TWO master prop builders have gone pro with their video game replicas, moving to Adelaide to set up their small business workshop.

After making a name for themselves bringing Overwatch characters to life, Clare “Henchwench” McCutcheon and Oarin “Scrap Shop Props” Tremont caught the attention of US video game developer Blizzard Entertainment, which commissioned them for several weapons and costumes from their other games.

Clare says local support and an ideal housing opportunity cemented the decision to move here.

“For small businesses like us who are just starting out, it’s really difficult to afford a place in Sydney,” she says.

“We have a lot of commission work at the moment, so it’s kind of keeping us afloat. When you’re running a new business it’s always risky and you’re not sure if the work is going to flow (but) we had such a good response. The community here is super strong.”

“We recently had a good friend of ours — who we’ve worked with in the past — Zaphy Cosplay move down here and we were looking for a place at the time, so it gave us a great workspace to set up in, where we could work alongside her and Robb Props and Cosplay, who we love.” (Zaphy and Robb both appeared in an Advertiser article for AVCon earlier in July)

Previous projects line the walls of their southern suburbs workshop, including the prototype of a Starcraft psi blade — the pair recently sent 10 replicas around the world.

The completed works are showcased — often by the makers themselves — at conventions, game launches, and eSports events such as the Overwatch World Cup in 2017.

Clare and Oarin’s crusade continues with their current project: the launch of Battle for Azeroth— long-running game World of Warcraft’s seventh expansion.

Clare will turn herself into a green-skinned orc — her third time — as Oarin makes a mail-armoured Stormwind guard.

He says it’s a great and cost-effective option for game developers to get their legions of fans to build their worlds and characters for them.

A decade ago, a company wanting someone to wear something from their game would have to get a designer to figure out how a virtual outfit could be created, a builder/tailor to craft it and an actor to wear it, who might be unfamiliar with the source material.

“Now, you’ve got all of these rabid fans who just do it in their own time, and know everything about the game,” he says.

“We care about every facet of whatever the thing is. Every angle on (Reinhardt) was measured, you pull off the paint and there are hundreds of angle markings.”

Clare adds: “If someone wants to ask you, you could really answer what Reinhardt’s inseam is.”

“That’s another reason why cosplayers in particular are really good, because rather than just trying to reproduce something, we’re trying to recreate a part of the universe we love so much. That’s why we’ve been agonising over Battle for Azeroth builds, because for us, we are such hard Wow fans.”

The duo also made Quake Champions characters for technology company AMD, and Oarin made prop weapons for League of Legends developer Riot.

As their business expands, they plan to ramp up video streaming on Twitch, to give followers insight into how the projects are made. Progress footage has become a crucial part of the industry — and gets creators noticed.

So how do you get the attention of the very people that designed the characters?

“Do something spectacular,” Oarin says.

“There is a saturated industry at this point. You have a lot of people making incredible things. Tweet at the companies you’re making things for, get that discussion going.”

“It’s not annoying for them, they love seeing you reproduce their stuff,” Clare says.

“We’ll be streaming the (Battle for Azeroth projects) hopefully. Not the entire builds, obviously, but processes,” Clare says.

“We’ll skip past the boring parts where I sit down and template everything for 12 hours,” Oarin jokes. “Skip past that and get to the exciting part: ‘This is all the parts of the shield and how it comes together!’”

Clare says community engagement has developed to the point of people wanting to see everything come together, not just the finished project.

“People really like to engage with makers these days. We have some people like Bill Doran, Evil Ted Smith, and Volpin Props — people like Kamui Cosplay — to thank for that,” she says.

A video (below) documenting the progress on the Starcraft psi blades was displayed around the world.

“A surprise, to be sure,” Clare says.

“But a welcome one,” Oarin completes the Senator Palpatine reference.

Once the psi blades were shipped out, the duo turned their attention to their orc and human for Battle for Azeroth.

Great detail has already gone into the planning, with the warring warriors to feature chain mail, prosthetics, tusks and spikes, leather, and foam sculpted to resemble armour.

“There’s going to be a lot of chainmail and I’m really looking forward to building the halberd and the shield cause they’re both — I can’t swear — gorgeous,” Oarin says.

“It’s mostly foamsmithing, it’s the medium we’re most comfortable in and it means we can get something out in a pretty short period of time. There’s going to be a few fabric elements as well, the gorgeous tabard in the cinematic. And we’ll probably end up 3D printing the lion heads on the halberds themselves, the same as what they did in the Warcraft movie.”

Clare is combining several of her techniques to create the orc, which should feel like a very familiar environment.

She’s previously made a death knight for the Legion launch, and represented Australia in the global championships of cosplay as a shaman.

Now she’s recreating the relatively vanilla orc pictured on the game’s cover.

“I’ve got orc prosthetics because I mean, for some reason, doing Warcraft orcs has become my schtick,” she says.

“I’m doing the whole mail warfronts armour, which will be really cool, I’m super pumped, it’s got like massive tusks on the pauldrons, tusks and spikes on more tusks and spikes, massive horde logo tabard.

“It’s fun doing Horde and Alliance builds at the moment too, because we’ve got the whole faction rivalry.”

“I get to do a beautiful, pristine alliance one and then I get to do a coarse, shredded leather and hessian horde one. Maybe I should make it stinky, because of orcs.”

“Not again,” Oarin groans.

“I have a thing of making all my costumes smell authentic,” Clare says with a laugh.

Clare and orc warlords go way back — she got her first foothold into prop design as a teenager working behind the scenes on Lord of the Rings with Weta in New Zealand.

“I enjoyed working in the film industry, but doing video game stuff was my hobby because they’re my life passion, so being able to transition across and just do cool video game shit for a living, is unexpected but awesome.”

Oarin came from an engineering background but stopped to pursue prop building full time.

“I started doing the whole cosplay thing three years ago and I fell in love with it — that joy of building was what led me to pursue it professionally as a career.”

The makers are confident of their progress towards the Battle for Azeroth launch date of August 14, but mists surround their future plans after that.

“Don’t expect any content from me for two weeks after it launches,” Oarin says wryly as he gets back to the grind of making his next helmet.

“We’re going into hiatus for a couple of weeks after the launch so we can actually play the game,” Clare says.