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Author Topic: Creating Mad Scientist steampunk outfit  (Read 3668 times)
CrazyLee
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« on: February 07, 2016, 02:42:52 am »

So, I'm a bit new to this steampunk cosplay thing. I have some cons coming up I'd like to be dressed for, and what better way to get something done than the pressure of a deadline!

In any case, I am curious to how the people here would go about creating a Mad Scientist persona (besides the evil laughter and crazy experiments, of course), and making the outfit be as steampunk as possible.

I have a feeling I'd get a lot of suggestions to get one of those white lab coats, the kind that famous mad scientists like Dr. Horrible, Dr. Steel, and Dr. Frankenstein donned. The one that's white, goes to your knees or lower legs, and drapes across the chest, buttoning along the shoulder and down the side front. That kind of lab coat is known as a Howie lab coat. It was common years ago, but not used extensively nowadays. It's impossible to find one in the US, but I have seen modern versions on European websites (with snaps rather than big awesome buttons). Throw some goggles on and it's done.

I would rather NOT go that route. For the simple fact that it's not exactly steampunk enough, even though such a howie coat would fit great in any steampunk setting. It's just that the coat itself doesn't say steampunk, and would require accessories to make it so.

So, other ideas. I have some ideas of my own, and I've seen one or two things online. But, while I gather my thoughts and figure things out, I appreciate feedback and ideas from others.
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Cmdr. Storm
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2016, 03:01:30 am »

i know the Type Your talking about, Have You Looked into Maybe getiing a Similar Coat from Restaurant Supply Stores,or Somewhere like Harbor Freight? You might be able to get an Apron like used for handling Chemicals with for a Good Price. Hope this Helps.
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Maets
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2016, 03:10:21 am »

Scientist is too generic.  Start by narrowing done the type of scientist.  That will determine the accessories you will need.
For example:
Astronomer - telescope, star globe, model planet
chemist - test tubes, beakers, tubing
biologist - creatures in jars, furs, samples
geologist - rocks, hammer

and so on.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2016, 07:06:55 am »

Electrical experimenters wore cork-soled shoes.
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Prof. Cecily
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2016, 09:01:40 am »

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
So, I'm a bit new to this steampunk cosplay thing. I have some cons coming up I'd like to be dressed for, and what better way to get something done than the pressure of a deadline! ...

I thought cosplay attire was based on a specific character.
Anyway, why not go through the Girl Genius comics? Loads of mad Steampunk inspired scientists there!

Most sensible advice, Maets.

I remain yours,
Prof. Cecily
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Caledonian
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the dragon's called Salmacis


« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2016, 10:38:57 am »

You've heard me already on this topic,  but i want to point out maets's point because he is right. (As always)
But a bit out of the era... I like the idea of a uomo universalis; someone that tries to master everything. By the 19th century this ideal was outdated but I still like it. It's a dangerous though as you'd be quick to overassecorise (a mistake i've seen many steampunks make)
Soooo... Well you'd better listen to meats and let me ramble Wink
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Cora Courcelle
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2016, 06:47:08 pm »

How about taking your inspiration from Hammer Films 'Doctor Frankenstein' as portrayed by the great Peter Cushing? Not many white lab coats, just beautiful Victorian costumes and the occasional bloodied apron!
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Steam Titan
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2016, 09:36:02 pm »

If you have any sewing skills apparently you can make the coat by modifying a pattern

http://www.instructables.com/id/Dr-Horrible-Lab-Coat-and-Freeze-Ray/step5/Lab-Coat-Bonus/

or

http://www.instructables.com/id/Sew-a-Dr-Horrible-JacketCoat/

also look for Howie Lab Coat. THat is the type with the side and shoulder buttons if you wanna just buy one. They seem to be at least $75 though so making one might be better.
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CrazyLee
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2016, 07:06:23 am »

Scientist is too generic.  Start by narrowing done the type of scientist.  That will determine the accessories you will need.
For example:
Astronomer - telescope, star globe, model planet
chemist - test tubes, beakers, tubing
biologist - creatures in jars, furs, samples
geologist - rocks, hammer

and so on.
But a bit out of the era... I like the idea of a uomo universalis; someone that tries to master everything. By the 19th century this ideal was outdated but I still like it. It's a dangerous though as you'd be quick to overassecorise (a mistake i've seen many steampunks make)

I think I was going towards more like a universal scientist like Caledonian mentioned, and I'll explain.

The character I'm thinking of is not based on a specific type of scientist. It's more of the idea of what a mad scientist/evil genius type character, like from old fashioned movies, might be as a steampunk character. I'm loosely modeling the character off characters like Dr. Horrible and Dr. Steel, if they were characters in steampunk rather than modern day (in fact, I believe Dr Steel was supposed to BE Steampunk). The idea would be that my character would be evil (or maybe even good depending on your point of view?), in a secret lair. Building freeze rays, giant death rays on top of skyscrapers to threaten major cities, creating armies of geared mechanical "robots" to control the masses. Maybe a fleet of airships with ray cannons and loaded with human automatons ready to start war.

Originally I wanted to do a Dr Horrible but more steampunk, if you're curious. What exactly would a "scientist" like him be a scientist in? Not botany or geology. Probably not biology unless he was to unleash a pathogen on the world. Unlikely astronomy or meteorology unless he did the H.G. Wells thing of shooting someone to space. Probably more like physics, or chemistry. Electricity. I see such a guy as an inventor, which would be a combination of engineering and physics, likely.

If I were to look to a scientist in the past as an example I might say Tesla, who was a scientist that studied electricty. Or another favorite of mine, Ben Franklin, who came before the steampunk era but was kinda a jack of all trades.

In any case I understand the concern of not focusing too much and piling on too many accessories, or having accessories that don't match. I would be unlikely to do anything that crazy. I already had ideas on some accessories that would go along with this costume, for instance some kind of ray gun, a death ray, freeze ray, heat ray, teleport ray, whatever ray. Or a wooden controller that would control my (non-existent) robot assistants.


How about taking your inspiration from Hammer Films 'Doctor Frankenstein' as portrayed by the great Peter Cushing? Not many white lab coats, just beautiful Victorian costumes and the occasional bloodied apron!
Looks like that was called the "Curse of Frankenstein". Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look at that.

If you have any sewing skills apparently you can make the coat by modifying a pattern
Thanks for the links although I do know some good places to get a howie coat.

My idea was to go away from the Howie coat idea because while it can be used for steampunk, it's not exactly specific to steampunk and can be for any era.
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ewoudo
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2016, 10:29:20 am »

Something like this: ?





a bit to carnaval in my opinion:


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Caledonian
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the dragon's called Salmacis


« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2016, 11:18:21 am »


a bit to carnaval in my opinion:




Carnaval ended yesterday, I've seen enough bad costumes for a year, thank you.
*lives in Brabant*

the other images are really cool though!
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Herbert West
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2016, 05:01:25 pm »

I know you said you weren't looking for a Howie coat, but you can find them over at Gentlemen's Emporium.

They have them in black if it helps.

http://www.gentlemansemporium.com/store/004618.php?eesc=bw



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Steam Titan
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fulgur adducere


« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2016, 07:25:21 pm »

could always dye a Howie to be brown or something as well.
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Caledonian
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the dragon's called Salmacis


« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2016, 07:48:04 pm »

could always dye a Howie to be brown or something as well.

Brown = instasteampunk
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Cora Courcelle
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« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2016, 08:01:59 pm »



If I were to look to a scientist in the past as an example I might say Tesla, who was a scientist that studied electricty. [/quote]


Ah well, if we're talking Tesla, then David Bowies portrayal in 'The Prestige' springs to mind, or his assistant who was played by Andy Serkis.  More beautiful Victorian costumes to inspire you.
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Steam Titan
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fulgur adducere


« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2016, 08:17:58 pm »



If I were to look to a scientist in the past as an example I might say Tesla, who was a scientist that studied electricty.


Ah well, if we're talking Tesla, then David Bowies portrayal in 'The Prestige' springs to mind, or his assistant who was played by Andy Serkis.  More beautiful Victorian costumes to inspire you.
[/quote]


My persona is somewhat Tesla inspired. Elecricity based mad science with lightning cannons and the like
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 08:22:11 pm by Steam Titan » Logged
Steam Titan
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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2016, 08:21:49 pm »

could always dye a Howie to be brown or something as well.

Brown = instasteampunk

Its funny because its true
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Caledonian
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the dragon's called Salmacis


« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2016, 08:59:02 pm »

could always dye a Howie to be brown or something as well.


Brown = instasteampunk


Its funny because its true


.......................................................not really though
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CrazyLee
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United States United States


« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2016, 12:02:51 am »

Something like this: ?





a bit to carnaval in my opinion:



That first one tho! Both of them look great, although I bet the leather coat in the second one is ridiculously expensive. Sad

I want to say something about that mass produced costume though. My original idea was to do something like that.
Bear with me for a minute. I have seen plenty of mass produced costumes, having trolled halloween stores for costume accessories and ideas. Just by looking at the internet picture, I can tell how cheap it is. The apron is fake leather, and the lab coat is likely that cheap, thin, stretchy knit fabric they make a lot of costumes out of. Or some kind of cheap broadcloth. And from reviews of people who have bought it, it looks nothing like the picture and is even cheaper in person.

However, I had the idea of taking that and making my own version of it, using actual clothing pieces either bought, thrift shopped, or sewn by myself. Pants, a long sleeved shirt, a Howie coat maybe, an actual apron, a vest, tie or bow tie, goggles, some good gloves. It's still an idea in my head.


I know you said you weren't looking for a Howie coat, but you can find them over at Gentlemen's Emporium.

They have them in black if it helps.

http://www.gentlemansemporium.com/store/004618.php?eesc=bw

I've seen those before. A bit expensive for what I wanted to spend. However, I've seen way more expensive so it's actually a reasonable price for howie-style coats.


Quote
Brown = instasteampunk

I almost hate to say this but I've had this problem as well. My original costume idea was going to be nothing but shades of brown... lol. I see people pull off all brown and do it very well, but other colors are good too.



My persona is somewhat Tesla inspired. Elecricity based mad science with lightning cannons and the like

Yes! I have another character who uses mostly lighting-based magic attacks. I'm a big fan of that kind of stuff for some reason.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 12:06:48 am by CrazyLee » Logged
Steam Titan
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fulgur adducere


« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2016, 07:12:48 pm »

For non armored parts of my outfit I tend towards browns.  Something I did to help with it was added color. My vest and pants are brown and the shirt is white. I balcne this with a rusty orange cravat and band about my tophat, and blue  cufflinks and tie pin. The blue stands out more when I have the elecricity stuff. I use blue for electricity instead of yellow
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Otto Von Pifka
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goggles? they're here somewhere.....


« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2016, 11:19:00 pm »

gentleman/ engineer might work.

decent dress shirt with nice cravat and something more akin to a shop coat.

a muted color of some sort in a herringbone cloth, I used to see old ones from the 50's hanging about some of the ancient machine shops I have worked in.

they usually had a good amount of deep pockets for all your accoutrements.

just add a belt with a small control box or a wrist box, to micromanage your automatons
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keithjones
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« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2016, 03:24:17 am »

Here's an image of Joseph Leidy, eminent anatomist, paleontologist, forensic scientist, zoologist, and naturalist, from the 1870's.  Pretty much what a professor would have worn in the lab.
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Prof. Cecily
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« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2016, 07:11:24 am »

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
A fascinating man, Joseph, Leidy.
Quote
In 1846, Leidy became the first person ever to use a microscope to solve a murder mystery.[13] A man accused of killing a Philadelphia farmer had blood on his clothes and hatchet. The suspect claimed the blood was from chickens he had been slaughtering. Using his microscope, Leidy found no nuclei in these erythrocytes (human erythrocytes are anucleate). Moreover, he found that if he let chick erythrocytes remain outside the body for hours, they did not lose their nuclei. Thus, he concluded that the blood stains could not have been chicken blood. The suspect subsequently confessed.[
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Leidy

I remain yours,
Prof. Cecily
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keithjones
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« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2016, 03:00:38 am »

A momentary hijacking of the thread - Joseph Leidy deserves a post of his own - one of the greatest US scientists of the 19th century, but sadly, if not well known today.  His achievements had a great impact on everything from cooking pork in order to kill parasites to assembly of the first U.S. dinosaur.  When I had a job at the University of Pennsylvania, I wrote an email to the Chairperson of the Biology department inquiring if they would be observing the 190th Anniversary of Leidy's birth (09Sep 1823) - I never received a reply.



Back to the topic at hand.  If you check out Thomas Eakins paintings "The Gross Clinic" (1875) and "The Agnew Clinic" (1889), there's a marked difference in dress.  In the Gross Clinic, the doctors are performing surgery in their street clothing (much like Dr. Leidy's in my post), while the Agnew Clinic demonstrates the impact of Lister's ideas on antiseptic surgery - here the doctors are in the more familiar white surgical smocks.

Bottom line is that as a 19th century Mad Scientist, you can have pretty much leeway in dress.
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Fizzylicious
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2016, 01:04:13 am »

Not sure how helpful this is, but the first thing that came to mind when thinking of mad scientist is extra arms.. A backpack with one or more handy helpers protruding from it to assist you with your crucial experiments. They can either be universal claws or specialized equipment. If you have them go up and extend over your shoulders, you won't be sticking out much so that should improve the costume's survivability. Works great with the lab coats people mentioned before Smiley

What could be more awesome than to be your own assistant? No more clumsy oafs messing up your experiments! (now you can do it all on your own)

-Fizzy-
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