Picture of Halloween 2009: The Comedian
Goal: create a better Watchmen's Comedian costume than the store-bought ones while keeping it in the same price range.

Wasn't able to find the costume anywhere, so the comparison had to be made with what I could find online.  Canadian retailers (yes, I am Canadian) apparently sold the costume for $85 (all prices in CAD, not USD).  The one you will see here amounted to $5-$10 more, so I'll round it off to an even $100.

While the costume is not 100% movie-accurate, this is as close as I could make it, given the budget and circumstances.  No power tools were used and much of it was improvised with the material that was on hand.  Got no clue how much time was put into making it.  Couldn't even give you a ballpark figure, so don't even ask.

Measurements have intentionally been left out.  The principles and methods outlined here are far more important than minor details like these.  Besides, I can't give away all my secrets :)

There are enough pieces to the costume for many of them to have their own Instructable, but I figured it would be nice to have everything in the same document so it's all easy to find.  This is by no means written in any particular chronological order as several pieces were being worked on at any given time.  Essentially, the costume (and this Instructable) can be broken down into the following parts:
-the shin guards
-the elbow and knee pads
-the guns and holsters
-the belt
-the suspenders
-the shoulder pads
-the torso armor
-the mask

Keep in mind this has been written with the assumption that some viewers will skip ahead or go back and forth in order to focus on what supports their interest at that particular time.  Consequently, some points are mentionned more than once in different steps.

Once in a while throughout this Instructable you will see DAISNAID, an acronym for Do As I Say, Not As I Do.  These are hints and suggestions that y'all can use to make an even better costume than what you see here.  Most are things I would do or take into consideration if I was going to repeat the process. 

Please leave me some comments when you're done going through this Instructable, especially constructive ones so the whole community can learn together, including myself.

Well then, let's get started, shall we?

NorthernBoy (author) 8 months ago

I'm guessing there's a typo in your question and that you're asking why not use knee pads for the elbow pads, am I right? There are two reasons.

First, knee pads tend to be larger. My arms aren't big enough to have the straps fit correctly...yet (Need to work out a tad more often for that :P). But even then, I suspect they might look too bulky. Try them yourself in store and see how you like them before buying. If you like them, cheers! It might be best to find some real elbow pads, but in my experience those are harder to come by.

The other reason is that the pads I found were cheap and have an interesting shape. They caught my eye at Dollarama and they just seemed perfect for this project. How could I go wrong?

I have never been able to make a costume as accurate as I want, but I think I make good choices in compromising for the sake of a low budget. In other words, I think I know well enough where to cut corners and still be happy with the end product :D

NorthernBoy (author) 8 months ago

I have no clue what the material is. It fell from heaven, for all I know :P It's not particularly rigid unless the pieces are small enough. If I were to do it again I would probably just used corrugated cardboard covered with poster board to get a smooth surface. Not only is it cheaper but it also would have been easier to give it a curve to better fit around the shin.

Grafx4Life8 months ago

I was thinking about this for making knee pads. Why not just use knee pads? I guess if you are going for move/tv replica accuracy I can see why. But if I'm doing something more fantasy or fake functional, I'd probably go with knee pads that can be bought, like you're contractor pads.

Grafx4Life8 months ago

Was the sign material called sintra? A rigid PVC? I have trouble finding it in Canada, a few places just recommend calling a sign shop and asking for extras. I'll be following you for the Canadian content :) Took me so long to find some Plastidip for painting EVA craft foam that now that's winter I probably can't spray anything cause it will take too long to dry ;)

RuckaFett9 months ago

I know this is an older post, but NICELY DONE!

NorthernBoy (author)  RuckaFett9 months ago
Thanks! It's one of my favorites. Probably the most accurate replica costume I've made.
sarneman1 year ago

I have a question about the shoulder pads. I have cut out and painted all three sections. I notice it is hard to get them to overlap without shortening. How did you go about gluing these into place without excess plastic poking around?

NorthernBoy (author)  sarneman1 year ago

Lining up the pieces was tricky. Overlapping will cause some shortening, but that is the effect needed. The eureka moment I had when fiddling with them was realizing that the corners of the wedges need to be spaced out a bit, as in they don't all meet up exactly, but it doesn't look so bad if the corners are fixed to the edge of the overlapping piece. Kinda hard to describe, but a close look at the pictures should clarify. Use tape to hold the pieces in place temporarily while you play around with the spacing, and when you find something you like, mark the position on the inside so you know where to place the pieces when comes the time to glue.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

tech dawg3 years ago
This is a pretty sick mask but it seems to me to be almost exactly the same as the BFX version O_o but good none the less
Kindhamster4 years ago
could you possibly put the measurements for the holster up?(
(I know it's different for every different type of gun, but I actually have the same kind of gun as you)
khecker4 years ago
Here is the video link i was telling you about. Just thought it might help you is all. Not saying your way was right ot wrong just helping out. http://youtu.be/Sv5SXqgFRV8
NorthernBoy (author)  khecker4 years ago
Definitly not the foam I was thinking of. Still seems kinda stiff but it might be different when you're actually holding the sheet in your hands instead of just looking at it on video. I might look into using that next time I need a mask. Thanks!
khecker4 years ago
Its not the stiff foam. Its really thin and it comes in packs of 12 all different colors i will do some more digging and get back to you what type of foam i am talking about and if i can't i will see if i can up load a video from youtube for you to see what i mean...
khecker4 years ago
Take a peace of thin craft foam. Heat it up till its droopy lay it on the in sided of the plaster mold then place it over you face while its still warm it won't burn or hurt you. let it set for a few sec's and that sould be all you need. Also make sure you spare something of a powder inside the maks so that the foam dose not get stuck in it. But after you take out the foam then take some school elmers glue water it down and brush the out side with a think coat. Might have to do that s few time so it will stiffen up. Then you should be able to cut out the eyes and what not. also paint it...
NorthernBoy (author)  khecker4 years ago
Ah, craft foam. Now we're talking different material, which means different problems. I honestly hadn't thought of that. However if we're thinking about the same type of foam, I seem to recall it being quite stiff.

The problem with stiff material is that when the face moves (due to the variety of expressions it naturally goes through any given day) the material does not bend or move with the pressure being applied, which means more stress on the adhesive (e.g. spirit gum), which means it's harder to keep it on there and requires more frequent reapplication.

If you're thinking of something more pliable like EVA, then yeah, maybe it's worth a try. Again, it's something I hadn't considered at the time. The challenge with this one is it requires sculpting due to the thickness, and personnally I find it easier to build up to the thickness and shape you need vs chipping away. The eye-holes-and-overall-shape-and-how-it-looks-on-the-face thing also isn't resolved with this approach.

I still prefer my approach Of course, anyone else attempting to do a mask is free to choose whatever method they feel works best.
khecker4 years ago
You should have done the black mask in the inside of the plaster mold. You would hve gotten a lot better looking and it would have fit a lot better too.
NorthernBoy (author)  khecker4 years ago
I agree it would've had a smoother texture but disagree on it fitting better, seeing as how the part that would have been touching my skin wouldn't have been moulded to the shape of my face. It also would have been harder to figure out the overall shape of the mask, especially the eye holes, and conveniently see how well it fit. It would have been a lot more trial and error as pieces were being cut off. Plus it would have been harder to modify the brow like I did after I thought the original look was too boring.

I appreciate the suggestion, but I stand by my approach :-)
i dont know about toy guns but for airsoft guns its a federal crime to take the orange tip off. Sorry for being a jerk.
NorthernBoy (author)  Hibatchi cow4 years ago
If I was walking in public waving them around, yeah, I'd worry about it. Especially for living in a country where handguns are illegal. But when I'm hanging around my apartment with friends, somehow I think Big Brother has bigger fish to fry.

Now, if I was out threatening people or trying to rob a bank or something, that's a whole other situation :-P

People, use common sense, 'K?
ilpug4 years ago
love it. maybe a instructable on Rorshach too?
eoutlaw4 years ago
Yeah, this is too cool.
JOOSEd5 years ago
ok thank you! i plan on using your instructable (awesome by the way) as a base to make mine. and i could not find this mat anywhere here in NY. and i work at a LOWES. but for that price ill deffinately buy the big roll. appreciated
JOOSEd5 years ago
what store did you get this workshop floormat at?
NorthernBoy (author)  JOOSEd5 years ago
Here in Canada, there's a chain of hardware stores called Canadian Tire, which is where I got the mat. They seem to have changed the format of the mat I got, but you can have a look at it here.  From the pictures seems you can get an even bigger roll for the same price here.  That's 3'x5' vs 27'x6' for the same price!  You could probably do, like, 8 or 9 Comedian-style chest armors with that.

The one I used was 2'x6' and I still had more than a foot-and-a-half left.  If you plan things out right and test it out and tweek it using a paper version (could use newspaper sheets to cut out the pattern if need be), there should be enough with the smaller mat.

It's also possible that this stuff is sold by the foot in some stores and that these are just pre-cut.
corey955 years ago
how to get the mask to stay on?
NorthernBoy (author)  corey955 years ago
I used spirit gum, which should be available at any good costume shop.  Comes in a small bottle (really don't need much).  It's often used to tack on facial hair or latex prothestics (like a crooked nose, pointed ears or fake scars).  First time I used it was for the facial hair for my Hellboy costume for Halloween 2008 (you can see a slideshow on this site).

There is another product you can use, which is what they use in filmmaking, but I forget what it's called.  Apparently it's better if you need it to stick for long periods of time.  Can't confirm how the two compare, but I was in costume for a good ten hours and I don't recall having to reapply spirit gum at any time, though I may have used more than required.
wolfboy6165 years ago
 to bad its hard to get this toy guns in holland :-(
its fun to costumize them 

(so i gonna step over on nerf guns haha )

great armour ! :D 
red-king5 years ago
 awesome costume. watchmen rocks. haven't seen the movie version yet... heard they changed the ending... not looking forward to that part....
NorthernBoy (author)  red-king5 years ago
I loved the movie as it was.  Most literature cannot be translated directly to screen, that's why most movies are adaptations of the original work.  I heard a writer say once "If you want the story from the book, read the book.  It's a good book."

That being said, could they have done the same as the graphic novel?  Well, with all the special effects tools available to us in this day and age, I think they could have.  So why didn't they?  Logic dictates something else other than technical limitations came into play.
Maybe it was budget.  Maybe the pacing of the movie would be too slow, what with having all those extra scenes needed to explain what was going on.  Maybe the suits (a.k.a. producers) wanted something different for some reason.  There's an infinite number of reasons why they may have chosen or were forced to go in a different direction.

So is the movie 100% accurate?  No.  Is that a bad thing?  In my opinion, no.  I think people should just relax.  If these kinds of changes really do bother you, my advice is to look at the movie and graphic novel as seperate works and just enjoy the ride.
 i suppose... but i still think it might seem weird to me if the ending isn't the same...
 i've seen movie, (regular and director's cut) and read the novel. I think that they gave the ending an update, cause, they whole Alien invasion is a little too clichéd IMO. i liked this ending, also it's a little lighter, you won't see no bloody mess in NY, as in the #12 of the novel. I think that they had to cut out so much death on NY, since you now, americans could had been offended because of 9/11 memories. 

SinAmos5 years ago
A very solid attempt, but I had no idea who you were, and I've seen the movie.  Good job though.
depotdevoid5 years ago
Sweet!  All the Watchmen costumes I saw this year were Rorschach or Silk Spectre, but the Comedian was a much cooler character.  You have won all of my internets.
NorthernBoy (author)  depotdevoid5 years ago
I think alot of people gravitated towards Rorschach because it's the easiest one to pull off.  That and he was pretty cool character too.  Alot more thinking has to go with more complex costumes like the Comedian's.  I'd love to see someone do a good-looking, low-budget Ozymandius.
mg0930mg5 years ago
Nice! You kind of look like how I think the comedian would look,too!
Well, almost. But nothing a good broken bottle couldn't fix. Sweet costume BTW.
Very true!
NorthernBoy (author)  mg0930mg5 years ago
Maybe.  But I don't want to start wearing the gimp mask.