Halloween 2008: Cobra strike!

I got the idea for the costumes back in maybe March, and it took a bit of talking Dani into it, but like Rocky Horror a couple years ago, I knew this was going to kill with those who got who we were supposed to be.

Documenting the moment my awesomeness peaked.

Photo courtesy of Darren Copeland.  (Taken at Liz's party.  Ignore the watermark; I batch resized this among the lot from that night.)

Something in her eye...


Nobody puts Destro in a corner!

Photo courtesy of Darren Copeland.

Fighting evil Destro!

Costume components...

Necklace: As you can see, originally it had a cross on it that I was all too happy to get rid of and replace with the red "jewel."  The jewel was actually the first component of the whole outfit I bought.  Attached with Super Glue.  (From Spencers.  Jewel from Walmart's crafts department.)

Final version shown below.

Collar: Technically this is supposed to be the bottom of his silver mask.  I needed something to create a boundary between the makeup and exposed skin, so this was a piece of nylon strap material with velcro sewn on, then buttons added, and the whole thing (except the velcro for obvious reasons) spray painted silver with the same stuff as I used on the gloves.  (From Walmart's crafts dept.)

Gloves: Just a pair of Anakin/Darth Vader costume gloves.  For the Halloween party I kept them black like the 1984 figure, but after looking at pictures, I realized I had better just chance making them silver to afford better contrast against the rest of the black outfit.  I had also planned to add the red rockets Destro has in most incarnations (the cartoon being the one exception), but I worried they'd be difficult to attach securely without affecting freedom of movement and/or the aesthetics, and I didn't want some sort of trade-off.  (From Target.)

Pistol: A non-functional airsoft-type gun that shot plastic pellets.  Very realistic-looking.  (From Kristin.  She used to use it to get the cats off the curtains until it broke.)

Holster: Actual pistol holster, worn with the thigh strap shown below.  (From Walmart's sporting goods dept.)

Gun: This started off as a green and yellow Super-Soaker, but a layer of matte black paint later and it looks like any of the ridiculous guns from the GI Joe universe that bad guy figures came with in the '80s.  (From Kristin's garage.)

Belt: Destro's a weapons supplier, so this made perfect sense.  He always seemed to be packing lots of small arms, so presumably these would be filled with ammo or small explosives.  (From an army surplus store.)

Thigh holster strap: The strap was made by Dani an elastic band and red nylon straps.  Ultimately, I didn't wear it much because it tended to work its way down my thigh.  There was no garter belt equivalent that was within military regulations to keep it in place.  (From Walmart's crafts dept.)

Jacket: The 1984 version of Destro was kind of a zip-up the front leather or possibly vinyl jacket.  With the necklace, the overall look was a bit too '70s gigolo, so I went more with the Brando Wild One look.  The double-breasted design was better suited to the open-chest look without it being too cheesy.  (From a local thrift store.)

Red crushed velvet: One of Destro's defining features is the red collar, variously presented as lining of the jacket or a prop all its own.  The trick to making a cartoon character not so, um, cartoonish is to move from solid colors to something textured and more detailed.  Crushed velvet fit the character of coming from European aristocracy and added an extra dimension visually.  The definition is given to it by a metal wire inside the upper edge.  (From JoAnn's Fabrics.)

Pants: Rock star!  They're a few sizes too big for me in the waist which makes me wonder how tight they'd be on my legs and crotch otherwise.  (From Chris who won them as a gag gift at Rich and Kelli's Xmas party last year.)

Boots: Actual motor cycling boots.  Again, too big for me, and I ended up with quarter-sized blisters on the backs of each heel after walking around Oak Lawn all night.  (From Steve.  I ran across them while helping him move.)

Don't they realize they're dealing with Destro?!

Makeup: Silver powder, applicator and sponge plus black on top of the silver for accents (i.e., the brow and cheekbones).  (From a local costume shop.)

The sponge does the broad strokes, but the Q-tip is for around the eyes and in the ears.  The small paintbrush is for the black accents, then the edges dulled using the makeup brush.

Comes off with soap and some makeup remover Dani had on hand, although if you miss a spot (e.g., in your ears), it'll still be there a week after the fact.  True story.

First coat of silver in progress.  There really isn't much need for a true second coat, just touch-ups.  Unlike pancake makeup (see my Jack Skellington), once it's dry, this stuff isn't going anywhere without a lot of scrubbing.  Even with the makeup remover, it still took a lot of scrubbing.  The only thing that wore some over the course of the night was my nose after taking 700+ pictures.  (I had a nose job years ago, and the tip doesn't have any give as a result; it just presses against the back of the camera.)

Destro is far more menacing than I can ever hope to look without special effects.  And even in all the leather, at best I looked like a gay Silver Surfer or maybe "Rob Halford does Showgirls," so I needed something more.

On top of the silver I had Dani draw on a more impressive brow...

...and cheekbones.

These were then blended with a makeup brush.

The origin of the mask.

Alternate version.  We didn't make a lot of changes to my costume, but our "Thirteen Days Until Halloween" party served as a dress rehearsal in any case.  The only major modification was painting the gloves silver.

Again, photo courtesy of Darren Copeland.

Playful little minx...

Glasses: It's somewhat difficult to find non-sunglasses in department stores, so these were a pair of Harry Potter glasses.  This was after several other attempts at glasses including taking the lenses out of a set of round hippy sunglasses and painting the frames black.  I also worked on a pair of Hannah Montana-licensed sunglasses on clearance at Walmart that resembled leaked images of the Baroness from the (presently) forthcoming GI Joe movie, but Dani rejected the latter outright.  That was probably for the best since we were aiming for the 1984 cartoon/figure incarnation anyway.  (From a Halloween shop in the mall.)

Gun: A real but not very powerful dart gun I bought years ago.  I have no idea why.  I think it shoots pellets too, but I've never tried.  I lost the darts regardless.  Baroness actually came with a large sniper rifle, but this fits her character better as far as I'm concerned.  (From Walmart, I think.)

Knee pads: As an intelligence operative, Baroness sneaks behind enemy lines and gets into their base.  She's all about jumping fences and crawling in small spaces, so the knee pads have shown up on several versions of the figure over the years.  For the costume we started with a cheap set of kids skateboard pads.  Dani replaced the original kid-size straps with elastic.  (From KayBee Toys.  Elastic from JoAnn's.)

Gloves: These are a nod to the live-action version (as yet to be) portrayed by Sienna Miller.  So far as I know, no other incarnation (figure, statue, cartoon, etc.) went this route exactly.  However, fingerless is a good compromise since the Baroness always wore gloves, but they're annoyingly hot and sticky when worn for hours on end.  (From a local costume shop.)

Purse #1: Oh, it's just too cute. Dani made this for the Oak Lawn trip to carry cash (shown for frame of reference), her cell phone (to call for reinforcements), and tampons (for gunshot wounds, of course).  (From scratch from material leftover after an aborted early attempt at the above costume.)

Purse #2: Dani saw this at her folks' house and cajoled her mom into giving it to her.  It fits a cell phone and that's about it. (From Dani's mom's line of original tiny pouches, also made from scratch.)

Cobra belt buckle: Although Destro was technically a third party ally/supplier, Baroness always wore a Cobra symbol to show her membership.  The belt buckle was a cheap and easy way to put this out front without going the gaudy or more labor-intensive route of making a custom Cobra symbol across her chest as some of the figures in the past have had.  But then Dani surprised me and made one (shown below) that was awesome-looking after all.  Who would have guessed?  (From an online toy/geekdom retailer.)

Belts: I was only planning to get one, but they had a "buy the 2nd for half-price" sale, so what the hell.  Looked pretty cool to me.  You can't see the original buckle behind the Cobra symbol, but it's encrusted with rhinestones.  Yes, really.  (From a chick store at the mall.)

Pants: If you're slinking around collecting intelligence, you probably want to wear something tight and slimming to squeeze through barbed wire fences.  (From some other chick store in the mall.)

Boots: With all the shoe fetishists out there, we had no shortage of options.  These had a pretty good look without having gigantic heels or lifts... just a lot of lacing.  (From Hot Topic.)

Pug: Code name Romeo.  Male.  Four years of age.  Neutered.  (From DFW Pug Rescue.  Note: No pugs were harmed in the making of this Halloween.)

Cobra symbol: This was a piece of red vinyl with a layer of several pieces of black on top of it... all cut out by hand with little tiny scissors (No, the Exacto knife didn't work for this).

Alternate version.  Taken the night of our "Thirteen Days Until Halloween" party, this is the original version of the costume (sans belts; I don't know where those were at the time).  Dani didn't like the top.  I had no problem with it.  You can't tell, but it's mostly vinyl wrapped around a woman's fencing guard.  She remade the whole thing including the shirt.  She salvaged the Cobra symbol at least.

You want to know the hardest part?  Getting her to introduce herself properly as, "I am zee Baroness."  Would not do the damn accent for anything!

One other requirement, Destro...

Copyright 2008 Ale[x]plorer except noted pics by Darren.  Thanks to Kristin for taking additional pics.