Dax Christopher: I’ve been to a lot of shows, and I don’t think I’ve seen a lot of props put together with your kind of effort. I think when it comes to props a lot of them are store bought, and most people who do their own don’t quite find the time or maybe don’t have the resources to do it with the same care or on the same scale as you. How did you get into this?
Keller Agte-Studier: I started making props because I wanted props that I’d never seen, thus making them very rare. The detail comes from REALLY liking to build things with my hands. I’ve built all different kinds of props, and while all being different, details are what bring them to life, so to speak.
DC: Can you tell us about your setup? Do you have, like, a “prop shop” where you put this stuff together? How big are we talking, here? You got a table saw? Is it also where you hide your Bat Suit? I can’t help but notice I’ve never seen the two of you in the same place at the same time…
KAS: Well, when I moved, I got lucky. I’m in the basement “bedroom” of a townhouse. 13 x 14 feet, concrete floors, easy to clean and maintain. I’ve got a 36 inch lathe, belt sander, drill press, band saw, airbrush, etc. I’m pretty happy with the setup. And no, no bat suit….but maybe an Iron Man suit in the future.
DC: It sounds like we might have touched on your prop-maker’s bucket list. Cosplayer’s have those, right? What’s your white whale? What’s the one thing you want to make and show off before you hang up your spurs?
KAS: Well, the easy answer is an Iron man Armor suit. The list of props I’d like to make is ever growing (armor from Halo, weapons from “The Order 1886”, LOTR). The other part of this is; I don’t see why the spurs get hung up at all. Life might change, yes, and prop making will change with it, but for something that I enjoy this much I don’t think I’d give up easily.
DC: That’s well said. Keeping that in mind, this next question is probably tough, but here it goes… What’s your favorite prop that you’ve done? Do you like it so much because of how the finished product looked or because of what went into it, or some other reason, or all the reasons?
KAS: That’s a tough one. I love all the props I’ve made, all for different reasons. I made a “Doctor Horrible’s” freeze ray for a good friend of mine, and I love how happy it made him. I love my Bioshock shotgun because I think technically it’s the highest quality prop I’ve made to date. I think if I didn’t love all of my props for one reason or another, I wouldn’t be as committed to making them “perfect.”
DC: That shotgun IS eye catching. I can definitely see how one of lesser quality might detract from the cosplay you did at Philadelphia, because the entire thing is just so well done, and I imagine a fine representation of what people can expect out of The Quartermaster’s Cache. That name, by the way, is a brilliant name, considering what you do. How did that come to you?
KAS: Thanks! I wanted something a bit steam punk-ish, crossed with a weapons dealer, crossed with a treasure chest. If that makes any sense to you, hah! I just wanted people to get the feeling of opening a treasure chest, or a hidden room full of armor and weapons.
DC: Mission accomplished; that’s exactly what it sounds like, and yes, it makes perfect sense. You mentioned earlier that you built Doctor Horrible’s freeze ray for someone. Do you often do commissions? What’s been the most difficult one to put together so far?
KAS: Yes, I certainly do commissions. I made an Oberyn Martell spear for a gentleman, but there was a catch. It needed to break down to no more than 2 feet, 6 inches. I built the shaft so that it unscrewed in two places making it easy to pack / transport.
DC: You know what I love about that answer? Finding out that I’m not the only one still mourning the loss of The Red Viper of Dorne. I’m gonna change the subject before I start tearing up. What’s your favorite part about putting a costume together and going to a show?
KAS: Oof, that’s a tough one. I’ve gotta say, it’s running into someone who LOVES what you’re cosplaying as. You just watch them light up and get SUPER excited when they see you cosplaying something they love.
DC: I’m glad to hear you say that, because my next question is, is there any chance that you, yourself, would ever cosplay Prince Oberyn? I can start a petition if that’s what it takes.
KAS: Huh, I’d never thought about that. I guess I would consider it, seems like it’d be quite fun. Basically, add it to the list, hah!
DC: I’ll take it. Moving on, I know you do A LOT of walking around those convention halls. Be straight with me here, kid–how much pain are you in at the end of the day?
KAS: Surprisingly not that much. I’m very sore and stiff the next morning, though. I grew up hiking the rocky mountains as a kid, so, 5-9 miles a day on level ground isn’t that bad. Standing in place is what starts getting irritating.
DC: Yeah, I guess the show floor is probably nothing compared to a mountain chain. So, you’ve been training to be a great cosplayer from a very early age, I see. How much of your costumes are you usually responsible for? Do you outsource any parts of them?
KAS: I guess it depends. I don’t sew, so I generally source the clothing parts from anywhere I can find them. Generally I’ll make the props, unless it’s absurdly cost ineffective to do so or I don’t feel that I am talented enough in that medium to create what I want.
DC: I ask this last one of all the cosplayers. Put the following things in order of importance from most important to least when it comes to doing a cosplay: costume accuracy, attitude/enthusiasm, dedication, personal touch, acting in-character, photogenicity.
KAS: Attitude; the most important part is having fun! Dedication; I love seeing someone who’s super committed to their costume. Costume accuracy and personal touch get a tie; I love SUPER accurate cosplays, but at the same time, if you commit and make it completely yours, that’s awesome too. Acting in character; not acting doesn’t break any cosplays, but acting like your character definitely can MAKE a cosplay amazing. Photogenicity – I put this last, because I’m not for cosplay shaming. Dress who you want to dress as, do your best, and have a wonderful time.
Wise words from a savvy veteran there, kids. If you see this guy at a con, make sure you bug him about doing Prince Oberyn! If you want to keep up with whatever Keller’s getting into, you can find him on social media as The Quartermaster’s Cache!
Also, if you want to take home your very own piece of work from the cache, visit the Etsy store at:
Many thanks to Keller for the taking the time to give us some insight on how he makes the magic happen! See you next time!