Full Circle


The Complete CostumeSuit With Helmet OffThe suit consisted of seven major components as I made it (eight if you count the sound track).  The jump suit itself, the gloves and boots, the chest pack, the back pack, the helmet, the mask, and the monolith.  The monolith doesn't show up in the official Balticon photography because it was a 7'6" (2.3m) wooden-frame prop, and spent its time at the convention in the ballroom.  It was rolled on stage for the presentation, and rolled right back off when it was done.  The photography was done in the green room, so at no time during the convention were I, the monolith, and a camera in the same place at the same time.  For Worldcon, however, we were able to roll the monolith backstage for photography after the presentation.

I had the inspiration for the presentation some time during or after ARISIA '01 in January of 2001, and began looking for materials.  First, and most importantly, I found the quilted nylon material that would become the suit itself, but not after spending a few months looking for it.  I wanted very much to do the suit in red, as Bowman's suit was, but in the end the only colors available were blue, purple and a pastel green.  The blue was the best option.  The vinyl for the boots and the Pleather® for the gloves was an easy find at a local fabric store, and the craft-foam and silver vinyl that made many of the details were at the same place.  I spent a long time looking for the hardware for the wrist and ankle junctions, and eventually found some interesting solutions to the problems.  I also spent a long time looking for corrugated black tubing - I finally got some from a manufacturer, but only after Balticon had already passed.  And some of the elements, like Velcro® and the colored mirrors we had right here at home.  The front and back packs are yellow poster board, yellow duct tape, yellow foam-core (for the backpack), and lots of little, shiny bits to make it seem more realistic.

The first gorilla head was part of a commercial gorilla costume I borrowed from a friend.  It was just latex rubber with fake hair glued to it.  So for the WorldCon presentation, I made my own gorilla head, using liquid latex molded on a children's mask, coloerd with shoe polish, with fake hair glued to it.  It looked no worse than the commercial one, and photographed considerably better.

I had an enormous amount of fun putting this together and presenting it, and, naturally, learned a lot about costuming in the process.  Specifically, hot glue and duct tape are your friends, and never forget that your audience is always 20 or more feet away - there's a lot you can get away with.  Below are links to pages dealing with the specific sections of the costume and its construction, and the presentation.

Photography © 2001 D. M. Dubé and Ken Warren

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