Halloween 2010: The Prep work (How to make green army men costumes)

It all started with a picture I found online.

It was a picture of someone’s Halloween costume in the form of green toy soldiers. For those of you who remember, back in those days, these plastic green toy soldiers were sold in containers of 50 or so. The soldiers came in various poses, all of them had 2 things in common: they were green throughout (even their faces) and their feet were all attached to a base board so they can stand up properly. these guys weren’t any taller than 2″ but provided hours of endless fun found in mock battles. For those who are of a different era, you’d probably remember them as the toy soldiers from Toy Story, “Sarge and the Buket O’ Soldiers”.

The picture was amusing because it brought back childhood memories. But little did I know, showing it to Bryan sparked off an idea that led to our Halloween costume this year. he got it into his head that we should all go as toy soldiers. Eugene was cheering the idea on, Tricia seemed enthusiastic but I was a little reluctant. Wear green paint from head to toe? not very cool right?

From the start, there were a lot of hiccups along the way. we spent a Sunday afternoon trawling Army Market at Beach Road looking for… army gear. we were in luck that there were stalls who still sold the old army uniform and even managed to get some secondhand pieces. The stall owner was used to non-army types buying uniforms as she said a lot of people buy from her stall to wear these uniforms for paint ball, which suddenly warmed me up to this idea of owning an army uniform. Suddenly this whole thing started becoming fun.

She brought us to this other stall who sold old boots since we didn’t need proper boots. it was managed by this really old man, who the lady cautioned, was an honest man but terribly confused with what he’s selling so we had to make sure our shoes were a match before buying them. The old man kept shoving one side of each shoe into our faces and insisted we bought them, even though we kept trying to tell him that two left sides don’t make a pair. we tried looking in his dingy little shop for the right sides to our left shoes, but since he spoke no Mandarin and we spoke no Cantonese, it was an act of futility. In the end, we thanked the nice old man and had to buy china made rubber boots from another stall for $35 each.

Pleased with our purchases, we went to Carrefour to buy plastic guns and spray paint. at this point, everything went downhill. Since Bryan was busy finishing his marking, he didn’t join us this Sunday so following his detailed instructions over the phone, I bought the exact colour of spray paint he had already gotten, only to find out it was a different shade of green from the face camo paint we had bought from Army Market. he went into a flying fit after that and some crossed words were exchanged. but that was only the first hurdle.

Eugene went to get green make-up base from Cosmoprof coz Tricia and I insisted that we weren’t using camo face paint on our million dollar faces, and since my skin has become more prone to outbreaks lately, I didn’t want to wake up the next day in blotches. upon comparison, we realised the expensive face paint didn’t match the spray paints either so we were still in trouble.

Bryan then went back to Carrefour and changed the spray paint to the right shade. however when he tried spraying the uniform, he realised that he finished 1 entire can and he hadn’t gone past the mid drift of the top part of the uniform. that was when he realised we were screwed. I did a quick check on eHow and found out the dude who did the uniform, used 12 cans of spray paint for one set of uniforms. TWELVE. we had 4 sets to finish!

17e383b8.jpg picture by burbur

Cracking his head, he went to the paint shop to get water-based paint. They had to custom make the colour to  fit the face paint we bought. Uniformity is critical to this costume’s success. everything had to be the same shade of green else it’s a big failure. the paint went on smoothly for the uniforms, but little did he know how much paint he needed. instead of buying 1 big can of paint, he ended up returning to the paint shop twice more to buy more of the smaller cans. the store owner was like, “need more paint?”

de415396.jpg picture by burbur

we also faced a problem painting the plastic M-16 guns because water-based paint didn’t stay on it very well. so he headed back to the paint shop and tried to find oil-based paint but they didn’t have the right shade of green. The owner suggested bringing the material to the shop to test, and I burst out laughing at the thought of Bryan carrying a plastic M-16 into a paint shop. in the end, he decided to buy an oil-based white spray paint to coat the guns first, before applying the water-based green onto the guns. it worked perfectly. I swear Bryan is amazing when it comes to fixing things like that. I think we make the perfect pair. I’m the cool headed one who is generally better at solving situations but he is good with fixing things with his hands.

the last problem we had was when Aaron tried to pull out last minute. Last year, we had went in a motley of uniforms with no common theme; Eugene & Tricia as Snow White and her Dwarf. I wore the Lolita dress I got from Tokyo. Aaron as a rather short Grim Reaper and Bryan as the dude from Scream. We thought we could go as 5 again but Aaron didn’t particularly want to go army men and didn’t tell us till we all got our uniforms. After spending close to $100 on everything, I was more than pissed off he hadn’t said anything earlier. I wanted to smack him when he said he thought by not replying to emails, we would realised his reluctance at wanting to do the army men. I shouted at him, “NO! IF YOU DIDN’T REPLY EMAILS, IT WOULD BE MEAN YOU HAVEN’T READ THEM!”

35a1749e.jpg picture by burbur

so he tried to appease me by coming along anyway. but since his uniforms were done by himself and didn’t follow the stringent colour proofing that Bryan did, it came out looking a strange mishmash of green colours. he also manged to convince his friend to join us in this, which was okay except that his friend also came in a strange mishmash of greens too. they both turned up late for the party, which was a good thing in the end since they weren’t with us when we were spotted by Zouk management for our uniforms. Otherwise, we might not have won Best Clone costume for the night!



  1. […] Burburchan A Girl on a Whim Skip to content HomeAboutGamer GirlScrapbook ← Halloween 2010: The Prep work (How to make green army men costumes) […]

  2. I’m really sorry again about being wishywashy about the whole thing. 😦 Like you I had my doubts about painting myself green from head to toe in a stiff uniform since I have sensitive skin as well so I thought I wouldn’t have a good time in it. Sorry for pissing you off and in a way I was very glad to be proven wrong this time. I seriously underestimated the impact that a group of identical looking people would have on Zouk.

    Oh, and I must really commend Bryan for being able to see this very early on and it’s really his uncompromising attention to detail that really won you all the prize.

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