang Fastback 4×4 that Spud Innit citied as “the standard of post-apocalyptic perfection” in our previous interview with him. And although Cupcake acknowledges that his cars all seem to have a theme (rebodied onto a 4×4 chassis), he says that he’s been branching out more lately. “Most recently I took an old two-seater race buggy and outfitted it someplace between a bug-out vehicle and a military desert buggy.”

But it always comes back to those iconic four-wheel drives. “There was the ’99 Toyota Camry we put on a ’96 full size Bronco chassis for an episode of Top Gear USA. I heard that the Roadkill guys have it in their collection now. We built the video game Borderlands truck out of a mid ’80s Suburban for a live action commercial a few years back. Now owned by a couple of friends of mine. A long time ago I put a ’53 Pontiac on a full size Bronco chassis for a customer. Don’t know if that one still exists.”

And Cupcake’s favorite build is still that ’67 Mustang. “There is my everyday driver car, a ’67 Mustang fastback on a lengthened ’60s Bronco chassis. It’s been used in a couple of music videos and an off-color feature.” He names it his favorite build mainly because he built it 100% himself. “All the other builds were with friends or on a crew. Start to finish this one is mine. No one else had anything to do with it.”

Photo Credit: Canon X Magik 2015

With that Mustang being so loved by the Wasteland community, Cupcake repays the love with respect for a few favorites of his own. Lockjaw, Spud Innit’s ’57 Chevy Bel Air body on a ’96 Silverado chassis, strikes a certain nerve with Cupcake. “Something about a classic muscle car done up the way you want to. Not like every other tri-5 Chevy out there.”

McElroy is also a big fan of Ted Thompson’s latest project: a 50’s Cadillac sitting on a 6×6 deuce-and-a-half frame. “Can’t wait to see that one in person.”
At this year’s Wasteland Weekend, Cupcake hopes to bring a few new projects he’s working on. “Actually have three going on right now,” he mentioned.


“Proceeding slowly at best. Another 4×4 Mustang I bought that needs a bunch of work to make it safe. The work is really bad on it. A ’67 Cougar for my wife. Not sure how PA it will be. Maybe a PA street car of sorts. And a 4×4 Hearse that I had to lengthen a Chevy truck chassis over two feet.”

Photo Credit: Douglas Sonders

With all of these body swaps and monster builds, Cupcake is no stranger to making a badass car. While everyone has a different view of what actually makes a post-apocalyptic vehicle, it’s that classic car with big tires ripping through the desert sand that gets us right in the feels every time.

So what type of advice does a man with Cupcake’s experience have for the rest of us looking to get started? “There are so many places now to get inspiration from. And don’t be afraid to do something different. Do things you want no matter what others may think.

“This genre is not for everyone and there will always be someone that hates it no matter what you do. With that being said, I find there are 2 ways to build a PA car. Cheaper is either find a car (or your current ride) and do stuff to it. More expensive and harder are to build something specific. Like, ‘Hey I want to build a Mustang like yours!’ That (as well as trying to copy a movie car) can get stupid expensive. And don’t be afraid to talk to car builders and pick their brains. Most all of us are very open to share ideas and processes and even help on your build if it works out.”

Photo Credit: Pacific Pro Digital, Glenn Francis

But most of all, Cupcake wants to make sure, as a new builder, you don’t get overwhelmed with the tiny details that might be confusing in the beginning of each build. “There is no one answer that fits all the different builds. Learn and figure out things as you get to them. You will start looking at things differently, too. Like making that piece of discarded guard rail on the side of the road into a bumper, etc.”


Header image credit: Jeff Vaillancourt Photography, 2014

For the Enclave! An Interview with Dominique de Leon Cosplay

Dominique de Leon is well-known for her craft, but the 21-year-old costumer and prop-maker has some secrets about making a name for herself in such a short time.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about giveaways, it’s not about posting everyday, it’s about posting interesting, unique content and engaging with your fans!”

Dominique has been making costumes for almost four years, starting off in her parents’ basement, and recently expanding into a workshop in her own California home. When a friend invited her to FanimeCon in San Jose, she was hooked.

“The first costume I ever made was San from Princess Mononoke,” she recalls. “I thought it was the best costume ever, even though I was wearing blue jean shorts and Ugg boots. At the time, I felt like the coolest person ever! I was inspired by the other amazing cosplayers I saw there; some of them are actually some of my best friends today! I just wanted to learn more so I watched lots of Youtube videos and talked to other builders.”

Eventually, Dominique started building post-apocalyptic costumes based on some of her biggest pop culture influences. “If you look at my work you can tell that 90% of it is replicas from video games and 10% original designs. I am heavily influenced by Fallout and Mad Max. I have also made video game costumes from other genres besides post-apocalyptic, like my Daedric armor from Skyrim and Garrus Vakarian from the Mass Effect series.”

Interestingly enough, Dominique’s all-time favorite prop is also the same prop named as the favorite of Chris Hockett in our last costumer interview: the Multiplas Rifle from Fallout New Vegas. Dominique’s version was commissioned for a customer and it features 18 different LEDs and a super sturdy build that she was especially proud of creating. But it is hard to pick just one favorite when you’re as talented as Dominique.

“Another one of my favorite props was my Bandit Shotgun from Borderlands. I really love that piece because it looks like it is straight out of the game. My favorite part of propmaking is when I get to paint, and there was so much of it (on this one)! In order to get the cartoony look you need to know where to put the highlights and outlines.”

Her Borderlands paint work is not only exceptional on her props, but also her costumes. A now-famous selfie she took in a hotel bathroom at Dragon Con has become viral, garnering an untold number of shares and likes across Facebook, Twitter, and especially Instagram.

When it comes to new ideas for a fresh project, Dominique says that she is usually most creative when a subject is fresh in her mind. “Like a game that I just played or a movie I recently watched. For example, my next two big projects are Doom Guy and Trico from the Last Guardian. But sometimes it’s just my favorite all-time characters!”

She even comments on how much her technique has grown and evolved in those four short years. “I used to be limited by my skills and experience but after almost four years of practice and trial and error that is no longer an obstacle. I can make anything I put my mind to.”

Dominique and her fiance Zach team up to make costumes that they consider to be unique, most of all. While the focus is on detail and quality of work, Dominique also has a strong focus on making costumes that most people just don’t make for whatever reason. This is especially evident with her Enclave power armor. “Most power armor cosplays are Brotherhood. I chose to go with Enclave because I LOVED the design and no one else was doing it. I like to think that they are very in game accurate.”

Dominique is a regular at several fan-based cons around the country, showcasing her wide variety of costume genres, but her best post-apocalyptic work comes out at Wasteland Weekend every year.

“I have SO much fun at Wasteland. It’s my home away from home. I am apprehensive about making original designs but I am so proud of the few that we have made and I can’t wait to come up with more.”

Dominique’s Wasteland Weekend line-up usually includes her Borderlands and Fallout kits, but she enjoys original creations as well. “I get artist’s block quite often when trying to come up with an original design or concept, but I am particularly proud of my Fallout-inspired Enclave military wasteland jacket. It was my only original to date that I had a clear direction from concept to completion. I’m also a sucker for anything Enclave so it makes me happy that I could include that in the outfit without it screaming Fallout.”

When asked about any advice she may have for new propmakers and costumers, she had some pointers that are important in any situation. “First of all, make sure it’s something within your skill level. There is nothing worse than working on something that is too hard and getting upset with it. Cosplay should always be fun!”

References are also a key part of Dominique’s research for any costume or prop, as well as advice from those who have already been through the same trials and errors as you will be facing. “A lot of cosplayers would love to talk about their work with you. That’s one of my favorite parts of becoming a known cosplayer. I love helping people and giving advice. People are sometimes surprised then I answer their DMs because they think I’m ‘famous’ and don’t have time to answer their questions. The truth is I’m just a person. It makes me so happy that my silly costumes I made in my parents’ garage can inspire you! I am lucky enough to now have my own home with space for a workshop room so now I have even more time to devote to this amazing hobby that I love so much and is such a huge part of my life.”

But once you have your technique down, have created a few pieces that you’re proud to show off, and are ready to show the world, where do you take it from there? Dominique has some great advice for promotion as well.

“One of the biggest things I did for myself when I decided I wanted more traction to my social media pages was ask bigger pages to please share my work. I had interesting and unique content which I know was a big part of it. Having Bethesda share my Enclave power armor and the official Borderlands page share my Psycho and Kreig were huge honors and got me TONS of traffic.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about giveaways, its not about posting everyday; it’s about posting interesting, unique content and engaging with your fans! There is nothing more special then someone recognizing you at a con and getting to talk with them.

“And no matter how big you get, stay humble.”

Cover Photo by Eurobeat Kasumi Photography. Mouse over images below for photo credits.

Building Fallout Props on a Budget with Chunk-A-Nuke Props

Christopher Hockett got into the post-apocalyptic culture just like I imagine the rest of us did: he grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. Mad Max, Waterworld, The Postman, Escape From New York, and The Day After are all movies Chris cites as influences for not only the way he was raised, but also his style of propmaking.

Chunk-A-Nuke Props is Christopher’s brainchild he began after running across a AER9 Laser Rifle build from Volpin Props about eight years ago. “I have always been crafty since I was little and figured I would give it a go,” he said about duplicating the iconic Fallout 3 weapon.

But Chunk-A-Nuke isn’t all about expensive materials and fancy technology; Chris prides himself on making the best props on a tight budget. “I just have this thing for repurposing,” he told me. “And the way the clothing, armor, and weapons have this grimy, rusty, and hastily thrown-together look due to using whatever you can find laying around to make what you’re crafting serve a purpose, even if it is not what that piece was originally intended for.

“I would have to say that I am a repurposer or just a Cheap-o,” he continued. “I don’t exactly have the money that other big name prop builders have and I don’t want to let that stop me from doing what I love, so I use trash, common household items, and freebies. I try to spend as little as possible. It’s a challenge but that’s how I like it.”

Chris also goes by the name LIBERTYprime (or, at times, L1B3RTYPR1M3) in most of his professional work, dating back to an old moniker he came up with for The Wasteland Outpost forum. That site and community helped him create his first build: a suit of T45d Brotherhood Outcast armor and matching Gatling Laser from Fallout 3. “I still have them both on display with my Fallout collection,” he said. “I don’t think I can ever bring myself to get rid of them as they hold a special place in my heart. I love just looking at them and remembering how it all started for me.”

But Chris admits that his technique hasn’t changed much over the years, aside from his painting style. “I still use trash and whatever freebies I can.” In fact, a Multiplas Rifle that he credits as his favorite work so far was built using electronics that Chris wasn’t sure would even work. “It was quite a challenge for me to build due to the overall shape and the electronics. I’m still surprised I was able to get the lights to work with the junk I used.”

Right now, the goal with these props and costumes is to have the largest Fallout prop collection anywhere. “I think I’m pretty close if not already there,” he said. But aside from the collection, he hopes to just keep making props that people will enjoy. “I really just want to inspire people to get out there and build something.”

That inspiration comes in so many forms with Chunk-A-Nuke’s portfolio, but the underlying lesson here is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make something memorable. “Don’t let funds, lack of tools, or your skill set get in the way of getting out there and just building something because there is always a way,” Chris offers. “Take as much constructive criticism as you can and don’t get upset when someone says that you can improve on something. It may hurt your feelings a bit when you spent so much time on something but I know it has helped me tremendously and I actually look forward to people pointing out the flaws in my work. Not everyone out there is trying to be a troll.”

From Rat Bikes to Jet Cars: An Interview with Spud Innit

When I first hatched the idea of creating the Aftermath event website with helpful interviews featuring some of the most prominent people in the Wasteland scene, Spud Innit topped the list of car builders I knew I had to feature. He has built some of my personal favorites out at Wasteland Weekend, and has been an integral part of the annual California event itself.

Not only is custom car building a passion of Spud’s, but it’s also his career. Current owner of Lord Spud’s Motorcycle Emporium, and former owner of S&M Customs in England, Spud has been building Mad Max style rat bikes and vehicles since he was 17 years old.

“When I first started out all I really had to work with was a hacksaw and a hammer,” he recalled. “But I’ve gotten smarter about it now.”

Spud has been featured in Awol Magazine at the age of 18 with several other published features under his belt since. When he moved from England to California, he brought his love of all things ratty along with him. And then he discovered Wasteland Weekend.

“When I first joined the event I was part of a very talented group of people building set pieces for the event, including the stage, main gates, Atomic Café, and Wastey the Crane. During the last few years I have had the opportunity to branch back into building vehicles and have done many bikes and cars.”

It’s these vehicles that have gained Spud more nation-wide attention as Wasteland Weekend’s – and the post-apocalyptic genre’s in general – popularity has exploded. So I asked Spud to describe his most notable vehicles that have been showcased at Wasteland Weekend.

“Screwloose: This massive people mover is a tribute truck built after Max’s camel truck in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome,” he said. “It started life as a 1987 Ford F250 diesel that was owned by our good friend Matthew Nelson, a member of Deathguild who approached us to build the truck in 2015. We stripped it of all the body work but the cab and set to work building a custom steel exoskeleton with long bench seats running down either side where the bed used to be. It has four removable steel ribs which support the canvas shade that covers the back of the vehicle, giving it that iconic ‘covered wagon’ look. We then found 36 15×15.5 flotation tires to carry this behemoth across the desert. This required extensive work on the truck to get them to fit. It is now an unstoppable, all-terrain people mover, and carries our camp mates across the desert at both Burning Man and Wasteland Weekend. Screwloose took “Best Survival Vehicle” at the Wasteland World Car Show in 2016.

“Rapture: What looks like an unassuming, flat black golf cart, is really a roaring beast on four wheels. Underneath the golf cart body work is the motor and full suspension of a Raptor 660 quad. The motor is held in place by custom fabricated motor mounts, and it may well be the fastest and scariest golf cart that ever was. (Seriously, somebody is probably going to get injured on this thing someday). Rapture also boasts a custom fabricated shifter by Cupcake and my own custom steering wheel and controls.

“The Widowmaker, aka Loophole: A two-person stand-up scooter with 25-inch ATV tires. It is run by an 80cc Honda Elite scooter motor, which has had the gear box removed, my own custom driveline, and has been converted to run on propane. (Dinosaur farts!) My wife did all the cosmetic welding, most notably the steel spider-webbed floorboard. An ammo can on the side provides counterweight against the motor for balance, and also holds the battery and propane canister, along with 2 spare canisters. Loophole took first place in the Puddle Jumper category at Wasteland Weekend 2016.

“Lockjaw: A 1957 Chevy Bel Air, which has been mounted on a shortened 1996 1500 Silverado Chassis. (We cut 26 inches out of it!) This rust riddled monster boasts 42-inch super swamper tires on the back, and 37s on the front, giving it an aggressive rake, reminiscent of the vehicles in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. We removed the trunk lid and welded in a reinforced standing platform in the back, perfect for screaming ferals to hurl thundersticks from, and threw a nice cushy futon in as a back seat. (Soon to be replaced by the bench seat out of an old Suburban). The electronics and fuel injection were immediately removed to keep it as simple as possible and replaced with a two-barrel carburetor and HEI distributor. This vehicle goes to Burning Man as well as Wasteland Weekend, and playa has a notorious reputation for ruining electronics. It also boasts twin vertical exhaust stacks, and a custom tunnel ram. Like Rapture, it has a signature custom steering wheel and shifter, along with a custom steering column and Blazer seats. We co-own this baby with Nathan Cox of Deathguild, and while she made her debut and was well-received at Wasteland Weekend 2016, we are not done with her yet. Lady Ares has been planning some aesthetic upgrades in conjunction with Nathan Cox, and plans have her completely finished by Wasteland Weekend 2017.

“The most notable bike would be Beastie, a custom GPZ700 survival bike built for my good friend Doug Corbin. It’s my signature style that has followed me from England, with wide bars, a huge fuel tank, low seat, and knobbly ATV tires. It is built to go anywhere, anytime, and has no issues with any kind of terrain. Beastie won ‘Best Technical Motorcycle’ at the first ever Wasteland World Car Show in 2016.

“Maggie O’Monster is a pair of Suzuki GSX600s welded side-by-side and electronically synchronized to power a custom-built dual-sport chassis. Nothing on this vehicle is stock. From the suspension, to the brakes, to the steering, every inch of this vehicle was fabricated from scratch. She seats two but does have a standing platform directly behind the passenger and driver’s seats. It was built in conjunction with Matthew Jane, who is also part of the Wasteland Weekend build crew.”

Despite these award-winning masterpieces, Spud plans to ramp it up even further for this year’s Wasteland Weekend. The agenda includes serious upgrades to the Mutt (a former Wasteland Weekend vehicle currently owned by members of the Deathguild), several new bikes (including one with a sidecar), the ultimate post-apocalyptic work truck made from his own “trusted and beloved” Chevy dually, and… a jetcar.

“The jet car is being built around a jet engine. It is a Marborough MK 5, which produces 880 foot-lbs of thrust at full throttle (also drinks 18 gallons of fuel a minute). Lord Spud’s Motorcycle Emporium: speeding through the apocalypse in style!”

Photo by Fantasies Muse Photography

At this point, I asked Spud about Wasteland cars that he admires but didn’t build himself. “It would have to be Cupcake’s Banshee,” he told me, referring to Thomas “Cupcake” McElroy’s 1967 Ford Mustang. “That Mustang is the standard of post-apocalyptic perfection. Everything from the build quality, to its functionality, reliability, and aesthetic appeal, is the example I give everybody who asks ‘What makes a good PA car?’ My wife affectionately refers to it as ‘sex on wheels’ and drools over it constantly.”

And with all of his years of experience, knowledge, and creativity in this field, I just had to find out what kind of advice he would give to others looking to turn their own car into something worthy of the apocalypse.

“If you insist on turning your daily driver into a wasteland vehicle, my advice to you is this: think practicality, both for the future apocalypse and now,” he advised. “For example, keep your vehicle road legal. This eliminates having to haul it to events on a trailer, which after a while can get very, very tedious. And probably most importantly, keep the doors on! It’s the apocalypse. What better way for a raider to steal your ride than to shoot you right through the side of your open vehicle? Doors also provide valuable protection from the elements, which believe me, you won’t realize until they are gone.”

I want to give a special thanks to Spud for this wonderful interview, which I hope helps a few of you with your own vehicles. Next up on the car-builder interview agenda is the Godfather of the Wasteland himself, Ron Griffith. Look for that interview coming soon!

Cover photo by Mark Matcho.

8 Ways to Create the Perfect Post-Apoc Duds for Aftermath


Don’t be content to just find a garment and use it ‘as is.’

Tear off the sleeves, rip out the lining, add patches, cut one pant leg short. Add pieces of your profession, tools, weapons, pouches, war trophies, bones, feathers, animal furs or skulls.
Don’t be afraid to make pieces unique and unusual. Tie it to a rope and drag it behind your vehicle, tear all the stitches out of the seams and sew it back together with something weird, stain or custom dye it, cut or tear off the cuffs, collar, pockets etc.
The world of the Aftermath is one of scarcity and want, finding a matching pair of anything would be nearly impossible. Consider wearing mismatched gloves, two different boots, adding an odd sleeve onto a garment that obviously doesn’t match.
Scarcity should be the rule of thumb in the wasted world.
You don’t necessarily have to be armored from head to toe like a tank, but you might consider having a few strategic pieces here and there to protect you. And remember, armor doesn’t just serve to protect, it can also serve to strike fear and awe in the hearts of your enemies!
You’re a survivor in the Aftermath, sometimes you have to make due with things you can salvage. That means, make use of things in ways they weren’t intended to be used.
Make an elbow pad into a knee pad or a mask, use a leather garter belt as a bra, use a grimy dishrag as a scarf, make some slotted spoons into protective eyewear, tear up an old tent to make a jacket. Be creative!
The most important part! The Aftermath is a rough and tumble place full of hardscrabble survivors, your clothes should reflect that idea.
Sure colors existed before the end came down on us, but in the Aftermath, everything has gotten so filthy and grime coated, you can hardly tell red from brown these days. Be sure to keep your colors muted and dirty. The Aftermath is not a day-glow rave or a brightly colored affair.
Everyone’s occupation and environment will wear their clothing in different ways. Be sure that they have an appropriate level of damage, wear, weathering and grime to reflect WHO you are and WHERE you come from.
Remember, everything you wear and carry with you has been touched by the filthy world that is the Aftermath.
We want to see the best and most original version of your post apocalyptic self.
Please don’t show up as the Post-Apoc version of your favorite comic book character, or the PA version of your favorite cartoon/video game, or the PA version of your favorite sci-fi show character, that’s like painting the rebel flag on your Stormtrooper armor and showing up at your local Civil War reenactment; it makes no sense.
Save those PA hybrid costumes for your favorite con. Instead, we urge Aftermath participants to create their own unique and original looks.
While weapons seem like a given as part of any realistic post-apoc impression, safety should be the first order of business around other people or at events.
Any guns you bring as part of your outfit should be painted up toy guns or weapons that have been rendered non-firing. Likewise, bladed weapons should stay sheathed or blunt enough not to hurt people.
Additionally, no one wants to run into you in the Aftermath and get their eye poked out or tetanus from the sharp pointy bits on your costume. Design your outfit to have the post apocalyptic aesthetic, but with real world safety in mind.
So much of your outfit will create itself if you just give some thought to who you are supposed to be in the Aftermath and what you do to survive.
Are you a fast-moving raider who has to travel light and hide his identity? Are you a black finger who stays greasy and carries all his own rusty tools? Are you a grizzled gun-for-hire who needs to be armored up? Are you a member of a cult whose robes are emblazoned with the symbols of your beliefs?

Giving a little thought to WHO you’re supposed to represent on the front end can make putting together your outfit easier in the long run. Your clothing should tell the story of who you are as a survivor in the Aftermath.
For more examples of what type of costume you should bring to Aftermath, check out our Pinterest page.

By Hand and Beard: An Interview with Schlieber Didl of Deadbeard Props

An unfortunate fire accident and a love of Skyrim came together to help create one of the best up-and-comers in the world of post-apocalyptic propmaking: Deadbeard Props.

Owner and designer Schlieber Didl created the one-man shop back in 2014 as a hobby to build props and costumes he admired from movies and video games, but it was a clash with fire that led to the unique name. “I picked the name because I’ve grown my beard since I was a teenager,” the Austrian native told me. “So my friends joked about beards and names like blackbeard and metalbeard, because I am a metalhead (black and deathmetal).” A shop fire damaged his beard so badly that he had to shave it all off, and Deadbeard Props was born.
Self-described as a mix of “sometimes chaotic, complicated, and improvised,” Schlieber says that his style is also a healthy dose of accuracy with a keen attention to detail.

The 34-year-old currently works as a gardener for his family’s business, but spent 12 years building custom interiors and fiberglass body kits for cars. While he has had no formal artistic training, he credits the car customizing job as an inspiration for learning to do things by hand.

“I started out knowing nothing about propmaking but now I’m to a level where I can say that I can build nearly everything I want,” he described. “It took a lot of practicing, trying out material and learning how to use them, but that was the fun part. I learned everything by myself with tutorials and a lot of asking, trying, and listening to advice from propbuilder friends I met in the last 2-3 years since I started.”

Schlieber’s first build was from Bethesda’s Skyrim, but since then he’s enjoyed making masks, weapons, helmets, and other props from Borderlands, Mad Max, and Fallout. “I only build things from games and movies I like. Maybe if Bethesda would bring out a new open world game, I would build things from that game,” he joked.

When Deadbeard Props started, there were only a handful of propmakers out there making tutorials and videos, but Schlieber soaked them all up. “Thanks to Youtube videos from Punished Props, Volpin Props, SKS Props, Folkenstal, Jarman Props (and many more) for inspiration and motivation. And when I see something I like and want to own and place in my gaming room, I build it. Playing games and looking at other artists’ work is my inspiration.”

Out of everything he’s made since 2014, Schlieber names his NCR Ranger costume from Fallout New Vegas as his favorite. “It was my first helmet, EVA foam, and weapon build,” he said. “This was the point where I began to work on costumes and helmets. Helmets are my fav.”

Schlieber’s current projects include several of the most iconic props and costumes from both Fallout 3 and 4. From Fallout 3, he’s building the Alien Blaster, helmets for the Hellfire Trooper and the Mechanist (yes, the Fallout 3 Mechanist) which he hopes to eventually turn into full costumes. And from Fallout 4 he’s working on the complete version of the Mechanist from that game, plus the Thirst Zapper, the Super Sledge, and a collection of Nuka Cola bottles. “I want to own a complete set of all Nuka Cola in the game,” he said.

He has also very recently been getting into 3D modelling and printing, thanks to some help from his brother and 3D Fusion. “I don’t like 3D printing very much but for fasten up some builds it will be helpful,” he said on his website when he announced his adventures with the 3D tools. “Some tiny and rounded greeblie parts are too time consuming to build and this is why I decided to go the next step into future.”

But as busy as Schlieber is with these ongoing projects, he beams at the idea of passing on his own knowledge down to the next “generation” of propbuilders. “Try to learn everything about everything and don’t stop practicing,” he advises. “Don’t be shy to ask other propbuilders for advice and help, and always try to make your stuff as good and accurate as possible.

“Challenge yourself to get better and better. Build things you like, not things because other people build it.”

A big thanks goes out to Schlieber for doing the interview, and be sure to follow along with his work on his Facebook and Instagram pages. Next up on the agenda is Joe from Daedalus Cosplay, so look for that one coming soon!

An Interview with Wasteland Car Builder Dave ‘Max’ Giovanni

Dave “Max” Giovanni is the first to tell you that he’s not a professional car builder or even mechanic, but he has built some of the most iconic post-apocalyptic replica vehicles in the Wasteland community. “I don’t have any special skills,” he told me. “My fabrication ability is almost completely self-taught. If I can do it, anyone can!”

Dave lives near the heart of classic American Muscle — Detroit, Michigan — where he works as a firefighter and once served his country overseas as a U.S. Marine. If you’ve ever seen the Lord Humungus machine at Wasteland Weekend or Dragon Con, you’ve seen Dave’s work. In addition to the replicas he’s built from The Road Warrior, he also built the Thunder Machine from the GI Joe cartoon and comics, as well as a couple original creations.

Photo by Jason Smith

“The first vehicle I built was a grey pickup for the Dragon Con parade in 2006,” Dave said. “We called it Marv the Impaler; Marv from Sin City because it was grey, ugly, and beat up, and Vlad the Impaler because of the giant speargun I mounted in the bed. The speargun could swivel and elevate. Marv also had twin prisoner frames on the front, a loudspeaker system, and various other post apocalyptic badassedness.”

Not long after, Dave started work on a 1992 Camaro that would eventually go through two post-apocalyptic treatments. The first iteration was known as the Hellcat, and the second was the Dreadnok Thunder Machine. “The Camaro had been in an accident beforehand, and with its numerous dents and scrapes it was perfect for a post apocalyptic vehicle,” he recalled. ” I built it for the 2007 Motor City Comic Con, and later the Dragon Con parade (again). The Hellcat had a heavily reinforced front bumper, a cool ‘hellcat’ painted on its side armor, and a flamethrower mounted where the hatchback was.” The Hellcat lived on through Dragon Con 2007, but then Dave removed all modifications and returned it to its owner.

But it was Dave’s third vehicle that garnered the most attention from fans of the genre. The Lord Humungus Machine is a six-wheeled monstrosity that was built from a 1985 Ford F150, stripped down to only the frame and engine, then rebuilt from scratch. It is based off of the vehicle driven by the Lord Humungus himself in the Road Warrior movie, and has been copied down to the smallest (working!) detail.

The Lord Humungus Machine with Jim “Tank” Dorsey at the wheel

“The Humungus Machine has a working PA system and flamethrower exhaust,” Dave described. “Among its modifications are the two extra axles, moving the steering wheel, shifter, and pedals back and centered, and semi truck exhaust stacks. I drove the Humungus Machine in numerous car cruises around Detroit, entered (and won) several car shows, and brought it to the Dragon Con parade five times! In 2014 I had it shipped out to California for Wasteland Weekend, where it has been ever since.”

During the annual Wasteland Weekend event, the vehicle is driven by Jim “Tank” Dorsey who has perfected the Lord Humungus character over the years. While Tank’s portrayal of Lord Humungus is the product of his charisma, determination, and hard work, Dave has undoubtedly played a small role in that success thanks to his Humungus Machine.

And Dave even considers that vehicle to be his favorite build so far. “It was my first true replica, easily the most extreme, and as it was road legal(ish), I got to actually drive it alongside other classic cars. It is also the meanest looking and most distinctive vehicle I’ve made. There’s nothing like driving it along in a car cruise and hearing someone yell ‘Mad Max!'”

The Thunder Machine during the Dragon Con parade

At this point, Dave had an opportunity to get his beloved Hellcat back, which he decided to use for the basis of the Thunder Machine replica. “The front end was replaced with the nose of a 1981 Trans Am. The cab was removed and replaced with a pipe framework that held the replica armor plates. The Thunder Machine had twin miniguns mounted on the front that really spin, working Halogen headlights, working police light bar, and a ‘jet engine’ that blew ‘flames’ out the back – actually silk blown by a fan. A friend helped me take the actual decals that came with the toy, scale them up, and apply them to the vehicle. The Thunder Machine made an appearance at Dragon Con 2014 and 2015, and GIJoeCon 2015.”

And from there, it was back to the Road Warrior replicas. “My latest vehicle was the Lone Wolf, another vehicle from The Road Warrior,” he said. The Lone Wolf from the movie was used as Papagallo’s car after it was captured from the marauders earlier in the film. The vehicle itself was actually reused in the third Mad Max Movie, Beyond Thunderdome, but wasn’t given the screen time it enjoyed in Road Warrior.

Dave and his Lone Wolf at Wasteland Weekend 2016

“The Lone Wolf is a silver, two-engined vehicle with a single driver’s seat,” Dave continued. ” I stripped down another old Ford truck, very similar to how I started my Humungus Machine build. The seat, shifter, steering wheel, and pedals were relocated to the center, two huge gas tanks were fabricated and welded to the sides, and an extra engine with a (nonfunctional) supercharger was mounted in the back. All the Lone Wolf’s body panels were cut and shaped from expanded metal. Custom adapters had to be fabricated to give the Lone Wolf dual rear wheels. I made the Lone Wolf specifically for Wasteland Weekend. Lord Humungus’ gang, the Dogs of War, have over a dozen distinctive vehicles. Some of these vehicles were already there, built by other fans. I wanted to add to the Dog’s fleet.”

And as you might imagine, Dave is not done building these replica vehicles from his favorite movie. His current build is the black Ford F100 from The Road Warrior, as well as the second version of the Humungus Machine. “Well, a friend of mine found a buyer for my (original) Humungus Machine. I did NOT want to part ways with my beloved vehicle, but the money was far too good to pass up.” Dave’s already planning several improvements to Humungus Machine 2.0 and promises that both it and the black F100 will be at Wasteland Weekend in September of this year.

And if that wasn’t enough, Dave also teased an additional replica build for the 2018 Wasteland Weekend, as well as the hopes of something special after that. “Maybe in 2018 I’ll make an original vehicle of my own. I have plenty of ideas for it!”

But despite his own builds, Dave says that his favorite replica car is Bill Brown’s Interceptor that has the bragging rights of being the “world’s first Fury Road Interceptor replica,” complete with modifications, dirt, and damage as shown in the latest movie. Bill’s Intercepter, as well as several other replica Interceptors, appears at Wasteland Weekend every year.

Dave’s Lone Wolf with Bill Brown’s Fury Road Interceptor

Building your own replica from the Mad Max films can be difficult these days, especially considering the fact that the movies are 30-40 years old and filmed with classic Australian muscle cars that would be rare in and of themselves. Throw in the rarity of the add-on pieces and the fabrication skill involved, and you’re looking at a serious project. Thankfully, general post-apocalyptic cars are not as difficult as they can be built using scrap metal and random car parts, but Dave offers some helpful advice on the topic.

“If you want to strip it down and put on your own body panels, get an older vehicle with a real frame. Most new cars have ‘unibody’ construction, which means the whole body of the car is part of its structural integrity. So if you were to, say, remove the roof, the car might very well fold in half. Not good. You can work off of a frame easily. Also, older cars have technology that isn’t as complex, and so they are much easier to work on, modify, and repair.

And on a lighter scale, many post-apocalyptic fans just want to make their daily drivers look a bit more “Mad Max.” Luckily, Dave has some words to say about that, too. “If you just want to make your vehicle look mean without extreme modifications, take off the hubcaps. Paint the wheels black. Wrap a chain around the bumper. Take off the doors and/or the hood. Strap some old tires to the roof. Get some temporary car paint (like kids use to show they graduated from high school) and paint your beige Volvo black.”

Staring down the barrels of the Thunder Machine’s twin machine guns at Dragon Con 2016. Photo by James Barker Photography

So there you have it! Dave Giovanni is a testament to the fact that you don’t need to be a professional to get your hands dirty on a post-apocalyptic car build of your own. Start small with some scrap metal add-ons or go all-out with a stripped-down Wasteland buggy. But if it’s something you want to do, just go for it.

I’d like to thank Dave Giovanni for talking with me about his passion, and if you know a Wasteland-style car builder who you’d like to see interviewed here, send ’em my way!

Exploring the German Postapo Scene: An Interview with Rad Roach Gear

Photo by Freitag Fotografie

If you’ve been following the current post-apocalyptic costuming and LARP trends, you may have noticed that the European scene is some serious business. No, really… they don’t mess around. Most notably is what’s going with the more hardcore events like Oldtown, Bunker Springs, Fate, Resistopia, and more. Germany has risen as a hub for the very best of this scene, in my opinion, and a couple of the recent stars to shine are Chris and Mika from Rad Roach Gear.

Photo Credit: Moritz Jendral

These two started the business in 2015 after attending their first post-apocalyptic LARP. “I came up with the name because i wanted it to sound interesting,” Chris told me. “And yet convey the message of something that is tough and has a relation to the trash we use to build some of our gear, while not sounding boring and standard.”

Being a huge fan of the Fallout series, I just had to ask if the name was inspired by the game’s squishy, mutated enemies, but Chris assures me that it’s only partially the case. “Rad is slang for radical but also means radioactive, so it comes in pretty handy. And as radroaches convey the feeling for me, we agreed to name our project Rad Roach Gear. So yep, it’s based on Fallout… kind of.”

But it’s where Rad Roach Gear has gone in such a short time that is most impressive, mostly proven by the photos in the gallery below. “Although it started with building LARP equipment, it quickly evolved into much more,” Mika said. “By now we have built show outfits, props, weapon props, decorations, and artsy shit in general. With RRG we take the freedom to create not only post-apocalyptic gear, but also stuff influenced by other genres like horror, dystopia, tribal, etc.”

Photo Credit: Moritz Jendral

In that short period of time, Rad Roach has developed a distinct style that American costumers like our previous interviewee, Larry Hastings of Vulture Production, cites as an influence. “Man, I should have made up a fancy and cool word by now,” Chris joked about naming their style. “But to keep it simple, I would describe my style as ‘art that you can wear.’ Although when I build props or decorations, I’d just say it’s ‘art.'”

Mika, on the other hand, does have a word for her style: “Fancy-shmancy raiderswag.” We couldn’t agree more.

And while it may be a lot of work for the two, Rad Roach Gear is not their full-time job. Mika is currently dividing her time among university study, work, and crafting while Chris has another job. “Building post-apocalyptic props is not really a thing that can make you a living because there is basically no market for it — even less so here in Germany. I studied Graphic Design for two and a half years, and after that i worked as a painter and decorator. But to be honest that doesn’t really matter as people who build postapo kits can come from any background whatsoever. You have lawyers, construction workers, chefs, students, etc. Basically, anyone who loves the genre can join and be creative.”

Chris’ graphic design background did help with the interpretation of his vision for RRG projects, but he cites tabletop gaming and painting miniatures as an early inspiration for what colors to use and learning how shadows work on a real 3D model.

Photo Credit: Traumerloren

Mika has always been interested in art and has several outlets for her creativity. “Next to costumes, I create a lot of jewelry, synthetic dreads, and anything else that comes into my mind,” she said. “For example, I sewed a harness last year.”

Although her post-apocalyptic work is quite amazing, she says that it’s a general direction for her that can lead to other ideas. “It can be influenced by sci-fi, tribal, military, haute couture, and much more. I’d love to do some dystopian/dark futurestuff sometime.”

You can’t just throw some random shit together and call it a post-apocalyptic outfit.

But it’s the improvements to her techniques that Mika hopes to use on these new projects. “I’ve learned different techniques to weather different materials and I’ve learned to find the proper order for the single steps while creating an outfit. But I still tend to get carried away with sewing and end up thinking, ‘Shit! You should have weathered the fabric first…’ Also, I had to learn that good things take time and that quality goes over quantity… and to not force a creative process (at least not too much!) Mistakes were made!”

Chris, however, approaches his technique from a different angle. “To be perfectly honest, my techniques really did not change that much, but I learned that you need to be patient and that a proper kit requires time and preparation. You can’t just throw some random shit together and call it a post-apocalyptic outfit. Of course, I learned to apply different techniques more properly over time, but that’s just the natural development when you learn a new skill.

“Nowadays I draw most of my inspiration from people in the community building awesome gear,” he continued. “To namedrop just a few, Aesthetic Apocalypse, Radioactive Armory, Wasteland Pirate, or Dust Monkey for example. Also the usual influences like movies or games — basically anything that makes me go, “Wow, now that’s cool. Let’s try to build something similar!”

Photo Credit: Micha Beckers

Mika finds most of her inspiration from fashion, be it extravagant haute couture, fetish gear, or even sci-fi costumes. But she says that there’s also an equal part from tribal and native cultures, as well as ancient religions. “Honestly, I feel this question is hard to answer because I, too, have the philosophy of ‘That looks cool, I’m gonna make my own version of it!'”

Mika and Chris are proud members of an elite group of European post-apocalyptic costumers known as the Wasteland Warriors. Chris describes the group as more of a German/International post-apocalyptic act. “We met the Wasteland Warriors at the Roleplay Convention in Cologne in 2016,” he recalls. “After that we became members and met a lot of awesome and talented people. A highlight was working at the world’s biggest metal festival, Wacken 2016, with them as part of a booked walking act. It was hard work but lots of fun!”

Since Rad Roach Gear was started, the two have created several props, accessories, and full costumes. Chris says that his favorite kit would have to be his Wasteland Warrior Riot Gear that’s based on an actual chest protector from the ’80s. “Over the last year i added tons of cool stuff to it and I kept the pieces modular so i can interchange equipment. Last summer i realized that my head got sunburned so i added a hood, for example. The process of building gear is a continous development. In Germany we have the saying, ‘Your gear is NEVER finished!'”

Photo Credit: Rad Roach Gear

“I have the feeling that I always like my latest stuff the most,” Mika adds. “I get tired quickly by my own stuff. But if I had to name something that I like the best it would be my Motocross helmet and my plateau boots, because in combination they give you strange proportions and make you look creepy! A few things i am working on right now seem to turn out pretty decent, so stay tuned.”

Completely intrigued, I asked about those current projects. Just what are Mika and Chris working on? “I am working on a postapo tribal/voodoo/bellydancing outfit with an elaborate headpiece and some basic stuff for a few LARP events in 2017. I have tons of unfinished smaller stuff like masks, jewelry, or gloves in my room, so these things are finished spontaniously. I often create things that aren’t postapo-related at all like dreamcatchers, decorations out of bones, dreadjewelry, etc.”

“I’m working on a mutant costume for an upcoming LARP event in May 2017,” Chris added. “Also, I’m experimenting with casting real animal skulls in resin so you can use them with gear more easily. Other than that, there are tons of different small ideas I am working on: hats, gloves, an acidthrower prop, goggles, different modded Nerf guns, a vest and a jacket just to name a few.”

Chris says that his process involves taking a step back and refocusing when he runs out of ideas. This helps him regain energy and try something different. “I don’t believe forcing creativity works when you’re shooting for the best result.”

Photo Credit: Freitag Fotografie

This advice directly carries over to those looking to get into the hobby for the first time. Whether you’re an established artist looking to branch out into costumes or a veteran costumer looking to get into the distressed and weathered post-nuclear side of things, it’s all about trial and error. “Don’t try to be perfect at your first try,” Mika advises. “I like the creation of postapo-style clothing because it unites many levels of different crafting types. You are going to have to sew, to age, to design, to screw, and to collect and use materials you never used before. It takes time to become familiar with it. So take your time but don’t settle for mediocrity.

“You have the chance to build something amazing out of scratch and are only limited to your imagination, so please don’t settle for mediocrity. This way your clothing can reflect who you are as a person and an artist and you’re never gonna want to take it off!”

Photo Credit: Traumverloren

Another important tip from Mika is about comfort. “Try to make your clothing as wearable as possible. Even if that means you have to wear parts of it for a few hours in your room. Nothing sucks more than spending a tremendous amount of time on an outfit you don’t wanna wear.”

Chris agrees, adding that you should always start small and not overthink what you’re trying to make. “Be prepared to scrap entire projects because you realized that what you had in mind doesn’t work. If that happens, take a step back, disassemble what you built and start new. The good thing when building postapo stuff is that you can’t really fuck it up by destroying your piece. The more you destroy it, the better it will look if you reassemble it because any scratch and hole you made can be repaired and makes your work more believable.

“Start small to save money. Develop your own style. Crafting props isn’t something that can be done one way only, and what may work for others may not work for you!”

Another piece of helpful advice from Chris comes in the form of the old time/money/quality triangle that service professionals and craftsman have been reciting to their customers for years. “You can’t have all three,” he points out. “If there is little time or money, then quality will suffer. The more time and/or money that is available to the project, the higher the quality can be. This theory perfectly applies to building your own postapo gear. If you search for good materials at fleamarkets and yard sales, it will take time. If you dont want to spend this time you will need to spend money for a quality build.

“And for the love of all that is high and mighty, weather and distress your gear! And don’t be afraid to destroy something! The destruction of perfectly good items is part of building postapo gear. A lot of beginners have a fear of ripping apart ‘that new jacket they bought,’ just to end up with a jacket that looks only halfway done. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! Immersing yourself into a post-apocalytic atmosphere only works when your gear looks old and used, so do not just throw on some fetish gear and assless chaps. A bit of dust is not enough weathering to look like proper post-apocalyptic gear, at least in my opinion.”

Be sure to check out the work of Chris and Mika at the Rad Roach Gear Facebook page and support their art by throwing a like their way.

Next up we have an interview with Deadbeard Props, so look for that one coming next week!

Mouse over gallery images below for photo credits. Header image by Freitag Fotografie.