My First Cosplay Convention Costume: 80s ‘V’ Shocktrooper. #3 The Cool Bits…

imageThe helmet and gun are the items that really make the costume for me. They are such cool designs and owning these pieces of geek became a big motivator for choosing this costume for comic con… Thankfully I was able to piece together a costume but to be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with the finish of the helmet and gun. The grey on the helmet looked quite blue instead of the grey it looked in the actual show, there was some wear on the paint where the visor rises, and the interior was lined with roughly cut yellow upholstery foam which was visible when on a helmet stand. The gun was heavily glossed. Both items had paint runs on them. So, I had to brave trying to improve them… Dismantling and sanding down £130 of geek merch…

The helmet foam had to go. After all, I imagine if you wear the helmet you’re going to get hot and I didn’t fancy a sponge of someone’s old sweat pressed against my forehead. Call me fussy… So I ripped that out. Which left nasty marks all over the interior of the helmet. No going back now… I bought some black neoprene foam. That type of foam shouldn’t soak up the sweat. Also, I have a massive noggin, so it would make for an easier fit. Then it was time to sand it down. Deep breath.

We don’t have a garden so the respray was done hanging out of our first floor window or in the alley. So, a bit of faff as the helmet needed a lot of coats. Walking up and down the stairs of our building with a sci-fi helmet that stunk of paint was a pain. I used primer, then Halfords black gloss paint and Rover Tempest Grey, and I bought a varnish too. It came up nice and shiny. Then I put it back together–and the hinge of the visor scuffed the paint. So, I had to take it all apart and redo a section. I then lined the visor pivot joint area with furniture felt pads coloured black with permanent marker. That did the trick, it protected the helmet and stopped the visor rattling about and flapping when I’m holding it. I then lined it with black felt to reduce the hollow sound when wearing it, and then used strips of black foam to make the helmet a better fit. I’ve left gaps so that air can circulate and I’m not cooking my head in tight fit foam hat! Lots of PVA glue. Everywhere.

Next up was the gun. I sanded that down as much as I could, but it’s very detailed and tough to get into the nooks, but I did what I could with it. Then read that you shouldn’t breath in resin dust from sanding. So, probably gonna die. Killed by geek. Looking at the guns in the show, they were actually quite rough, with mold lines running along them. No HD TV in those days. I looked up references and was surprised to find that the guns weren’t actually all black, but were grey and black. I didn’t believe it at first but then watching the show you can see in certain scenes they are that way–lighting covers a lot! The photo references showed that it wasn’t consistent in which details were grey and which were black, so I just went with my own approach. It’s not perfect, but it’s way better than it was. I actually prefer the grey and black, as with it just being black you lose a lot of the detail.

Thankfully it all turned out well in the end!

Next up I had to find a boiler suit, gloves, riding boots, and make a holster. That last one would be the last hurdle…

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