Login or register to post.
Login to reply  Page: « < 1 of 2 > »
14 Jan 2013 - 22:0595925
Controversial Costume? HELP!
So when my girlfriend and I decided we were going to do a steam punk costume at the London MCM Expo in May I was overjoyed!

...My instant inspiration was that of Kroenen from Hellboy. If you don't know who that is, here's an image:

You can see this image is actually of a cosplay, but he was going as the character - Not a made up one, like mine.

I know it's not exactly 'Steam Punk' but I thought it'd be cool to base my costume on this badass villain.

PROBLEM: He's a Nazi. Now, I'm no Nazi - NOR WILL I EVER BE.

I want to make my costume authentic and for that I'd need an Allgemeine SS hat. The Allgemeine SS hat will cost £50 and that's not what I'm worried about. What I'm worried about is people getting upset about Nazi insignia.

MY PLAN: My plan was to have a swastika on my arm with a giant gash through it, severing the swastika to show I was Anti-Nazi, is it enough?

Do you think the people of the London MCM Expo will be offended?

"Are you looking at me?...Who are you looking at?!" - Dr.N.Gin

Last edited by captain0ldy0da (14 Jan 2013 - 22:13)
14 Jan 2013 - 22:1495928
You'll always have people who are offended, but I've seen "Nazi"-esque cosplays go around Expo before so it's nothing new.

Just be aware, you will get people who will view that you must be a Nazi yourself, they fail to see that a costume is a costume. I would recommend making it very obvious it's a costume, and it would be safer to mutate any symbols and such.

Ayacon Plans
14 Jan 2013 - 22:2495930
My plan is to have a gasmask(seen in my profile picture) and steam punk goggles on my hat, to reassure them it's a genre...

I was also going to wear a balaclava to cover the back of my head, with white pale skin and red contacts to look undead making myself look like an undead-dieselpunk-type Nazi

As well as the gashed swastika on my arm...

I was going to have a big mechanical claw-arm too,
so I guess that'd say "THIS IS A COSTUME" more than anything...

I want as many opinions as possible so I can make the right, informed decision!

"Are you looking at me?...Who are you looking at?!" - Dr.N.Gin

Last edited by captain0ldy0da (14 Jan 2013 - 22:53)
14 Jan 2013 - 23:5195936
Do the costume, remove the swastika.

You won't need it to show the character

15 Jan 2013 - 00:0495938
honestly, no... i've seen plenty of people having the swastika as part of their costume, and noone seems to be offended by it...

Mostly from Hellsing manga / anime, a lot of the characters have the swastika emblem as part of their character, either on badges or necklaces... there were several last year as Schrodinger and Rip Van Winkle, both wearing swastika's as part of their outfits and i'm not aware of any problems.

As long as it's part of your characters costume and you're not wearing it to offend anyone, then i don't see the problem with it... the fact is, you can't please everyone... the swastika is possibly one of the extreme versions of this, but if you look through media, like Hellsing, Hellboy and various others, you'll see that a lot of characters wear outfits or regalia that could be construed as offensive to a particular group.

I wouldn't tell someone not to wear a Devil costume in case it offended christians at the event, or tell people not to wear Harry Potter outfits in case it offended a group believing magic / witchcraft was the devils work...

If you're there doing it in good fun and as part of the character, then it'll show through and be part of the costume, not an emblem of hatred as it's grown to become.



15 Jan 2013 - 00:0595939
I agree. Do the costume without the swastika. As a symbol its very loaded and you can look like the character without it.

15 Jan 2013 - 00:0895940
here's the two i mentioned so you can see what i mean... the swastika is part of the costume, it's not there specifically to offend anyone, and i'm sure neither of these two are actually nazi's in disguise as cosplayers wearing nazi costumes...



15 Jan 2013 - 00:1195941
Thanks! This is a lot of help!

"Are you looking at me?...Who are you looking at?!" - Dr.N.Gin

Last edited by captain0ldy0da (29 Jun 2013 - 11:41)
15 Jan 2013 - 00:1695942
another option, if you're worried about offending people but keeping with the overall theme of the character, is to do away with the swastika alltogether and replace it with other nazi-esque emblems...


Nazi's used plenty of iconography in their designs, from runic symbology through to birds and lightning... it all depends on what you want the symbol to mean as part of your costume...

Just because the swastika has become synonymous with nazi's, doesn't fall for the rest of them... have a look through nazi iconography, google or a quick library trip can help you hear... the nazi's borrowed icons from all over the place, so you'll probably find something from somewhere you can use... the Parteiadler (Bird) is quite a popular one to replace the swastika with, and can be done without the swastika underneath and still looks right as part of the costume, but without the malice associated with the swastika symbol



15 Jan 2013 - 01:2495945
As steampunk is usually retro/future Victorianism, you're probably a bit early for Nazis. How about looking at Prussian iconography and design.

Like the Pickelhaube helmet or the Imperial Eagle.

EDIT: It's the existence of idiots like the modern neo-nazis that people are concerned with swastikas and such. Even among WW2 re-enactors, the Wehrmacht guys get by OK, and the people who dress as SS officers get looked at funny.


Last edited by PandoraCaitiff (15 Jan 2013 - 11:08)
15 Jan 2013 - 22:2395978
I got my 'fake Nazi costume' in the post, labelled 'Gestapo Officer'.

Now, the costume is a a semi-mimic, with all icons removed and replaced with nothing or just letters, like the 'SS' symbol.

Here's a picture:

Now, although the suit itself is 'cheap' and doesn't have any icons I still feel like I should get at least a decent hat! I mean the hat that came with it didn't even mimic the SS hat, it was more of a British-Crown-Like badge! Weird!

...As authenticity goes the costume serves it's purpose no matter how 'cheap' it may be, but the hat...The hat's kind of embarrassing!

Do you think I should buy a real hat?
Do you think the coat looks better on the shoulders, or actually worn?


"Are you looking at me?...Who are you looking at?!" - Dr.N.Gin

Last edited by captain0ldy0da (15 Jan 2013 - 22:23)
15 Jan 2013 - 23:3995981
I would definitelty get a nicer looking hat, the one you got with the costume looks kind of flimsy, and I like the coat sitting on the shoulders I think it looks somewhat more intimidating.
Don't be too scared to wear the swastica, like M said, Hellsing cosplayers have been wearing the symbol for long enough and I'm sure they don't get shouted at or anything daft. You could always replace it with similar symbols if you want, but I wouldn't bother.

Also, to make the shirt and trousers look higher quality, try spraying them with starch and ironing the correct creases into them. If you don't know what I'm on about, google 'military uniform care' and it should give you instructions for stiffening shirts and trousers with starch.

Last edited by LMA (15 Jan 2013 - 23:41)
16 Jan 2013 - 09:4195990
Because the material used is very cheap it is not ironable unfortunately

To give you an idea of just how cheap it is:
-Plastic buttons
-Velcro used instead of buttons
-Insignia printed, not sewn

So that should give you an idea of how bad this costume is However, it serves the purpose of a quick fix for a costume or any short film.

It did cost me £30, but should I seek to cosplay as the SS more I will definitely consider buying a replica of the real one

- I think I'll spend that £50 on the hat, too, there's only a little swastika and my armband doesn't have one anyway

"Are you looking at me?...Who are you looking at?!" - Dr.N.Gin
16 Jan 2013 - 10:2695992
Coat definitely looks better draped over shoulders.

And whatever you decide to do, thank you for at least considering that people might be upset/offended.

I've had this discussion before on other sites and far too many people were all, "Freedom of speech means I can wear swastikas and Totenkopf badges, and screw anyone who had relatives that died in Auschwitz!"

16 Jan 2013 - 12:0895997
You can iron cheap material. What you need to do is put a cloth between the iron and the material. I did it for my taffeta and on the highest setting, and my silk when I need it creased in a certain way.

Definitely, hands down, get a better hat. I bought a German officer (female) costume for £1 at a carboot, and the hat it a lot better (I'd offer it to you, but I bought it cause I needed the hat). It also doesn't have the right emblem.

Coat looks better draped on your shoulders. It makes you look like you're in a powerful position and so can get other people to fight for you.

Ayacon Plans
16 Jan 2013 - 17:2896017
Somewhere like a convention where you're obviously wearing a costume, you can get away with it. Be wary and respectful though so you don't make anyone uncomfortable.

I wouldn't recommend straying away from the convention centre in it, though...

16 Jan 2013 - 18:3596021
Good points about the hat! And thank you so much for the help! I have never been helped so much ^^

My half sister has ancestors that were Jewish, so I can see why it can upset people.

I'm thinking about getting this:

It will cost about £55 +P&P

Worth the price?

Apparently the retailer who sells these made costumes for Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!

"Are you looking at me?...Who are you looking at?!" - Dr.N.Gin

Last edited by captain0ldy0da (16 Jan 2013 - 18:44)
17 Jan 2013 - 02:2296041
Quote captain0ldy0da:
I'm thinking about getting this:

Erm... Are there alternatives for the cap-badge?

Because that death's head in the picture looks worryingly like the Totenkopf design worn by the SS units responsible for running the concentration camps. It's kinda distinctive.

17 Jan 2013 - 09:3096045
What a minefield!

It's up to you, but I'd be cautious of using the insignia on a character I'd made up myself.

Possibly I'd make up my own insignia for the badges and stuff, making it almost but obviously not... Plus alternative histories are always fun to make up!

If you do go for the Nazi look though, keep it well within the convention centre, don't opt for travelling to the convention in it! People not involved could react badly.

17 Jan 2013 - 21:2296061
Quote PandoraCaitiff:
that death's head in the picture looks worryingly like the Totenkopf design worn by the SS units responsible for running the concentration camps. It's kinda distinctive.

Yes, the Death's Head is a common badge in SS insignia and many would have been worn at concentration camps by the SS-Totenkopfverbände.


However, this is an Allgemeine-SS cap.
- The death's head is the only insignia I'm aware of that sit on the cap. I'm aware that the Totenkopfverbände mixed themselves within the Waffen-SS and the Allgemeine-SS, adopting their uniforms.

"From 1934-39, the A-SS was supposed to be a police auxiliary, to be deployed in cases of civil disturbance or political unrest. A-SS units would be used to maintain order during various Nazi party events, and specialized A-SS units called "SS-Streifendienst" were used to patrol the big Nazi party rallies. "


So they were no Concentration camp guards, but the SS-TV did use the uniforms and insignia.

Now, as for the character 'Dr.Kroenen', whom this costume is loosely based on, he is just referred to as an 'SS Scientist' but uses an Allgemeine uniform, which is the same uniform I hope to convey.

"Are you looking at me?...Who are you looking at?!" - Dr.N.Gin

Last edited by captain0ldy0da (17 Jan 2013 - 21:30)
17 Jan 2013 - 21:2296062
I just read up that Kroenen actually toured Auschwitz:

This is fiction, by the way:
"He was awarded the Iron Cross for services to the Third Reich, including a tour of duty as commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, where he served with distinction."

So, I guess I would be wearing the uniform of a concentration camp commandant...
But I'm going to keep my character into being a scientist for the Nazis, rather than a concentration camp commander.
That would explain the mechanical arm I am going to attach.

I'm kind of worried, but I have seen similar cosplays to this before?

"Are you looking at me?...Who are you looking at?!" - Dr.N.Gin

Last edited by captain0ldy0da (17 Jan 2013 - 21:30)
17 Jan 2013 - 22:1496063
I think you need to remember that a lot of "Nazi"-esque costumes are done in the US. In the UK, you are in Europe and you're MUCH more likely to find someone who'll be offended.

Ayacon Plans
17 Jan 2013 - 22:2296064
So...Stick with the floppy hat that came with the unmarked costume?

"Are you looking at me?...Who are you looking at?!" - Dr.N.Gin
18 Jan 2013 - 02:2496069
Short version: expect grief.

Longer version:

As far as the average person is concerned, the SS is just the SS. Knowing the differences between its various units/divisions and where each served is quite unlikely.

As others have said, most the images of cosplayers using various WW2 Nazi symbols etc are often from the US, where the same stigma isn't attached (least not to the same level) and most events are ridiculously bigger than the average UK one.

Assume people on the whole are stupid or lacking in anything but the basic knowledge of the subject and plan accordingly.

Hell, I've had flak for my username at cons before due to it being a term for a military-run government, amongst many other things (and yknow...a japanese name).

At least you are considerate enough to think about whether this could cause problems in advance though!

Edit: To someone else's points earlier regarding the Devil as an alternative example...as far as loaded symbols go the Swastika is pretty much at the top of the list. Your average person won't even be aware its a religious symbol is several countries, with an origin long long before the Nazi party's genesis (1 reason it was used in fact. The average person also doesn't REALLY 100% believe in the Devil's existence (yes I know there are exceptions), but its hard to deny the horrors of WW2 when the generation that fought in or lived through it is still alive having been exposed to the symbol as that of the enemy in person or through propaganda (want to see some seriously funny stuff if you can stomach political incorrectness? go look up old WW2 propaganda cartoons from Disney and the like - yeesh!).

Last edited by Junta (18 Jan 2013 - 02:37)
18 Jan 2013 - 02:4896070
Quote captain0ldy0da:
should I seek to cosplay as the SS more I will definitely consider buying a replica of the real one


Ok, first question...Why do you need to be a Nazi at all?

Since you're doing an original character, surely you could base the design and even the uniform on Kronen but move AWAY from the Nazi symbology?

Plus, if you're going for Steampunk, you're almost 40 years too late, style wise.

Dieselpunk focusses mainly on the era of diesel power, so you're looking then around the World War eras.

As far as Nazi stuff in cosplay goes...Yes I've seen it done, hell, I've done it. I played Herr Major from Hellsing (the leader of BOTH the costumes shown above as examples of it being part of the costume).

Saying that, if people get offended, you don't really have much to say against it. You're taking highly offensive material and taking it into a public place where it is unexpected. If you run into someone who had a relative die in a concentration camp or was a survivor, you'll have A LOT of explaining to do and no real leg to stand on.

The difference between all of the characters shown above and you?

1. They were stylized. If need be, they could remove the necklace or the armband. It was easy to do so and I know a few of them who did just that.

2. They didn't have it woven into every part of the costume whereas you're basically going to be portraying someone who's job it was to run concentration camps...

3. Most importantly. You don't NEED those things. You're creating a character. They were playing characters who had those things as part of their costumes. People may well think you're some sort of sympathiser or glorifier of the Nazis. I've seen that happen before.

All in all, I think go for it if you want to. But personally I think it's slightly bad taste. It doesn't fit into Steampunk anyway as it is entirely the wrong era. Steampunk is VICTORIAN in nature. Sure, modified, but definitely based on that timeframe.

CosplayIsland Staff Member

Last edited by sjbonnar (18 Jan 2013 - 15:33)
Login to reply  Page: « < 1 of 2 > »