A while back I got a message while on Bear411 from Doug (jedicub) who complimented me on my makeshift Jedi costumes in my profile. His profile contained a few interesting pictures (Sigh. Make the dirty jokes now in your head, please): a couple were of him wearing a “movie accurate” Red Squadron uniform from Star Wars: A New Hope.
Admittedly I was apprehensive in speaking to Doug, due to all the joking around I’ve made about fans who dress up and go to comic book conventions. Though, I have mellowed having gone to the last 3 here in Toronto, and most of my finger pointing laughter has evolved into admiration, especially for a well thought out, well made costume. Plus, if you look close enough most of the guys with exceptional outfits are bearish, but that’s neither here nor there. Doug is one of those people I admire because of his tenacity towards his passion.
In speaking to Doug, I get the sense that, yes, he is a superfan (he belongs to a group called the London Rogues) but his obsession for Star Wars is a love borne out of years of cultivation. “Cult” being the operative word here. I emailed him a few questions and he’s happily answered back:
How old were you when you first saw Star Wars? Where were you? What were your impressions?
I was seven or eight and my dad took all three of us kids to see it. We were living in Toronto at the time. I had seen commercials on TV and I thought it was going to be scary with all the aliens, and such. However, I loved it. I remember my dad telling me how it had everything – the Tarzan swing, the old west shoot out, the duel. I just thought it was awesome. Little did I know how much the Star Wars franchise was going to inform my life. Like most kids at that age, I got hooked on collecting the Kenner action figures. My interest in Star Wars waned in my teenage years, but when I was in my mid-twenties, I got back into collecting with a renewed passion. I would say, though, that I’m a Star Wars fan, and not fanatic. I do realize it’s a work of fiction. 🙂
When did you get the idea that you could make this costume?
I had made a few Star Wars costumes over the years. Mainly these were hastily put together things for Halloween, though on a couple occasions I made costumes for a public event. For instance, I was asked to assist at a Star Wars day at the public library, and I put together a Han Solo costume for that.
In 2008 I put together another Star Wars costume. I had picked up an orange jumpsuit at a thrift store years ago, and that pretty much made my mind up as to what character I’d be. I put together a somewhat OK version of the X-wing pilot costume for just a few bucks, picking up remnant fabric, etc. I looked at some online resources for ideas, which is how I found out about what I would describe as “movie accurate” costumes. These people pay very close attention to detail. My Halloween costume wasn’t going to be nearly that good.
How long have you been collecting/making parts for the outfit?
After Halloween, I decided that I could transition the costume into something more accurate, with some money, and some time. If money were no object, I could’ve put it together fairly quickly, but I decided to change the costume one piece at a time. My first acquisition was in December 2008 when I bought a helmet. I found someone online who makes vacu-formed replicas of the actual Vietnam-era flight helmet used in the movies. Since that time, I’ve been making upgrades to the costume a bit at a time – boots, jumpsuit, etc. I joined an online forum called The Rebel Legion, which is a Star Wars costuming fan group. Chatting with people there has helped me track down many of the pieces.
Any clues to where you get your parts? Just like most of the original Star Wars props were common household items, are any pieces just regular every-day items around the home?
The ejection harness was the easiest to do, since it’s just silver/grey webbing that you can buy at most fabric stores. There are patterns online which are easy to follow. The belt buckle used in the movie is a roll pin buckle which the British navy used. You can find them online – if you know what they’re called.
As with the helmet, I ended up seeking out a few people who make replica parts which they vacu-form, machine, or cast themselves. And I bought a few pieces on Ebay. Here’s a breakdown of the costume and the resources I used:
Helmet – Richie’s Armor (I added some detailing)
Jumpsuit – Costumebase (with some tailoring by me)
Plastic Chest Box & Hose – Mr. Bojangles (Rebel Legion member)
Machined Aluminum Arm Tools – Elvis Trooper
Flak Vest – Originally I made this with a remnant and some edging, but I’m having someone with more talent make me a more accurate one with proper buckles, tubes, etc. It looks cool in photos.
Resin Commpad – Reyor (Rebel Legion member)
Leather Motorcycle Gauntlets – Botach Tactical
Replica German WW2 Boots – justwalk2008 (Ebay seller)
Belt Buckle – Mr. Bojangles
Leg Flares / Strap and Belt Mini-flares – darthhair (Ebay seller)
Where was the last place you wore it out, that is, the most recent incarnation of the costume?
I wore it out this afternoon in fact. I belong to a Star Wars fan group in London called London Rogues. Each May we host a community event to celebrate Star Wars. Today a few of us went to the campus of the University of Western Ontario to promote it – putting up posters, handing out flyers, and posing for photos with the student paper. It was fun.
Any future plans for something else?
Our group enters the Santa Claus Parade here in London. Although I haven’t been in it yet, I’ve been warned that it’s wet and cold. I may “Hoth up” my costume by making a jacket and adding winter gloves. Recently I’ve been working on a Darth Maul costume. I have most of it sewn already, but I still need to put together the belt, and find the appropriate boots. I’m thinking of doing this for Halloween. Who doesn’t love Darth Maul?
Favorite Star Wars movie?
The Empire Strikes Back.
If not Jar Jar Binks, who is your least favorite character? Most favorite?
Sorry, Jar Jar. Meesa no like you.
I’d have to say that Princess Leia is my favorite character – though Han is a close second.