The Expanse: Holden Season 4 Build/Research

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Wailonskydog

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Was re-watching The Expanse and somehow stumbled on the jacket the Roci crew wear in season 4. Turns out it's an Arcteryx Gamma MX jacket and the older model used in Expanse is available at their outlet store for not an insane price (like their newer clothes). Since I had been in the market for a jacket like this since last spring I of course had to pick it up.

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Now this sent me down the rabbit hole and I decided that I needed do to a James Holden season 4 costume in the hopes that this year may eventually see the return of conventions and halloween and other such activities.


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The basic Holden is:
  • zip-up light under jacket
  • Arctyrx jacket
  • black pants
  • mag boots
He supplements this base ensemble with:
  • Martian pistol/pistol belt
  • Martian light rifle w/ sling
  • tactical gloves
  • safety harness w/ lights and other accessories

I'll go into all of these in detail eventually, but let's start with the harness. Other Expanse costumers have noted that most of the harnesses used in the show are made by Guardian and that the crew of the Roci use the Edge or Halo model. Usually these run between $250-$350 which is pretty pricey for a single piece not even including all the mods and extras that need to go into it. By a stroke of luck I was able to score a Guardian Edge at an incredible price through Amazon I think due to overstock or something. It's in XXL which is way too big for me, but with all the mods I'll do it will work. The only difference in sizes as far as I can tell is that the strapping is longer. Most it it will get replaced anyway so easy to size it down to my needs. This procurement sealed the deal. The full Holden will be happening!

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I also procured some straps and buckles to mod the harness. In the show, Cobra buckles/belts pop up all over the place including on the harnesses. Though the originals are quite expensive there are plenty of cheaper versions on Amazon. I grabbed the 6 of them I will need for the harness. Two for above the mounted head lamps, one for the chest buckle, one for the belt buckle, and two for the leg straps.

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I've got a bead on many of the other items needed so I'll be updating once I get them in hand and start working on putting it all together.
 

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Wailonskydog

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The Harness Lights:

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The lamps on most Expanse harnesses are older model Black Diamond headlamps, Storms I believe. These are hard to find, mostly out of stock, and relatively expensive if you can find one.

Fortunately, these Foxelli lights are cheap, come in 2-packs on Amazon, and are almost exact copies of the Black Diamonds. They also come in black and really the only change I'll need to make is to remove the branding.



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Wailonskydog

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The Gloves:

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Holden and some of the RCE team wear black gloves with a velcro closure, diamond pattern on the palm, and leather patch between the thumb and first finger. After A good deal of searching I've found these are Hatch SGK1000 Street Guard Tactical Gloves and are pretty available through Amazon and other retailers.


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Wailonskydog

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The Gunbelt:

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Some of the Roci crew, the UN Navy, and I think a couple other characters wear these Apex Gunner's Belts made by 5.11 Tactical. They seem to be old models and are harder to come by but sometimes you can get one one clearance.



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I was able to find one but they didn't have my size so I just grabbed an XXXL with the idea of shortening it to my size.












I cut the end off and used it to transfer the pattern to fit my size.
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The material is pretty tough but I was able to get a decent end cut and oval holes punched.
















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And finished by hitting the buckle with a scotch brite pad to weather the edges and rivets, and painted over the logo.
 

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Wailonskydog

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Buckles and Hardware:

After some effort, I've secured all the strap and hardware supplies to mod the harness to Roci spec. It's surprisingly hard to find these pieces in 1.75" width but I now have an ample supply of black nylon webbing, tri-glide slides, and the proper quick release buckle. There are four complete buckle assemblies (the belt, chest, and two leg straps), and four half assemblies (two shoulder, two waist) that secure the backpack. Though I won't be making that for this costume.

Since it's the one component that's completely removable from the harness, I made up the belt assembly to get a feel for how everything comes together. I sewed this one up by hand since I'm out of black machine thread but the other ones will go faster once I get the sewing machine up and running.

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sstnickg

Well-Known Member
The Gunbelt:

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Some of the Roci crew, the UN Navy, and I think a couple other characters wear these Apex Gunner's Belts made by 5.11 Tactical. They seem to be old models and are harder to come by but sometimes you can get one one clearance.



View attachment 1431019






I was able to find one but they didn't have my size so I just grabbed an XXXL with the idea of shortening it to my size.












I cut the end off and used it to transfer the pattern to fit my size. View attachment 1431020
The material is pretty tough but I was able to get a decent end cut and oval holes punched.
















View attachment 1431021


And finished by hitting the buckle with a scotch brite pad to weather the edges and rivets, and painted over the logo.
Another great find-keep em coming, loving this thread -although its probably going to cost me?
How did you get the oval holes punched into the belt?
 

Wailonskydog

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I'm a leatherworker but I ended up getting a cheap oval punch set off Amazon. I've been trying to find decent oval punches for a while but these did not fit the bill. I broke one just punching this belt.

I've got a bunch new finds in the pipeline and am trying to find low-cost alternative options for as much of the stuff as I can, though I kinda mentally committed to putting up some $ for my build :oops:


Another great find-keep em coming, loving this thread -although its probably going to cost me?
How did you get the oval holes punched into the belt?
 

Wailonskydog

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The Flashlight:

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Holden uses a silver metallic flashlight that has an LED white light and also a UV light with the button on the rear. The actual flashlight is a profession forensics light from the Hammerhead Series by Foxfury (model 930-011). Unfortunately, these lights retail for over $300.


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Though it was temping to try to score a used one, I decided it would be better to save that money for more important items. So, in part because I didn't have any good flashlights around the house I took the opportunity to pick up a couple LED flashlights off Amazon with similar characteristics. Both have rear button. The silver one looks pretty similar but is only white LED. The other has both white and UV modes. So I can pick and choose what I like.

**bonus - the silver one came with extra LI 18650 batteries and a charger that run on both of these flashlights. Those things are worth their weight in gold.


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Wailonskydog

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The Carabiner:

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Holden and the Roci crew usually have some carabiners attached to their harnesses. Holden tends to sport this Omega Pacific locking standard D carabiner. Apparently, they don't make this model anymore. I had seen some go on Ebay in the $30 range but that's pretty expensive for something that retailed closer to $10. But a few just came up on Ebay for retail so I was able to score one.

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The Omega is 4.25" tall and about 2.25" wide if you're looking for alternatives.
 

Wailonskydog

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The Hand Terminal:


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Everyone on the Roci and pretty much the entire expanse world uses "hand terminals" for comms and interacting with other computer systems. As per the Adam Savage video where he checks out Expanse props, the terminal is made from a 3mm acrylic sheet that fits into a 3d printed base. The base houses a small LED light that comes from LED snap bracelets that are commonly available.

Each government tends to use their own color LED; Mars = red, Earth = blue, and Belt = yellow. The Roci terminals are shown as kind of a orange. I'm not sure whether that's intentional to differentiate them from the other factions - sort of combining Mars and the Belt.



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Some gracious props fans have uploaded very nice files of the base and screen unit. I was able to take these, mod them where needed, and then have them cut and printed. The base is printed in a translucent resin. I had to file down some of the internal structure to fit the LED's I had but overall everything fit together tightly and the prop is almost an exact copy of the one used on screen.

Eventually, I'd like to print out some clear sheet acrylic overlays to put on the terminals like they also describe in the asavage video but that will have to wait until later.


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Wailonskydog

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The Harness:

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The original vac suits and harnesses that the crew of the Canterbury use in S1:E1 are still going strong in S4. They've appeared in almost the same state for the entire run of The Expanse with only small modifications through the series. In the upcoming posts I'll go over the key features of these amazing costume pieces and detail how I took a standard issue Guardian Edge fall harness and turned it into Holden's S4 rig:




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From This
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To This
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Wailonskydog

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The Harness Key Features and Primary Build:


In order to upgrade the Guardian harness I needed to remove, replace, or upgrade almost all of the straps and hardware in addition to adding a few new components.

The first step was to remove the extra unneeded strapping. These include some connecting pieces between the legs and also side area. As it's a safety harness there is a considerable amount of heavy stitching but a sharp knife makes short work of it.


Painting:

One of the next steps I took was to paint the blue plastic material black. I found that the black Mr. Surfacer I use on scale models had excellent adhesion and coverage and airbrushing it onto the harness was fairly accurate and simple. I also took this opportunity to tone down and weather the bright white and yellow stitching on the straps that would remain on the harness.

The metal hardware also needs to be painted black. I sanded them down a bit for better adhesion, masked them off, and used a rattle can in black to hit these. I think the metal had a pretty substantial coating on it as the paint did not get the best grip but the fact that it chips off easily will make for good weathering later. The hardware on the screen used props is quite thoroughly chipped.


The Buckles and Straps:

Every original buckle needs to be replaced with 1.75" quick release buckles. There are six total complete buckle sets on the harness not including the two extra needed on the backpack; the chest, waist, left leg, right leg, left side male, right side male, left should female, and right shoulder female.


Chest Buckle

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I removed the entirety of the original chest buckle assembly and made new strap sections to fit the new buckle. They now attach to the underlying strapping on the harness by velco so I can remove them if needed and make alterations easily. I also added a small leather end cap on the strap end. It looks like these little caps are on most of the strap ends. I can't tell exactly what they are made from but the leather looks very close.


Waist Buckle

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The buckle at the waist is part of a web belt that is looped around the waist guard on the harness. The excess webbing is secured through a plastic tri-glide and the end is capped with a rounded leather piece that is glued and sewn on by hand.




Leg Buckles

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I replaced each buckle on the leg harness and shortened each part of the strap to match the screen length. The leg buckles use the same tri-glide and leather end cap as on the waist belt. Note the elastic banding around the strap at the male buckle end. This part came with the original harness and appear to be on the screen used version as well.



Side Pack Buckles

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There are two male buckle ends on separate straps on each side of the waist to attach to the backpack. I used velcro to secure mine around the metal loop and then made extra elastic bands to secure them to the waist belt that passes underneath them (you can get a good look at the elastic band around the screen-used leg strap here too). That will keep them from flopping around when the pack is not attached.

I also needed to shorten the straps on the back that connect the vest to the waist guard. I used tri-glides here so I could adjust the length as needed but on screen they are a solid strap with small strap hooks attached. These hooks were taken from another part the the original harness.



Shoulder Buckles



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Figuring out how to attach these took some thinking but on close inspection is looks like the on-screen buckle is actually just velcro-ed onto the harness at the shoulder. From there, I could just run the webbing down through an elastic band I secured on the light, then through a slit I cut into the plastic. I then velcro-ed that end securly between the chest buckle strap and internal harness webbing. And done!
 

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