Monday, 18 November 2013

A-wing pilot

So after some year's it was time to get back into Star Wars costuming. I was tired of having to work with hair, and not getting recognized as a Star Wars costume, that was my experience from wearing my Padmé costumes. So instead of beautiful gowns, I decided to make a rebel pilot. I didn't go the usual orange X-wing pilot route, but instead I chose to do an A-wing pilot.

The A-wing has always been my favorite space ship from Star Wars, and one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars books, Tycho Celchu, had flown an A-wing in the battle of Endor. Making an A-wing in 2007-2008 was quite the challenge though. This is a background character, and there were still no HD pictures of the full costume. Since then we have gotten the DVDs and even blurays, and people have put a lot of research into all the background characters. I'm still proud to say that even if I need to upgrade my costume now, with new knowledge out there, when I finished it it was probably the most accurate A-wing pilot in the Rebel Legion.

My first version of this costume was debuted at the Star Wars: The Exhibition in Örnsköldsvik in 2008, which also marked the first proper trooping with the Nordic Base together with the Nordic Garrison. At that time I still hadn't gotten my helmet though.

I first found a bottle green coverall, I'm short but I found one with extra length, which meant that I only had to buy one coverall and still be able to make all the necessary modifications. The modifications included adding a set of square pockets to the thighs, changing the pockets on the sleeves and changing the collar from a classic flip down to a mandarin collar. I aslo changed the cuffs so that they end in points. All the flaps for the pockets were changed to a square shape.

v. 1 June 2008
My first flak vest was made of a grey cotton, with some strange plastic white fabric,  don't remember at all where I found it. At that time the exact look of the A-wing flak vest wasn't really clear, so I made the front as what I saw, but the back looked more like the X-wing flak vest, with thick white straps connecting the pieces. With better images available I made version two of the flak vest, out of fabric that I got from a woolen coat I found in a second hand store. When I lost some weight I was then finally able to totally remove the white straps, so that the vest only consists of the grey wool as a base, and then the front bib in the white plastic fabric. I would have loved to change it a bit more, but I'm now out of fabric, and I will probably never find a matching fabric again, so I'll do with what I have.

My frst chestbox was sculpted from a chunk of oasis foam and a lot of plaster. It weighed a ton. Quite soon after that a friend made me a much better chestbox, basically it's just a plastic shell to so it's a lot lighter. Since then newer and clearer images have emerged and I'd like to upgrade to something else someday.

V. 2 August 2012
For the soft inner helmet I use an antique WW2 AN-H-15 flight helmet that I found on ebay. These surface from time to time, they are very small though. I have a small hat size (55-56) and I have a medium sized flight helmet, and it's too small. If I wear it for a longer period, or wear my glasses I'll end up with bad headaches. I have tried a large one, and that would have been a perfect size for me. Thankfully I spend most of the time just holding it in my hand.

My first helmet was a Y-wing helmet from Richie's armor, at the time that was the only available option for an A-winger. Thankfully A-wing pilots are seen with both A-wing, X-wing and Y-wing helmets, so you can get away with it. I was the first A-wing pilot with anything but an X-wing helmet though. The fun thing with rebel helmets is that you are allowed to make your own paint scheme, as along as it looks like it belongs in the Star Wars galaxy. For my Y-wing helmet I got inspired by my love of Swedish medieval history, and I picked up the colours and some of the detailing from my favorite coat-of-arms, and then instead of wordly heraldical symbol I put the Naboo symbol there instead. It was the same friend that made my chest box that assembled and painted the helmet.

Then came the first handsculpted A-wing helmet, just two years ago, and in 2012 two persosn emerged that can make the A-wing helmets. One is vacuforming a kt that you have to assemble yourself, a kit with greeblies included. The other person makes the helmet out of fiberglass, but you have to make the greeblies yourself. I bought the fiberglass helmet, since it was the first available one, but I bought a set of greeblies from the other maker. They aren't totally compatible, but I really like my new helmet.

I'm even happier with my paint scheme on the A-wing helmet. It took me a really long time to figure out, I knew that I wanted a connection to Falun and Dalarna, but didn't really know how I should do it. When I finally came up with the design it felt very natural though. It's Dalecarlian blue, with all the greeblies painted in metallic copper (I work in the world heritage site of the Falun Coppermine after all)and all around the helmet there is a a vine of "kurbits" (a traditional folk are motive from Dalarna). It was my very talented mother who pained my helmet, I only put on the base layers.

The spats have been changed three times. My first ones where both too light and too baggy, my second pair was too yellow and still too baggy. In the end my final pair was made of teadyed cotton, with an iron on interface to make them stiffer. I've also weathered them a lot with washed out black and brown paints to make them look darker. The spats are permanently attached to the legs of the coverall, this is also because my coverall legs ends just below the knee. That means less bulk in the boots, less fabric means cooler and more comfortable, and I also had to use all the fabric up to just under the knees for the modifications of the flight suit.

I've also made a holster, styled with inspiration from Padmé's Episode II holster, and I wear my Naboo blaster pistol in it. 

Status: active

V. 3 July 2013

Me and Wolfgang from Austria, at Celebration Europe II in Essen this summer. We match each other really well for having worked on our costumes during different time periods and in different countries.


  1. Where can you get the A-wing helmet kit? Are they still available?

    1. Nowadays there are at least two vendors. You can find information at the Rebel Legion forums,