Last autumn I finally watched Alien (1979) for the first time, and I imprinted onto it like a baby duck to its mother. I loved the story, I loved the sets and costumes, I loved the masterfully rendered terror of the unknown, but most of all, I fell in love with Ellen Ripley.
Now, I’ve wanted to cosplay for a long, long time, and it just so happened that Ripley wears a cool costume, carries a sweet flamethrower, and has the same exact hair texture as me. I went on Etsy, bought myself a 1970s vintage flight suit, and the plan was hatched.
It took me a year of planning and a month straight to make the costume. I considered every single element.
Getting the color of the flight suit right took me over twenty dye jobs and as many rounds of color remover. Apparently real flight suits are made out of a thing called Nomex, which is a chemical developed by freaking DuPont, and the army green color was harder to get rid of than a facehugger on an unsuspecting executive officer. There was also some skullduggery involved with coloring the zipper webbing. Blugh. The off-white undershirt also took me more than a few tries. The fact I forgot that the pink edging on the collar goes all the way to the front kills me. IT KILLS ME.
The patches and exec officer pin came from Etsy, and I was thrilled, thrilled I tell you, that someone bothered to make the pin a pin and not another patch. Not always easy to find a seller who knows or cares about this detail.
The watch is a Casio F-19W, which, for the uninitiated, is actually the best watch ever created. I found mine on Etsy, and got a second dead watch so I could make Ripley’s double-headed timepiece, but I ended up liking my Casio so much I decided not to alter it so I could actually wear it on a regular basis.
The shoes are PF Flyers, of course. I used Anjelus shoe paint and spray paint. Was gonna do those darn D-rings on the laces, even bought the materials, but I ran out of time.
The flamethrower took an entire week to construct, and involved using a jigsaw to reshape a super soaker, and reconstructing prop elements from fishing equipment, lightbulb fixtures, soda bottles, and bizarrely, a pack of new baby scrapbooking stickers. And then there was a lot of painting. Rust-oleum”Perfect gray” for the base, some brown acrylic paint I found at a thrift store for the distressing, and chalkboard paint for that fresh “I just toasted a xenomorph” look.
I recorded most of the process, so I’ll probably put up a tutorial in the coming months.
Now, every good cosplay needs a con to show it off, so my best friend Kris and I hit up Mile Hi Con. Kris dressed up as Tifa from Final Fantasy VII, and she looked amazing, so be sure to check out her blog post about it as well. We had an absolute blast going to classes, perusing the art show and vendor’s room, and geeking out with our fellow Alien and FFVII fans.
And we took lots of pictures. Mostly in an empty parking garage (out of the way) and in the elevator (admittedly, quite in the way.) But people loved it. And we loved it. And I can’t wait to do it again.
Thanks for coming on this journey with me.
~Christine aka Ellen Ripley