UNIT Soldier

Cosplay Guide

For a few years, I’ve been cosplaying as a new UNIT Soldier (from Journey’s End) for a few Doctor Who and non-DW conventions. A few people have asked if they can join me as new UNIT, so I’ve prepared this guide of my costume pieces.

While not canon, I created my own version of the UNIT ID. For those with Photoshop, you can e-mail me at lee (at) recycledsushi.com for the PSD file. Here’s a print-quality PNG of the front and back:

Front: Dropbox_BadgeFront.png

Back: Dropbox_BadgeBack.png

To achieve the laminated look of an ID without having to get actual ID cards stock, I usually buy self-laminating pouches at an office supply store. To get a thicker product, I usually slip a thin piece of manila folder in between the print of the front and back. If you can get a hold of a heat-driven laminator, the effect is much better.

The QR code, when scanned, reads back the website for the Gallifrey One convention. You can create your own readable QR code here: http://qrcode.kaywa.com/.

The uniform worn underneath the tactical vest is a standard black Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). I purchased my Black BDUs from here: http://www.soldiercity.com/black-bdus.html

The few shots of the soldiers show a tactical vest that seems to be a modified cross-draw vest. The closest to the on-screen vest is this vest from Airsoft GI, but you can find cheaper alternatives on Amazon as well. I recommend shopping around if you’re not going to be playing UNIT multiple times per year. The upside to the vest is that it has many pockets for carrying things during conventions without having to tote around a backpack, and it’s unisex. I usually use all the magazine pouches to store the many ribbons I give out. Tactical vest:

I usually pick up the patches at the Doctor Who conventions where the 3 for $20 offer is much better than acquiring it from the online stores. But, in a pinch, SciFiGeeks carries them for $10 + shipping. If you’re at a convention and find the patches dealers, get as many as you can. If you’re not going to be at conventions, either shop around for internet pricing, or go with SciFiGeeks. All the patches I wear are from SciFiGeeks (and various other locations). The patches I usually find are iron-on. This is fine for the BDU shirts, but you’ll need to attach velcro to the larger patches for the tactical vest. All attach areas on the tactical vest are the hook portion of the velcro.

Small UNIT patch:

Larger UNIT patch:

For canon, somewhat screen-accurate IDs from the newer version of UNIT, these are a few free and pay options from the web:

Template for the UNIT ID from DeviantArt:

Personalized and generic UNIT IDs (scroll down for Add to Cart buttons):

The beret is a red, military beret with a small UNIT patch ironed onto the front of it. Berets are not made for wearing “off the rack”, so here’s a guide on how to shape your beret for your head and have that cleaner military look. I don’t have this kind of meticulousness to my uniform. Perhaps I should redo my beret this next Gallifrey One.

Beret: http://www.villagehatshop.com/military_beret_red.html

Name tapes, the embroidered portion that contains your lastname, completes the look of the uniform. It’s hard to find a supplier that will just produce one tape, but they’re usually sold in packs of 4 or 6. I usually use the remaining three name tapes for my luggage. To coincide with the uniform, the tapes are white on black, and are sold here:

The alternative is to make your own name tape, or to not use it at all. Many of the UNIT extras on-screen have no name tapes at all.

The rifle used in the series is an M4A1 Carbine. I found a new airsoft rifle which was quite pricey, and very heavy to cart around. I found a used version on eBay for $105. You may be able to find non-working version for a lot cheaper. If you can find/make something cheaper, I’d go with that. Also, if you’re traveling with a weapon, please invest in a rifle case.

If you’re flying, get a locking hard case and remember to declare the weapon to your airline. The weapon, even though it’s a non-working prop (hopefully) will still have to be checked, will have to be declared to your airline, and will have to be in a hard case that locks. Your airline will issue a form to you that will have to placed inside the case. Also, make sure to find out replica weapons procedures at your conventions before carting around this rifle. Note: The orange tip is missing from my image because I Photoshopped it out.

I wear two forms of shoes with this uniform, usually based either on screen accuracy or comfort. Since I tend to work the conventions I’m at, I lean towards comfort. I have a pair of black work boots (generic brand from Sears or a less expensive solution from Payless) that are quite comfortable for short sprints of time and work great with the uniform (BDU pants tucked into boots). In addition to these, when I’m being lazier with the uniform out of extreme comfort, I have a pair of matte-black slip resistant Oxfords from Payless that still fulfill the crisp requirements of the uniform.

All in all, the total cost of the uniform minus the rifle was about $450. The priciest components were the rifle and tactical vest. Everything else remains within a reasonable expenditure, but was collected over time and not all at once.

Also, as usual, I’ve formed a support Facebook Group for the UNIT Soldiers of Gallifrey One.