Saturday, March 23, 2013

Battlestar Galactica: Starbuck's Off-Duty BDU's "Tutorial"

A couple of months ago, a good friend of mine began pushing me - not for the first time - to put together a Kara Thrace/Starbuck costume. Lucky for him, I had recently started re-watching Battlestar Galactica. It was actually a totally random choice to do so, by the way...and something about him telling me that I should costume Starbuck, combined with my watching the show again, finally convinced me that it had to happen.

Now, lucky for me, I had this great BSG BDU tutorial to light my way ;) Of course, I used it as a guide more than anything, because unfortunately several of the links that are given in it are old and the stores are either no longer open or no longer carry the items needed. I'm sure that whatever links I post here will eventually be worthless as well, but hey...every little bit helps, right? And for now they're definitely useful!

So first things first - the tanks. There are definitely knock-offs out there, so you want to make sure that you're not only getting the properly SHAPED tanks, but the right COLORS as well - the undertank is gray and the overtank is *olive*. Not black, OLIVE.

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I purchased my tanks on ThinkGeek. You can get them on Anovos as well, but the ones on ThinkGeek are legit, The Real Thing, and even at their regular price they're only $39.99...vs. Anovos wanting $64.95? I'm not even sure what that is about, to be quite honest. And I was lucky enough to buy my tank set during Think Geek's President's day sale and only paid $29.99 for it :) So if you have time, I definitely suggest signing up for Think Geek's emails and waiting for a similar sale. Every little bit helps!

The dog tags proved to be an easy find as well. If you're doing a Starbuck costume, to save money you can purchase Kara Thrace's dog tags on Ebay for I think $23.99 (for a set of two!). Unfortunately, so far as I can tell hers are the only ones that you can purchase pre-made for such a low price, but there's always the option to buy the personalized tags from Quantum Mechanix. They're $65, but you can get your own name on them, or the name of any character (including Starbuck).

ETA: A friendly Redditor pointed me over to Galron Manufacturing. They make a lot of BSG pins and have *several* different versions of the BSG dog tags at much cheaper prices than those of Anovos, so I suggest checking it out if you need ones that don't say Kara Thrace on them!

The BDU pants were a bit more difficult to find, but after a lot of Google searching - and a lot of finding the pants, but only in ridiculous sizes like XS and 2XL - I finally found the exact ones that are mentioned in the aforementioned tutorial - Tru-Spec Classic 65/35 Poly Cotton Rip-Stop BDU pants - on a website called Tactical Assault Gear Store. Obviously you want to make sure to buy the OD Green color.

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They're perfect, and they're only about $30! Now, I bought a size Medium/Tall. I probably could have pulled off a Small/Tall - the Mediums are pretty darn big on me, to be honest - but that site has no size chart to go by and I figured better safe than sorry. I'm not going to post my exact measurements on here, but if you're interested in purchasing these pants and wondering about sizing, please feel free to email me at ageeksaga (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll give you more specific sizing information :)

Starbuck wears two belts - one regular belt through the belt loops of her pants, of course, and a gun belt as well. While I was on the Tactical Assault Gear Store website, I found the exact gun belt that Starbuck uses - a simple Cobra Buckle belt. It's not cheap - $39.99, to be exact - but I figured that if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. Of course if you're just doing a regular BSG BDU outfit for any other character out there, you don't need this, but if you're costuming Starbuck and getting the pants on that website, you might as well suck it up and buy the belt as well, right? Just make sure you get it in black, of course.

If you're costuming Starbuck and bothering with that gun belt and really want to do the thing right, you need holsters as well. Unfortunately that's the one thing I'm not much help with...my dad is a gun nut, so I was lucky to be able to borrow some holsters and mag pouches from him. Not entirely screen accurate, but hey, gun holsters are NOT cheap! Of course, if you have $164.95 laying around you can get the regular gun belt from Anovos...and if you have $189.95 laying around, you can get the Starbuck edition from them!

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Although I didn't have any guns in my holsters when I was at MegaCon (for several reasons, mainly that I was flying and didn't want to bother with even fake guns, and also that MegaCon has a really weird "weapons" policy), I did buy a prop model kit while I was there! It cost about $35 at the convention, but the booth - Arsenal Models - has a website, and you can surely order anything from there. (You'd at least have to pay the extra cost of shipping though, I'm sure.)

As for the regular belt - you may be able to find something that works and is already put together, but I had the time to put my own together...and doing so is certainly less expensive. The buckles that you need are 1.5" black plastic duraflex buckles. I could only find them for sale in quantities of 5 or 10, and the one seller who had them on Amazon had some questionable reviews (regarding sending 1" instead of 1.5" buckles)...thankfully I did find the exact buckles in a webstore called Country Brook Design. At just $8.95 for a bag of 10 buckles, I figured hey, it's never bad to have extras, right? :)

The material you want for the belt strap is 1.5" flat nylon webbing in forest green. And yes, trust me, you want it in forest green! I got about 4 feet of it, which cost me less than $5, and once I had the webbing and the buckles I just did a quick [hand] sewing job with some dark green thread to finish it off :) (haha, I just realized that sentence could sound really dirty if you read it out of context/left some words out)

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The boots you're supposed to look for - according to that tutorial - are "Galls 8" Safety Toe Zipper Boots". When I was putting together my Starbuck costume it appeared that the website she linked to didn't carry them anymore, but I also have to be honest...those boots are ugly as sin. And I had already gone way over my costume budget for this year. And I already owned a pair of plain black combat boots, anyway. So those are what I ended up wearing. But hey, if you really want those hideous screen accurate boots, "Good Hunting!" as they say on BSG ;)

As for the general "look" - outside of the physical items that make up the costume - I have long (well, long-ish), fairly light blonde hair. Which I wasn't about to cut. And seeing as I met the blonde requirement, I also wasn't about to buy/wear a wig. And all that meant that I needed the proper tattoos, of course! Unfortunately, though I bought the temporary tattoo paper to make Starbuck's tattoos for myself, it ended up being forgotten. Left behind, if you will. In a way. Of sorts. (It's a long story.) So I ran to CVS, picked up a black Cover Girl eyeliner pencil, and my friend Mike drew Starbuck's giant tattoo on my arm. It actually came out REALLY well, especially for being hand-drawn, though of course I had to be very careful not to let it rub off on anyone - or just rub off, period - all day long. Ah well, at least I have the tattoo paper for next time!

Last but not least...toss in a cigar (and if you're in the right place and it's allowed, a drink) and you've got yourself one hell of a Starbuck costume. At least in my opinion ;)

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25 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I am cosplaying Starbuck at the Dallas Comic Con and have been trying to piece everything together. Much appreciated!

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    1. Glad I could be of help :D Have fun at DCC!

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  3. This is awesome! I bought two of the tanks from ThinkGeek for my wife and I. We're going as general off-duty BSG members. All I need for my costume are the dog tags and gun. You look great, and I hope you had a lot of fun at the con!

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    1. Thank you! Apparently there IS a difference between the ThinkGeek and Anovos tanks (the latter being slightly better made; they make the ThinkGeek ones as well but somehow they're not as "good"?), but personally I think these work just fine and the price fit my pocketbook a lot better ;)

      I did have fun and I'll DEFINITELY wear the costume again! Good luck finishing yours :)

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    2. I love this!! I bought the ThinkGeek shirt as well, which is what inspired my decision to go as Starbuck next summer to Denver Comicon. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for!!! :) ~Erin~

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    3. You're welcome, Erin! Glad I could be of help :)

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  4. Thanks so much for this! It really helped :)

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  5. Hi! I wish I had found your blog sooner, I'm going to Galacticon in two weeks and used the same site you did for references, hehe. Nice to know I'm not the only one recently trawling the web! Good hunting on the TruSpec pants, I tried ordering from the Amazon site that was linked but it was out of stock. So I went with Propper and just received my pants today--I'm a small/short, and I can still fit another of each of my legs! Hahahaha...

    Anyway, sorry to continue rambling, I was just amused because a) I just moved from FL to TX last year and so seeing someone refer to MegaCon and BSG in one go makes me happy, and b) VALAR MORGHULIS.

    Also, the difference between Anovos and ThinkGeek is that NovoGeek (an offshoot of Anovos) sold "Standard" line doubletanks, versus Anovos' "Premium" line. I've been working on a budget as well, so the standards did me just fine. I might have a blog page about my cosplay endeavors (let me tell you, you're lucky you already have blonde hair; my wig... ah, so short, and such a visual change, I fear I look like a boy, hahaha).

    In short, you're awesome! So say we all!

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    1. Ah so jealous that you're going to Galacticon! I was going to try to make the trip out there but just couldn't make it work time- and money-wise. Alas, too many cons this year ;)

      I used to live in FL so Mega was an easy trip for me though...but to be honest, as much fun as I had, I think I prefer genre-specific cons (like Galacticon, or for one I actually did this year, Ice & Fire Con) and Dragon*Con above all.

      And yeah, wigs, ugh! They're just a pain in the butt period, to the point where I've gotten lazy and only cosplay blonde characters these days lol.

      If you're going to do a cosplay specific blog, I think the tumblr platform is best for sharing pictures etc. However, I've had this blog for a couple of years now (it wasn't much at all about cosplay at first, though...) and blogger is a good platform if you're putting up tutorials. With tumblr you have very little choice in regards to formatting your posts unless you write them in HTML which...I'm too lazy for, haha.

      So say we all :D And of course....VALAR DOHAERIS... ;)

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    2. Since I actually live near Houston, it seems like it all worked out. I'll also be volunteering at the sister con, Comicpalooza, so I can stay overnight while helping out. Hopefully I won't be missing out on too much of the Galacticon events (if I volunteer at one con, that means $10/night rather than nearly $300 to stay... I'm pressed for money, too).

      And yes! Dragon*Con is amazing! I went for the first time last year, I actually got to meet Katee Sackhoff and had a photo taken with her. Such a surreal moment, I really don't remember it happening, LOL.

      And oh, yes, I am very, very familiar with Tumblr, but haven't quite created a cosplay-centric blog, if only because I'm too poor and lack sewing abilities.

      And random question about the tattoo (though I doubt I'll do it, gasp), did you find a vector of it? And hah, I took my pants in to be altered today, I'm glad the tailor wasn't looking at me strangely....

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    3. ahh so jealous! wish I'd known about the volunteering thing, would have gone that route maybe. ah well, perhaps next time!

      D*C will be the next time I wear my Starbuck costume, probably...it's a good evening/nighttime drinking costume lol. I almost bought a photo op with Katee Sackhoff for D*C last year and didn't...I've regretted it ever since. I'm hoping she comes back this year, but if not, Edward James Olmos will be there soooo I'll probably just hit him up ;)

      Yeah my sewing abilities are lame as well, hence why I rarely post full tutorials on my costumes...about 60% of the time I have to have them made for me, as I can only sew with patterns (and very basic ones at that).

      I don't have a vector of the tattoo at the moment, though I *think* you can find them online - you would just have to use photoshop or something to fill in the black (they're like lined graphics only for some reason, at least that's what I remember seeing). I pretty much just opened up a picture of the tattoo on my phone and my friend drew it by hand from that.

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  7. As a 6'2" male with about a 34" waist, do you think a Large/Tall for the pants size would fit me adequately.

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  8. Well, I have a 30.5" natural waist and 40" hips and these are big on me. Like...when I pull them up to my natural waist I have at least 2" to spare. If you use Amazon's men's pant size chart, a medium is for men's waist 32-35 and hips 38-40. Even in the hips these are loose/not tight at all on me. I would definitely go with tall, and if you're really concerned get the large and know that they'll likely be big on you...

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  9. From this site:

    https://www.tactical-store.com/ts-7q-pt-basicbdu.html


    Are these the same pants? The only difference I can see is a 5% composition change. Is 5% a big deal? Is there something major I'm missing?

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    1. From what I can see those are pretty much the same pants. I mean, the ones used on the show were the 65/35 composition, but if you don't care about that 5% then buy the cheaper ones if you want :) That said, I can't vouch for tactical-store.com because I've never purchased from them. It took a lot of searching to find the EXACT pants and the website I bought them from was the only one that offered that exact kind. I would say that if there was a difference it would be in the texture/color but it probably wouldn't be seriously noticeable.

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  10. Hi, thanks for all the info! I usually wear womens size 4, do you think I should go a for a small or an extra small?

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    1. Hmm - that's kind of a tough call. Women's sizing is different with almost every brand. My guess would be an XS but without knowing a bit more info on your height/weight/etc. it's hard to say for certain...

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  11. I also used your tutorial to put together my costume -- thank you so much!

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    1. You're welcome! Glad I could help :)

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  12. This was incredibly helpful! Thank you!

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  13. This is so helpful, thank you so much!!!

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