Heyyyooo! Welcome back to Gearbox Community Badass! This week we’re having a chat with someone that most people in the cosplay and prop building wings of the community will surely recognize: @SKSProps (aka Steven K. Smith)! Steven is a masterful prop builder and if you’ve ever come across a BADASS (no pun intended… no, ya know what? Let’s go with the pun!) Psycho mask with glowing eyes that makes your jaw drop, there’s a good chance Steven made it. Normally, Steven just sits around his shop all day stripping wounds and salting flesh, but I manged to pull him away just long enough to ask him a few questions!

Tell me a little about your prop building operation

I am a seasoned member of the Replica Prop Forum and a Pro builder on the site Instructables. I had been a freelance illustrator for 15 years working on newspapers, magazines, and over 35 children’s books. In 2012 I put my artistic abilities to a new medium, creating cosplay props and costumes. I am now known worldwide for my skill in bringing video games to life through cosplay. I have a collection of award winning costumes that travel with me from con to con. Best of all I have been recognized by and worked with video game powerhouses like EA, Microsoft, BioWare, Bungie, Gearbox and 2K Games. One of my latest creations was an armor set from the hit RPG game Dragon Age Inquisition. It was so embraced by the community for its accuracy that it was flown to Norway and used by world renowned violinist Lindsey Stirling in her official Dragon Age music video. Last time I looked it had over 11 million views!

How long have you been creating props and cosplays and how did you get started?

It’s hard to believe looking back, but I have only been building props for a little over two and a half years. A couple of years ago I was playing Borderlands 2 one night and thought wouldn’t it be awesome to have a real life psycho mask. I searched for a couple of hours online and came up with practically nothing. I had heard about The Replica Prop Forum through a friend of mine and after some research decided that I would like to try my hand and building one from scratch. A couple weeks later I had a finished psycho mask that was hand sculpted, molded, and resin cast.

Any tips for someone who might want to get into making props (or cosplays for that matter)?

Above all have fun!! Build characters and props that you love not that are necessarily popular. That’s is important because when you first start building/cosplaying you are going to have issues with materials, fabrics, etc. It makes it a lot easier to keep pushing through problems when it’s something you enjoy!

What’s your next big project?

I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag yet. But expect something “big” from me next year

Talk about your Borderlands history a little bit. How long have you been playing now?

I have been hooked ever since the first Borderlands. I can’t get over how awesome the world of Borderlands has developed and grown since then and it keeps staying fresh.

Now my Borderlands prop/ cosplay history started with Borderlands 2. The original psycho mask and buzzaxe were the first props that I had ever made and still have a place in my heart. But since then I have created numerous characters and weapons from the Borderlands lore for psychos and bandits around the world to enjoy. I was even lucky enough to be contacted by Borderlands and make some custom gold psycho masks for them to giveaway to fans when the Handsome Jack edition was released.

Have a favorite playable character?

I love sniper class hunters so I am a big fan of Mordecai and ZerO. When you start heading into a new zone and you see a base crawling with badass enemies. It helps to be able to take some of them out from a distance.

What would you say is your favorite thing about Borderlands?

Comedy! That’s one of the things that I love seeing in the Borderlands franchise. The development of the storyline is awesome and the humor that gets intertwined into it is the icing on the cake.

Where can people keep up with you and what you’re working on?

Everyone out there is more than welcome to follow my prop builds on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stevenksmithprops11 and on Instagram @SKSProps

Currently I am working on a complete Bandit Steve costume for DragonCon, Heyoooo! So far I have finished building his mask and shoulder pads. I just started working on cell shading the hoodie and jeans. He is going to look epic!!