Aspen Beer — Official Beer of the Nostromo

Aspen Beer Can

The completed Aspen Beer cans. I made three, one for me, one for my wife, and one for our buddy Rich. Cheers!

I came up with the idea of recreating these beer cans from Alien some time ago.  I held off posting about the build because I wanted to surprise our friend Rich with one at this year’s Dragon Con.  Now that he has been presented with his beer, I can add this to the blog!

It just goes to show how large a corporation Weylan Yutani is that they even brew the beer the crew drinks.  This was a pretty straight forward build once I found good reference for the can label.  It all boiled down to recreating the label in Adobe Illustrator so that I could then print them out on blank water-slide decal sheets.  I got the ones meant for laser printers and used the white film version since the design uses white in the sheaves of wheat and I am unable to print white since I don’t have access to an ALPS printer.  Continue reading

Nostromo Crew Uniform — The Pants

I have finally come the the final part of the “core” costume–the pants.  I have been trying to brainstorm how I’m going to re-create the pants from the movie for a while.  The originals were custom made by Bermans and Nathans for the film, and have several features that aren’t really duplicated by “off the shelf” pants.  Making up a pair of pants that are an exact match would require drafting the pattern myself.  I decided that wasn’t a good idea since I’ve never sewn a pair of pants before, so I settled on altering a pair of Dickies Painter’s Pants.  They are made out of 100% cotton drill fabric, which seems to be a good match for the shirt that I made.  I actually purchased two pair, because one is going to get torn apart as a sacrifice to all of the pockets I need to add.  I’m not sure exactly what they expected the Nostromo crew to be stuffing pockets with, but they have more than enough space with cargo pockets on each thigh and humongous bag pockets on the lower portion of each leg.  Even though altering the painter’s pants won’t give me a completely screen accurate pair of pants, they will be pretty darn close. Continue reading

Nostromo Uniform — Dallas’s Belt

I was looking for something on the light side (by that I mean less work involved) to concentrate on for the last day or so, so I decided to tackle Dallas’s belt.  Even though it would appear there was something of an “official” belt for the crew of the Nostromo, there is remarkable variety in the belts each of the characters used to hold their pants up.  Ash and Kane would appear to be wearing what I am referring to as the Weylan Yutani issue belt.  To my eye it almost looks like a toggle style seat belt buckle with some “greeblies” and the appropriate departmental insignia attached.  Parker wears what appears to be some kind of woven belt.  I haven’t ever been able to pick out what kind of belt Brett wears, if any, as it always seems to be covered by his Hawaiian shirt.  Lambert doesn’t seem to wear a belt at all.  Dallas wears what looks like a British Regimental belt with a circular, silver colored buckle.  I have no idea what regiment is represented on the screen used belt, so I just set out to acquire something that would be the right shape and color.

Wiltshire Regiment Buckle

The Wiltshire Regiment buckle that I picked up to recreate Dallas’s belt from the movie. I like the enamel crest in the center.

A quick search found this regimental belt buckle on the ubiquitous auction site, eBay.  The one I got is from the Wiltshire Regiment and has a neat little white enamel crest in the center with the motto, “Honi soit mal y pense.”  Apparently the motto is an Anglo-Norman phrase meaning “Evil unto him who thinks evil of it.”  It seems like a fancy way of saying “if you don’t like us you can go stuff yourself.”  Anyway, it is the right shape and the right color, so it will serve my purposes in recreating Dallas’s belt from the movie. I ordered some 1-1/4 inch wide cotton canvas webbing in a dark green color the manufacturer refers to as “Hunter Green.”  I ordered a belt slide from the same place. The webbing ended up being a little on the thick side and was difficult to sew once folded into two or three layers.  The slide is pretty difficult to adjust, but I guess that is sort of the point.  It wouldn’t do any good if it didn’t stay in place; it’s job is to adjust the length of the belt and stay put, so I’m pretty happy with it.  I stole the little metal tip off of another belt to finish off the raw end and this little piece of my Dallas cosplay is done!  

Dallas's Belt Complete

The completed belt with Hunter Green cotton canvas webbing and The Wiltshire Regiment buckle.

Wings of Gold!

I had mentioned before that the gold wings Dallas wore on his crew shirt were some kind of Goldwork Embroidery, and that I would have to figure out how to make them.  Well, now it is done, and here is the epic tale of how it was accomplished:

Dallas's Gold Wings

The gold wings on Dallas’s shirt. They seem to be some kind of military style gold work embroidery.

I have only managed to find a single reference photo on the web.  At this point, I don’t really remember where it came from, but I am fairly certain it came from the RPF forums (If anyone sees this and knows the source for this reference, please let me know.  I would love to give image credit where it is due.)  From studying this photograph I pretty much decided that these were made using a technique called “Goldwork Embroidery.”  I then proceeded to search out the materials I would need to re-create these wings for my Nostromo Crew Shirt. Continue reading

Nostromo Crew Shoes — Final Touches

When we last left off with the shoes, all that remained was to attach the D-Rings to replace the eyelets for lacing.  Well, the D-rings have arrived, I picked up a package of little nickle plated rivets from the local Hobby Lobby along with a small piece of white vinyl.  The original plan was to use Chicago Screws to pass through the existing eyelets to hold a little loop of vinyl with the D-ring in place.  Unfortunately, the posts on the Chicago Screws are too large to pass through the eyelets, so I decided to go with a more permanent attachment: rivets.  I couldn’t find any rivets that were already white, so the nickle plated ones will have to get painted.

Rivet Holding Fixture

Drilling holes in a scrap piece of wood to hold the rivets for painting.

Those little rivets are too small to just hit with a spray can without scattering them to the four winds, so I needed a way to hold them in place.  The solution was to drill a bunch of holes in a scrap piece of poplar that was laying around the workshop and just friction press the little guys in place.  Now they could be hit with a spray can and not go flying.

Rivets for Nostromo Shoes -- Priming

Rivets, primed and ready for a coat of white. You can see my faithful helper in the background.

Because paint doesn’t really stick too well on nickle plated parts, I first primed them with a self-etching primer.  Three quick coats per the manufacturer’s recommendation, and the little guys were ready for a coat of white.  After a few coats of white paint, the rivets are ready to attach the D-Rings and finish up the alterations needed to complete these shoes! Continue reading

The Nostromo Crew Watch

Dallas's Watch

Screen capture from Alien, showing Dallas wearing two Casio F-100s strung together on the same watchband.

Several members of the crew of the USCSS Nostromo wear watches.  I have spotted Dallas, Ripley, and Kane wearing them.  Presumably it is a watch, but could easily represent some kind of wearable computer interface.  We never see anyone interacting with these props, they are simply wrist decorations, but considering their size, and the fact that they consist of two modules, I have come to the conclusion that they must be more than just a watch.  In any case, I need to make a pair of them for me and my wife for our DragonCon costumes. 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!