Nostromo Costumes

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SSGT Kitten

Active Member
I've been doing some research and I've finally gotten enough to start a new project: crew outfits from the USCSS Nostromo! A little background: I originally did a Nostromo outfit as a "comfy" costume for various cons. I put a bit of research into it, and overall it came out well.

Now however, I have a new task. I'm going to make Nostromo inspired outfits for myself and my fiancee. :) I say inspired, because they will not be screen accurate to any one character, but based on the elements that the different characters in the film ALIEN had. I do want to make them as realistic as the film versions, and I certainly want to make sure they contain all the right details to do justice to such a wonderful movie.

Like most of my projects, I started this off with a book. I like to keep a mini-journal of notes, sketches, etc, for each costume I do. Some are more detailed than others, but with this one I plan to not only keep a detailed set of notes, but share them electronically. In itself, the costume isn't truly that complicated, but I like building. Hopefully, others out there enjoy reading build threads as much as I do. I'll update this as I do work and try to include details helpful to others embarking on the Nostromo.

Also, I love doing photowork, so I will be putting up graphics that I think are fun and interesting and relate to my build. One thing I like to do is have "cover art" for my journals. It's always good inspiration.



Charlie
 

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SSGT Kitten

Active Member
To start, I entered my research phase. It provided the perfect excuse to buy copies of ALIEN (and ALIENS) on blu-ray. I didn't get the special features, but I do have the Alien Quadriligy on DVD. I was AMAZED at the image quality. Coupling the blu-ray with a lot f research here, at the hive forum, the alien legacy forum, and propsummit put in a lot of details that I had glossed over my first time around. I began collecting images for a ALIEN folder, and doing a bit of sketching. One of my main concerns right out of the gate was that I was doing two costumes, which would NOT be identical, and one would be for a male and one for a female. Since this is mainly soft parts, it would require tailoring skills I don't have. The male costume I wasn't overly worried about, as I had done this before. Customizing for the female might have been a little tricker. I got some base images off the internet, and started sketching.

 

SSGT Kitten

Active Member
One of the things that I always feel important is to start out with ideas of where I want the project to finalize. Of course, nothing would be set in stone, everything evolves as the project goes on, but if you don't have a goal it's too easy to get lost. And just "have Nostromo costume" is too vague to be helpful. So, I started making lists of different costume elements that each of the characters had (bandanna, hat, jacket, vest, etc) and started a mix and match process. My first crewman (back in '09) was based on Brett, and I knew it probably still would be. My fiancee was a whole different story though. We started discussing some costume elements (she hasn't ever done anything like this before). A few basic ideas came out: she wanted an officer, she didn't want a hat, she didn't want a vest. A jacket would be a good idea.
Well, that gives me something to run with. :) A few more conversations and we have a rough idea for her costume: white shirt, white pants, gold wings with the command pin. Jacket with gold wings. Pink tank top instead of green, with a pink bandanna. Initially there was some discussion of cowboy boots (ala Lambert) but we're going with the PF Flyers for her (I still have my original pair).
My costume is obviously different. I work in industrial engineering, so my sympathies are automatically with Brett and Parker. :) I have a decent pair of white and blue pants already, but I'm thinking those could be upgraded. Some ideas I talked over and worked around, and here is what I came up with: white shirt with blue wings, white pants. Jacket with blue wings and the engineering pin. I almost always wear a hat, so I will be doing that (I have a very good copy of Brett's hat now) but I will be using a fitted hat without the scrambled eggs on the brim.
This gave at least a base idea of the costumes for each of us. Now it time for details and sourcing. Another great tool is Excel. I started a spreadsheet to work out the details on what exactly I needed, where I could get it, and what it would cost. Wonderful tool to help budget out everything and hopefully prevent me from willy-nilly buying parts I wouldn't need.
This let me get to work on the details. Keep in mind, right now this is all still theoretical planning, so I wanted more sketches.



 

SSGT Kitten

Active Member
Those sketches let me start to fill in some of the details. For instance, I knew I wanted the American Tricentinnal patch on my jacket. I started working out exactly what patches I would need and what pins, as well as looking at the different suppliers.
Brownclaw here on the RPF posted a great thread detailing the differences of the patches ( http://www.therpf.com/f24/nostromo-patch-thread-comparison-122512/ ). From those images, as well as my own research, it looks like Intergalactic traders would be the supplier I would want. Based off the designs, I would need 4 dark background Nostromo patches (two for each jacket) and 3 light ones (one for each shirt, and then one for my hat). 2 each of the blue wings (my jacket and shirt) and 2 of the gold (for hers). Since my shirt is basically a copy of Parkers, the readily available blue W-Y wings are fine. I would really like to find the gold wings that Dallas had on his shirt, but they aren’t nearly as easy to find. I will keep my eyes open but for now I will go with the ones I can get. A Tricentennial patch rounds out the last of the patches; we will need 2 engineering pins (one for my jacket and belt buckle) and 2 command pins (one for her shirt and belt buckle). Ironically, all this will probably be some of the last of the things I acquire, since there is no time pressure on those. They’re readily available from multiple sources on the internet so I don’t have to worry about anyone “running out” of them.
 
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SSGT Kitten

Active Member
The jackets are one of the more important elements to the costume. I’ve done research and thanks to the threads here on the RPF I know which ones are the base for the screen ones: the RAF MK3 cold weather jacket. However, watching the movie showed that there are a lot of different jackets used. Dallas and Kane were close, Brett had a totally different one; Parker and Lambert had “normal” jackets with just patches and silk screening. My first Nostromo was based off an old US Navy blue utility jacket. I started hitting ebay and online surplus stores to see what some options are. I also talked with my girl about what kind of jacket she would like. After some checking around it basically came down to an availability versus fit argument. The MK3s are getting harder to find, especially in the right size. Based off what some owners have posted, I think I would need an 8. Hard to find. Trying to figure out a women’s size got a bit more difficult. My fiancee isn’t a big girl, but she is a bit well endowed, so that put another spin on it (not that I am complaining). Luckily, for her jacket, I was able to find a women’s blue utility jacket on ebay. It’s the same model I used for my first jacket, just sized for a woman. I also happened to find a deal on a set of Greek M65 field jackets. They were dirt cheap, green, almost brand new, and came in a set of two. Bad thing is they tend to run small, but given the price I couldn’t say no. Those got ordered. I got the women’s utility in; fits the bill but I haven’t had a chance to get her to test wear it yet (I’m not forseeing any problems). The M65s also showed up. One fits fine (but it’s sure not a large). The other is….ok, but the sleeves are short and the shoulders a bit tight. She MIGHT be able to wear the second, but I don’t know. Right now, I think she will get the women’s blue, I will wear the green M65, and the second one gets made into a vest. Win win.



First concern: the Nostromo logo on the back. I’ve seen some of the iron on and stencil work people have done. Great jobs, but if at all possible I like to get a pro to do it, just to make sure the lettering is straight. I got lucky the first time around, my original was screen printed. Yep, I found a place that did it very inexpensive. $25 for the screen printing.

The problem now? I won’t go back to them, because of some other problems with other orders. However, I called around and found a printer willing to do the work. He charged me a $15 setup fee and $2 a jacket. He’s got the three jackets now; I pick them up on Tuesday. It definitely pays to call around to T-shirt places!! On a note, the printers I’ve worked with on various are VERY happy if you can provide them with references. I keep a jump drive for such occasions. When I went to the printer I had the TTF font for Pump Demi-bold, coloured and B&W layouts of the lettering I did on my computer, and several movie screen shot references. I also told him to make sure that the edges were crisp, but that the colouring could be worn and faded out. We’ll see how the work comes out on Tuesday.
 

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YuriGagarin61

Active Member
SSGT Kitten: very inspirational, and thorough researching! Yes, BrownClaw made an excellent posting regarding the various qualities of contemporary, replicated "Company" embroidered patches, indeed.
 

SSGT Kitten

Active Member
Thanks Yuri! I want to put in a lot of detail for this. I just hope it doesn't get boring. There are going to be a bunch of posts tonight, since I'm doing my electronic "catch up." It will slow down once I get everything in that I've already done.

More work on the jacket details: patches and logo aside, the piping is the next big hurdle. To start, I used Wrights piping on my last jacket, and I will for these as well. It’s 2.5 yds per package ($1.99 at my local Joann’s Fabric), in a MULTITUDE of colours. I still use the standard pink colour.

Now it is a bit of bright pink. It doesn’t stand out so much on a blue or white, but on the green jacket:


When I did my first jacket I thought it came out a bit bright as well, so here a solution: soak in bleach. Yep, I took the piping, wet it, and put in a 50/50 bleach/water mix for a few minutes. Also, I dipped the edges in bleach once it was shown on the jacket as well. Here’s an example of what it came out like:


It’s still pink, but it has the worn look. Now that the piping is established, how to put it on? Basically, there are two ways I see to do it. Sew it underneath the fabric, or rip the seams open, put the piping inside, and resew. I will have the jackets done the first method, for two reasons. One, that’s how they did it in the movie. There are a few scenes where you can see under the lapel of Parker’s shirt and Kane’s jacket. The piping is just sewn underneath. Two, it would cost a LOT more to have a tailor rip open and resew the seams than just sew the piping underneath. One the blue utility jacket, there isn’t a lot of piping; the collar and then again on the cuff of the sleeves. For the green M65s, I’m planning on a bit more. To match the shirt, the collar and ALL of the pockets will be piped. I’m not sure about the wrist strapping and the eapulets; my sketches have it there but I’m not totally sold on it. I don’t want to overdo the piping. For the blue jacket, it will take one package of piping, with a good bit left over. For the green jackets, based off measurements, I think it will take 2 packages per jacket to get everything done.
 

YuriGagarin61

Active Member
SSGT Kitten~ how could ANYONE be bored with thoroughly researched Nostromo uniform details??? Seriously, well done--I wish that I had the means/skills to do "diy" such; yes completely agree, the movie version of sewing on the collar and pocket piping is, well, screen accurate. Looking forward to following your work on this thread :thumbsup
 

kane2122

Member
Charlie great thread and amazing amount of detail you've put down in that project journal, love the official looking cover really sets off the whole thing.
look forward to seeing more! Regarding the correct size of MK3 jacket for your fiancee here's the correct size chart.
 
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SSGT Kitten

Active Member
Thanks for the chart Kane! That's saved to my computer now. :)

I'm still tackling some overall details, but I have good news! I fixed my old pants. :) I wish I had taken pictures. Originally, I had 2 white pairs made. Well, I wanted blue, so I dyed one pair. Unfortunately, the dye didn't take quite right. Basically, the "original" pants material came out SUBSTANTIALLY lighter than the added fabric (although they were both the same blend). I said screw it, wore the white pants, and the blue got hung up in the discarded prop closet. Well, I took them out yesterday (after a year) and decided to see what I could do. I figured worse case was I destroyed a pair of pants I never wore anyway. I took a bucket, some water, and bleach and tried to fix it. It worked! They are not a uniform blue, there are spots where it looks somewhat purple. Honestly, they look like someone washed them and accidently added bleach. I'm sure no one on the Nostromo would ever make a mistake like that. Hehehe. But the overall effect is great. They look like a good match blue from a distance and up close they really look worn and used. More importantly, there is no glaringly obvious added bits.





I've also worked on the belts some. I can't find a close match for the screen belts, but they are some disparities there anyway.

Lambert and Ripley: no belt at all
Ash and Kane: company belts
Parker: personal leather belt
Brett and Dallas: ??

I feel ok moving forward. :) I was going to use some old US Navy garrison belts, but the buckles are too small. I scavenged a belt from my Fallout 3 costume and picked up another at Target. They were orginally camoflauge canvas. A little time in a dye bath and they are....well, blackish. With a hint of green. Pretty cool. The buckles are metal and quite large. Here is the original look:



and here is sanded.



I'm working on sketches to add the greeblies, but I really need to find out the dimensions of the pins intergalactic sells. Or another source for the pins. The belts were only $10 apiece, so I think they were well worth it.

Oh, one more update: I've decided on a blue shirt and blue pants for myself. I was teetering on whether to base more off Parker, or more off Brett, so I split the difference and I'll base off Ash. Why? Well, I forgot to mention one of my tattoos:



No one at work ever gets this.

Speaking of which, I'll end this update with two more items (especially since I like showing off). One is a tattoo I got (thank god for an understanding fiancee)



The original drawing was given to me by a friend who found it on the internet and I redrew to fit my style of tat art. Wish I knew who the original artist was, cause the idea rocks. :)

And here is something I worked up in photoshot for my screen background. If anyone would like a hi-rez version, just shoot me a PM with your email and I will send it.



I won't be posting much for a few days. I'm heading into a four day at work and that always kills any hobby stuff. Hopefully on Tuesday I'll have some awesome shots of the screen printing.

Charlie

PS: Forgot to show this. Iron-on labels I made for the jackets. I have some for the shirts and pants too.

 
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Pete SSS

Well-Known Member
Hey, I'm loving the dedication you are putting into these costumes, really wonderful stuff! I love alll your graphics too! Just to throw a spanner in the works, I have a small sized RAF MK3 Jacket which is crying out to be made into a Nostromo crew jacket, but alas it's far too small for me, and my Lady isn't interested. If you'd like to get screen accurate for your fiancee, I think this may be the perfect jacket for you.





Drop me a PM if you're interested, and again GREAT WORK!
 

YuriGagarin61

Active Member
Charlie, re:belts--Dallas has something quite different from the Company belts of Kane and Ash; the "10 months to Earth" scene, just before Kane regains consciousness and the infamous mess room scene, is the best view of Dallas's belt-buckle. Brett's belt, if worn, isn't available for view in any of the movie scenes.
 

Jonesythecat

Well-Known Member
I'm sure the belt were discussed in the big thread about nostromo costumes. They are British military belts, can't remember which corp.
 

YuriGagarin61

Active Member
I'm sure the belt were discussed in the big thread about nostromo costumes. They are British military belts, can't remember which corp.
"Originally Posted by kane2122
Jonesy.... Dallas wears a British armed forces regimental stable belt with the circular clasp, still worn today, although it's difficult to identify the exact regiment through the buckle alone the belt appears to be dark green ( depending on lighting ) this could be one of three regiments, The Rifles, the Royal Green jackets or The Light infantry all use or used various shades of dark green on their regimental belts. Or it could just be any old green webbing belt attached to the buckle?
Theres quite a lot on ebay UK at present, just search under military, regimental or stable belt."

~Jonesy:thank you--thank you kane2122 for originally posting the quoted, above, information!!!!
 

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kane2122

Member
Thanks for posting that old post Yuri......
Here's a few images of regimental stable belts,

Parkers screen used pants with his ethnic rope belt!

Brett appears to be wearing a dark green or black belt webbing belt? it possibly could be the same as Ash and Kane's only with the engineering pin? or just a simple metal buckle? hard to tell without a clear picture.


.........................................
.............................
 
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SSGT Kitten

Active Member
I've been coming through the blu-ray. I've gotten some pretty decent hi-rez captures. (Having to do it with a camera on the phone though so it is not great). I will try to put those up. Looks like some of the pins are not the same as the ones commercially offered.

Charlie
 

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