Cosplay Command Center is a series connecting cosplayers to resources and expert insights to complete their costumes from Star Wars animation.
Who wouldn’t want to join up with Clone Force 99? We can’t stop talking about the conclusion of the first arc in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, featuring the unique unit known affectionately as the Bad Batch. And if you want to continue to celebrate these specialized clone troopers with your own cosplay build, Kilian Plunkett, who served as art director for both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, has a few tips!
“All four members of the Bad Batch wear custom armor,” Plunkett says, but the gear is unified with the same basic pieces sourced from a standard Republic Commando kit, like the armor worn by Republic Commandos like Gregor or Scorch. And the underlying bodysuit is a match for the standard-issue clone bodysuit in both color and material.
Among the Bad Batch members, Hunter’s special skills are his heightened senses and combat prowess, the result of genetic experimentation. But he still closely resembles a regular clone at a glance, with shaggy locks and a skull tattoo on the left side of his face, which can be achieved with make-up. A red bandana with a tiny skull emblem helps to show off his membership to Clone Force 99, as well as the distinct color scheme of his armor.
“Hunter’s armor is closest to standard Republic Commando gear,” in shape and definition, Plunkett says. “Its unique features are the sheath on the forearm for his vibroblade and the helmet, which is closer in appearance to an Imperial Stormtrooper,” thanks to the enlarged visor area. His right shoulder pauldron carries the skull emblem and both shoulders are marked with a “99,” but his helmet is painted to mirror the skull tattoo on his face beneath.
“Unlike the white armor worn by the regular GAR troops, the Clone Force 99 armor has large areas of exposed metal on it,” Plunkett says, with shades of dark grey and a burgundy ‘Republic Red’ forming the accent colors on each Bad Batch member’s kit. “The dark grey paint can have a slight metallic quality,” Plunkett notes, “but it should be subtle and ideally a visibly different finish to the raw gunmetal sections of armor. The red paint and ‘99’ skull emblem would be a dull/matte finish to suggest a lot of wear and exposure to the elements.”
As the gadget guru of the squad, Tech’s kit is tricked out with a variety of extra pieces, including a shell-like backpack, and a visor that slides over his specialized goggles for easy translation on the go. “Tech’s armor is a lighter shade of grey than the others, each of his armor pieces has a coating on it that is more like a typical clone,” Plunkett says of the palette, “although the hue is still a darker grey than the white of a standard clone trooper.”
A brown leather tool belt acts almost as a double holster for various gadgets that are carried at his hips. In creating the belt, Plunkett advises cosplayers look to the standard Jedi belt for a similar construction and a leather or leather-like material to get the right effect. Other hidden pouches and pockets denoted by a lighter gray should be made of a more pliable material or rugged fabric, “like those seen on a biker scout, made from some kind of pleather-like material that blends well with the surrounding rigid costume elements,” Plunkett says. For Tech, the skull emblem appears with a jagged lightning bolt and a pixelated outline emblazoned on the right ear cup of his customized helmet. And his right arm gauntlet includes a small box that can be flipped open to reveal a variety of glowing buttons that trigger the hologram generator on the back of his right hand.
Clamp your lips around a toothpick and draw a literal crosshair around your right eye for the start of a perfect Crosshair cosplay. Like Hunter, the icon from his face carries over to his helmet, which is specially cut to allow him to press the scope of his sniper rifle to his visor unimpeded. He also carries his skull emblem on his right shoulder pauldron.
An essential part of Tech’s gear is a lower-profile backpack, which includes a place to holster his sizable blaster at least in theory. “For those Bad Batch members that carry a backpack, there are small incandescent blue and red buttons that can add some interest to the back,” Plunkett notes. “If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, the Republic Commando blasters favored by Hunter and Wrecker could magnetically snap to the side of the backpack. In theory this would be true of Crosshair’s rifle too but it’s a large weapon so making the magnetic attachment work practically would call for some intense problem solving!”
And finally, the boisterous bruiser Wrecker. To achieve Wrecker’s physique, armor should be shaped to insinuate the hulking muscles beneath. His specialized helmet includes a rough white scheme that suggests a skull with tusks at the chin. Beneath, the ravages of war have left his left eye a milky white and left behind a web of scar tissue wrapped around his tattered left ear.
“The sheath on Wrecker’s leg for his knife is meant to be rigid and constructed of the same material as the surrounding shin armor,” Plunkett notes of the detail. “There’s certainly room for creative license here, though, and it could be a dark grey pleather or even canvas fabric. I’ve always enjoyed it when fans interpret our animated characters back out into the real world and adapt aspects of a character’s design to work on a more practical level.”
Whichever Bad Batch member you choose, keep in mind that Clone Force 99 has earned its reputation by clobbering its way through many, many missions. “Their armor should be heavily weathered” as a result, Plunkett notes. That’s good news for cosplayers. “A good deal of distress seems to add a layer of believability to most Star Wars costumes and the Bad Batch are ideal candidates for some of the most beaten-up looking outfits a fan could try!”
Watch the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars now on Disney+.
Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer, host of This Week! In Star Wars, and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.
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