Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Concept!

And the exclamation marks!

I'm very excitable, aren't I?  Must be these blogs.  Making me all tingly.  Anyhoo.

The question I was faced with, then, was how to top my previous years' fancy dress costume.  There'd been a theme to my costumes so far, which was that I was mostly undressed in them.  Whilst I have no problem with this, I didn't want to become a one-trick llama.  I also couldn't think of anything more shocking than what I'd done previously - and there was no way in hell I was going to attempt The Human Centipede Full Sequence.  I had enough problems maneuvering into the cubicles when I needed a pee with two inflatable dolls strapped to my arse, I didn't want to think how I'd manage with eleven.  No, I needed something different.

Clearly, what everyone was going to expect was for me to be naked again.  So the obvious thing to do then was to go fully clothed.  But more than that - I needed something where I'd be completely hidden.  That was the last thing that anyone would expect.  And as luck would have it, there was a costume I'd always wanted to try, from possibly my favourite science fiction show of all time - Babylon 5.  And the character?  The Vorlon Ambassador Kosh.

Ambassador Kosh, pictured with Minbari Ambassador Delenn
(Image courtesy of )

I'd loved the Vorlons right from the start of Babylon 5, and it had always been my dream to dress in an encounter suit - especially when I was living in the harsh North of England for three years and subjected to the weather (an encounter suit beats an umbrella any day).  In fact, I'd been so enamoured with them that not only had my room-mate and I plastered the door to our room with Kosh-isms ("I will not be with you if you go into this room", "If you go into this room you will die", etc - it's amazing, really, that I spent most of my first year being massively ostracised...), and I'd even gone to the trouble of making this little image up, picturing myself as the true(ish) image of a Vorlon:

Oh yeah - spoilers

Given that I'd made that image there was no way I wasn't going to include the Vorlon's inner form as part of the costume, too.  So there I had it - my concept!  I'd create a Vorlon encounter suit, and inside that I'd wear an angel costume.  A two-part costume.  For people who were expecting me to wear as little as possible, this was just the thing.

Only one question remained:  How the fuck was I going to do it?

The angel costume was going to be easy - I just wanted a simple dress thing with baggy sleeves.  I didn't want to bother with wings or anything - given that I'd be inside an encounter suit that'd just be awkward and asking for trouble.  But how was I going to build the encounter suit?

Naturally I turned to t'Interwebs for help, and found... very little.  Oddly enough, very few people have tried to make a costume like this.  I managed to find a handful of people who were mad enough to try it, and basically drew inspiration from them.

This guide from Fontzine provided a lot of inspiration, but suffered from being mostly textual.  I'm not a particularly good structural engineer, so I needed something more than this.  But it was great for getting some ideas.

My main source of inspiration came from the Existence is Wonderful blog.  The author of that blog had constructed her own suit, and thankfully a handful of photos of her construction efforts were available on Flickr.  These provided me with a huge amount of inspiration for building the costume - especially the helmet.  (And one day, when I've finished this blog and won't need to explain myself fully, I shall mail her and thank her.  I would ask you, dear reader, to remind me, but I have this nagging suspicion that there's no-one there.  No matter.  Onwards!)

Probably my greatest sense of re-assurance though came from this deviantART post.  It didn't reveal much in the way of construction tips, but the artist had managed to create the costume in just two weeks.  Given I had only four weeks to create my costume - but four weeks in which I would have to go to work, watch my girlfriend in her panto (twice), and fulfil other obligations - this gave me the re-assurance that it was do-able.

I had the concept, I had the inspiration, I had the re-assurance, and I had a sufficient amount of madness and determination that I knew that I'd be able to make something, no matter what happened.  Armed with all those things I began...

And detailed within the remainder of this blog, dear reader, is my guide on how to create a Vorlon encounter suit.  It's not perfect, and there are plenty of things I would do differently if I was to do it again (oh gods no), but I wanted to put something up there to help any other mad fools that, like me, would be struck with such a desire in the future.  It'll be my way of giving back.  And showing off.

Stay tuned!

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