Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Resident Evil 5 - Chris Redfield

I walk past a Gamestop store every day to and from work. One day, they had a picture of this incredibly striking character for the Resident Evil 5 game. After a bit of research, I found out that the person I was seeing was Chris Redfield.

The game begins as Chris Redfield is deployed to Kijuju, Africa, to join Sheva Alomar and apprehend Ricardo Irving, who is attempting to sell a bio-organic weapon on the black market. Along the way, they witness a local being fed a parasite, which quickly takes control of his body, turning him into a Majini. From here on, almost all Kijuju locals seen by Chris and Sheva have been turned into Majini. While moving to the location of Irving's deal, Chris and Sheva find Alpha team dead, except Captain DeChant, who gives them a hard drive containing data about Irving before he dies.

As the duo progress, a friendly helicopter is downed, and all nearby BSAA units are ordered to go to the crash site. At the crash site, the duo is ambushed by Majini on motorcycles, but are then saved by Delta team. Among Delta team is Josh Stone, who gives Chris data from a hard drive that contains a picture of Jill Valentine, his old partner, who was presumed dead after a confrontation with Albert Wesker. Chris and Sheva continue, and eventually confront Irving. During this confrontation, a hooded figure arrives to aid Irving's escape. Irving leaves behind files which indicate that an oil field in the Marshlands, which was used to test out bio-organic weapons, is the deal location. The duo report this to headquarters, then attempts to regroup with Delta team. Upon arriving at the rendezvous point, they find that Delta team has also been defeated by a bio-organic weapon, but Sheva can't find Josh among them. After defeating the bio-weapon, Sheva suggests reporting back to HQ, being the two sole survivors, but Chris expresses an interest in finding out if Jill is still alive. They continue on to the Marshlands, eventually finding Josh alive, and when he asks what happened to the rest of Delta team, Sheva tells him, "We're the only three left". They pursue Irving on a boat, but he escapes again and the oil field is blown up while the two escape with Josh on a speedboat. The trio locate and catch up to Irving's boat, and Chris and Sheva board it. Irving confronts the duo, and then injects himself with a virus, which causes him to mutate into a gigantic beast. Chris and Sheva defeat the mutated Irving, who is detached from the gigantic beast body, and upon death, he tells Chris that he will find answers to his questions in a nearby cave.
The outfit itself was interesting - white, black and OD green shirt, carpenter-type jeans, black gloves, hiking boots, a harness of some sort and some other accouterments. Plus an automatic pistol and a tactical earpiece/microphone.

Sounded easy, right? I thought the only difficulty I'd have was the shirt. And you know how I love a challenge ...

I was wrong.

The Easy Pieces
I already had the hiking boots and I also had a pair of Hatch Specialist gloves. All I needed to do with them was to slice off the fingers. I found a perfect earpiece/microphone from a dollar store. The item was wired to fit into a phone, so again, out with a pair of scissors to finish it off. I also had a military web belt and a drop-leg holster from a previous costume.

Chris also appeared to have a cellphone on his belt. I found a great beat-up Nextel phone and a holder for it on eBay. Total price, including shipping - $7.50. Officer Redfield also appeared to have some round thingie on his belt loop. A carabiner compass took care of that. Ebay again, $3.00.

So far so good!

Chris also appeared to have some magazine pouches on his belt. Those I didn't have, and trying to legally get any type of firearms equipment in New York City is harder than finding hen's teeth. A number of my friends are police officers, so I crossed by fingers and called up one of my buddies.

"Hey Steve, do you have any spare Glock magazines?"

A pause. "What do you want magazines for? You don't have a gun ..."

I explained what I needed them for and he laughed. "I'm pretty sure we have a couple of damaged ones we were going to throw out. Those good enough?"

"Perfect! They only have to look good in a mag holder!"

"You need one of those too?"

You don't ask, you don't get. "I'm looking for something that I can tuck into a pair of pants or on a belt."

"We've got some old paddle ones we don't use any more. I'll bring that over with the mags."

The pants that the character was wearing looked to be carpenter jeans. "OK," I thought, "those should be easy." Well, yes and no. It was easy to find carpenter jeans. It was not easy to find carpenter jeans in a 28" waist. {28" waist? Yep. Well ... I fill a 28" slim jean fits quite well ... All those extra ab exercises - reverse crunches, side planks, regular crunches, etc. are paying off handsomely -- including (unfortunately) to my tailor!} Plus carpenter jeans are loose fit jeans - the character had snug ones. So, off I went to American Eagle outfitters. I bought two pair of jeans on sale. I brought them to a dry cleaner/tailor I know and showed him the pictures.

"Can you add some extra material to reinforce the knee area and make a pocket?"

"End of the week okay?"


The First (sort-of) Snag

The shirt patches posed somewhat of a problem. One patch each was being sold as part of a "Collector's Edition" of the Game for the Xbox-360. I did have some very high-resolution art for the patches and brought them to some local embroidery stores to get an estimate. They were quite cheap -- if I wanted to buy a hundred of them.


Ebay, as usual, came to the rescue. About a week after the game was released, the patches starting appearing on the auction sites. I did need to spend a little more than I had expected for the patches (one I got for $10, the other for $12), but still, the progress on this outfit was coming along quite well!

The Shirt

Now that the patches were had, off to the shirt. I thought of getting some UnderArmour compression shirts and having Andrea sew the black and white pieces onto an OD green base shirt, but -- she doesn't work in lycra. Then the lightbulb went off - David.

David of the "300" Spartan leather Speedo fame.

I gave him a call and explained what I wanted - not a problem!! As with all of David's work, the leather shirt is a work of art. The added bonus here was his comments as he was measuring me - "You've really developed nice big shoulders and a very trim waist!" We've also added a slight bit of padding around the shoulders and on the sleeves; ONE - it smoothes the leather out a bit and TWO - it makes getting in and out of the shirt a LOT easier. The sides of the shirt have the four-way stretch mesh and a hidden zipper.

A hidden zipper?

Well, when we were going through the fittings, in order to get the shirt as snug as possible, there was no way to get it off once it was pinned on! David had to cut it off me! These are the little bows to reality that doing a costume like this takes.

The Second Snag - The Harness

I would have thought that this would have been an easy item to find, but all the searches for "tactical vest" or "military vest" or "SWAT" or "MOLLE" didn't find me what I was looking for. I even came across a pair of military suspenders that were close, but no cigar.

Then I found something from K2 Scuba that was exactly what I was looking for. Perfect down to the connectors on the front. In speaking with both the owner Tevis and his incredibly talented sales rep Summer, I found out that the harness needed a backplate to go with it. After all, it is supposed to support an air tank! Nevertheless, a little bow to reality was in order. I was also pleasantly surprised when Summer and I were discussing what size harness I would need. After giving her the measurements, her response of "You're so buff!" was quite an ego-booster.

The "Big Knife"

Chris also appears to have a large Bowie or other type of knife on the harness on his shoulder. Looking at regular sites on the Internet, it came as a surprise that large knives aren't that popular. Swords are, but unless you're willing to spend a couple of hundred dollars (which I wasn't) there was none to be had. From some other screen captures of the game, it appeared that the "big knife" looked like some type of machete. But regular machetes are pretty big suckers, too - too big to wear on the harness.

So ... back to Ebay.
I found a "small machete" - about 16" long - which was perfect for the costume. Cost: about $40.

DOH!! and Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Now the hard part ... how to attach the scabbard to the harness/backpack? I thought ... magnets! Great idea! I got completely caught up with that idea and found some neodymium magnetic badge holders through a Google search. They were two-piece items -- one piece had adhesive on one side of a small metal plate, and the other piece had a metal plate with magnets. I figured I could attach the adhesive side on the leather scabbard.
After I placed the order, I smacked my head ... the backplate was aluminum! Summer and Tevis told me since it was for the costume, why go with steel? The aluminum plate is much lighter. True. But it's also non-magnetic.

Enter Sumo Glue. With this polyurethane glue, I was able to glue the plates holding the magnets to the aluminum backplate. The plain metal plates attached to the leather scabbard with the adhesive tape on them.

So ... what do you think?