Cosplay Portfolios | Sub-Zero from MKX by ZeroKelvin Cosplay

Cosplay from Icon 2016 Photographer Cos We Play Project
Cosplay from Icon 2016 Photographer Cos We Play Project


CosplayerZeroKelvin Cosplay – Johann Grobler
CharacterSub-Zero from MKX
Date completed2015-10-01(1st version) 2016-08-01 (Current version)
Hours spent making this cosplay500+ I lost count a long time ago.
Total cost involved in making cosplayR3000+

Info for the Costume

It’s the outfit worn by Sub-Zero in the Mortal Kombat X game.  It is a very detailed costume with many small parts.

I made this costume because……

I have made several different versions of the Sub-Zero costume from the games and also the first movie.  This is the current game’s version.

Planning Process

With this costume having so many parts, I decided to start with the items that I could make with materials I had at hand.  This included the mask and several pieces of armor.  Then I started with the jacket and found it was quite different to make since it had so many layers of material.  Then came the 31 buckles and belts.  I wanted them all to be functioning and not just for show.

Techniques Used

  • Sewing
  • Mold making
  • Painting – both spray painting and brush work
  • Casting
  • Working with metal
  • Sculpting
  • LED’s and electronics
  • Does having patience counts?

The jacket required a lot of sewing.  I did the stitching by hand.  The trim around the jacket is webbing that was folded over the edge and stitched on.  The small metal clips were cut from a long strip of metal and crimped onto the webbing using pliers. The shirt was made from smooth fabric with webbing around the edges for trim.  I sewed it together using sewing machine and stitched the webbing by hand.

The trousers were made from a poly cotton material.  I used one of my jeans to get the basic shape.  I added the blue stripes and then tied the ropes around.  To keep the ropes from falling down, I stitched small loops onto the pants for the ropes to pass through. All the belts were sewn on by hand.  Each belt was handmade from a vinyl/pleather material.  The main waist belt has a large buckle that I had to reform from I buckle I bought to make it look right.  The other buckles were only slightly modified to work. To make the balaclava I had a head cast/mold made.  From the head mold I made a foam rubber copy of my head.  This ensured that any item would fit perfectly on my head.

Each of the armor pieces and the mask were first sculpted out of clay.  A rubber mold was made from each piece.  Each part was then cast or made from fiberglass using the molds.  These parts were then painted get the color and weathering effects I wanted.  The armor actually has several colors when seen up close.  This gives them a lot of depth.

I like my costumes to be as realistic as possible.  This is not always easy because they are based on fictitious characters from a game.  I want the belts to work and the weapons to be as real as possible.  For the weapons I made real steel throwing knives which remain sheathed for safety.  Each knife was designed on CAD, laser cut, then basic cutting edges were added by hand with a grinder and then polished to a good shine.  The knives were then painted a gun-metal color to match the game.  There are 10 in total.  Each took several hours to complete.

To give Sub-Zero his signature blue glow in the mask, I cut a slot using a Dremel tool and filled it with hot glue.  This gives a nice frosted look.  I then added a few LEDs and button cell for power.  A small switch was also installed. I use some Velcro to keep parts in place although the main outfit is held together using the 31 belts and straps.  This makes the outfit very adjustable.  Even the 4 straps on the balaclava can be adjusted for fit.

Did you have to learn any new techniques in order to make this costume?

Sewing is always a challenge for me and I learned a lot making this costume.  I used the sewing machine for making the shirt and the pants.

Does this cosplay need special make-up to be done?

I always wear contact lenses with this costume and also darken my eyebrows.  Not really special but makes a big difference.

At which cons and events did you wear this costume?

rAge2015, Cape Town rAge2016, GeekFest2016, ICON2016 and Smallville2016.  I plan to wear the costume to the Saturday of rAge2016 as well and then retire it.

Have you won any awards for this costume?

Yes, I won Crafting and Construction as well as 2nd Place Pop culture at Smallville Comics Cosplay Contest 2016.

Any last thoughts on this costume? (Upgrades you would still like to do, alterations etc.)

People that know me will know I am never done with a costume.  There is always something I want to add or change.  I want to redo the balaclava for the third time.  Each time I make it, it gets better and more accurate.  Fourth time’s the charm?


We are expanding our Cosplay Corner with a brand new feature called Cosplay Portfolios. Instead of focusing on a specific Cosplayer and their cosplay journey, this feature will be taking a more in-depth look at costumes made by our local Cosplayers. We’ll look at the cost and time involved in making the costumes, special techniques that were used whilst crafting as well as make-up tips to complement your cosplay.

We hope you enjoy this feature as much as we enjoyed putting it together and we would like to invite all cosplayers to submit their own costumes via our online link 

Pictures were supplied to GES-SA by the featured Cosplayer. We do not own these pictures so if you do, and you would like to us to add the credit please drop us a mail to

About Linda Jager

Linda Jager
I’m proudly Geek and have a passion for all things pop-culture. Huge fan of The Walking Dead. Lover of gadgets and technology and although I’m not a gamer (sadly no hand-eye co-ordination) I find myself drawn to the gaming culture and community and how it connects with one of my biggest passions – collecting action figures and statues. I love to watch movies and series and there’s nothing better than having conversations with other people about the things I feel so passionately about. Being an 80’s child I am a huge fan of retro stuff and my Thundercats collection is one of my most prized possessions. That, and my A-Team van. Follow me on Twitter @LindaAtGES

Check Also

Jumanji: The Next Level Hamper Giveaway

In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As ...

Power Rangers Beast Morphers: Beast-X Megazord – 2019 Xmas Gift Guide

Would you believe that the Power Rangers series has been around for 26 year? Well, ...