The purpose of this section is to answer any questions
relevant to the building of a Dark Lord costume.
Many of you would be surprised to know that many parts
can be found at your very own local hardware/electronics stores.
In addition to those stores, a spouse can be a great source for sewing
if you are tailoring challenged.
"Do you dress yourself in the suit?"
No. I am totally picky about how the suit looks once I put it on. I put the leather suit on, but everything else, I use a helper. It does no good to fight the suit and get things crooked or bunch up your pants or whatever. Have a helper- do it once- do it right. I have seen to many Vaders suffer from poor suit management. Image is everything...take no shortcuts.
"What build/height are you"?
I stand 6'1" at 230lb. I wear 11.5 shoe and I have a 36" waist. In full suit, I stand approx. 6'6"
"What Helmet do you use?"
I use the Deluxe Darth Vader Helmet. It is made of Fiberglass and manufactured by the former mask authority, Don Post. I have had the opportunity to examine the often hard to find Classic Action helmet as well as the brand new Rubies Deluxe that retails for $120. I do know that the weight difference is phenominal. My biggest complaint with the Classic Action mask or the Rubies mask is that the dome is too short in the back, therefore, exposing the back of your neck a great deal. The fiberglass helmet is quite uncomfortable
to wear for some costumer's. I fit the mask quite well, for its size. I also wear my prescription glasses while donning the helmet.
"What do you use for a body suit?"
For years, I used my economical quilted Satin body suit that was sewn by my wife. In preparation for EP3, I spent the dough and bought a $700 suit from Costume Junkie. Edward was a pleasure to work with. I have issues with the suit that I am compelled to modify, but that is to be expected I guess when having this stuff custom made.
"What do you use for boots?"
For years, I wore just typical, economical rubber boots. Again, in anticipation for EP3, I bought a pair of leather riding boots with additional heel for added height. I obtained them from Costume Junkie for $200. While walking, I get the "sound" I am looking for. When you see a Vader costumed attraction, you need to hear a powerful sound when he walks...similar to a Hard-Sole boot like a cowboy boot.
"Where did you get your codpiece?"
The cod piece is a non-flexible vinyl item. It was manufactured by Scott Steeber. It holds its circular form and results in an item of perfection. No wrinkles! You can visit his site by going HERE
"Where did you get your belt?"
The belt is a 2" belt purchased from Wal-Mart. I then bought 2 Electronic Hobby boxes from my local Radio Shack. While there, I bought a few sub-miniture lamp holders and E-5 bulbs. Then a trip to my local hardware store, I managed to buy some 1/4" Cap Nuts and 1/4"x20 short bolts to use as the external decorations. My boxes are painted in the Gun-Metal Grey automotive finish. For further explaination of the process, Click Here
"Where did you get your chest computer?"
The Chest Computer was purchased from GalaxyTrading. It arrived in "kit" form and required assembling. It could be quite a challenge to get it to look right if you are not the mechanically inclined type of fella. The need to "improvise" could be required. A Dremil Tool is a must have item! The chest box, which is cast resin, requires holes drilled into it and I even had to grind a few spots down to get the PC Board to fit properly. It comes with Leather straps to wear it with. I opted NOT to paint mine because I was leary of the upper chest armor rubbing into it and chipping the paint. The cast resin box looks nice enough in the condition it arrives in. The kit has several LED's to display proper lighting. The unit has ran for hours on the required 4 "AA" alkaline batteries.
"Where did you get your 3-piece Chest Armor?"
The Chest Armor was purchased from GalaxyTrading. It is fiberglass with a black gel-coat. The armor is attractive alone, but most costumer's opt to paint the armor in the two-tone paint scheme. The shoulder bells are attached by two leather straps each. As my belt boxes, I painted the automotive finsh myself. I used the correct two-tone scheme of Gloss Black with Gun Metal Grey. I re-located my cape hook also and closed the old hole. In anticipation of EP3, I modified how the shoulder bells fit. To maintain the illusion of Vader-Like, broad-shoulders, I permenantly affixed the bells to the chest piece via fiberglassing. Now, my chest armor is all one piece with no worries of misplacement. Probably the biggest disadvantage to this change is that I cannot raise my arms over my head...but movement was limited to begin with, so I call it a fair trade off.
"Where did you get your cape and inner robe?"
The cape and inner robe were purchased from GalaxyTrading. They are 100% Wool and the outer cape has a Satin Liner. The capes arrive to the buyer in un-hemmed condition. That way, they can be custom-fitted to each Dark Lord costumer. However, my wife is quite talented when it comes to sewing and she was challenged hemming my outer cape. You CANNOT hem the liner to the wool outer. If you do, a nasty "bag-effect" will result. The outer wool is three times the width of the inner satin liner. If you are the least bit worried about ruining an expensive piece of fabric, take your suit to a qualified seamstress. Be sure to don the entire suit to ensure proper hemming.
"Where did you get your shin guards?"
The Shin Guards were purchased from GalaxyTrading. They are molded ABS plastic and are attached to your person via a strap system. These are the most comfortable shins to date. They are wide in the calves and do not dig into your body at all.
"Where did you get your Gloves?"
The Leather Gloves were purchased from GalaxyTrading. Another fine item from Dale. The gloves are outstanding quality and fit quite well. Some costumer's may opt to buy leather gloves from a local motorcycle shop.
"Do your eyes "fog up" while wearing the helmet?"
My eye lenses did fog up on me during initial trials. I installed a mini 12V CPU fan ($10 Radio Shack) in the lower cavity screen inside the mask. It is powered by a 9V battery and I have gotten 6 hours of continuous use during testing. The fan , in my case, did make a difference. The foam liner fits snuggly against my face, therefore the fan has a limited area to circulate in. If your mask fits loosly, then you probably won't get much benifit from a fan. Some guys use dishsoap to put a small film on the inside of the lenses. That worked for me too...but not perfect. I have used some of those Rain X anit-fog wipes too. They seem to do okay, if I re-apply before each use. Once you really get worked up and hot, you begin to sweat in the mask...it is gonna fog up. Just don't over do your stay in the mask and breathe through your nose as much as possible. I personally only do stints of one to one-half hours in the mask. Once I get upwards to two hours in the mask and being outside...extreme fatigue sets in and you will find yourself hating the suit.
"Is it hard to stay suited up for long periods of time?"
YES! I personally only do stints of 1 to 1.5 hours in full suit. Once I get upwards to two hours in the mask and being outside...extreme fatigue sets in and you will find yourself hating the suit. I always prepare myself for suiting events. A mild diet and breathing exercises help. Each costumer will react differently based on our individuality. My experience; 2.5 hours in full suit, outside in eighty degree weather, mild to no breeze with sixty-five percent relative humidity will glady cook your brain. 2.5 hours under those circumstances are my limit. Even at that point, once that mask comes off and I start getting fluids back in my body, I will be on the virge of passing out from heat exhaustion. Not to mention, I can get a little grouchy and irritable.