Shyaporn's 2012 Halloween Costume Contest Entry - Khan Noonien Singh

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Shyaporn's 2012 Halloween Costume Contest Entry - Khan Noonien Singh

I primarily create costumes as part of making video sketches for my YouTube channel, as well as for costume events, so I typically aim towards getting the general idea of a character, with a careful eye on keeping things to a economical budget. That said, "Star Trek: Wrath of Khan" is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I put quite a bit more detail and research into this project.

I began my Khan Noonien Singh ensemble for my Superhero/Sci-Fi costume birthday party earlier this year, and more fully realized it for this Halloween, immediately preceeding the rampages of Hurricane Sandy here in NYC.

(Pre-wig straightening)

The initial build of the tunic and accessories took about 4 days, with a lot of shopping around for bits and pieces in the few weeks beforehand, and I cobbled together the boots in a few hours before Halloween weekend. Finding the right fabric, and cheaply, was the most time-consuming part of this project - if money is no object, I'm sure someone could make this much more quickly; the whole thing cost me around $55.

I'll post side-by-side pictures of the various elements, with the movie versions on the left and my recreations on the right.


- Tunic is made from scratch from a dark orange polar fleece, with a little padding in the quilted collar: I traced fabric panel patterns from a regular button-down, slim-fitting shirt of mine, leaving about an inch of extra space on the edge and changing the edge on the front panels to account for the double-breasted front and to show the massive amount of Khan/Montlebahn cleavage necessary. I also added a very large and wide piece of equilateral trapezoid-shaped fabric at the neck of the back panel, which I rolled with some padding, tapered at each end, to create the collar. I rolled the padding down to double-width of the final collar, quilted the collar sections in 1.5" widths, and then folded it under itself and attached the sides of the collar to the two front panels, after I had assembled the tunic.

The extra padded detail is created by cutting a piece of fabric in the shape and then rolling pieces of fleece and fixing them with glue to create the quilting. Make the rolls twice as long as the width of the fabric and, after affixing, wrap the ends around to the back to create a closed quilt. No padding is necessary with the fleece, as the fabric acts as it's own padding at this size. Then simply sew the accessories onto the main tunic, or wrap to make cuffs. The tunic lines are just long strips of fabric hot glued to the tunic.

The fleece was a blessing on several levels. It's incredibly easy to work with; it lets you easily manipulate and shape it around the curves of the collar and when folding/padding the collar itself. It is also very comfortable and warm, despite being full of holes and missing an arm; I was walking around the rather windy, 50-degree streets of Brooklyn the night before Sandy hit and was quite toasty.

In researching the technique to do the collar, I came across some fascinating stories from the costume designer Robert Fletcher regarding the challenges on the production, from having to recycle the uniforms from the first movie to only having ONE needle for the 50-year old trapunto machines. Worth a read!


- Wig is a pale blonde mullet wig: As you can see, the wig is blonder than it appeared in the product photo, however this one had the right shape and was close enough in color. In the movie's opening scenes, his hair has a slightly blonde tint to it, so I was fine with it. In the future, I might find some way to dye synthetic wig material.

The bangs and the "party in the back" section were both a little wavy for my tastes, so I adapted a synthetic wig straitening tutorial I found online and dipped the back side locks and bangs into a pot of boiling water and then combed them out until they were straight. Khan's hair is a little wavy, so I didn't need to it to be hot-iron straight.


- Necklace is phone wire, washers, electrical tape, hot glue, cardboard and paint: I didn't have the time or money to order the Starfleet belt buckle or necessary authentic electrical fittings (ferrite rings, eight pin octal tube socket, euro 4 pin din, etc…). Nor could I find a metal ring I could hack into the buckle. So I just cobbled it together by stripping old phone wire and wrapping it around three washers of various sizes, and cutting, taping and painting cardboard for the buckle.


- Belt and Buckle is silver poster board and brown pleather with velcro seals: It's just silver posterboard/light bounce card cut to look like the prop. I got it from B&H, our local photo/video store, but I'm sure art supply houses would have it. I will eventually add a little weathering and perhaps seal the buckle.


- Wrist Device is stripped ethernet cable, brown pleather, silver poster board, velcro and hot glue: Last minute addition to the costume, I cut out a wrist band from the pleather I had, cut a rectangle of silver poster board, cut two slits in the short ends and threaded the pleather through. Then I simply partially stripped an ethernet cable and hot-glued the plug end onto the poster board, along with some other electronics looking thingies.

TIP: When cutting the ethernet cable, leave some of the casing intact; you can then divide this into adjustable cable holders that you can slide up and down the length of the exposed wires to keep them together. Then I just stuck a piece of self-adhesive velcro as a clasp.


- Glove is black leather hot glued with black and metallic fabric: Just a spare, black leather winter glove I had lying around and it happened to be the right hand. I lucked out on finding a fabric with metallic triplets running along it to simulate the metallic beading on the actual prop. (I also got more to make Khan's Ceti Alpha V desert mask and turban, but ran out of time.)


- Chest Sash is a brown leather belt, key rings, stripped ethernet cable and hot glue: This is just a 99-cent store belt with partially stripped cable threaded through the holes and key rings threaded through the wires. The wire is glued down by the outer casing to the belt on the back, so you can still adjust the wires for size. This is not a screen-accurate prop, but was meant to approximate the shape and feel of the original. You could easily use these same materials to do the build properly by flipping the belt so the buckle's on top, cutting away the rectangular buckle and replacing it with a half circle ring from a shoulder bag or purse, embedding a ring, etc... I simply had time constraints.


- Boots were an interesting challenge. In the whole of Wrath of Khan, not once is there a clear shot of Khan's feet, and only once do you see him below the knee at all, as the Reliant bridge is falling apart in the Mutara Nebula, and even then it's all in shadow. However, I managed to Google up a Comic-Con catalog page that showed what I assumed to be the boots designed for the movie, so used those as a template.

I considered rolling some of the remaining costume fleece in the trapunto style for boot covers over some existing shoes, but then happened across these beauties for a measly $8 at a local Conway:

I scavenged some scraps of white faux fur leftover from my roommate's wolf costume last year, combed it until all the loose hairs were gone so that I didn't shed like a cat, and then stitched the fabric over the rim of the Conway boots and trimmed the bottom edge to give it the rough-skinned lines of the original. I then worked in some black creme make up to give the fur it's markings.

I tied a few strips of the orange fleece around the ankle to give the impression of bindings and laces, and voila!

- Pants were simply some dark brown Old Navy khakis. The originals were basically just brown pants with a few diamond embroidered lines

Mine... is the superior...

Final budget broke down to this, approximately:
Orange fleece, 2 yards: $16
Mullet wig: $10 (including shipping)
Orange boots: $8
Silver light bounce poster board: $7
Brown pleather, 1 yard: $5
Hot glue: $4
Key rings: $0.99
Washers: $0.99
Belt: $0.99
Black and metallic material, 1 yard: $0.99
Glove, wiring, velcro, padding, cardboard, paint and other miscellany were free, scavenged or on hand. Dark brown pants are from Old Navy, but could be from any, old thrift shop.

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