Fran is a Viera, a leporine-like race native to the wood and known for their extraordinary craftsmanship, grace, and intellect as well as their extended lifespans. A skilled warrior, Fran abandoned the ways of the Viera to live a life exploring the world of Ivalice aboard an airship with her human partner, Balthier. Her lifestyle has made her an outcast amongst her own kind, for which Fran is sorrowful. Nevertheless, Fran is completely loyal to Balthier and they trust each other implicitly. Although their relationship is professional, it is strongly implied that it is also romantic in nature.
Fran was my favorite character in Final Fantasy XII, and several friends suggested I should cosplay her. The armor intimidated me, however, so I told myself I'd try to make the intricate leg armor first, and if I managed to pull that off I'd make the rest of the costume. Amazingly, it actually wasn't as hard as it looked, but it was very time consuming and I learned a lot. I did a lot of research on different approaches and materials, and closely studied photos of other cosplayers and write-ups of their processes; a big shout out to Jania Solo and Penwiper's craft foam tutorials for lots of helpful advice! After all of my research, I decided on craft foam for the armor, which I had never used before and was shocked at how cheap and versatile it was.
I began making “mockup” armor by cutting out drawings on notebook paper. Once satisfied, I pinned the pattern to the foam and cut out the base layer, then the secondary layers to glue on top. I also glued down small plastic gems to the design, which, when painted in the final phase, looked like rivets. I then coated the foam with six to eight layers of glue/water mix to seal the pores before painting it with a gunmetal finish. The top is a leotard I bought online and altered, cutting out sections and adding ribbon trim to the sleeves and an organza sash down the front. I then sewed the breastplate foam armor to the front, and the tail armor to the back. For the ears I cut two pieces of plastic into an ear shape and covered them with faux fur and felt. I then threaded them through two “ear holes” in the foam helmet and sewed them on to a headband. I love Fran thus far but I still consider this costume in-progress and look forward to adding chainmail, styling a proper wig, and making a bow.