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

Doesn’t look like that pistol belt combo is available anymore. Here are 2 separate links. Pistol Belt. Canteen with Cover.

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 spray paint 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.

Was trying to update the ammo pouch link, and I cant seem to find anywhere that has these pouches that doesn’t look shady as hell. If anyone finds some please leave a comment.

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 didn’t 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.

Finally

If this blog was helpful to you please consider using my amazon referral links to the products on this article. It wont cost you anything, but each sale gives me a small kickback. Its what Big Boss would want, and I’d appreciate it greatly. 😀

Gallery

146 Comments

  1. Forgot to say, I’m going to do a how to on naked snake cosplay the way i did it and where to get the equipment here in England. Is it alright if i link this page for the instructions for the STABO harness? obviously full credits would go to you and i wouldn’t steal anything you’ve done. if you could help it would be greatly appreciated

  2. Hey Kyle,

    I posted this on cosplay.com but thought I’d post it here too. Hopefully you can help me out, I’m in the final stages of putting together my costume:

    1. Firstly, the two knives that Snake has on his uniform. One is on his chest, and the other on his right leg. What kind of knives specifically, are they? The one on his leg, at first glance, appears to be a Ka-bar knife, but closer inspection reveals that it isn’t, because the sheath and handle are quite different from the Ka-bar. It looks more like a USAF pilot’s knife. Can you comment on this? And, I have no idea what kind of knife he has on his chest. Do you have any idea what that might be?

    2. There is a small pouch on the right side of Snake’s back next to the butt pack, that I have no idea what it is. At first glance it appears to be an ammo pouch, but I cannot find any ammo pouches that look like that. Closer inspection reveals that it might be a walkie talkie pouch, since there seems to be a walkie talkie antenna protruding from the pouch.

    3. Related to #1, what kind of leg laces is he using to wrap that holster and knife around his right leg?

    Appreciate any advice/comments you might have!

  3. Great costume! I think I may use some of these ideas myself for my own Naked Snake costume. One thing I would say though is that for the pistol you probably would have been better off using an M1911 MEU as it has most of the custom work that Snakes custom pistol has (e.g. three dot sights, three hole trigger, ring hammer etc…). Excellent costume overall!

  4. @Josh
    Thanks! Those knives are great! I in line linked them for you so it didn’t break the page layout. I think I may pick up that cheaper one!

    @Jil
    Great! Glad that I could help!

  5. I’m being Naked Snake this coming Halloween and you forgot one thing……..The Binoculars. No big deal. You did awesomely though. You had the best one out of all those dudes in the pics.

  6. I’ve been trying to make a really good Big Boss costume for the up coming ComicCon and even for airsoft, and thanks to you I know what i need to do it. Thanks 😀

  7. Hey man, great guide – it always amazes me when people sweat the small details like getting the exact pouches, headset, knife, etc.

    The stabo harness tut is a godsend – I’ll be having one sewn together for me per those plans.

    I’m skipping the knives and headset altogether since I’m wearing my rig clubbing, but the rest of the stuff I’ve found at a military otaku shop here in Taiwan for next to nothing. It’s worth noting that going through TW or HK for the camo BDUs as knockoffs (rather than say Tiger Stripe or Propper gear) will save a TON of money – my entire BDU ran me a little under $30 and even if you needed that shipped back West, it’d only be an extra $30. The same store had the exact boots, and tons of web belts, pouches, pistol belts, etc. for pennies on the dollar.

    Also found a toy shop with HK knockoffs of Tokyo Marui et. all airsoft models as weak BB guns (fine for a con or a costume ball I’d say – are we really planning to go shooting?) – got a .45 that’s almost identical to yours for about $1.50.

    Anyway, we’ll see how mine turns out. Won’t be as good as yours – but I’m currently looking at around an $80 pricetag total, so it may be a good alternative for your halloweeners.

    Thanks again!

  8. This looks like a good cheap alternative to the real harness without any work on your part:

    http://www.prohoists.com/Shopping.idc?ProductID=194

    Here’s what it looks like on the back:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GUPWZG

    Here’s a cheap 1911, with a laser!
    http://www.amazon.com/CH0381D-Infinity-Power-Sport-Laser/dp/B001GIQ0T0/ref=pd_ybh_9

    The website IMS you mentioned for the pouches also has all of the military surplus items at a better price than I could find elsewhere

  9. yep going as naked snake. used your site as a reference with my own details. thanks very much gave some good help

  10. dude im so glad i came across this. it made it so much easier to make my (last minute) costume. unfortunately i couldnt find any good pouches at the surplus up north but its an ok costume and i have you to thank. if you live in sandiego dude find me in the gaslamp and ill buy you a beer (im the one stalking people…)

  11. I used your guide for my Halloween costume this year to wear in Salem Ma. It was a great success, it looked great. The only few difference I had was I made my PTT/VOX switch out of balsa wood sheets, instead of foam. It worked the same. For the harness I just went to http://www.strapworks.com and bought 15ft of nylon strapping, 4 slides, 2 D rings, and 2 clips, all sized to the strap. Then I sewed it all together based on your guide, which helped A LOT! Also I already had an all metal M1911A1 green gas airsoft pistol. Which is designed as the exact model snake uses. I think the true showing that it looked good was a lot of people shouting out “SNAKEE!!” instead of “look its an army guy” The guide helped a lot. THANKS from all of us Snake fans.

  12. hey man
    thanx for posting this. its been a great help. my stabo turned out great. i already had most of the things required for the pistolbelt (from my WW2 re-enactment) i also have a beautiful replica of a M1911, but the radio is going to be a problem. so im skipping that part. the parts are really hard to get where i live, but its getting along slowly.
    thanx again and greets from Holland

    (btw i read in your twits that you have Mw2. if you got it on ps3, we could play together. my psn is Iron-Snake13)

  13. About to do this costume at a convention this coming weekend. I actually had most of it assembled before stumbling upon this site.

    Just wanted to say, fantastic guide man, great work!

    Although, you forgot one key ingredient:
    The haircut

    You need to get a big fat Snake Mullet 😉

  14. i would just like to add a little something for all the big boss fans iv been looking and if you whant snakes knife its a onterio shiv ranger knife .

  15. Very very cool man, good work and great attention to detail. I’d love to see some more pictures of this getup in action. I’ve been playing around with the idea of a Snake costume for years, I think you gave me the courage I needed.

    Thanks again man!

  16. @Alec I think it was pretty expensive. Probably over $300, but the most expensive part was all the pouches and the airsoft gun.

  17. hi again
    just because i’m curious
    i was wondering how the girl in the main pic above did her costume.
    (believe its your girlfriend?)
    because it looks pretty good.
    maybe you can post a link or something?
    but thx anyway

  18. Hi, i was looking at your guide and grabbed some of those d-3a gloves, but they seem a bit different. Were your’s made by rothco? I have a pair by them, made in pakistan, but have found a site which sells them american made. It would be a big help.
    thanks!

  19. Kyle, your tutorial’s been a God-send for working through this cosplay. I’m also looking forward to the rest of your Akiba one(another cosplay I’m planning). My question to you is regarding the STABO harness. The harness in the link you have posted is down. I realize your method of buying a pre-existing parachute harness, but is there a certain price range you’d recommend spending on it?

    I have my eyes on one from e-Bay that has all the hardware that I’d spend $30 on, including shipping, but I know nothing about appraising this stuff.

    Hope to possibly see you at ACen or C2E2, if you’re going to either.

  20. Dear Kyle,

    I am still having trouble finding the correct harness. The link that you have provided no longer works, since they apparently do not have that harness available anymore. I could go ahead and buy the nylon strapping, but I still cannot find the D rings and other parts for the harness.

    Can you recommend another site that has a similar parachute harness, or, can you recommend a site where I could buy the correct D rings, clasping hooks, and slide adjusters? Strapworks has a lot of stuff, but it is not the correct stuff.

    Thanks so much!

  21. Also, the velcro or whatever it is that holds the knife on Snake’s leg. I have bought the knife, which is a US pilot’s knife, along with the sheath, but I need that velcro that holds the knife to his leg. Does anyone have this?

    Also, on the back of Snake’s costume, there is a radio pouch, along with a radio inside. Do you know where one can find the pouch, and what kind of radio is in it?

    Finally, regarding the chest knife – the knife that you have posted is correct, however, the sheath is different. Does anyone know where I can find the sheath for Snake’s chest knife?

    Thanks!

  22. Very interesting read..I never got further than the Mickey Mouse comics. However, besides a realistic costume (very well done here!) realistic behaviour might improve the costume.
    Your handgun handling is not acceptable. The “trigger-finger” is off until you are on target, hence all four in the picture actually should have their “pointer” along the slide (image 0880.jpg). Further a double handed grip is not “cupped” like you do it in 0879.jpg. For a proper grip, go for a handgun course or at least check some good youtube videos.
    Else, seems I need to visit one of these events myself to see how much phantasy people have.

  23. Morning, It is nice to stumble upon a good site like this one. Do you mind if I use some of your information, as long as I give you a link back?

  24. Hey Kyle!

    Great guide, the stabo harness instructions are very impressive. I’m a theatre major and go to alot of costume parties, so your attention to detail is really appreciated. I built my radio box with a block of one inch plank wood instead of foam, and your idea of using velcro was very simple yet elegant!

    For those who really want to go the extra mile and are somewhat handy, you can build the sheath to Snake’s chest using fiber glass. All it really takes is few dollars at a hardware store to pick up a fiber glass kit and make a custom sheath. Once it’s dry, punch some holes in it to lace it up, and just attach with some velcro since it’s not too heavy

    For a cheap airsoft .45 try hobbytron! I got this 1911 with a silencer for $5.95!

    http://www.hobbytron.com/SpringSilencedCustom1911PistolAirsoftGun.html

    Once again, great page Kyle!

  25. @ Davis Rola, no feel free to pass on this info.

    @ Martin every one of those photos resulted in people getting shot so the finger placement was justified.

  26. i love how the knee brace and canteen are “frequently bought together” on Amazon. You should be proud of this.

    great job on the outfit, and thanks for making the tutorial; i plan to follow your instructions and show up at a con next month, hopefully looking as badass as possible. two thumbs up!

  27. hey everyone im trying to make a harness for my costume and am having trouble figuring out what to do? can someone please help me with this issue? thx

  28. Do you have a diagram of how you made the foam cover for the Vox/Ptt switchbox? I read the instructions but the part about cutting the holes confused me a bit. Could you maybe email me a little drawing of where to cut them?

  29. Nice cosplay dude! I’m using yours as a rough guide to make one up for a couple conventions in Australia. What’s good is, i’m from a part of Australia that is slowly getting bigger and having more cons. We have just over 1 million people and only one con every july but now we have 2 more cons (every october starting last year) and every march (starting next year).

    I’ll post pic when done 😀

  30. Hello there, it’s a big shock that someone will post a guide about how to dress up as “the” BIG BOSS and you really did a great job.
    I’m a Japanese living in H.K. and I’m kindly requsting can I transship your guide to one of the most will known forum for wargamer in H.K.?
    I will clearly mark the cridit and post this website with the article.
    you can send confrimation through my E-mail.

    Thank you. 🙂

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