In this week’s installment of Gearbox Community Badass, we highlight Ethan and Lauren Brandt, otherwise known as 1000 Faces Cosplay (@thousand_faces and @thefoolish). Ethan and Lauren have put together some pretty killer looks, including characters from Game of Thrones and, of course, Borderlands. Among their creations from the latter is a Psycho cosplay with probably the classiest and most educated psycho-babble ever heard on Pandora — Hamlet. That’s right, Ethan’s psycho caught our attention this past week when video surfaced of his psycho quoting Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. Yea, it’s pretty hilarious, but I see it more as “cosplay for the sophisticated psycho”. Read on to hear more about 1000 Faces Cosplay, their unique take on the Borderlands poster child, and MORE! And with that, I’ll share with you my own quote from Hamlet that I think says a lot about cosplay: “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” (Act II, Scene II)

Man, I am classy.

Tell me a little about 1000 Faces Cosplay

Thousand Faces Cosplay is a joint effort of Ethan and Lauren Brandt, a geeky husband and wife duo. We emphasize the play in cosplay, putting a heavy emphasis on completely portraying the character. The costume, in this sense, is a tool more than goal. We make every effort we can replicate the characters we portray – we’ve altered our hairstyles, with Ethan shaving his head for the Psycho/Krieg; learned fictional languages, like Dothraki and High Valyrian for Daenerys and Drogo; learned accents for characters like Merida, Jon Snow, and Oberyn; replicated voices, movements, and mannerisms for Tiny Tina and Psycho. When we put on a character’s outfit, we try to adopt as much of the character as possible.

How long have you guys been cosplaying?

This one is kind of a tough question to answer. We both started working at the renaissance faire where we met in 2008, which could be considered a form of cosplay. Our first real cosplay together was Daenerys and Drogo in 2012, but we did not start getting serious about it until a while after that. We’re really still learning as performers and costumers.

How long did the whole look take to put together?

The look for the Psycho was actually kind of accidental. I had initially intended to have Krieg finished for the convention, but I was still working on a couple of pieces. I decided I’d rather go as a Psycho than as something half finished. The mask was the first piece (by Steven K. Smith), then came the rest. It’s actually taken a while to get everything together. I first got the mask over a year ago and this video was the first time that I had worn the whole thing together.

It’s also worth saying that the outfit isn’t even finished. The buzzaxe and pants will both be getting some cel shading and we’re going to be reworking the mask so that the vent in front of the mouth spins continuously. We’re a little crazy…

Regarding the buzzaxe, what was that build process like?

This was an insanely fun project. The first thing I did was contact Brian Cohoon, a friend and incredible machinist. We work together in another project, Visionary Entertainment, where we’ve built an drop-pod simulator from Halo. I knew he would be the perfect person to work with on this project of building a life-size, accurate version of Krieg’s tricked-out buzzaxe. The first step was reference photos, obviously. After some basic measurements, the individual pieces were programmed into our computer and prepared for cutting. Brian and I discussed whether or not the axe should be foam, but I decided that I wanted the axe to be as real as possible. The metal looking parts are steel and aluminum; the wooden handle is actually solid wood. The entire thing weighs about 35 pounds with most of it being at the top.

After all of the pieces were cut, they were assembled, along with a motor and speed-adjusting toggle. That’s the only part of the axe that isn’t accurate to the game: nowhere on Krieg’s buzzaxe is there an on/off switch or even a button for him to start it spinning. I guess he uses telekinesis! Sadly, I lack that ability, so we needed to include that. Towards the end of the process, I extracted the 3d model of the buzzaxe from Borderlands 2 to compare. Amazingly, the finished product was precisely to scale within a couple of millimeters.

Any other Borderlands cosplays that you’ve done or have planned?

Yes, of course! We can’t help it. Our first Borderlands project was actually a genderbent Mad Moxxi / Psycho photo-shoot in an abandoned meat packing plant in East St. Louis (again, we’re crazy). We’re very close to being finished with Tiny Tina for Lauren, including her Bunkers and Badasses Dungeon Master’s Guide and dice-bag. We’ll then be working on Maya for her, as well. Visionary Entertainment, our group project with Scott Todd, Brian Cohoon, and Corey Barnhill, all of whom are amazingly talented, will then be working on an Axton (complete with a metal turret) and even a Borderlands simulator ride, which will ideally look like a Bandit Technical from the outside.

How long have you guys been playing Borderlands?

We’ve been playing Borderlands together for about three years. It was the third First Person Shooter style series Lauren and I had played co-op together, right after Halo and Gears of War. I really don’t want to try to calculate the number of hours we’ve been on Pandora…

What are your favorite characters to play and why?

Lauren plays all sirens, all the time. Lilith and Maya are both quirky and insanely powerful. In Borderlands 1 and 2, they’re the only female Vault Hunter choices (prior to DLC), which had a big influence on her initial decision to pick them. Strong and sexy, what’s not to love? I played as Brick in BL1 and Axton in BL2. The hand-to-hand combat style and reliance on absolute brute force was the initial draw to Brick (which is also why I switched to Krieg in BL2 as soon as he was available). The other part of playing as Krieg that makes it so entertaining is the feeling of absolute chaos while raging. The more powerful he gets, the faster he gets, the more chaotic is all becomes: he’ll smash himself in the head, which makes visibility temporarily difficult, then he’ll get blood in his eyes. It all makes for a less-predictable and thus consistently entertaining play-style.

What is it about Borderlands that has you hooked and keeps you coming back for more?

It’s a combination of the humor, art-style, post-apocalyptic setting, and deep characters. Someone who has played through Borderlands numerous times (even without reading any external backstory) can probably tell you more about the characters and the world than someone who has played through Halo a number of times, certainly Call of Duty. The characters are memorable and funny. The game also frequently breaks the fourth-wall, which, when done right, leads to some very funny moments. Combine all of this with the fantastic art style and it’s every cosplayer’s dream series.

Any war stories from your time on Pandora?

Oh, there are a lot of Pandora stories. One story that grew out of Pandora is that fact that we and some friends are planning on playing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign based directly off of the Bunkers and Badasses story in Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. That DLC, by the way, is also the most recent time a videogame has brought tears to either of our eyes. (“I know! But it’s my story!”)

How can we keep up with the latest from 1000 Faces Cosplay?

We’re on Facebook and Instagram and we love to talk with people about gaming, cosplay, or anything else even remotely geeky. On Facebook, we’re at /thousandfacescosplay. Our Instagram is@thousand_faces_cosplay