A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…
This is where my journey began. After seeing The Empire Strikes Back, I became obsessed with the mysterious bounty hunter known as Boba Fett…
I gathered every picture that I could find, from every source available at the time: trading cards, production stills, story books, magazines, etc. There was no internet (or DVD/Blu-Ray), so with the limited amount of information, my costume became a mish-mash of the different versions of Boba Fett. If a trading card from The Empire Strikes Back set showed the left side of the helmet, or gauntlet, and a photo in a story book was of the right side of The Return of the Jedi helmet, that’s how it got made. Some parts weren’t even visible from any available source, so I just had to come up with something I thought worked with the rest of the costume.
What’s Needed To Make The Most Notorious Bounty Hunter In The Galaxy?
The best I could tell, the base of the costume was a jumpsuit. So, I bought a light grey Dickies jumpsuit with short sleeves. I removed all of the pockets , and then stitched in some longer sleeves made from regular light grey cotton fabric. I also added the thigh pockets using the same cotton material.
The vest seemed to resemble the flight vests that the rebel pilots wore, so I got some white fabric and made one in that similar style. I added velcro down each side to join the front and the back.
I made all of the armor out of cardboard, then used Bondo to fill in the sides and create the needed contours. Once I had the basic shape completed, I then coated it with brush on polyurethane (the same stuff you clear coat wood with), and sanded it down, repeating this process until all of the cardboard “lines” were gone. The armor was then painted with water-based acrylic craft paints. Then, weathered with washes, black spray paint, and painted silver damage.
The armor was attached to the suit using velcro. For the chest armor readout, I used some flashing LEDs and wired them to a 9v battery that went into one of the hip pockets.
The gauntlets were made out of cardboard, balsa wood, found parts, and Bondo. The prep and painting was done the same way that the armor was. They were unhinged, and I would just slide them on my arm, and my gloves would hold them on.
For the left gauntlet, I had found a toy plastic “rocket launcher” that I built into the top part. It held 4 rubber bullet looking things in a rotating barrel assembly. You pulled back a lever to “cock” it, and then pressed a button to fire it. After each shot, the barrel had to be manually rotated, and then manually re-cocked. Not very screen accurate, but it was fun to shoot people with.
For the right gauntlet, I wired in some LEDs here and there to make it look more interesting. Then, added a piece of black rubber hose that I bought at the auto parts store and used velcro to hold it up under the short sleeve.
The codpiece, girth belt, and upper pockets were basically one piece. I glued cotton rope onto the upper part of the codpiece and it was just all tied together in the back. The pockets were made from the light grey cotton material and were hot glued to the ropes that made up the girth belt.
I built the jetpack out of some cardboard boxes and tubes. It looked NOTHING like the screen used version. It actually looked a lot like the old Kenner Boba Fett action figure’s jetpack. It was attached to the back of the vest and always rode really low, pulling the shoulder armor up to choke me.
The scalps were just made of braided yarn, dyed with watered down acrylic craft paint. The cape was a piece of olive green cotton fabric. The gloves were ski gloves, painted with acrylic craft paint. The shoes were old “desert boots” painted black with liquid shoe polish.
And, lastly, the thing that makes Boba Fett, Boba Fett… the helmet…
I originally used an old baseball helmet with the front bill cut off to create the dome of the helmet, and then built everything off of that using cardboard, balsa wood, and Bondo. because the baseball helmet was “kid” sized, the final helmet ended up being too small, proportionally.
So, I found a construction hardhat that was a bit bigger, and I chopped it up so that the dome was about the right size. I kept the baseball helmet and attached the hardhat on top of it and then resized everything in proportion to the bigger dome. The range finder was made of balsa wood, with a glass “screen” painted black on the inside, with some of the paint scraped off to create a targeting cross-hair. I wired it so that when it was down, a red LED would light up, illuminating the cross-hair.
The t-visor was a combination of clear, thin plastic in the top portion, and cardboard painted gloss black in the lower part. I then used auto window tint and orange & blue (which together made dark grey) transparent school folders to make the clear part darker. I could never quite get the cheek parts right, which led to the visor area not really matching up the way it should. The visor was a bit distorted.
At the time, I thought I had THE ultimate Boba Fett costume 😄. Most people had no clue who Boba Fett was, so I was called by all sorts of other names, mainly The Rocketeer. I did wear the costume to several sci-fi conventions, and won a few costume contests with it.
When I look at it now, it makes me chuckle as to how bad it really looks. Anyway, here are some old photos that were taken at various times (don’t laugh too hard):
Time To Step It Up
With the birth of the internet and home video, I began to see all of the flaws in the costume. After wearing the costume for several years, I decided it was time for an upgrade. Enter Boba Fett v2.0…