Thursday, November 8, 2012

All Hallows' Eve

Reign of Fire
Spyglass Entertainment Group
I'm going out for Halloween this year and I've decided what my costume is going to be.  I'm going as Denton Van Zan from the 2002 movie Reign of Fire. And here's how I made my costume.

The Vest

In the movie, Van Zan wears a heavily modified B-3 aviator jacket.  Credit goes to the keen eyes at for solving this one.  However, I really don't want to spend $1000 on a jacket in order to destroy it.  Fortunately, I found this bomber jacket on for $99.  At one tenth of the price, I'm much more comfortable cutting this one up to make it look like the movie prop.  
In order to craft my replica, I'll need a seam ripper and a speedy stitch. The sleeves come off with a bit of work, along with the buckle around the neck.  This jacket only has the one buckle so I'll just make two buckling epaulets and attach them to the shoulders.  If I had used the authentic B-3, I could use both included buckles but, as discussed, that's just not an option.  I also need to add two flat pockets to the front of the jacket, which will go on right on top of the existing pockets.  The American flag patch gets stitched on the left breast as shown in the pictures.  Simple as that.

The Rest of the Clothes

Gearing up
Nothing much to this part.  The rest of Van Zan's clothing, from the shemagh down to the boots, is military surplus.  Luckily, I live in a military town and we have an active surplus market at the MI Store.  I was able to get most of the costume there in one stop.  
Let's run down the shopping list here.  Black and olive drab shemagh (that's the neck wrap), black tactical gloves, pistol (or canteen) belt, insignia belt, pants, flag patch, and black combat boots.  In the film Van Zan is clearly wearing two belts and one glove (on the left).  Make sure you get the "blotchy" camouflage pattern pants and not the newer digital camo style.  
I have to modify one part of the costume here.  The tactical gloves all have full fingers.  Those get cut off with scissors, snip snip.

The Hair

Van Zan is bald and carries an epic beard.  Not really; it's kind of blond and scraggly.  Anyway, I've been growing a beard since September for unrelated reasons.  For the costume, I'll shave my head and think about coloring the beard.  It will need to be lightened from my natural reddish-brown to McConaughey's distinctly more blonde color.  

The Ink

Van Zan is heavily tattooed on the upper body.  I'm not currently in the market for tattoos so I'll need to come up with something else.  That alternate method will be body paint.  The internet is full of images good enough to make a stylized representation on myself.  It won't be identical to the movie make-up but, then again, how much of this costume really is?  This will probably mean shaving or even waxing my chest, back, and shoulders so the paint has a good surface to adhere to.  Alas; the indignities I subject myself to for my readers.


Van Zan is clearly a well-armed dragon slayer.  He carries a kukri or "gurkha knife", a shorty Mossberg 500 shotgun, an Ultimax 100 Mk. 2 squad automatic weapon, and that ax.  However, I don't want to deal with carrying props while on a Halloween bar-crawl and I definitely don't want to deal with carrying weapons where I'm going.  So I'm going to leave all of these off my costume.  I may craft the ax later to bring to a convention.

Other Props

Two other props are featured in the movie.  First is the metal flask, ironically filled with water.  That's easy enough to buy at any store.  Next up is the dragon's tooth pendant.  I'll have to craft one of those.  Again, we don't need to be photo exact.  The great thing about costuming is that the viewer will fill in and correct any discrepancy on their own if you get it close enough.  

And that's it, my Reign of Fire costume is complete.  Now to go out and enjoy the holiday.
Costume complete