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Monday, September 10, 2007

Assembling a costume

This post is by Federation Surplus owner Brett Jones, who is a good buddy and prop authority.

Many items in the Trek universe were re-used, or "Re-Purposed" for use in later episodes. That brings up an issue that many collectors toil with: After acquiring one of these pieces, do I return it to it's former glory, or do I leave it as it exists today? One school of thought is that you never touch something after it's filmed no matter what was done to it over the years by the studio. The other school of thought is that you can return it to the state that it was most recognized as being. A key prop worn by a main cast member surely trumps the same prop worn years later by an actor on screen for a few seconds .... doesn't it? Do you take an Admiral Janeway belt and return it to it's original Bashir costume? Well, maybe not but I had to make a similar decision a few weeks ago and as it turns out, it was an easy one.

Recently I was given the opportunity to acquire the Kes costume worn in the episode "Warlord". Unfortunately it was missing some key elements such as the boots, holster and most importantly, the collar. So after much consideration and haggling I decided to make the purchase and eagerly awaited it's arrival. When it showed up in about 4 days I was ready to start hunting for the missing pieces. The boots for the "Warlord" are an easy replacement as they are in plentiful supply. The holster could be made if needed but I have someone trying to track down the original. So that leaves the collar - which to me was the linchpin of the entire costume not to mention the episode. I had seemed to remember seeing an article about the collar on www.Ex-Astris-Scientia and how it was re-used on Enterprise by an Orion Guard in the episode "Borderland". I thought, "Ah- ha!!!!!, I'll just wait until IAW sells it and scoop it up!" Well, it's not so simple. I did a search and found that the Orion Guard costume I needed had sold months prior and was now in the hands of it's new owner..... with the collar, for just above 300 bucks! At this point I thought I'd just have a cool costume with some missing or repro accessories, not bad I guess.

After a week of wondering how I'd ever be able to complete this project I decided to write the buyer and ask him if he'd consider selling the whole costume or even just the collar - it was definitely a long shot. He did not respond to my email and I figured it was over. Another month went by and during a conversation with Alec he said, "Dude, just email the guy and offer 250.00 for the collar." So I did, and you know what, it WORKED! I ended up buying the whole costume at the auction price plus shipping.

The Orion Guard costume arrived yesterday and my mission to re-assemble a key costume was under way. To my amazement the entire piece is actually made of metal which makes it all the cooler. It had been lengthened by attaching a piece of leather to the place in the back where it closed. The medallion on the back was taken off and sewn to the new leather piece (but upside down) and the whole thing was kept in place with Velcro. Another new feature was the green paint that was sprayed all over the edges where it would meet the body. I surmised that this was body paint due to the fact that small amounts of the same stuff were inside the costume, so I removed it from the collar with alcohol. I then removed the leather additions and am in the throws of re-attaching the rear medallion to it's original location. I did not however remove or alter the bright green corrosion inside of the front medallion - looks cooler that way and it's probably a throw back to it earlier use.

So now I am happy to report that the collar is back to it's original configuration and sits proudly on the "Warlord" costume, where it belongs. I also have a terrific Orion Guard costume that needs a good home. Wish me luck on the boots and holster!

Regards,

Brett Jones

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