The story of Kegicus:
Many of us are familiar with Spartacus, the Thracian slave rebellion leader of the Third Servile War, also known as the Gladiator War. Spartacus was a gladiator and probably a former army general. Many of us have seen Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator, many other probably have seen the Starz-series Spartacus: Blood and Sand or the movie Spartacus with Kirk Douglas from 1960. Spartacus was a hero, for sure, he is famous, definitely, we all know that. Spartacus was a brother, probably also correct since many gladiators behave as brothers. But he was not only a brother to his fellow gladiators, he was also a real brother whose name has left most history books.
While the younger brother Spartacus was fighting the rebellion war to obtain freedom for as many slaves as possible, the older brother Kegicus was still fighting his mother telling him to go and make himself a life like his brother. At one night Kegicus found his parents wine sack and drank from it, what happens next should be obvious. Kegicus cursed the wine for being that horrible and swore he would never drink alcohol again, that was until he heard of the underground beer-war going on at the battle front. Kegicus started his quest to become the leader of the beer-rebellions as Vomus, but within the smallest of time he became Cannicus. Months went by, the rebellion war still raging on, he managed to become known as Sixus Packus. Around the end of the Third Servile War he had received many names, but in the end all new him as Kegicus, the beer gladiator who could swallow entire kegs.
- Kegicus - The best beer gladiator the world has ever seen. Given to him by his friends for his enormous beer capabilities. He could swallow entire kegs and in the end he couldn't even breathe air, only carbon dioxide to force the beer out of his system. This is probably why nowadays carbon dioxide is used in draught systems.
- Cannicus - An early nickname of Kegicus. Not to be confused with Gannicus, a general under Spartacus. He was given this name because he could drink an entire can of beer within two seconds by punching an air hole in the can while drinking. This method is still being used today by students.
- Sixus Packus - Another early nickname of Kegicus. Not to be confused with the Gaul Crixus, another general under Spartacus. This nickname was given due to the fact that he became the best karaoke singer after a six pack of beer.
- Vomus - Not much need to be said about this nickname. Every drop of alcohol he drank at those time gave him this nickname.
The Kegicus costume:
After this introduction we can start with the making of the costume. This idea and build started with my head being too big or a 6L keg being too small. Initially I wanted to make the Very Manly Beer Keg Welding Helmet by bricobart. I bought a Hertog Jan keg for the Perfect Draft and gathered all other necessary items. Invited some friend to empty the keg and then we got the idea to all start our own beer knight costume. I would use my welding helmet as knight helmet etc. When I started my helmet it turned out my head was too big or the keg was too small. Because I already cut the first part from the keg, my costume options decreased. The part which was cut off looked exactly like I imagined a gladiator pauldron would look like. So the beer knight changed to the historical beer warrior. Some other names we thought of for our team are:
- Gladiator Fusticus (My Dutch Kegicus name)
- Samurai Bieroto Pilshi (Bier and Pils are Dutch translations of beer)
- Conan the Beerbarian
- Sir DrinkALot (Sir Lancelot)
- God Cratos (Kratos and crate)
- Captain red-beer-d (English version of Piet Bieraat)
- Tempebiers (Dutch beer version of the Templars, there is also a Belgian beer called Tempelier)
- Bier Musketier (The 'four' beer Musketeers)
Step 1: Materials
- 6L PerfectDraft keg without the beer. See the picture on how to empty the keg.
- Beer cans, amount of cans is depending on the can size
- Glue and/or Ducttape
- Linen and other fabric, I really don't know how much because I salvaged everything I used from old pillows and shirts.
- Thread, to sew the fabric.
- Pair of scissors
- Sewing machine
Step 2: Inspiration
The first references I searched for were beer costumes. I guess there is not much to be said about it. Just google and you will find pictures and how to guides which keeps you busy for over a week. A nice picture of the band Red Fang is added, in one of their music videos they dress up as beer warriors.
The main source of inspiration for the proper looks came from the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and both sequels. I didn't want to go almost naked as most of the gladiators in the series. I don't find it comfortable and it will be winter when I'll be wearing it (outside). So my main inspiration is from Gannicus, since he is wearing something which looks most like trousers. I added a picture of him for reference.
Furthermore I wanted it to be a little historical correct. So I searched for gladiator types. I have materials for one arm piece called a manica and one greave. I didn't wanted a helmet anymore after the keg didn't fit my head, so actually no type of gladiator fitted my purpose. That gave me the opportunity to go for something put together from other types. In the end the costume represent the Secutor and Thraex the most, so a picture of a both type of gladiator is added.
Step 3: Pauldron and Manica(arm Piece)
The pauldron is made using the bottom of the keg. The first image shows which part exactly(shaded part) and image 4 shows the part already cut. After sawing the keg using a hack saw and dremel (for the corners) all edges are filed and sanded to prevent cutting myself. The plastic part of the keg is cut separately and glued after filing. At the end where the manica will start holes are drilled in order to attach it. A belt around the chest secures the pauldron, the belt is from a travel bag and is clipped in the holes I made in the corners, see picture 1.
The cans, which will form the manica, are first cut to the prefered shape and size using a normal pair of scissors. Using a small nail holes are punched(in the center) in order to be able to sew the cans to a piece of fabric. Before we start the sewing, the fabric is first cut to size. After that the can-'scales' are layed out on the fabric and sewed on by hand. It turned out the metal was destroying my muscle suit, so I didn't use it in the end.
Step 4: Balteus(belt) and Subligaria(underwear/pants)
I based the belt more on a wrestling champion belt rather than on gladiator reference material. The top of the keg is used as the center of the balteus. To the side of the keg I sewed two pockets which can hold a beer can, because Fusticus can't go without a reserve beer in his belt. An old belt buckle is used for the belt and formounting the cans and the keg I used a thin piece of rope.
Glue the top of a can onto the top of the keg to close its center hole. At three places two holes are drilled in the keg for sewing it to the belt. The belt is a piece of fake leather used to bind books. It is glued using regular crafts glue. A piece is cut to a little bigger than the desired belt. All sides are folded in and glued. On the end the old belt buckle is attached using some extra fake leather and on the other side a piece is glued to use with the belt buckle. Now put on your costume to fit the keg. Once you know where it needs to go you can sew it onto the belt. The beer can pockets are first glued to the belt. As soon as they're dry they can be sewed for extra strength.
The subligaria is made from old linen I had laying around. Because the pieces weren't very big I just tried to make it the same as the picture. It turned out working well and fitting perfectly.
The leg covers are also made from the linen. Because I wear it in winter I decided to sew fiberfill to the inside. You can put it on your legs by velcro which I added to some strips. In order to prevent the legs to slip down, I sewed the legs to the subligaria. You can find the final creation in the pictures.
Step 5: Gladius (sword)
The gladius of Fusticus is something special. Fusticus doesn't fight, so it doesn't need it to be sharp. That's why he uses a beer can gladius as first blade, enough to intimidate his opponent. But wait, there is more, in the center of the gladius a small tube is mounted to carry a small amount of beverage. After a while he choose a new, easier to carry sword with a better hiding place for his booze. This made it easier to carry along to the battlefield where no 'own consumption' are allowed.
I started with a cardboard tube and glued the same fake leather as I used for the belt to create the handle. In the bottom hole a small tube is fitted which can be closed and used as a drink vessel. All parts are glued together using hot glue. The lit of the drink vessel is covered with the pommel.
The prototype consists of two beer cans to form the sword piece. In order to prevent the cans from collapse, I filled the center with cardboard and foam. The other sword is lightweight wood covered with beer cans, these are attached using small nails. The edge is covered with duct tape to ensure safety.
Step 6: Aging Fabric
The fabric I used was too light to my likings. So I first aged it with tea. I put the fabric folded in the tea on purpose to create a none even distribution color but more of a stained effect. Still not happy with the result I made some coffee and poored it over. Again, no even color, but some variation due to folds etc. After these steps I hand-washed the fabric to remove the coffee-smell.
The last step to create a real dirty look is a mud-bath. Just go outside, get some dark sand, add water and rub it over the fabric on the spots you want to make dirty. I did it when I still wasn't happy with my color.
The aging was done before sewing on the fiberfill to the leg.
Step 7: Extra: Greave/Shield
From the remainder of the keg a greave is put together. First the bottom part (only the side of the keg remains) needs to be removed, but not too many material may be removed because the plastic part still needs to be glued back. The curved part which remained is now cut in two and glued back together on top of each other. The end result can be seen in the image.
Because the keg isn't curved enough, it won't fit your shin very well. Therefore binding it to your leg is not easy. Another option is to use it as shield since some of the gladiator shields are very small. For a beer-battler it also can be a great addition to your protection when somebody tries to throw beer into your eyes. In the end I didn't use this part of the build, Didn't like it as greave because it was uncomfortable and I didn't want to carry it along all the time.
Step 8: Extra: Blunderbuss Pistol
I decided my girlfriend should be with the historical beer warriors gang because we didn't have a pirate yet. But to give a women a beard made of beer cans to let her become pirate black-beer-d is not such a good idea. So while see made her outfit together with my mother, I worked on a real pirate pistol, a blunderbuss. So eventually see became simply a Bieraat (Dutch combination of 'Bier + Piraat' : 'Beer + Pirate').
For the handle I used a Belgium beer called Palm. An obvious choice for the part of the pistol which you hold in the palm of your hand. The barrel of the gun is some kind of miniature cannon, so the beer of choice here was Grolsch Kanon(Dutch voor cannon). The pistol is made out of mdf in roughly 20 minutes or so. All the cans are glued with hot glue and nailed with small nails. The bare wood is stained to give it a nice color. The trigger is made out of one bottom part af a can cut in half and hot glued to the gun. As an extra for my girl I burned a rose in the handle.
Step 9: Having Fun
Although my costume is far from perfect, I still enjoyed making it. The pants are still too light but by going cheap I didn't want to use fabric paint for darker fabric or buying the correct fabric. The pipes tend to fall down my leg sometimes, the belt isn't that comfortable while cycling but that doesn't have to be a problem. And I definitely missed sandles.
But than it's finally time to enjoy your costume. Use it for Halloween, or go celebrate carnaval in the Netherlands like I did. But at least enjoy with your friends. You can find me and my friends in the pictures above, all beer warriors comrades. Two beerpong players with their shield which can convert to a beerpong table. My beer pirate girlfriend and a beer templar.