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Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Costume Cupboard – Sao Til, The Blue Guy...

Recently I had an idea (dangerous I know), I decided I wanted to try my hand at doing a new outfit, not just any outfit, I wanted to bring back Sao Til!

The Sao Til reference picture :)
For those that don’t know Sao Til was the brainchild of my good friend Tim and was the winning entry in John Barrowman’s Tonight’s the Night ‘Search for an Alien Superstar Competition’ in 2009.

So with the idea in my head I text Laura (Tim’s wife) to share my plan! Her reply ‘have you told Tim yet?’, I hadn’t so between us the secret costume plan was hatched, the objective to see the look on Tim’s face when Sao Til made an appearance.

Originally I was looking at November Memorabilia to get the costume completed by, this would give me loads of time. To help me with the costume Laura sent me an email detailing all the bits I would need, the toughest part was going to definitely be the arm.


Armed with the list of parts I dragged Jemma round the Ipswich shops in search of a variety of different bits, unfortunately Ipswich let me down so I had to raid eBay for the majority of the parts!

So head to toe, here’s what we have:

Head: Pinstriped Hat, Claire’s Accessories
Head: Blue tights, eBay
Head: Purple floral tights, eBay
Head: Chicken fillets, eBay!
Body: Black shirt, already had one
Body: Navy Tie, already had one
Body: Black Overcoat, already had one
Hands: 80’s pink wrist warmer thing, Claire’s Accessories
Hands: Blue Body Paint, eBay
Waist: Superman Belt – It’s not part of the outfit but I love my Superman belt
Legs: Black (Grey) Jeans, eBay
Boots: Black Cowboy Boots, eBay

Having managed to source the parts sooner than planned the outfit was brought forward to me ready for Expo instead.

The actual Sao Til arm - Tim's one
The Neural Probe (Arm):

As I mentioned earlier this was the first time I’d put an outfit together from scratch, it was also my first ever attempt at building a prop! Luckily I’m a wargamer so I’m used to building things out of random bits of ‘gubbins’, Laura had sent me a few pictures of the original arm, I’d also seen the real one so I knew what I was trying to get to...

Unfortunately I didn’t have access to the BBC props department to give my Neural Probe a few tweaks so I decided to do my own take on it, similar in style but also different.

I wanted to keep the same feel with the large metal base plate (although mine would be wood painted to look like metal) and the prongs and lights.

My version of the Neural Probe (with lights)
The base plate is 2 layers of 3mm hardboard with a layer of 1mm plasticard on top, added to this were two sets of expanding bolts (yep these things are designed to attach tv’s to walls). Holes were then drilled to fit the lights into and washers stuck in place to add detail.

The whole thing was then painted silver before being bolted to the arm. The arm itself is a wine cooler with the inside sprayed blue; I also wedged a small paint roller inside to give me something to hold. To stop the end section moving too much there are 4 dowels to keep the plate balanced.

Overall the outfit didn’t take too long to put together and I’m really proud of how the finished product looks.

Having worn it and looked back on the reference pictures I can see a few mistakes I’ve made, ie the chicken fillets being at the wrong angle. I’ve also learned what a nightmare body paint is!

Sao Til will make another appearance in the future I’m sure! For the full album of build pictures face a look at my page.

And the best bit, Tim was really impressed!

The finished Sao Til