For those who haven’t gotten the news yet, my protocol droid project is currently set on pause as all parts have been left in Beijing awaiting further chroming work. However, in the meantime, I’ve turned my focus on miscellaneous costume projects which I haven’t completed due to either general laziness, procrastination or simply lack of time. Something which has been “on-going” since ’08 has been my Indy-project. For the premiere of ‘Crystal Skull’ back in ’08, I started working on this costume. At that time, I was running short on funds and I had to do a few short cuts to get everything done. Just like a certain infamous director, I now look back at my costume with skeptical eyes; what I did at the time was simply not good enough. Screen accurate details and general gear was simply left out and replaced with whatever I could get my hands on at the time. Now, when I have more time and funds, I will start updating and replacing things.
I have also returned back to indygear.com’s online Indy Forum, Club Obi-Wan. It’s good to be back, considering my last recorded login was from early 2009. What really surprises me about the Indy community is the dedication and the vast amount of gear and costume parts available. In contrary to the See-Threepio costume community, which only has 1 (maybe 2) prop maker(s) who can deliver the prop parts, at least 6 different companies make the Indy Jacket, over 10 companies do the hat..and it all gets very confusing. It’s like a really bad nightmare, but in the end (as with everything), it’s the size of the bank that matters. Unlike the sci-fi costuming world, most parts of the Indiana Jones-package can actually be worn in the daily life. Indy-fans on the forum use for instance the shirt, pants, shoes, hats and jacket regularly to work, for hiking and on travel. And you’ll even find tutorials on how to crack a bull whip.
Back in 2008, I ordered a lamb skin leather jacket from Wested Leather Co., whom made the original Indiana Jones leather jacket for ‘Raiders’. When I took the jacket out after all these years, I actually found the ticket for the mid-night premiere of ‘Crystal Skull’ in a hidden pocket (However, I can’t remember why the ticket didn’t cost me anything, ref. picture below).
The Wested Indy-jacket was a bit too large for me at the time, but now it
magically fits me. However, what has been really bothering me was that the jacket always looked so new. It’s like an Indiana Jones being on zero adventures, it’s like Indiana ‘Rookie’ Jones..or Indy Freshman, newly graduated from the Department of Archeology. Now, I wanted the jacket to look like straight out from ‘Last Crusade’. It should look like it’s been abused, kicked and punched on by nazis. It should look like it’s been dragged behind a truck for miles (in muddy and then dusty roads), soaked in sea water and chewed on by monkeys, rats and bugs alike.
So, how can you make a new jacket look like it’s been surviving decades of adventures, while it’s only been through one screening of ‘Crystal Skull’ back in ’08? Well, it’s called distressing. For those who are not familiar with the term, it’s basically the same as weathering, i.e (when we talk about costumes and props) a way of treating/making it look used and beaten-up. The examples are many, See-Threepio has been weathered using different methods to look dirty and oily, the same can be said about R2-D2. Actually, weathering, or the ‘used future‘ can be seen throughout the whole Star Wars universe. Things are supposed to look old and..weathered!
Now, one could go for natural weathering, i.e using the jacket frequently just like a normal jacket (I did consider this, but after the first couple of times I abandoned this idea. It looked really ackward wearing normal clothes with such a jacket on lectures. Remember, this was lectures in physics, math and basic mechanics…not archeology. It looked ridiculous! Either it was full costume or nothing at all). I also *gave* the jacket to Mr.Indy senior (my father) to let him wear the jacket everyday to work and in his free time, but after a few complains from him about the jacket design being too outdated and all, I had to move on to plan C, which is what I am doing now. By following tips from COW (Club Obi-Wan) I’ve started distressing the leather jacket by using steel-wire-things (steel wool) and sandpaper. I also tried wearing the jacket and abusing myself against the concrete and brick walls on the terrace, but it seems like it was a bit too much, plus…I looked like a maniac. “Less is more” is a general rule when distressing leather, I’ve come to learn. Actually, I find the whole distressing thing very amusing, it’s like anger management. In the beginning, I found it hard to take out a new jacket (which wasn’t actually cheap) and start abusing it. But now, I hit it, punch it, crunch and squeeze it a little bit everyday (with my most evil nazi-grin). A method which I’ve yet to try is to soak the jacket in cold water, and letting air-dry for a couple of days to really get the texture and wrinkles out. It sounds a bit extreme.
The original hero jacket for ‘Raiders’ was distressed by costume designer Deborah Nadoolman personally using Ford’s Swiss Army knife and a wire brush while sitting by the pool at her hotel the night before shooting was to begin at the Nazi U-Boat pier in La Rochelle, France (ref: Indygear.com)
Now, I must excuse myself. I got some abusement/anger management to take care of. It’s good work-out, I promise.