Conquering Cosplay: Umbrella Corp. Denver / Tactical Cosplay Gear

This article is dedicated to the coolest of the cool things you can collect. This month isn’t really about something you can collect but of someone you can become. I had the privilege  to speak with Robert Schumann, the founder and event coordinator, of a very special group of folks.

There’s people who wear costumes, there’s people who cosplay and then there’s the Umbrella Corp of Denver group. A couple times a year around Denver you will see a troupe  all dressed in black and tactical gear. All their gear goes together and they are all wearing the same Umbrella Corp insignia. Their presence is menacing but their attitude is awesome! They are some of the most friendly people you will meet at Denver Comic Con or the Denver Zombie crawl.

They were founded in 2011. They do charity events and make any happening into a seriously awesome event. A couple of events they do throughout the year are…

To invite the Umbrella Corp Denver car or team to your event please contact Robert Schuman via rschuman06@yahoo.com

Item:

Umbrella Corp tactical outfit

What it is:

One of the coolest cosplay outfits out there and if you are lucky enough and put in the effort, you might become part of the group!

How Much it Costs:

Costs vary depending on what gear you get but here’s an example of how much and where you can purchase such an outfit. (Read at the end of this article for Umbrella Corps of Denver Official list of gear). All prices are close estimates based on internet sites:

511 Black tactical pants: $50

Tactical knee pads $20

Tactical boots $75-130

Airsoft replica AR-15 $60-150

Tactical gloves with knuckle protection $40-60

Tactical elbow pads $20

511 tactical shirt $25

Tactical vest with MOLLE/loop platform $100-180

Sling for rifle: $20

Painters mask: $31

Tactical helmet: Replica $30/Real deal – $400-900

Insignia patches:$10

0-650-511-tactical-pants-black~1 7d6201ccc9d58b9b75db51e885d800b5 0-650-blackhawk-advanced-tactical-knee-pad-v2-black 20070822022518!Bi-3681 837582 41ShqUyrugL._SY300_

Is It Worth It?:

You can put together a similar outfit on a budget. Shop at Goodwill or Ross and you will find many bargains for this stuff:

Black shirt, long sleeve: $5

Black pants: $5

Find the best looking toy military style rifle at Target or goodwill(Might need some black paint): $10

Homemade insignia: Free

Cool sunglasses.: $5

Black surgical mask or bandana: $5-15

Goodwill black shoes or boots: $20

Prices are approximate but pretty close based on my own experience shopping at Goodwill. I shop at Goodwill a lot. 🙂

I can tell being in such an outfit would make you feel like a rockstar. So yeah it’s worth it.

Bottom Line:

What I though was really cool was how they are all treated like celebrities. Dozens of people coming up to get pictures. Every once and a while it’s exciting to feel important and like a celeb.

Info about the group:

https://www.facebook.com/umbrellacorp.denver

Gear and patches used by our members can be found on the links below.

Patches: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html_sacat=0&_nkw=Umbrella+Corporation+Patches

Centurion riot gloves:http://www.copsplus.com/prodnum4911.php

Centurion Riot Vest: http://www.opticsplanet.com/hatch-centurion-upper-body-shoulder-protection-cpx2500.html

Weapons: http://www.400fps.com/

We use S10 gas masks or North Safety 7700 Series Half-Face Mask Respirator with North+ P100 Filter Cartridge

All other gear and equipment can either be found on the websites listed above, online, or at your local Army Surplus stores.

Denver Comic Con 2015: Droids!

It’s Con season and geeks are in full bloom. Every year at Denver Comic Con, there are so many sights to behold. We got a lot of interviews this year. We will be featuring each interview from Denver Comic Con over the next three months! First up is Jim Shima, droid builder extraordinaire. We like covering cool items, but also affordable items. Now these may look expensive, and some are, but one can build a droid over time. There is a huge support group out there and, budget providing, you can have your Astromech up and running in no time.

Item:

Real life Droids!

What it is:

DYI protocol Droid and Astromech, better known as C3PO and R2D2

How Much it Costs:

Cost can vary quite a bit, depending on materials and function of the Droid. If you want a nice looking R2 unit to just sit and look pretty, here’s a list and instructions on how to do that-

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-a-R2D2-Full-Size-Scratch-Built/

Total cost is about $150-$200.

If you want something that can move, have cool light and sounds.

Here’s one guide I found online that showed a higher end R2-

http://r2d2-robot.blogspot.com

There are actually dozens of how to guides and a great support group out there.

In the Colorado/Wyoming area we have Mountain States Droid Builders (http://msr2droids.com/) . A great bunch of friendly people. You can find them here on their Facebook page –

https://www.facebook.com/MountainStatesR2Builders

Just Google your local area for builders as they are all over the world.

Total cost is in the $5000 range, some as high as $10,000. This can vary depending on materials but I think can expect it to exceed $500 :). Keep in mind though that you can spread this cost out over many years. You might need that time to gain the skill needed and build it slowly to make it just perfect.

As you can see there’s more than just R2D2 and C3PO that can be built.

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Is It Worth It?:

Everything we cover at Hush is worth it! Droids are no exception. Certainly these are the most recognizable pieces of movie-making magic ever. C3PO and R2D2 are the most well known and well liked characters in the history of movies. If you have a home theater or you are the ultimate Star Wars collector you would not be disappointed with life sized R2 or 3PO. I think the extra bonus is that you get the satisfaction of knowing you built it. Just like Anakin you can be a Droid builder and build C3PO, and maybe one day a Sith Lord.

Bottom Line:

This probably the coolest item we have covered yet here at Hush for Shut Up and Take My Money. That being said, this takes a time and financial commitment. You might be able to offer money to one of the current builders for a finished droid, but I wouldn’t count on it. They would probably want quite a bit of money for them, and rightly so! If this is something you would like to have, take some time and do some research online. There is a great community of friendly folks who have gone down the same road and are willing to offer advise. Being good with your hands and having some experience with electronics is a plus but not a requirement. I believe all that is required is passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the build.

My special thanks to Jim Shima for sharing his passion with me and allowing Hush to do an interview with him.

You can find out info about his projects here- www.hyperdynelabs.com

Life-Size Boba Fett!

This month we went back to Bigtop Collectibles to see their big surprise they told us about last month. I was shocked when I saw this life-size figure of Boba Fett standing with the imposing look of a bounty hunter. We also wanted to see what else was new at Bigtop and maybe more in our price range.

Item:

Boba Fett Life-Size Figure by Sideshow Collectibles & Star Wars Black series actions figures.

What it is:

6-1/2′ tall Boba Fett designed by Sideshow Toys crafts people and Lucasfilm artists.

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Newly released Star Wars Black series 6″ tall figures with amazing detail.

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How Much it Costs:

Life-size Boba Fett retails for $8000. From what Carlos told me, all of the production models are spoken for so that means on eBay, you are looking at closer to $10,000.

If you want the 6″ version in the new Star Wars Black series, that’ll only set you back about $20.

More Star Wars Black Series.

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Is It Worth It?:

You bet! Well, if you have the pocket book for the life-size version. I image the most fanatical of Star Wars Collectors would buy up all the life-size versions of Star Wars characters if they could. This would make an awesome piece in a home theater or display in your amazing toy collector room.

The 6″ version is really awesome in it’s own right. They are great to play with, have great detail, and display very well. On top of that you could buy 100 of these and still be way under the purchase price of the 6′ versions.

Boba Fett and Jango Fett, for that matter, are one of my top 5 favorite Star Wars characters. As much as I would love the life size one, I’l be buying myself the 6″ version for $20.

Bottom Line:

If you want the life size one, good luck! They are all spoken for and those willing to sell will probably want a lot for it. As for the more affordable 6″ figures, Bigtop has plenty in stock of all your favorite characters.

Bigtop Collectibles 1138 | Star Wars Superstore

Item/Place:

Bigtop Collectibles 1138 | Star Wars Superstore

 12650 West 64th Avenue, Arvada, CO 80004

(303) 431-3757

http://www.bigtopcollectibles1138.com/

What it is:

I had the pleasure of meeting Carlos Lopez, the owner, and talk with him about Bigtop Collectibles 1138. He has a sincere love for Star Wars and started collecting in 1991 when the Timothy Zahn books came out. He started buying and selling Star Wars collectibles in 1992 and has continued to this day. Hard core George Lucas fans will recognize the “1138” in their name – Bigtop Collectibles 1138.

Bigtop is the most amazing Star Wars Collectors store ever with the added bonus of having thousands of other collectible toys. They have an impressive collection of Hot Toys figures from some of the most popular current movies. From the video you can see the Avengers, Star Wars, Walking Dead, Star Trek and LEGOs!. This store opened on 12.12.12 but Bigtop Collectibles has been around since 1992.

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How Much it Costs:

They have figures from $5 to $300. I found many things very affordable and for the the discerning high end collector, very fair prices. I didn’t see any of the higher end items that were that were overpriced.

Is It Worth It?:

For the Star Wars collector, this is a must-visit store if you are in Colorado. There were items I haven’t seen anywhere else, except maybe online for outrageous prices. If you are into vintage Star Wars, they have a large assortment of pristine or nearly pristine still in the box play-sets and starships. It was simply amazing to see so much of it all in one place and in such great condition.

Bottom Line:

The thing I loved about Bigtop was how easy it was to find everything. The store is meticulously arranged in perfectly straight rows and perfectly organised. The display cases beautifully showed the higher end action figures.

Carlos, the owner,  told me that they are receiving something HUGE this week that no one in the state will have. He said it was Star Wars related and was such a cool big item that people from all around will come to check it out. He didn’t want to tell me exactly what it was, but we will cover it right here on Hush Comics for next month’s “Shut Up and Take My Money.” We can’t wait to find out what this item is!

Thank you to Carlos for the tour and the interview.

Bigtop Collectibles 1138 | Star Wars Superstore

 12650 West 64th Avenue, Arvada, CO 80004

(303) 431-3757

http://www.bigtopcollectibles1138.com/

Classic Tron Arcade Game

Item:

Classic Tron Arcade Game

What it is:

IMG_3606

Tron is a stand up arcade game from 1982, produced by Bally Midway. This amazing piece of history is 30 year old technology and it still sends chills up my spine when I see it’s ominous blue glow in the dark. Tron the video game was created as a tie-in to the movie by the same name. Disney had created Tron as one of the first CGI movies in history back in 1982. The story was that a young video game designer named Kevin Flynn who worked for a fictional company named ENCOM. His code was stolen from a fellow programmer named Ed Dillinger. Ed becomes a VP at ENCOM and fires Flynn. Flynn decides to break into ENICOM and find out what happened to his programs. While in the experimental sciences lab and hacking away at a terminal. an almost scient program called the Master Control Program begins to communicate to Flynn and tell him to stop. Just so happens the MCP has control over everything at ENCOM, including a particle beam ray that can break down matter and transport it. The MCP takes aim at Flynn and pulls him into the main computer systems at ENCOM. There Flynn sees programs represented as people and is able to interact with them. He also able to ride CGI light cycles and play the games he programed, only now it’s for real!

The very same video game you could play in the arcade was the one that Flynn had in his arcade. Being able to play the actual games Flynn played in the movie, in your local arcade, pulled you even deeper into the world of Tron. The name Tron comes from the name of a security program created by Alan Bradley to monitor communications between the Master Control Program and the real world. Flynn meets Tron face to face in this digital CGI world.

Here’s a little tidbit of history. If it wasn’t for Tron, we may not have had Toy Story or Pixar for that matter. A young man named John Lasseter was working at Disney Animation Studios back in the early 1980s. John had a bunch of his friends working on the Tron project. The first stills he saw were the lightcycle sequences. He said it just blew him away. From that point on, he wanted to do CGI animation.  Eventually, he pitched the idea of all CGI animated movie to the Disney executives. That very same day he was fired from Disney. John went on to join Lucas Computer Graphics devision then went on to found Pixar with funding help from Steve Jobs. Today he is the chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

tron tronarcade-590x330 2827234726_209c104f35

How Much it Costs:

The original arcade game you see in the video can get pricey. They range in price from $900-$4000. On the low end most are not in working order. Good news though, you can play the games for free online!

http://games.disney.com/disneyxd-classic-tron

Another option is to use an emulator called MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator). This free emulator will run on a PC and you can download the original Tron ROM and play the game exactly how it was. (http://mamedev.org/). If you are DYI kind of person you can build your own Mame cabinet – (http://www.instructables.com/id/MAME-Cabinet-in-4-key-steps/). If you are going exclusively for the Tron look, you can download all the artwork, add some black lights and you can get very close to the original. This route can save you thousands of dollars.

Lastly you can find these non working versions for only $100 in some cases. You can peice one together from parts on line that range from $6-$70. I’ve seen the circuit board with the program on it go for $12.

Is It Worth It?:

To buy this game as a turn key ready to go arcade game it’ll cost upwards of $1300. You can build a MAME version or piece together the original, saving some money. As a piece of collectable geek history, this thing is off the chart. It looks amazing, especially in the dark, it is extremely addictive to play and even younger kids enjoy it. If you can figure out a way to get one, I’d highly recommend it.

Special thanks to Tron collector extraordinaire Brian Vox for letting me show off his fine collection of games!

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Fifty Two 80’s: A Totally Awesome Shop!

This month we are not going to review a single item, but rather we will review an entire era: the 1980s – yes, we went there. You may ask how we accomplished this feat of time travel? Was it Police Box, Delorean or a hot tub? No, we stepped through the threshold of a magical emporium called Fifty Two 80’s: a totally awesome shop.

5280s

Item/Place:

Fifty Two 80s a Totally awesome Shop!

 

What it is:

A store entirely dedicated to items right out the 80s and early 90s. These good people stock mostly toys, but also have some clothes and iconic posters from that era. Here’s just a short list of items I found of interest: Voltron with all the Lions, Garbage Pail Kids collector cards, GI-Joes from 84-89, a Captain America poster from the 80’s TV show, PeeWees Playhouse toys/videos, Plush Gizmo from Gremlins, WWF actions figures, and a full sized Chewbacca cardboard cutout. You can see many more of these items in the video above and the pictures below.

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How Much it Costs:

The cost is so affordable you can’t miss the opportunity to go to this store and step back in time. Items range in price from a few dollars to around a hundred dollars. Most items I saw were under twenty bucks. These items are not in perfect or A+ condition and might be missing a few parts. That’s what makes this store special. Everything is meant to be enjoyed without having to spend a fortune to relive your childhood. This isn’t a thrift store either! All the items are laid out and displayed with care. If you are looking for something specific and they have it, you will find it. You don’t have to dig through bins or shelves of random brick-a-brack to find that special item that will trigger those joyous memories of your childhood.

Is It Worth It?:

This store is beyond worth it – from the casual to the hardcore collector and everyone in-between. I’m a casual collector and have some nearly mint items that could go for hundreds of dollars. The down side is, neither myself nor my kids really get to enjoy my collectable toys anymore because I’m trying to retain their value. Fifty Two 80’s gives you and your kids a chance to enjoy toys from the 1980’s and 90’s. These vintage toys are very inexpensive and in a condition that begs to be played with. While I was at Fifty Two 80s my eight year old son ran around this store discovering a whole new world of toys he’s never seen. We ended up getting three GI-Joes and a couple of loose Star Wars Micromachines for fifteen bucks! These prices will blow away any bargain you find on ebay. They do have some better condition items that go for more and even those are set at amazingly low prices. If you happen to be in south Denver, stop by Fifty Two 80s a Totally awesome shop. Talk to Tony or DeDe, the co-owners, about any item you find. They are very knowledgeable and totally awesome people!

5280s a Totally Awesome 1980s shop:

1874 S. Broadway, Denver CO 80210

Store Hours:

Wednesday – Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

Saturday- noon to 5 p.m.

Sunday – noon to 4 p.m.

Shut Up and Take My Money: Transformers Gen 1 Jetfire!

Transformers have existed nearly 30 years, providing us with cartoons, comics and toys. The Transformers began with the 1980’s Japanese toy lines Microman and Diaclone. Hasbro bought the Diaclone toy line and partnered with Takara Tomy to produce and distribute Transformers. Transformers went through a period of low popularity in the early 2000’s, but were brought to the forefront of action entertainment with Michael Bay’s live action Transformers movie franchise. After the first live action movie was released, Transformers became more popular than ever. With this new popularity, the older Generation One toys have increased in value.

Item

1984 Transformers Jetfire by Hasbro

What it is:

The Transformer known as Jetfire is an airplane that transforms into a robot. Jetfire, as a character, is known for his intellect and dedication to science. He is compassionate and believes he’s the smartest among his fellow Autobots. He is an Autobot, a good guy, but started out as a Decepticon and friends with the evil Starscream. The other Autobots don’t always trust him, because he can be cold and calculating. Here is an interesting side note: this particular toy was also made for Takatoku Toys and sold as the VF-1 Valkyrie. The VF-1 was a fictional mech/fighter jet in a popular Japanese Anime series named “The Super Dimension Fortress Macross”, also known as “Robotech” in the US. You can read more about it here.

“ I don’t believe in destiny ”
—Jetfire

How Much it Costs:

The price can vary quite a bit depending on the version for which you are looking. If you are going for “vintage”, like the one in the video, prices can range from $40-$4000. If you are looking for the 1984/85 Jetfire to just play with for fun, I have seen a few Jetfires without the box and missing accessories going for $40-80 on eBay. If you are looking for a mint condition Jetfire sealed, graded by an appraiser, and for display only those are the ones that sell for thousands. There are newer versions and you can go today to Toys R Us to purchase Jetfire for about $40.

Is It Worth It?:

I love the original Generation One Transformers, like this Jetfire. The Generation One Transformers were made of substantial materials and stand up well over time. As you can see from the video, for a 30-year-old toy, it still looks pretty good! It’s cool looking and fun to play with. Unfortunately, it’s a rare 30-year-old toy and I’m so afraid of breaking it. The newer version looks similar; Jetfire is still a plane, but a more modern design. I also believe the newer Transformers I’ve played with were designed better. Even though the new ones are more sophisticated, they are made out of cheaper materials. The 1984 toy is worth owning, but if you want one to play with, I highly recommend just buying the 2014 version. The vintage one makes a pretty awesome display piece that you can look at and play with gently.

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