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From The Ewok's Lair (17/04/2009)
Hello hello, come on in — I've just made ginger latte. But you see I'm a little perturbed as there's no chocolate in it, do you think chocolate sprinkles would work? Well look I'll put some on anyway - yours is on the table here. For goodness sake do sit down. You've been here often enough now you don't need to wait to be invited! I have some chocolate coated ginger cookies that Bob... erm I mean Oddball gave me, here help yourself.
Oddball? Yes that's the Cylon formerly known as Bob - he changed his name, it's all very confusing. Apparently Oddball was a Clone Pilot or so he tells me. He's doing a brand new costume! An Episode 2 Clone. It's very exciting! He said that he will keep it white for the moment, he's got a Phase 1 Episode 2 helmet, an Episode 3 Helmet and he's going to get a Clone Pilot chest box and helmet - he said that he can swap them over - like sweetie pic 'n' mix! Hee hee...
Oh yes, we were going to talk about starting a new costume from scratch! Talking about Oddball reminded me. Well I had a long chat with DJHicks, SuperTrooper and Guardian they have all built various different costumes using different methods and materials - from latex and fibreglass through to different types of plastics and rubber. No fur though... strange tastes these humans have, I really don't understand why they would want to cover themselves in anything other than fur - weird!
So anyway, the first thing they said to me was research. Research the character as much as possible, how they move, what they do, how you can interact with the public whilst in the costume. Will it suit your character and your build? Be realistic - with the best will in the world if you're 5' tall you cannot be a convincing Darth Vader and do you really want to hear people saying 'Bit short for Vader aren't you?' every time you wear it? With non helmeted or non masked costumes you particularly need to consider your likeness to the character that you want to portray. If, for instance, you are 5' tall with red hair and a moustache then Luke Skywalker would not be a good character for you.
Join a forum and research the how-to's and discussion on previous builds... don't be afraid to ask the simplest of questions as other costume builders would have started in the same position as your self! The members at Star Warriors are always happy to offer advice, support and constructive criticism as well as tips on where to source materials and the best and safest methods of constructing your chosen costume build.
SuperTrooper made a very important point; he said to set a budget. Some costumes are out of reach. Don't start it if you cannot afford to finish it. Also keep your mind open about diversifying your chosen character slightly. Let's say you can't afford the Gucci stormtrooper armour? Well someone selling tatty stormtrooper armour is prime sandtrooper territory!
Once you have decided on your costume and set a budget DJHicks explained that the next step was to try to break down the costume into parts such as clothing, accessories, weapons etc and then try to break these down further into individual components, for example Guardian's sandtrooper back pack (tubes, pots, seed tray etc). Make a list of everything you need and carry it with you. Use your imagination and when in shops especially the cheapy ones, try to see what items could be rather then what they are!
Never be frightened to try something, even if you first try with scraps on a smaller scale as a test. You will probably surprise yourself with what you can achieve - you simply don't know until you try!
If your costume is to involve chemicals such as solvents or adhesives, research into the best protection for yourself and your surroundings — you don't really want to be using mitre mate or spraying acrylic paint on the new carpet, it will not make you very popular and your costume building career could end very abruptly! Also think ahead of the ways to treat side affects and ways to clear up in the event of a spillage or over spray etc. Be prepared and make sure that you have everything you need at hand for the part of the project that you are working on.
If you have joined a forum share your progress with regular updates and pictures of your build. The members will encourage you and can offer tips on how to complete a particular process, often from their own mishaps - in turn also share any hiccups that you experience so that others can avoid them. Always be open to 'constructive' criticism, sometimes other people can see things you've missed or over looked... don't be offended, take it on board, listen or read what advice they give and correct it if need be, thus getting closer to the final character likeness.
As far as 'screen accuracy' is concerned this is a very subjective topic, different groups have different costuming standards - some insist on 100% screen accuracy (sometimes called 'canon') others are not so strict and some have no costume restrictions at all. Star Warriors' ethos is one of conceptualization - if the costume is of good quality and conceptually is a good representation of what is seen on screen that is sufficient. Having said that, many of the members strive for the highest possible levels of accuracy but that is entirely down to individual choice and Star Warriors will not accept any discrimination or elitism in this regard.
Oh my! I have been talking for ages and I actually managed not to waffle! I do hope you found it useful. Next time we'll talk about different methods of building your costume, using materials and some of the related safety issues.
Take care and have a good week. Bye bye for now.