Thursday, January 26, 2012

Who you gonna call? B&Q and Dickies Workwear, mostly.

The challenge? To construct a Ghostbusters fancy dress costume for my dear wife at very short notice and within a reasonable budget. The third SFX Weekender is nearly upon us (review of the second one here, blog fans) and my costume is sorted out - just in time (more on that next week - it arrives on Monday and I'm incredibly excited).

Googling 'how to make your own ghostbusters costume' is depressing for multiple reasons. One, because all their attempts are infinitely better than anything I could produce, and secondly it reminds me of how much time I wasted on the Master Chief outfit which still remains mostly unfinished - except for a quite impressively accurate and sturdy helmet. There are some incredible pieces out of there made by people with way too much time on their hands - masterpieces of fibreglass, electronics and steel and all 100% movie perfect.

Still, our budget and time doesn't allow for such frivolities. We have to make the costume for next to nothing in next to no time, hopefully from bits and pieces I can find around my house. And it has to be sturdy enough to wear and at least vaguely resemble the one from the films so people know what it is.

First port of call; the hardware shop on the highstreet for what will be the basic framework. And in this case, due to size, sturdiness and shape we decide on one of those large plastic contains that you'd use to shove kids toys in. I have black vinyl primer spray-paint left over from the Halo build, so that will at least make it the right colour (and the thick coating of vinyl paint hides a multitude of sins).

A week of work on it later (with the necessary purchase of some components from poundland - namely Lego bricks, A4 foam sheets, cycle lights, multipack of Seabrooks Beef crisps*) and the additional of ribbon-cable, red and blue UTP cable and a plastic garden planter and we've got something quite reasonable. A cardboard housing made from a sprayed nicorette lozenge box neatly houses the cycle lights and I'm actually quite impressed.  From various fan sites we find a sheet of A4 labels matching those from the actual proton pack and they complete the thing nicely. A bit of weathering by applying silver pen or paint to edges to make it look used, and it's virtually finished.

But of course the kit doesn't just consist of the proton pack. We need a proton gun (or "proton wand" as the nerds seem to call it).  The housing that this sits in can't be made via anything we've got lying around the house, so I have to make it out of cardboard, masking tape it over completely and then papier-mâché over the structure to make it sturdy enough. An overflow pipe painted black shoved through it and held in place by rolled foam sheets means it's not going to wobble around two much, and then it is just a case of detailing on this and attaching it to the backpack via a length of plumbing pipe. The tip of the gun, sorry "wand" will be a poundland lightsabre torch held in place via some plumbing gubbins purchased from B&Q.

A welding torch ordered from some place on Amazon and a Dickies zip fronted grey overall will complete the look - all that remains now is to print out a ghostbusters logo and name badge on some transfer paper (already in my huge paper collection), apply said iron-on designs to some white fabric and then sew it up in the appropriate places.

And there you.. bingo.  One Ghostbusters costume. Total price - 45 quid.

£9 for the Goggles
£6 for the plumbing tube (although we found it for half that in Wilkinsons - curse me being in a hurry)
£2 for the overflow tube
£2 for two sets of cycling lights (one for the proton pack, one for the wand housing)
£6 for the black paint (which I needed a lot of)
£1 for the planter
£27 for the overalls (including delivery).

So, the goggles and overalls are the most expensive bits and had we had more time we probably could have found a way cheaper alternative. I ain't afraid of no ghosts.

* Seabrooks Beef crisps are not vital for the operation, but are thoroughly recommended.

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