This is a Vindicare Assassin (Sniper) costume I built for Dragoncon 201 in Atlanta. With all the costumes I've worn over the years, with the exception of Spaceballs, this was the first one with a fully-enclosed helmet. As with all my costumes, I try to improve my skillset and end result with each one. For this costume, there is a fair amount of parts involved, but the main ones were the following:
Belts and Equipment
Suit and Cloak
The Exitus Rifle is covered in the prop section here as it's a very involved build itself.
The Vindicare Assassin (Sniper) design seems to harken back to Boba Fett from Star Wars, so I started with that style helmet as a base. It's a blank Mandolorian helmet from a friend who goes by the name LoneWolf. It's slushcast resin with some filler, and was a great start to the helmet.
After using a rasp to file off the ring on the back half of the helmet, and doing some light trim and sanding work, I primed the helmet black to get an idea of where to go. In order to keep things as symmetrical as possible, I decided to attach a bent piece of stryene to the face of the helmet, and use that as my template of where to cut the eyes and front vents. This allowed me to ignore any extraneous details the base helmet, as well as saved me from having to sculpt for days. Before cutting the styrene, I used an old gift box to make a template, playing with the shape and size of the eyes and vent until I got something I liked. This was one of those times where the art and miniatures conflicted, so I went with what I liked.
With the dimensions figured out, I cut a piece of styrene to size. Using blind rivets and E-6000, I attached the stryene, heating it where needed. I did add shims behind the styrene where needed in the original eyeslits. With this attached, I was able to first trim out the eyes, followed by the vent.
After priming the helmet with the cutouts, I was able to start adding in things like the vent and earcaps. The vent was built as its own part, and the hole in the helmet was timmed to fit. It consists of a horseshoe of styrene with horizontal pieces of stryene glued in at equal spacing. They wound up slightly off, but it's not very noticeable. The large earcap was also built from stryene to fit the helmet contours. I used putty and more stryene to fill the cheeks under the eyes, and expanding glue to help fill any voids.
From this point, it was just about adding the details. The air filters in the cheeks were built from PVC and styrene and attached with blind rivets and E-6000. The small, round earcap was machined from aluminum billet. The inside of the earcap accepts a peice of tube from the inside, to which a small squirrel cage fan is attached. The sensor mast is a peice of aluminum rod inserted into an aluminum tube and attached to the helmet with a bolt. The aquila was cast from resin and glued on, and a red acrylic lens was fabricated and glued into place with gobs of hotglue.
For the paint scheme, I was attempted to match one of the Games Workshop's Heavy Metal display miniatures. The helmet is a bone color with a red lens, with silverish accents. I've never done much in-depth painting for costumes, so I pretty much was winging it. I started on the visor by masking everything off and priming it gray, then a bone color. After removing the masking, I mixed up some super strong coffee and washed the bone with it. It darkened it slightly, but I wasn't getting the efect I desired. I consulted with Lonewolf, who is a master as weathering, and he suggested using acrylics. I wound up mixing up various batches of greens, browns, blacks, tans, reds, etc and doing heavy washes. There were a few times I even tossed in some dirt. The effect was staggeringly close to the model I used as inspiration, so after letting everything cure for a while, I hit the edges in places with a scotchbrite pad, and did some random weathering. The bonus to the heavy washes was a buildup of grime in the corners of the helmet, with some staining elsewhere. It had the effect of a well cared-for piece of equipment that still shows use in the polluted hives of the 41st millenium.
The harness was made from tooling leather. This was my first foray into leatherwork, and I was pleased with the results. Again, Lonewolf gave me some coaching. The hardest part of the harness was the vertical pieces that went around my shoulders. I couldn't use a straight belt, as the harness lays horizontally on my shoulder, but then lays vertically under my arm. This would be impossible to do witha simple flat belt. I hit on the idea of using an old undershirt to make a template. After all, it had the right shape when worn, and I could spare one. I marked around the armhole with a Sharpie, setting back about an inch all the way around. From here, it was a simple matter to trim out the piece and lay it onto cardboard. Once the rough templat was on a piece of cardboard, I cleaned up the shape a bit and trimmed it out so I could use it.
With this template, I cut out the two sides of the harness, and sliced a couple of straight strips for the horizontal parts. Using Conway buckles for the shoulders, Halter squares for the chest and back interfaces, and chicago screws to connect the ends of the horizontal straps to themselves, I took everything apart and dyed the parts green. To do this, I used Eco-Flo dye from Tandy Leather.
The only thing left to do after dying the leather was to reassemble everything and add a skull to the center of the front crosspiece. This was a resin copy of a belt buckle I bought. Thepaint scheme on it was a similar methodology to how I painted the helmet.. I simply punched two holes through the belt, drilled into the back of the skull, and installed a pair of medium length blind rivets.
Belts and Equipment
The belts I made are pretty straight-forward. I used a strap cutter to cut them to width, cut them to length, and dyed them green, like the harness. A skull was added to the middle of the belt in the same fashion, and a pair of chicago scrws were installed in the back of the belt. This led to some issues with getting the belt on and off, but it works for now.
Since I wasn't going to have time to build an Exitus Pistol, I need to atleast have the over-sized knife the Vindicare carries. I built one in a few hours from Sintra and PVC, and added a resin skull pommel that I use on many of my 4Warhammer 40k props. The blade and the sheath were made at the same time, so they fit together well. A leather loop was riveted to the sheath so it could fit on my belt. Originally, I planned on having another strap at the bottom of the sheath wrapped around my thigh. I ran out of time, so I substituted a loop of elastic, and it worked out well enough.
For the small bondoliers, I took pieces of leather and stitched them into loops using waxed thread and leather needles. To make the holes to pass the needle through, I used an awl. The elastic was also stitched to the leather. Essentially, I reproduced my own verion of something you can find in the hunting section of your local megamart. The bullets are resin casts of a .50 caliber round I had a mold for. They were primed black, and the cartirdge painted gold. I painting the tips various colors to denote different types of rounds, and to add some contrast to the whole costume.
Suit and Cloak
Most of the rest of the costume was just soft goods. The art and miniatures of the Vindicare Assassin (Sniper) are anatomically exagerrated, and I lack the insane physique that would generate all the texture and curves of the costume. Instead, I thought of using something padded, but skintight to acheive the same effect. I wound up using equipment made for soccer goaltenders. I had to remove some embroidery and such, but it worked well. I wish I had gone one size smaller with the pants though. I did wind up wearing a dance belt over a pair of compression shorts to even out the crotch area though. The gloves are just padded motorcycle gloves with some of the emblems removed.
The cloak is just a few yards of material I found at my local fabric store. It had the color I was looking for, and an interesting texture and weight. Strips of the same material were wrapped around the tops of my boots and the cuffs of my gloves. This helped even out the transition of materials in these locations, and added more contrast and texture to the overall costume. To make the cloak, I just gathered it up, complete with hood, and pinned it to itself accordingly (with an aquila pin). As you can see in the final photos, I wore it over one shoulder, akin to the old Inquisitor model. I pinned a purity seal to it, and was done.
Besides my Exitus Rifle, only added a few more things. A bundle of camoflage climbing rope was hung from a fob on my belt along with a couple of carabiners. A small resin cast bullet I had was hung around my wrist from a chain, as a sort of totem or good luck charm. And for under the helmet, to help with sweating and covering up my neck (the goal was to not show any skin), I bought a hot weather balaclava that wicks away moisture and kept me pretty cool.
Here you can see the finished costume, as worn several times during Dragoncon 2013.
DISCLAIMER: All images belong to the webmaster unless otherwise stated. Warhammer 40,000, Space Marine, Adeptus Astartes, Adeptus Mechanicus, and all pertinent names belong to their respective owners.