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    Jul 7, 2010, 4:20 AM - Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #1

    I know there is another thread about spacesuits right now but this one is specifically about my 2010 Halloween costume idea. I'm big into pretty much Mid Century everything. One thing I really dig is the pre-1960's idea of space and science fiction. Soooo... why not do a Mid Century spaceman costume for Halloween. I say Mid Century because I can't really pin point it down to one era. I like alot of the 50's stuff but the pre-50's Buck Rogers stuff is also neat to me.

    Here is the deal:
    I need it to be cheap. I pretty much may only get one Halloween out of it so I'm not going to be spending hundreds of dollars. BUT... It ain't going to be duct tape and aluminum foil.

    I have been collecting reference material for awhile. Science fiction book art, movie stills from the era, and even early NASA suits photographs. I think I have a decent concept of what it should/could look like. Remember this will be like those crappy space suits that you see in those 1950's space movies so it won't be a advanced modern suit. Here are a bunch of suits from Tomorrowland when Disney opened...
    Tomorrowland Spaceman: My Dream Job | Lounge a while at Jeff-Hopkins.com
    You get the idea of what passed for a spaceman in those days.
    I will be adding some more visual interest than the plain silver suit that was very popular during that time period. I plan to add some LED lights to make it a little more detailed.

    I drew a couple of REALLY quick sketches to illustrate what I'm thinking...

    Like I said I don't want that all one color silver suit so I was thinking of modifying a set of white coveralls to look the part. I will be adding silver material to the suit. Something like Silver Lame to give it that real dated Gemini Missions look. I think some red would help give it some interest. This first sketch is really based on me finding a clear dome to construct a helmet. That is a HUGE if. Most of the domes I have found are too expensive for this project. I am hopeful. It would be a nice addition to this costume. I would build a plastic or fiberglass helmet/neck seal/shoulders/rocket pack. The chest box and pack would be lit up by battery operated christmas LED lights. I would be making the gloves out of the silver material I find. I'm not sure about the boots. Either covering boots I currently have with the material OR making a silver spat/leggings to cover shorter boots...



    The second sketch is going with the fact that I can't find a decent dome. I have a 70's motorcycle helmet shell that I was thinking I would modify to almost look like Buck Rogers (the REAL Buck Rogers) style helmet. Pretty much the same look though...



    Given that this will be something that I will be working on VERY SLOWLY I won't have it done tomorrow. I'm thinking about this now so I have plenty of time to get it done before Halloween. Maybe I'll find some great parts by then. We will see.

    I'm still kicking around ideas. This is only the planning stages. If anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears.

    Brian
  2. Protocol's Avatar
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    Jul 7, 2010, 5:12 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #2

    Whats the budget for the dome? Have you had a good look around ebay for acrylic globes?
    Do a search for "HEAVY ROUND REPLACEMENT LIGHT GLOBES SPHERES" and pick and choose. They range from $20 to $60.
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    Jul 7, 2010, 9:25 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #3

    Protocol said: View Post
    Whats the budget for the dome? Have you had a good look around ebay for acrylic globes?
    Do a search for "HEAVY ROUND REPLACEMENT LIGHT GLOBES SPHERES" and pick and choose. They range from $20 to $60.
    Hmmmmm.... Interesting. I hadn't seen those before. That might fall in my price range. I just didn't want to get up into the hundred dollar range for only one portion of the suit. Nice find.

    They sell a 16" version of it. I think that would be a good size. At least I think so...
    The 16" globe in Acrylic is $43.89 (+ shipping) and the Polycarbonate is $62.90 (+ shipping). The acrylic is much more affordable. Not sure what the advantage of having the poly version. Isn't poly a harder plastic? Would that translate to being more brittle when doing something like cutting holes in it? I dunno. Maybe someone could fill me in on that.

    Going with a dome like this would require some kind of cooling/airflow system. Does anyone have any experience cutting acrylic like this? Can you use something like a dremel cut-off wheel to make holes or trim it?

    I would hate to send money on something like that and crack it when cutting holes for the cooling system.

    Brian
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    Jul 7, 2010, 9:48 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #4

    Brianpettit said: View Post
    Going with a dome like this would require some kind of cooling/airflow system. Does anyone have any experience cutting acrylic like this? Can you use something like a dremel cut-off wheel to make holes or trim it?

    I would hate to send money on something like that and crack it when cutting holes for the cooling system.

    Brian
    Couldn't you use one of those paddle shaped drill bits? They're used to make larger diameter holes in wood. I think my largest one makes a 1" dia. hole. I've used them successfully on PVC pipe before.

    I also just have to say I LOVE your illustration style. Fantastic looking!
  5. Raffles's Avatar
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    Jul 7, 2010, 11:22 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #5

    Brianpettit said: View Post
    The acrylic is much more affordable. Not sure what the advantage of having the poly version. Isn't poly a harder plastic? Would that translate to being more brittle when doing something like cutting holes in it? I dunno. Maybe someone could fill me in on that.

    Going with a dome like this would require some kind of cooling/airflow system. Does anyone have any experience cutting acrylic like this? Can you use something like a dremel cut-off wheel to make holes or trim it?
    Polycarbonate has an elasticity that acrylic dosen't have and is less brittle. But from my experience it doesnt have the clarity that acrylic has and it's nigh on impossible to buff out any scuffs or scratches.

    As for working it, for drilling just put a masking tape down to protect against slips and scratches. For cutting a dremel wheel is fine just take your time and take off small bits at a time. Finish the edges with a sanding drum. Always try and minimise the force and stress on the material.

    I would go with the acrylic dome myself its just a better material. Polycarb can take a helluva punishment thats why its pricier it meant for outdoor lights and places where it might take a bash. As long as you don't whack the acrylic with a chisel you won't break it in normal usage.
  6. Raffles's Avatar
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    Jul 7, 2010, 11:23 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #6

    kibosh said: View Post
    Couldn't you use one of those paddle shaped drill bits? They're used to make larger diameter holes in wood. I think my largest one makes a 1" dia. hole. I've used them successfully on PVC pipe before.

    I also just have to say I LOVE your illustration style. Fantastic looking!
    The spade bits for drilling wood are perfect for cutting Acrylic. Just keep the speed reasonable and you'll have no problem.
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    Jul 7, 2010, 1:30 PM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #7

    Raffles said: View Post
    The spade bits for drilling wood are perfect for cutting Acrylic. Just keep the speed reasonable and you'll have no problem.
    Yes, spade bits. Hate when simple words elude me... Approaching 40 sucks.
  8. BAK55's Avatar
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    Jul 7, 2010, 6:21 PM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #8

    I also have been kicking around the idea of a spacesuit. Although I love the design presented here, I'm going for a more retro look. I drew this up on my AutoCAD program.



    I'm looking at these globes for the helmet. I would enlarge the opening to permit the head to pass though.

    12 in. Clear Acrylic Globe - with 5.25 in. Neckless Opening



    The suit would be comprised of a sweat shirt and sweat pants, a large tube for the collar, combat boots and engineer type gloves. The doublet would be a heavy reenforced fabric tied down by the belt. As you can see, I'm really going for a low budget B movie kind of look.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  9. RPF Premium Member phase pistol's Avatar
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    Jul 7, 2010, 6:54 PM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #9

    That is SO close to being the classic 50s Wally Wood/Noel Sickles suit.... would love to see somebody tackle that one.


  10. BAK55's Avatar
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    Jul 7, 2010, 7:01 PM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #10

    Actually Wood did influence the design. I'm just gonna try to keep this as cheap as possible.
  11. GBrittelleJr's Avatar
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    Jul 7, 2010, 8:20 PM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #11

    I'm going to be watching this with great interest!!!
  12. RPF Premium Member phase pistol's Avatar
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    Jul 7, 2010, 8:22 PM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #12

    As far as the dome, I see those are pretty reasonably priced. You can even go up to an 18 in dome with 8 in opening, which might actually work better. Or at least a 16 in size. The 12 might be a bit tight on the head.

    k
  13. BAK55's Avatar
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    Jul 7, 2010, 11:21 PM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #13

    phase pistol said: View Post
    As far as the dome, I see those are pretty reasonably priced. You can even go up to an 18 in dome with 8 in opening, which might actually work better. Or at least a 16 in size. The 12 might be a bit tight on the head.

    k
    I'm hoping to keep the dome tight to the head. The drawing you see is to scale with a 12 inch dome over the head, so it is posible. However, if I do need to go larger, it won't be more than the 14 inch dome.

    Kinda like this-
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  14. Member Since
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    Jul 8, 2010, 2:01 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #14

    kibosh said: View Post
    I also just have to say I LOVE your illustration style. Fantastic looking!
    Thanks. I enjoy doing concept art.

    Raffles said: View Post
    Polycarbonate has an elasticity that acrylic dosen't have and is less brittle. But from my experience it doesnt have the clarity that acrylic has and it's nigh on impossible to buff out any scuffs or scratches.

    As for working it, for drilling just put a masking tape down to protect against slips and scratches. For cutting a dremel wheel is fine just take your time and take off small bits at a time. Finish the edges with a sanding drum. Always try and minimise the force and stress on the material.

    I would go with the acrylic dome myself its just a better material. Polycarb can take a helluva punishment thats why its pricier it meant for outdoor lights and places where it might take a bash. As long as you don't whack the acrylic with a chisel you won't break it in normal usage.
    Thanks for the info Raffles. It is awesome to have the someone that knows help out. I appreciate it. It is a big help.

    -Brian
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    Jul 8, 2010, 2:07 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #15

    That 12 inch dome is a bit small. I made a 16 inch hoop of wire and held it up to my head and it gave me a lot of room and the the look I want. The 12 inch would probably be very restrictive. 14 inch may be a bit better. I dunno. If you start your build Bak I would like to see it. I do like your concept drawing. It looks very familiar but not too much like any one helmet.

    -Brian
  16. DaddyfromNaboo's Avatar
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    Jul 8, 2010, 2:08 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #16

    Brianpettit said: View Post
    Thanks. I enjoy doing concept art.



    Thanks for the info Raffles. It is awesome to have the someone that knows help out. I appreciate it. It is a big help.

    -Brian
    Yeah, looks really cool. There is something strangely british to it, like itīs out of a Dan Dare comic book
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    Jul 8, 2010, 2:22 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #17

    Here is a concept for the original helmet design but using a more "fish bowl" style helmet. I originally was planning for more of a dome style not a sphere because I didn't think the sphere was obtainable.

    You can see that I was thinking about using tubes for the air system. I am thinking of running some battery operated computer fans to feed air into the helmet. Without any outside air it would be horribly hot and hard to breath. A couple of small fans should be able to push enough air into the helmet.



    Once I drew this and thought about it some more I was missing something. I think Bak and other Mid Century artists were on to something. I need another hole to communicate though. Without it it would be hard to talk and hear anyone inside a plastic bubble. A larger hole that could be screened in the front of the helmet would also help the air flow. In this concept I dropped the tubes to the front like Bak's helmet concept. In this one they are just decorative. Two screened off holes in the back of the helmet would feed the air into the dome using the computer fans. I know I could use a microphone/speaker system like the Stormies use but I'm trying to keep the cost down...



    Another thing is the ability to drink. Maybe some kind of drink tube I could feed up into the helmet. I don't know about this one. It could be the killer to wearing this helmet.
  18. BAK55's Avatar
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    Jul 8, 2010, 2:58 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #18

    Brianpettit said: View Post
    Here is a concept for the original helmet design but using a more "fish bowl" style helmet. I originally was planning for more of a dome style not a sphere because I didn't think the sphere was obtainable.

    You can see that I was thinking about using tubes for the air system. I am thinking of running some battery operated computer fans to feed air into the helmet. Without any outside air it would be horribly hot and hard to breath. A couple of small fans should be able to push enough air into the helmet.



    Once I drew this and thought about it some more I was missing something. I think Bak and other Mid Century artists were on to something. I need another hole to communicate though. Without it it would be hard to talk and hear anyone inside a plastic bubble. A larger hole that could be screened in the front of the helmet would also help the air flow. In this concept I dropped the tubes to the front like Bak's helmet concept. In this one they are just decorative. Two screened off holes in the back of the helmet would feed the air into the dome using the computer fans. I know I could use a microphone/speaker system like the Stormies use but I'm trying to keep the cost down...



    Another thing is the ability to drink. Maybe some kind of drink tube I could feed up into the helmet. I don't know about this one. It could be the killer to wearing this helmet.
    You're absolutely right about the heat building up inside the helmet, not to mention how it would fog up. I learned this every time I wore my Rocketeer helmet, the lenes fogged up instantly and every exhale created more heat. So I had to constantly move around to vent some of it out.

    I also plan using a small comuter fan in the front where the tubes connect to draw air in, and a blower fan in the backpack to draw air out so ther would be full circulation.

    I'm hoping the front fan won't interfere too much to talk through the opening I need to have there. As for hearing, I have an idea that hasn't been drawn out yet, and I'm not really too keen on since I like the cleaner look, but it could look like receivers attached to each side of the helmet.

    As far as drinking goes, I'm planning on having the dome removable much like the old brass diver's helmet.
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    Jul 8, 2010, 4:08 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #19

    ManfromNaboo said: View Post
    Yeah, looks really cool. There is something strangely british to it, like itīs out of a Dan Dare comic book
    Wow... Even being a pretty big comic book fan growing up I had no idea who Dan Dare was. I'm ashamed to say I had to look it up.

    It looks pretty cool. The earlier stuff that is. The later stuff with his full "hard" suit not as much. The earlier red suit with the "trash can" helmet is sooooo much cooler. I like it. It reminds me of the 50's era Buck Rogers or the Rocketeer stuff.

    -Brian
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    Jul 8, 2010, 7:51 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #20

    Brianpettit said: View Post


    If you went with this design, you might be able to make the center circle grill a "trap door" that could be opened to take a drink from time to time. Heck, you could prolly even get a fork in there to grab a bite to eat.
  21. Aquaman's Avatar
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    Jul 8, 2010, 8:47 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #21

    just a thought, since u are dealing with the sealed helmet air problem. What about doing a Buzz Lightyear type of dome that is cut in half so it can open and close? That would give u the look but also the opportunity to open it and walk around without sacrificing the overall concept and look of it? To be honest, a non-opening helmet would be impracticable IMHO!!! Love this thread!
  22. DaddyfromNaboo's Avatar
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    Jul 8, 2010, 9:08 AM - #22

    Brianpettit said: View Post
    Wow... Even being a pretty big comic book fan growing up I had no idea who Dan Dare was. I'm ashamed to say I had to look it up.
    No need to be ashamed, I only know of Dan Dare because I saw the comic book when I visited England in the late 1980ies. It did not make it to Germany IIRC.

    Germany had his own Spaceman, "Nick der Weltraumfahrer" (Nick, the spacepilot")


    It looks pretty cool. The earlier stuff that is. The later stuff with his full "hard" suit not as much. The earlier red suit with the "trash can" helmet is sooooo much cooler. I like it. It reminds me of the 50's era Buck Rogers or the Rocketeer stuff.

    -Brian
    Yeah, thatīs what I thought, too. You canīt beat the classic look

    Aquaman said: View Post
    ...That would give u the look but also the opportunity to open it and walk around without sacrificing the overall concept and look of it? To be honest, a non-opening helmet would be impracticable IMHO!!! Love this thread!
    I think if the rim of the neck seal goes over the opening of the acrylic dome he can put in some space around the opening, creating a "shadow recess" or "shadow gap" around it to let air in.
  23. dropshipbob's Avatar
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    Jul 8, 2010, 9:42 AM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #23

    I'd suggest going to a toy store and looking at water guns for the air tanks. Many of the waterguns available today would have the perfect look once you remove the grips.

    Good luck on this project, I like the style you are going for.
  24. themanwoaname is offline themanwoaname
    Jul 8, 2010, 12:24 PM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #24

    Brianpettit said: View Post


    i like this one, because he looks like adam strange but with a different twist, like he'd be another rannian operative or something.

    i also like the bubble helmets towards the bottom, the one with the vent in the front like you said could be where you set up a mic, but also, you could put a fan there blowing at you low speed, which not only would give you outside air, but also would help change the sound of your voice.
  25. Raffles's Avatar
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    Jul 8, 2010, 4:31 PM - Re: Mid Century Spaceman Costume (Planning Stages)... #25

    Brianpettit said: View Post
    Thanks for the info Raffles. It is awesome to have the someone that knows help out. I appreciate it. It is a big help.

    -Brian
    No probs, I was using acrylic for my ODST visors recently and I went through so many sheets it wasn't funny. It can be tricky to work with but if you're careful it should be ok.

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