Naked Snake/Big Boss Cosplay : A How To

naked-snake-meryl-cosplay

The following is a list of items I used to create my cosplay of big boss / naked snake that I wore to the 2007 San Diego Comic Con.

Snake’s BDUs

Naked Snake wears lots of different camouflage throughout metal gear solid 3. For my costume I went with the Vietnam era Tigerstripe (Shirt, Pants).

Compression Shirt

Naked Snake - Compression Shirt

All you need for this is your basic mock turtle neck compression shirt. I used a sharpie to color in the white logos. Also, it looks better if you get it pretty tight so it form fits to your arms. If you want to get really fancy you can pound 2 eyelets into the inside of the forearm. I also cut a small hole in the wrists so I could put my thumb through. This keeps it from riding up your arm or having a space between your gloves and your sleeve.

Gloves

These gloves are very close if not completely accurate to what Naked Snake is wearing in MGS3. Just cut off the thumb, pointer and middle fingers about an inch from the knuckle. On mine I had to re-sew the seams because they started to come undone at the edges.

Neck/Throat Microphone and PPT/Vox switcher box

For the actual throat microphone, I just got one similar to this. Just make sure it has an ear piece. The switch box probably isn’t going to look anything like Snake’s so I’ll go into creating that below.

Making the Neck Mic

Step 1

I started by buying a neck microphone on ebay. When it came the push to talk(ptt)/vox switch box was way too small for the one that snake had so I had to make a housing for it, ideally without destroying the mic.

Step 2

I picked up some craft foam to start out. The color doesnt really matter because you’ll be painting over it anyway.

I cut out like 8 layers of 2.5×3.5 inch rectangles and for all but 3 cut a little hole hole that connected with the top edge of each layer. This is so that the existing ptt/vox switch could fit in, but so the wires could still come out and so that it would be held securely. Kind of like when you see people cut pages of books so they can fit something into it. Now, what do we do with the 3 pieces of foam that don’t have the cutout for the existing switcher? For one of the 3 pieces I cut out a circle and then cut off the rest of the corner (to get the round shape for the dial). Cut out 2 little notches about 3/4 down for the screw holes on the same layer of foam as the circle. The other 2 pieces are fine as is.

stack all your foam up (order: circle cut, full piece, all the pieces with the cutout, whole piece), measure, and make cut some pieces for the sides so that when assembled it will be all smooth. Also, i cut 2 layers out for the actual switch thing.

Step 3

Now, glue all the main pieces together, making sure that the parts with the cutout for the switcher are on what will be the top of the box. I used normal Elmer’s glue for this. let it dry completely.

Step 4

Once this whole thing is dry, I shoved the original switcher box into the hole and painted the outer layer with a 1:1 mix of glue:water. You have to do several coats of this so that it seals the outside.

Step 5

After the whole assembly was done I used white and black acrylic paint to make it look like Snake’s PPT/Vox box. and paint on the screws and stuff.

Step 6

to attach it to my harness I used velcro with an adhesive back and sewed the other side to the harness shoulder. It worked out pretty well!

Boots

metal-gear-snake-boots

For the boots any “jungle boot” will do. There are a bunch for various prices here. It should be noted that they take awhile to break in. The best method that I found was to wear 2 pairs of socks, go stand in some water, then walk around till they are dry. Takes awhile but saves your feet. If you’re gonna be at a con I recommend getting some gel insoles as well. They work wonders! If you’re going for authenticity, these are the closest I’ve found. They are really good quality, I wear mine pretty often day to day.

Belt and Pouches

Starting at the front center of the belt moving right in order.

Holster

Naked Snake M196 Holster

If you can afford it, the leather m1916 holster is what snake uses in MGS3. At one of my local Army surplus stores I managed to find and Olive Drab canvas one that was about the same shape. Not completely accurate in my case, but it worked well enough.

Radio Pouch

I didn’t actually have a radio pouch on my costume. Couldn’t find one in time. Maybe next time. If you don’t want to buy a radio to fill it, maybe make a foam one in the same way I made the shoulder switch.

Butt Pack

naked snake butt pack

Fairly Standard Butt Pack. I cut off some of the extra strapping. And sewed some of the top parts to my Stabo harness.

Pistol Belt and Canteen

Naked Snake Pistol Belt and Canteen

I didnt get this exact pistol belt but this pistol belt and G.I. style canteen combo looks right, and is pretty inexpensive.

Ammo Pouches

Big Boss Ammo Pouch

I got the 2 M-14 Ammo pouches from Amazon. If you want to be really accurate you can make a stencil that says “U.S. Army” and spraypaint it on. I didn’t bother. These were really hard to find the right kind, so take note. Functionality wise, they are very convenient and you can pack all sorts of crap in there.

Vietnam Era Stabo Harness

In Metal Gear Solid 3 Naked snake is wearing a Stabo harness. These suckers cost like $300 for a real one so that is out. Making this thing takes the most assembly. First off we’ll need some hardware and strapping. To accomplish this you’ll need to buy an old parachute harness. I found one online for pretty cheap, the problem with it was that all the hardware was kinda gross when I got it and I had to do some major cleaning after cutting it all loose.

The harness that I bought is no longer online, though. This one looks similar, and looks like it has all the right parts to build a STABO harness from. If this one doesn’t come with enough of the strap material you can buy additional “webbing” online. Make sure you get your harness gear first so that you can measure it and get the right thickness. The webbing I used on my harness is 1.75″ which is a standard size for military nylon webbing.

Naked Snake Stabo Harness

This is my first draft of the plans to make the Vietnam era Stabo harness. Each color represents a different length of strapping needed. It didn’t change much from this design and I’ll detail those changes below.

Once you’ve got all your strapping cut off the parachute harness and all your hardware you’ll need to set aside 2x D rings (the ones that look like triangles on one end), 2x clasping hooks, and 4x slide adjusters (The rectangles with the bar in the middle). For assembly I am going to refer to the sections by their colors on the above diagram.

Yellow Section:
Start out by taking 2 equal lengths of strapping about 2 feet long each and sew the flat end of a D ring on each one. To do this thread it through the back of the flat part and fold the strap up onto itself. Sew the 2 touching parts of the strap with a box shape and then sew an x across the box. Later on when you put the Stabo Harness together make sure you have the folded part on the inside so its not visible. For the top of the yellow section thread the open (non D ringed) side of the strap through the bottom part of a slide adjuster and pull it through so you have some extra, this can be used for adjusting the fit later. Once I got mine fitted I sewed this part off, but you don’t have to.

Red Section:
For the red section just make a small loop of strapping connecting the top of that yellow slide adjuster we just set up (there should be one side of it still exposed as shown on the right side of my diagram) and a second slide adjuster which will be entirely fixed and not adjustable.

Green Section:
Take the longest 2 sections of strapping you have, and cut them to the same length. About a foot and a half from the top of each one cross them and sew this together (this part will be in the center of your back when complete). For the short ends above the cross you just made loop through the free bar on adjuster that is connected to the red sections, sew it up.

Now, this will require a bit of estimation on your part, place the mostly assembled red yellow and green pieces over your head so that the yellow sections hang on the front of your body and the 2 D rings sit about 3 inches above your groin. Hold it in place and take the 2 remaining long ends of the green section (that should be dangling behind you and pull them under your crotch pull them up to the bottom of the D ring and mark them. It helps to have a second person to help you do all this. Where this mark is is about where you’re going to want to attach your clasping hooks. From the mark, go about 2 inches and cut off the excess on both green sections. Sew on the clasps the same way we did with the D rings earlier. Now you should be able to pull these through your legs and hook them onto the D rings. The harness is pretty much done, but the back is kind of bunching up weird. What I did is put on the pistol belt and added an extra section of strapping in the front and back, over the existing strapping that the pistol belt could be passed through, keeping it in place. Once that is done, pull on the yellow straps to adjust the size… and you’re done!

Actual Stabo Harness with Pistol Belt

This is an actual stabo harness and yours should look fairly similar to this when laid out flat with the pistol belt in place.

Naked Snake Cosplay Stabo

Here is a photo of the Stabo harness I made for my Naked Snake cosplay to compare.

Knives

KA-BAR Knife

Now, I kind of took a shortcut when it came to knives. Snake has 2. 1 up on his stabo harness chest high, and one strapped onto his ankle. I didnt bother to get the ankle one and instead of looking for the correct knife I just strapped a KA-BAR knife to my shoulder. The KA-BAR is closer to to the one snake has strapped to his ankle, we’ll get to the shoulder one later.

41j-CnxtTIL._SS500_

Of course at a con like Comic Con carrying a deadly weapon isn’t really smiled upon. So to be safe I took out the KA-BAR and used a rubber one. It was originally too thick to fit into the Ka-Bar’s sheath, so I had to carve it down to about half its original thickness.

51vcPCLSqIL._SS500_

As far as the shoulder knife, Josh (a commenter down below) found this rad knife that looks really close to what snake wears on his shoulder.

Snake’s Gun

For Snake’s gun I used a KWC Brand – Colt M1991A1 Airsoft gun. The correct gun is a M1911A1 (pictured above) but they look nearly identical and the one I got was cheaper.

rubber-gun

Depending on the rules where you’re going to be cosplaying you may or may not be allowed to bring a functional airsoft gun. Just in case I purchased this rubber one (Updated this link with a rubber M1991), which I didn’t end up using as they let me in with the M1991A1. If you dont want it to be yellow you could probably paint it black with a satin spray paint to simulate the metal finish. Just be sure to check your con’s weapon rules before spending the money on a nice airsoft if you wont be able to take it with you.

Knee Brace

Just get your basic black knee brace. Get as simple a knee brace as you can. Naked Snake’s is about 7 to 8 inches of black stretch fabric. Make sure you don’t get one of the ones with a hole in the front.

Bandanna

Not exactly rocket science. I just cut up an old T-Shirt. For Naked Snake his bandanna is kind of greenish blue but the classic blue Solid Snake style bandanna works fine. I’ve seen lots of people pad their bandannas and stuff but generally I think that this makes it look awful. Snake would just be using fabric tied around his head, and so should you. Don’t get fancy.

Inventory Items

It’s also nice to have a few props.

Eyepatch

These make great Snake Eyepatches!Big Boss Eyepatch

I carried around an eyepatch made from suede intended for elbow patches, but worked really nicely. It looks nice and black in photos not all glossy and stupid. I got a length of elastic and sewed it onto the patch. Worked well, but because the hall was crowded I barely wore it. It was a pain walking around and trying to see stuff.

Calorie Mate

Snake loves CalorieMate

I grabbed some CalorieMate from the local Mitsuwa marketplace, there are some for sale on amazon, too. Naked Snakes gotta have some CalorieMate. Am I right?

Cigars

Gas stations everywhere. Don’t be an idiot. I smoked part of it (which was gross by the way) and put it out so the tip would look charred.

Gallery

137 Comments

  1. Anyone know where i could get a cheap M1911A1 in the UK???

  2. Hey Kyle, can you tell me a place where I can get a parachute harness that can be used for this cosplay

  3. Hey man,

    Thanks for this awesome guide! I’ve been getting my gear together over the past month for the outfit and I finally have it all together. I have to say, its come out AWESOME! I can’t wait to go to Comic Con this weekend with it all on! Thank you so much for this guide!

  4. I’d just like to salute someone who is so dedicated to Big Boss’ legacy. I don’t care if he is a fictional character, he still has impacted all of our lives in a way that no living person possibly could. Sorry to spout fanboy stuff right now, but seeing you in Big Boss’ gear… you pulled it off perfectly. So here’s to you, Kyle. Halloween here I come.

  5. That detail is impressive. I don’t think I would have enough patience to do that.

  6. Hey, Kyle. I went over to an army surplus store and i found what looked like a harness for 12 bucks! Not too mention everything at the store cost me only 98 bucks! whew! but I’m going to do this on Haloweeen but i cant get the knife and gun. Oh well, at least i found all of the mandatory stuff. haha. Thanks a lot for this, it’s a life saver, i had no clue what the harness was even called!

  7. Hola que tal me gusta mucho el mundo de MGS.

    Veo que tienes un muy buen trabajo. Te felicito.

    Lo que quisiera perdirte de favor es que si puedes hacer un codsplay de como hacer un Solid Eye, el que aparece en MGS4.

    Gracias!

  8. I like it over all but a small note, Naked snakes Knife on his shoulder was flipped so he could pull it up not down. Other than that Nice work im looking in to doing this cosplay, thanks for the Guide.

  9. FYI guys, if you want to get the proper BDU’s you need to get the ones that only have two chest pockets on the shirt (not 4) and a small cigarette pocket on the left shoulder.
    You can get that kind here (a bit pricey):
    http://www.mooremilitaria.com/prod02.htm

    they are one of the few places I’ve seen that sell the original style.

  10. I really like what you have done here. Stabo harness is really the hardest thing. Think I will sew one together though xD

  11. I could not for the life of me find D rings like those, however I could find several companies that sell parachute V rings… at a min package of say 1k or so… Ya, for the snap hooks and rings you’ll probably be better off buying an old parachute harness with the rings on it or settle for curved D rings.

  12. Gents, I have a solution to the D(they are actually V) ring problem!

    http://www.paragear.com/templates/parachutes.asp?group=34

    for those of you who are like me and rather buy loads of nylon webbing and make our own harnesses, your welcome!

  13. Nice how to! But I’m a little confused how to make the transceiver…. Can you explain a little more with more detail? Or email me it

  14. Very nice costume. How long did it take to get all that stuff together?

  15. Thank you so much for this tutorial. Of course, the hardest part is not only making, but find the materials needed for the harness. I actually found this website, and they had everything you need to make a harness from scratch:

    http://www.strapworks.com/

    Hope this helps somebody, and thanks again for this tutorial. I can’t wait to be Big Boss :3

  16. [...] Kyle Crumrine  put this costume together and wore it to Comic Con in 2007.  He put a lot of time and effort into his costume, and he was nice enough to write a blog post detailing the how-to. [...]

  17. Gosh, you guys shure know how to let love rule huh! Very amused by you “silly” passionate people! Great stuff, peace to ye.

    Cheers from The Netherlands!

  18. Just a few notes. I included both a rubber knife and a real KABAR in the wishlist. I’ve seen a few people using these as the shoulder/STABO strap knife, it’s really a bit big for this purpose and should go on the lower leg/ankle.

    I also included a sewing kit in a pouch. I thought this was neat because it’s small and get added to the costume without ruining its accuracy too much, and you could use the sewing kit for repairs you need to make to your costume or other people’s. Handy!

    If there’s anything else that can be found on Amazon, or an item you found a cheaper version of, let me know and I’ll update the wishlist.

    THIS IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY: Please don’t buy me things, I’m uncomfortable with gifts.

  19. hey dude, great insight into it, i live in australia and we are getting our first comicon tour this year, but ill have to travel from perth to melbourne, haha anyway im definatly going as big boss and your guide is going to help a lot :D

  20. I’ve bought the shirt and pants, the undershirt, the pouches and belt, the boots and the gloves I just need to find a holster and knife sheath before I go buying the rubber kay-bar and gun.

    gonna need some help with the harness tho.

    Your tutorial REALLY helped me out, I managed to find an older surplus set of boots for 1/4 the price of the ones you have a picture of. everything I’ve bought thus far my total cost is $200 and some change, just need the M14 pouches and the harness and holster/sheath

  21. Just a note to on the CQC knife, the one snake carries actually looks NOTHING like the one you have linked, you can see exactly what it looks like if you wath the cutscene from Snake Eater when he fights Big Boss in hand to hand, it looks a lot like a Tonto with the knotch in the back on it to thin out the blade.

    Watch the video linked to see what I mean (cold steel makes a rubber tonto trainer as well

  22. This guide is awesome, thanks!

  23. Hi there friend, just wanted to say, I liked this blog post. It was helpful. KeepPlease keep on posting!

  24. All I have to say is, thank you and the rest of the people who commented on your blog. Because if it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t have been possible to make this cosplay. Thank you and everyone else who posted links to alternative items! http://imgur.com/a/fJSdz

  25. Glad we could help, Oshio!

  26. Just got everything! Just need to work on the Stubo and the beard! xD

  27. If ou go on amazon and type in jungle knife recon set and go to the customers who bought this also purchased: area it will show everything he bought.

  28. Wow! This is an amazing guide. Big Boss is my favorite character! This will be a good Halloween costume, and I might even try to go to a few cons with it. The price isn’t too bad if you save, and it’s worth it because outside of dressing up, some of this stuff can be useful outside of cosplaying.

    To address some of the broken links/out of stock items for the Stabo Harness, here are some new ones:

    Nylon webbing and all the buckles except for the V-buckle:

    http://www.strapworks.com/default.asp

    V-Buckle:

    http://www.bkreng.com/parachute-buckles.html

    Full Parachute Harness:

    http://www.armysurpluswarehouse.com/military-issue-unique-items-odds-and-ends/super-sale-hot-buys/parachute-harness.html

    By the way, if you look at any of the items you linked on Amazon, the “Items Others Bought With This One” is basically your list. That means you’ve done a good job.

  29. IroquoisPliskin141 April 13, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    So about how much did this cost you (average)? I’m am definitely interested in making a costume but I’d just like to have a somewhat accurate price breakdown if you could.

  30. Where do you go to buy the parachute hardware? I can find Snaps/clasping hooks and D/V-rings on ebay, but can’t seem to find the slide adjusters anywhere.

    Thanks!

  31. Thank you so much for this! I’ve been looking everywhere and found next to nothing.

  32. There is a FoxHound messanger bag on Amazon. I own it, and its great. You could use it as the butt pack, because on the back of the bag, there are loops for it to go inside a belt.

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