Alien — Departmental Insignia

The medallions worn by the crew of the USCSS Nostromo were designed by John Mollo to indicate the functions of each of the crew members.  As small as these medallions are, they hint at a vast universe that lurks behind the scenes.  While it is never actually mentioned by name by the crew, the Weylan Yutani Corporation’s signature is everywhere.  The crew has a uniform (lax as they may be with the standards,) and the following insignia are an interesting, and easily overlooked,  part of it. Continue reading

Nostromo Crew Uniform — The Headset

Dallas wearing the Racal Minilite Headset in the 1979 movie Alien.

Dallas wearing the Racal Minilite Headset in the 1979 movie Alien.

I’m still not quite done with the shoes yet, but, while I am waiting for the rest of the stuff I need to finish that little project to get here, I started a little research into the headsets worn in Alien.  It turns out that they used the Racal Minilite Headset.  Unfortunately so did a whole bunch of other popular movies: Han Solo and Luke Skywalker use them in the gun turrets of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars Episode IV, Corporal Hicks and several other of the Colonial Marines wear them in Aliens, they are incorporated into the X-wing pilot’s helmets in the Star Wars series, and most importantly, Dallas wears one in Alien.  Why unfortunately?  Because that means there are a lot of fans who would like to get their hands on this headset for costumes and collections, and with these things being over 20 years old now they are more than a little hard to come by.  I almost got my hands on one that showed up on eBay, but the bidding went a little nuts so I had to drop out.  At this point, I haven’t seen another one pop up. Continue reading

Nostromo Crew Costume — First steps with the shoes

In my last post I mentioned a few alterations that needed to be made to the PF Flyers.  The first steps are to remove the branding from the shoes and get the colors right.

Using a seam ripper to rip out the stitching on the PF Flyers medallion.

Using a seam ripper to rip out the stitching on the PF Flyers medallion.

Removing the PF Flyers Logo Medallion from the Uppers

This was by far the easiest alteration to make.  Just a little bit of work with the trusty ol’ seam ripper and the medallion just peels right off.  There was a little bit of adhesive underneath that left a small yellowish stain on one of the shoes, but I plan on wearing the shoes around so they don’t appear brand new anyway, so I guess the dirt just has a head start. Continue reading

Nostromo Crew Costume — I need shoes

Details of screen used shoes from Alien

Details of screen used shoes from Alien

I need shoes!  Specifically, I need to try to replicate the shoes worn by Dallas, and the majority of the crew of the Nostromo.  In fact, everyone wears these shoes except for Kane and Lambert.  They must be popular in the year 2122 (kinda like Air Jordan’s in the mid-80s.)  More likely though, they are simply company issue.

A little looking around on forums and perusing screen captures of the movie I’ve come to the conclusion that the best shoe to use as a starting point are a pair of PF Flyers Center Hi sneakers from the Archival Collection.  They aren’t an exact match but I have a cunning plan! Continue reading

Nostromo Crew Shirt — Patterns

This post will be short and to the point.  Here are the patterns for the Nostromo Crew Shirt that I promised in a previous post.  Included in the PDF are my takes on the Breast Pockets, Breast Pocket Flaps, Sleeve Pocket, Name Tape Holder, Shoulder Patch, and Epaulettes.  I don’t make any claim to complete screen accuracy here, and I think if I were to make another shirt I would make the shoulder patches a little taller (2″ tall overall,) and make the epaulettes wider (again, about 2″ wide.)  Overall, I think these patterns make a very good approximation of the Nostromo Crew Shirt.

Nostromo Shirt Patterns

So far, I think I have an audience of zero, but maybe by the 40th Anniversary  of the movie people will be making this costume again and it will be of use to someone.  Enjoy!

Nostromo Crew Shirt — Finishing Touches

As mentioned in the previous post, there is not a lot left to complete my rendition of the Nostromo Crew Shirt.  Basically, I just need to sew the patch on the shoulder, put the pin on the pocket flap and it’s done.  Well, it’ll be done except for the gold wings, but I think they are going to be a whole series of posts all by themselves, because those guys are going to take a little bit of effort.

First things first, I needed to identify the correct patch to place on the shoulder.  There are two versions of the Nostromo Ship’s Patch available for purchase out there:  One with a light blue background, and one with a dark blue background. Continue reading

Nostromo Crew Uniform — The Shirt

Purportedly screen-used shirt, worn by Tom Skerrit in Alien.

Purportedly screen-used shirt, worn by Tom Skerrit in Alien.

The first item I decided to try to tackle was the crew shirt.  In appearance it is basically a white work shirt with large pleated patch pockets, pen loops, and other assorted “greeblies” added.  I spent quite a bit of time looking at publicity photos, screen captures from the movie, and surfing forums to find as much information as possible.  There is an excellent thread at The RPF with large amounts of information about the Nostromo Crew Uniforms, and I spent a good bit of time sorting through it.  I even found a few photos of what were purported to be original screen used shirts: Continue reading

Building Better Costumes – Why am I here?

Dallas consulting "Mother" on board the USCSS Nostromo.

Dallas consulting “Mother” on board the USCSS Nostromo.

I’ve been saying that I am going to make a costume for DragonCon for years now.  Naturally, it has never actually happened.  I don’t have anyone to blame but myself for that, but watching everyone else wander around in costume while I’m just mundane ol’ me has finally gotten to me.  THIS year, I WILL have a costume for DragonCon, and it is already in progress.

You might be able to guess from the URL for this website that the costume I have chosen comes from 20th Century Fox’s 1979 movie Alien, and you would be right!  I am going to go as Dallas, the ill-fated Captain of the USCSS Nostromo, registration number 180286.

Why Alien, you may ask?  To be honest, Alien was not the first movie of the series that I ever saw.  My father took me to see the second installment, Aliens, way back in 1986 when it was first released.  At the time I was just barely 12 years old, and the movie scared the poo out of me.  I remember having nightmares for at least a week, but I absolutely loved it!  Part of that may be the fact that, to my recollection, Aliens was the first and only movie my father asked if I wanted to go see.  Apparently he had seen Alien and liked it, so he wanted to see the sequel!  Sure, we went to other movies, but this one was his idea.  Being a typical boy of the times, I loved the Sci-Fi shoot-em-up action, and Aliens has been my all time favorite movie ever since.  I have considered making a Colonial Marine costume many times, but the armor and equipment required are a little daunting for a beginning costumer.  I have, of course, seen the original Alien since then and it has worked its way into my short-list of favorite movies.  So, one of my favorite movies, plus less complex costume to create than a Colonial Marine equals?  I’m going to be Dallas!

My blog is lagging a little bit behind my costume making progress, so I’m going to have to back-track here just a little bit.  I have already pretty much finished the white crew shirt, so the next few posts will be a little bit of a flash back to show what I’ve done so far.  It may be a little light on photos, because I didn’t take many, but I will do my best to make up for it with descriptions of what I have done.