This past weekend, my wife and I went down to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Plantersville. One of the nation’s largest renaissance festivals (so their website claims), we’ve been going to it for over a decade now. Some years we go in costume, usually faux-medieval outfits comprised of things we’d bought the previous year, swords and all. Some years we just go in our skivvies, particularly if the weather looks to be bad.
This year, I thought we could try something new. After discussing it with Cindy, we began laying plans back in October. We nearly had things in place for Halloween, but alas had to wait for everything to arrive last week; just in time for this weekend when we went down to the festival as our very own Stargate SG Team. So read on for details of our adventure, and full instructions on how we put our outfits together – where to buy, what to buy, and what options you have.
Before the costume guide, though, a quick note on our weekend. It was a blast! Walking around the festival, we felt like rock stars. People would stop us, congratulate us on our costumes, take our photos! (An eerie feeling for me, I don’t normally like my photo being taken) We met another Stargate fan at Slayer’s Castle near the Odeon stage. Lord Slayer has a small FX production company, and showcases some of his work in the haunted house out at Ren Fest. He took the picture above, and provided the weapons for us to pose with. That’s his Stargate, which you’ll find in the depths of Slayer’s Castle, just before the Anubis crypt chamber. Check it out sometime, the picture doesn’t do it justice.
So, for building the basic off-world costume, there were couple of resources that are essential:
- Mike McPhail’s page on his character Michael Donovich
- SG-Operations has a Costume Guide for many different styles of outfit.
- SG1Props has information and kits for converting air-soft P90’s to screen accurate props.
- SciFiHero.net and the subforum StargateHero.net have massively good resources for cosutming.
The first part of the costume, and perhaps the hardest piece to find, is the team jacket. It’s based on the Navy’s WEP G-8 jacket, which from most outlets is sold in a somewhat shiny nylon rip-stop fabric. Apparantly, the show used these their first season, the switched to a supplier who would make the same styile in matte cotton ripstop fabric, a better match to standard military BDUs.
A few sources for screen-accurate jackets are out there. Flightsuits.com offers the standard nylon jacket, and supposedly has a custom cotton jacket somewhere on their site – but I can’t find it. MilitarySupplyHouse.com has a cloth version of the WEP, but the pictures don’t load properly so it’s hard to tell…and risky to order blind.
The jacket we went with is offered through SciFiHero.net, by the site owner who coordinated the design and manufacture of the jackets based on actual costumes from the show. It’s more expensive than the nylon versions, but it’s screen-accurate, blends in nicely with the pants you’ll be getting, and has several features the regular WEP jackets don’t:
- Removable Liner, for hot or cold weather
- Interior pocket (with or without the liner in)
- All velcro patches sewn-in! All you need at the patches themselves, and SciFiHero.net will throw those in for an extra $10 per patch.
SG Teams wear three patches, and if you go for the jacket I did above, you’re already halfway there. You just need the patches, and the hook side backs to fit. I bought my patches from scifipatch.com and the velcro in 12″x4″ olive drab strips from supplycaptain.com. I later found scifigeeks.com sells the same patches, and precut velcro rounds in 3″, 3.5″, and 4″ rounds. Even later, I found I could order patches with my jacket, with velcro preattached, from SciFiHero.net. Price wise, SciFiHero.net is around the same, plus the labor of sewing the patches to their velcro backing – not an easy task, and alas the iron-on patches don’t help.
The patches you need are:
- 3.5″ Project Patch (the Ã… sort of symbol over the planet Earth)
- 4″ Team Patch (my photo shows SG1, but for our outfits we used SG14)
- 3″ Air Force Logo
For our Team patch, we used SG14. I’ve seen every number from SG1 to SG25 available, as well as some others like SG-F, SG-X, and so on. The number 14 has significance to us from our college days, but otherwise has no relation between our costumes and Stargate. If you look at SciFiHero.net, they have regional fan clubs all over the country using the SG team system. Since costuming is a big part of their fandom, don’t be surprised if wearing a given number doesn’t prompt people at conventions to think you’re from a given region.
The original vest on the show is a BlackHawk Omega Medic vest in black. They’re the real thing – made for military and police forces world wide, as such their “one-size-fits-all” is suitable for a somewhat limited range of “all.”
We opted for vests from TheVestGuy. Another custom product, The Vest Guy makes all his own stuff, to order. So, he offers size ranges and you can request special features if you’d like. I’ve found him to be very responsive to e-mail. One caution for purists: the vests have large velco panels on the back of the shoulders which, in the real thing, join the seperate front & back halves and allow for some size adjustment. The Vest Guy’s are there for show, his vests are one-piece. To me, the fact that he offers sized vests from medium to XXL more than makes up for this, but it might surprise some people.
On the other hand, his vests were designed based on the show itself, and like the jackets, Stargate modifed the original Blackhawk vests a bit to their liking. The radio pouch is slightly larger, and there are clips at the shoulders for a modular backpack. See StargateHero.net for more details on the backpack.
Standard black, no pocket t-shirt. I bought ours at the Army Navy store, where I discovered that service t-shirts are designed longer than normal – like about 6-8 inches longer. This makes keeping them tucked in much easier. Only probably I had with mine, was that after a washing the neck seems to have stretched out much wider than it had been new.
The show makes use of standard, 6 pocket BDU pants in olive drab. I recommend purchasing your jacket first, then going out to your local Army/Navy stores to try and match. The jacket I bought is 100% cotton ripstop, and the pants I have are Atlanco/Truspec 60/40% poly/cotton ripstop. The color is almost a perfect match.
If you can’t locate them at a local store, try looking around Google for the Truspec brand BDU’s. It looks like TheMillitaryMan sells them in any color/size combo you need. Look here for the blend, or here for all cotton.
You’ll need two belts. One for your pants, one for your vest. The vest belt is called a Web Belt, or Army Pistol Belt. Officially, it’s a LC-2-A issue, with metal eyelets and GVT-890-ABS and BBS lockable adjusters. It should be black and you’ll attach it to the bottom of your vest using the loops provided for that purpose. Both the Blackhawk Omega Medic and TheVestGuy vests do not come with web belts – you must order them seperately. I ordered mine from US Patriot.
The pants belt is a standard 1.5″ web belt without the metal eyelets. It should be olive drab to match your pants. It’s also available from US Patriot, and likely from wherever you buy your BDU pants.
The show uses Magnum Response (formerly known as “Trooper”) boots. I found a pair of Magnum Stealth II boots, with a side zipper feature, at my local Army/Navy store. They’re similar, and I really like the side zip feature. Any solid black 8″ leather boot with canvas or nylon sides should do.
For your sidearm holster, you’ve got some options. The first is the Stargate issue pistol in standard holster. In the show, they use a Blackhawk Omega VI Tactical Holster with an M9 (typically, a military issue Beretta 9mm). I went with an ABS red pistol from ManVenture Outpost – a solid silicone injection molded pistol, the size and weight of a real M9. Because I plan to wear this to ren faires and sci-fi conventions, I don’t want any security to doubt – even from a distance – my holstered weapon is still a fake.
For the holster, I went for an airsoft holster from evike.com. It’s a little similar to the Blackhawk, but much cheaper. A major differenece, however, is that I’m told the Blackhawk holster has removable/adjustable straps, which is why in some pictures you see actors wearing the holster with two thigh straps, and some with one thigh strap. The one I use is not adjustable, and because the straps were too tight for my leg I cut the top one off to use as an extender. So, I’m in a permanent one-strap style.
Another option is the Zat Gun. TheVestGuy offers a Zat holster, and the gun itself is available as a 2 piece resin kit. Locating your own Zat Gun will be a matter of finding a kit through google or ebay, assembling and painting it yourself. You might poke around some of the forums I mention at the top of this guide, and if you’re nice you might meet some hobbyists who could assemble and paint one for you, for a fee.
The SG1Props forum is especially good for another featured weapon of the SG forces – the P90 personal defense weapon. It’s a real gun, designed in Belgium and used all over the world, including by the US Secret Service and police SWAT teams across the country. Costumers usually start with an airsoft P90 replica, then modify it to match the versions used in Stargate SG1. SG1Props apparantly makes a conversion kit for use in most airsoft P90s.
Well, that’s the main costume. After that, there’s other bits and bobs you might go for. For example, if you opt to go the P90 route, you might want the chest strap they use to carry it – check out TheVestGuy for a custom made one. Looking through the resources at the top, you’ll find information on other accessories like canteens, radios, knives, and the infameous backpack. Even O’Neil’s ball cape or Dr. Jackson’s boonie hat. Although, be warned – the boonie hat is not for everyone. I tried one on, looked the the mirror, and cringed. If I hat with this outfit, it’ll defintely be a ball cap.
I hope this guide helps others, and the other gudies and forums I’ve listed here have helped me. And remeber the most important part: have fun!