If you're a tween with a penchant for cosplay, it helps if your mom knows her way around the metal shop.
This was the case for young Ruby Soudant, the fortunate daughter of Buffalo artist Shasti O'Leary Soudant, who created a remarkably functional pair of retractable angel wings for Ruby to wear to Fan Expo Canada over the weekend. The wings were an integral part of Ruby's costume, meant to mimic a character from the television show "Supernatural."
The complex device took Soudant, no stranger to mammoth feats of art-inspired engineering, about three weeks to engineer and build. The idea for it came up last year, when Ruby said she wanted to go to the annual fan expo dressed as one of her favorite characters.
"I don't know what I was thinking, but last spring she wanted to go as someone and I said, 'Oh! Why don't we make you some retractable wings?" Soudant said. "I did a lot of research online, and it was very, very hit and miss. The engineering of them was miserable."
But the results were worth it. A look at the structure of the device, demonstrated here by the elder Soudant, beaming with pride for the incalculable coolness she hath wrought:
And the final product, operated by a ring attached to a pull-string and later to be shown off to the oohs and ahhs of spectators at the Toronto expo:
The costume went over big at the expo, according to a Facebook post from the elder Soudant:
"Ruby rocked Fan Expo," Soudant wrote, "and I got more satisfaction from her glowing happiness in those wings than I've gotten from anything in a long time."
Here's the artist trying out the costume herself: