So when Mike and crew started planning their Tron costumes, I decided that I wanted to make a simple blue program, or maybe even a damaged program (with some weird light-up stuff on my face) to resemble something similar to the program Sam encounters when captured by the Recognizer. My original sketches were for a hooded “street” look.
I liked the idea of having a hood that hides much of my face, so that when I revealed the “broken code” it would be 1) more of a surprise and 2) in shadow, thus making it more striking. I decided early on that I wanted to have a half skirt, something that I have really liked after seeing some concept art for an interesting take on the Fierce Deity Link from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
The shirt under the hooded jacket was a little too formal, but it was the first concept that I had attempted.
You can also see that I was already eyeing the boots I ended up purchasing for the finished costume.
I was pretty set on the bottom half of the outfit, but wanted to play around with the jacket some more. I was much happier with this design, it felt more “right.” But it was also moving away from the street look. I did like how the hood felt like something Zartan from GI Joe would wear. Separate from the jacket, but still a part of it, unlike the first design which it flowed out from the opening of the jacket.
Just for good measure I didn’t force myself to stick with one pair of boots. But after drawing these, I realized that high tops weren’t high enough. They made the legs too much of a focal point, and those were going to be plain pants, so no reason to make them so prominent.
This design, while not CLU, had a similar feel to the coat portion of his robe. And that made me think about making my own version of CLU, instead of a generic blue program.
That led to this third design, a cross between the coat that Kevin, Tron, and CLU wore in one of the flashback scenes and CLU’s robe, the one he wears while watching the games. I wanted something that was similar to his robes, but maybe a bit more casual, sort of a “hey I’m your supreme leader, out for a stroll” kinda look.
The collar was designed to resemble the neckline of the robe, which feels like the collar of a clergyman. The shape of the skirt changed to be angular, which mimicked the lights on his robe in the film, and played off of the shape of the boots closures. Before I even worried about lighting, I just wanted to get the basic costume made, and see how it worked, moved, and breathed (or completely lack thereof), since the lights would be one of the priciest components of the costume. No reason to spend all that money if I couldn’t wear the costume at a show for extended periods of time.
But so this was it, the third and final concept, and what my CLU costume is designed around.
Here are the various components of the costume, with some flashy photos.
- Main outfit.
The basic textile portion of the costume, jacket, skirt, and pants was completed in time for MidSouthCon 2011. These were made by our in-house seamstress, Laura Jones. We chose an upholstery fabric from Jo-Ann’s, and while it definitely looks cool, it is anything but when wearing the costume. If I were to change one thing, I would definitely design the jacket and pants to have vents down the side seams to allow for some breathing. The costume gets very, very warm. I will say that I did wear the costume all night at MSC, performed in a masquerade, and started dancing at the annual dance party before I got overheated. So while it isn’t comfortable, it is doable.I bounced around some ideas for lighting up the suit. My brother did a lot of stuff with reflective tape, which looks great in photographs with a flash, but otherwise looks a little dull when there isn’t much light to reflect. He then tried playing around with foam sheeting, reflective tape, and EL wire. This gives him constant illumination, and it still looks great in flash photography. But the sheer amount of time to attach the wire and do all the assembly, it just doesn’t seem to be worth the time and money.I thought about having slits cut in my costume, and then making a type of pocket sewn into the costume to stick glow sticks into. I bought some huge glow sticks and they looked good, but again, a whole lot of work, for something that is good, but not necessarily worth the labor.Finally my brother recommended purchasing the actual material used in the movies, www.lighttape.com. I bought a sample piece, and wow! Other than needing to extend the wire, this stuff is amazing. All the work is done for you, but it is so easy to attach to the costume, requires only a 9 volt battery to power, and it is bright, BRIGHT! I purchased some double sided fuse tape from Jo-Ann’s, and I was done. It really was that simple. Cut a slit in the fabric, slide the wire and connector up inside the fabric, and then fuse the tape to the costume. I put a small piece of electrical tape over the slit, and then put a few strategic pieces over the light tape to give it some patterning, and it was done.The front of the coat closes with a strip of velcro, and the pants have a zipper up the side of the leg. This material doesn’t stretch very much at all, so it is very important to make sure that it fits, and if you want to wear it again, don’t gain too much weight. Lol.
The boots were purchased from online from the Motorcycle Superstore. They are the Tour Master Solution Waterproof Road Boots. When Mike and I first discussed the costume, we talked about buying a pair of high top black sneakers, and then building onto them using foam sheets and other components. There were a few problems with this. I wear size 15 shoes, so it isn’t like I can go to the store and snag a cheap pair of shoes. I have to special order them online. Plus after buying all the materials, the time involved with assembling the boots, etc., it was already going to cost quite a bit.Plus as any costumer out there knows, over time your costumes get beat up, sometimes pretty badly. So why not just buy motorcycle boots, which have to stand up to some pretty rough treatment over their lives. This website, Motorcycle Superstore, has some really great selections and styles… assuming that you don’t wear size 15 like me. For those with normal sized feet, you have so much variety and choice.What I love about this design is the shape of the velcro strap on the inside of the boot. It mimics the zigzag nature of CLU’s lights on his robe when you first see him in Tron:Legacy. Also the ribbed section on the front of the boot and the way that the sole of the boot rounds off into the leather portion, it feels very… Tron. Not sure how else to say it.
My current gloves are the second set that I tried out. The first ones were good, but they weren’t very tall up the arms, and so anytime I lifted my arms too high, you could see my wrists. I didn’t like that. The gloves on the left are the original ones for my costume, the ones on the right are the current gloves.
While these gloves are a little more bulky, I think that with the rest of the costume they fit pretty well. They also offer a few places to hide LEDs in the future if I would like the gloves to glow. The hard knuckles and finger ridges provide a nice “threatening” look, which is pretty much CLU.
- Customized Disc.
One of the first discs that I modified to produce our line of customized disc mods, my CLU disc is based on the Rinzler disc for the color scheme (the orange paint). After gutting that disc, I replaced the outer LEDs with an LED strip of yellow lights, which through the orange tinted outer ring gives a very nice yellow-orange glow. The C-ring uses a yellow EL Wire, which unfortunately glows much more yellow than orange, but it still looks very nice. Both of these lights are controlled independently, so that the C-ring can be powered on and left on at all times, and the outer ring can be powered on only when the disc is removed from my disc mount.
I went ahead and purchased a long sleeve, black underarmor shirt, so when I lift my arms you can’t see my wrists, and it covers up anything exposed along the waist line. At MidSouthCon I wore a white undershirt, and in some photos you can see the white ring around my waist, not cool, not cool at all.