At some point near the end of October, around the time we were going through Season 4 of Babylon 5, i got the idea that that perhaps i should create a Marcus-esque Ranger costume for LosCon. (Since the reason we were watching B5 at that particular time was because JMS was the guest of honor this year.)
So after Halloween i stopped shaving (and was quickly dismayed by how many more white hairs my face has since the last time i did that =P) to get the full Marcus effect. (Or at least as full as i can manage anyways.)
I (correctly) expected the hardest part of the costume would be getting a decent duster/trench coat I tried checking the place i got the brown duster i use for my steampunk pirate costume, but they didn't have any options in black, so i reluctantly went to Amazon and found some things that were close, but not a great match.( The long process of finding a good coatCollapse )
So the plan was get the package on wednesday, spend thursday morning doing some sewing before Thanksgiving, finish things up early on friday and go to the con in the evening.
So i got home wednesday to discover that "expedited shipping" = "USPS Priority 2-Day", which be default requires you to sign for the package. And since i wasn't home in the middle of the day they just left a note saying i could pick it up at the post office. On friday. @#$%%&*(%&@!!!!
Side-note: The Post Office, and every other shipping company, needs to differentiate their shipping methods better. "Priority" means very little in the way of specifics (even aside from the fact that it was called "Expedited" rather than "Priority" when i placed the order on Amazon.) They need to have a clearly labeled "Fast" option and a clearly labeled "Secure" option, and of course a "Fast & Secure" option. This is not the first time i've asked for some kind of "Expedited" option because i thought "Fast" but they thought "Secure" and refused to just leave the package for me.
In any case, after that disappointment we decided we ought to go pick up the supplies anyways, even if we didn't have the coat available to measure exactly how much fabric we'd need. We figured we'd just overestimate a little and everything would be fine.( Buying staff parts and fabric, sewing and paintingCollapse )
We got ready and got dressed, me in my costume except for the coat. (So aside from the vest, belt and sash, just a black t-shirt, black cargo pants and black boots.) And i grabbed a garbage bag to stick the end of the staff in in case it hadn't finished drying and we headed off to the con.
We got there about 11:55, but the parking lot was full and we had to circle around to find someplace else on the block to park and walk down. We ended up getting to JMS' B5 panel a little after noon, about halfway through.
After the panel i did take the opportunity to go sit outside and draw some lines on the staff to make it look less like a simple grey stick. Then we went to the autograph signing session JMS was in. There were a couple people ahead of us but no real line.
I didn't have anything to sign (i could have brought the DVD boxes i suppose, but those are starting to fall apart) but i asked if i could get a picture with him. He said yes and after the picture was taken he complimented me on the costume! I think the words he used might have been "that's a great costume", but my brain wasn't really firing on all cylinders so i can't remember that clearly.
A couple other people asked for pictures of the costume later, which was also nice. On the other hand i don't think i saw any other B5 costumes there, though we didn't look that hard for them. I certainly didn't see any other Rangers. So i could have just shown up in a t-shirt and shorts with the Ranger pin attached and i still technically would have been the best Ranger cosplay there :)
And i did discover over the course of the day that although the _surface_ of the staff was dry, there were bubbles where the paint had collected and just filmed over. Every so often the heat and pressure from my hand would cause one of these to burst and smear my hand with paint. I had to go to the bathroom a couple times to wash the accumulation off.
I thought about wearing the costume again on sunday, but we were already running a little late and were only going to be there for 4-5 hours, so i decided to skip. And even though wearing the costume didn't feel that bad i've got to say that it was amazing how light and free it felt to just be walking around in shorts and t-shirt again after that.
Final costume price:
Ranger pin (off of Etsy) - $33 (with shipping)
Black duster - $105 (with shipping)
PVC pipe + paint - $20
Fabric - $75
Final costume time (very guestimatey):
Ranger pin: 2-3 hours researching and purchasing
Staff: 1 hour buying parts, 1-2 hours total constructing it.
Black duster: 6-7 hours researching, failing to find at Goodwill, buying online, and going to post office to pick up.
Fabric: 2-3 hours over two trips.
Cutting and sewing: 12 hours for me, 3-4 for Avalyn.
Total time: ~30 hours
A couple pictures will be following shortly in a friends-only post.