Our beloved Krewe Du Who started up our own “security” forces to help guard our Whovians during the IKOC parade and other KDW events. My husband is one of the UNIT “brigadiers” in charge of all that, so he sorta roped me into joining them from time to time. I have yet to do any official duty as a UNIT trooper, myself, though I love our guys and gals in uniform. BUT I did suit up to join a photoshoot for a soon-to-be-released series of playing cards, similar to the Collector Card runs KDW has done, but with a gaming angle built in, with all of us as “characters”. This sounded fun, so I volunteered (casually mentioned) to be a medic for the game run. This meant… another costume!
Part 1: The “Character”
Part 2: Sources of Info & Inspiration
There is a completely awesome breakdown of the “new era” UNIT Soldier cosplay on this LiveJournal Doctor Who Cosplay Costuming page. This was our starting point for everything. This thread on SciFiHero.net also has some nice screen caps for reference. Our fantastic UNIT Trooper Brian then put together a guide for our own KDW UNIT members to build costumes, so this is what I started with.
Part 3: Piecing it Together
- Red beret
- Black button-down shirt OR black trench with UNIT tee underneath
- Black cargo pants
- Black combat boots
- Backpack & First Aid kit
- Fake weapon(s)
The red beret is key. I got one at our local military surplus store, Perret’s Army & Outdoor, for $12.99 plus tax.
Finding comfortable BDUs that fit me is challenging, as I’m rather short. Finding them in black is even harder. One of my cohorts in KDW found a black trench at a surplus sale and offered it to me for $25. It’s a bit snug across the shoulders, but I snagged it anyway, though ultimately I ended up replacing it with a shirt and pants and passed along the trench to another lady in our krewe for her to build a UNIT costume around. So I went back to Perret’s in search of BDUs and found some items there that fit “close enough” though they are definitely a bit small, I am working my way into fitting into them better. The shirt (a short-sleeved version b/c it was more practical for me and fit better) was a Propper short-sleeved tactical dress shirt (like what you see here) cost me $34.99 plus tax and the cargo-style BDU/paratrooper pants (still long but I was able to tie them up) were also $34.99 plus tax.
For the boots, I wanted a pair that could do double duty, since I was also working on a Jayne Cobb costume and wanted boots for that as well. My shoe budget has been stretched thin with all these costumes, and I wasn’t feeling too picky about Jayne’s shoes, but wanted black ones for UNIT, so I bought this pair of Black Zip Combat Boots from Amazon for $21.55.
For the patches, I deferred to my KDW teammates. Here’s the breakdown of patches, since there were several used:
- Small U.N.I.T. patches (available here for $6 each plus shipping) – one to attach to the beret
- Large U.N.I.T. patches (available here for $7 each plus shipping) – three needed, one for the front chest and one for each arm/shoulder (total for all 4 patches + $6 Priority shipping = $33)
- Name tapes (from this seller on eBay), I got 2 in case I needed a second one, they cost me $5.50 together
- As a medic, I added to my chest a small square Red Cross patch I had on hand
- Also a MEDIC patch to each arm(also from this seller on eBay), $9.98 together
As a medic, I also felt I needed a small bag to carry first aid and other supplies rather than the regular Tactical Vest, so I decided on this one-shoulder bag from Amazon for $27.50 including Prime shipping. I’m a Red Crosser, so I already had a First Aid Kit on hand at home, so I just slapped a large round Red Cross patch on one side (which I also already had on hand, I think it was about $2.50), and BAM! Accessory!
Another piece that my husband and some of the other troopers have are some custom UNIT dog tags. They picked them up at Wizard World Comic Con last year, and got them engraved with their names. Unfortunately I don’t have the seller’s info off the top of my head, but I will update this post with it once I can get it.
Note: All costs include shipping & tax where applicable. Total Cost for this Costume = $211 (approximate)
Part 4: The Final Look
We have several UNIT Troopers in Krewe Du Who now, with some variety in their uniforms/costumes but clearly with a cohesive look. I can’t take credit for any of these, but in terms of working on MY uniform/costume, I wanted to make sure I was fitting in with the group. We’ve been gathering quite a number of troopers recently. Here are some group shots of them at last year’s Wizard World NOLA Comic Con and as our “security” staff for Krewe’s Time Fest III, held just this past weekend. Then a few pics of me in my finished costume and me with the ladies of UNIT!
Part 5: Epilogue
This was pretty fun. My BDUs are definitely NOT practical right now for me to use as a working costume if I were on actual UNIT duty, they’re too snug. But I was pressed for time because I waited too long to get them and had to scramble right before the photo shoot to make sure I had something that worked. As time goes by they are fitting a bit better and hopefully that trend will continue. I’m not a regular UNIT member most of the time anyway, but for the cards and for the occasional use it’s fun to have this one available. Some of my favorite people are in UNIT, and it’s a good time hanging out with them. Plus I got to do some role playing, my “character” in the card game is a Russian ex-police officer who’s a UNIT medic. So I got to put on an accent and pretend to bandage people. I always end up playing the healer. Go figure.
This costume ended up costing me a LOT more than I expected. Part of that was because I ended up buying legit BDUs from the military surplus store. I also bought some accessories that are doing double-duty for 2 costumes (the pistol, harness, and boots totaling $46.43 will all also be used for the Jayne Cobb costume). The backpack I actually only used to carry my stuff, it’s not being used as the costume at all, which is a shame. I might see if any of the legit UNIT troopers want to buy it off me to recover my costs, especially the ones walking in the parade who might be able to make use of it. I did sell the black trench I’m not using, so that’s good. The patches also totaled more than I expected, and there wasn’t much of a way around that. If I had more time I would have shopped around for cheaper (even if less authentic) BDUs or alts of some kind.
Either way the photoshoot was fun and I can’t wait to see the cards come out!