Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater Naked Snake Big Boss Cosplay Guide


Greetings fellow cosplayers, my name is Ace of Snakes (formerly BlueLaguna88), and you've come across my guide on how to cosplay Naked Snake aka Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. 

Snake is both a complicated and expensive cosplay to put together. However, once completed, it is very satisfying to wear! Most of the equipment can be obtained online and at military surplus stores, 
, Amazon, eBay and AliExpress.

Now that MGS Delta was announced, I'll do my best to update this guide to include the newer gear in the remake.

For reference, I am an average 5'11", 180 pound American male so my sizing will be in Standard.

Before we get started, I'd like to thank the original pioneers of Naked Snake/Big Boss Cosplay guides. Big Boss cosplayers couldn't have done it without you guys! 

Also, a special thanks to for their extensive encyclopedia of Vietnam gear and reference photos.

Kyle's Guide - (Defunct)
Ne0Ven0m - (Defunct)
Alex's Guide
The Ronin's References

Snake Reference Pictures



Military Fatigues
Price: $60-140

I sought advice from a militaria expert and they pointed me to the Tru-Spec 100% Cotton Rip-Stop Original Vietnam Tiger Stripe. 

There are a few small differences between  Tru-Spec's BDUs and the Advisor Cut that Snake uses: First, neither pants nor coat have the cigarette pocket. Second, the coat also has two additional front pockets located in the waist area. If you can get over those small differences, this is your best bet for an obtainable alternative. 

Otherwise, you'd be shelling out easily $1K If you're lucky enough to find a vintage set in decent conditionThere are however, mostly identical reproductions on eBay for about $140. 

Since Snake uses many different patterns throughout the game you can essentially go with any pattern as long as your coat and pants are of the same brand. Two different brands of the same pattern will not match.

Don't forget to fold your sleeves right above your elbows. 

Compression Shirt
Price: $20-30

Snake's under-suit is a thing of fiction. Closest would be a wetsuit, but a compression shirt will work just fine.

Search for a base layer compression shirt with a turtleneck/mock turtleneck. The turtleneck is where your Throat Mic will strap around. 

The easiest place to find compression shirts will most likely be Amazon or a sporting goods store. I like using a brand called "Henri maurice" from Amazon (Pictured above). Some of the ones you'll find online are in Asian sizing so make sure you pick your correct size.

Try to find one without a logo, but if it does happen to have one, you could remove it. If its printed on, you can use acetone/nail polish remover and rub it on the logo over and over until it falls off. If its stitched on, unstitch or color it.

P.S. I also recommend compression underwear as well. They feel great!

Rothco Leather D3-A Type Gloves

Price: $20-25

Snake wears M1949 Gloves with the fingertips of the thumb, index, and middle finger cut off at about the second knuckle.

Rothco Leather D3-A Type Gloves look practically the same and are available on Amazon. My hands are of average size so I went with size 4.

The following steps aren't necessary, but I highly recommend following them to preserve the longevity of the stitching when cutting off the fingertips:

Flip the gloves inside out so the stitching is visible. This is tough to do, you'll need tools to push the fingers inside out. Mark the gloves with something you can wash off (like chalk) a little under your second knuckles of your fingers and cut the tips off at the markings. Re-stitch or glue alongside the seams so they don't come undone. Then, flip them back the right way

Knee Sleeve
Price: $15-20

I recommend using the Copper Fit knee sleeve. I use the XL size so that it slips on and off my knee easily. It's very thin, but does not provide any padding, so keep that in mind. 

You can remove the Copper Fit lettering with the acetone/nail polish technique.

Rothco GI Type Jungle Boot
Price: $45-50

I recommend Rothco's Jungle Boots. Some reviewers say get a size smaller, others say get a size bigger. I wear mostly size 9.5 shoes but I ended up with an 8R. (military boots do not come in half sizes.)

I HIGHLY recommend getting insoles
 as these boots do not come with any. Your lower back and feet will ache if you don't use adequate insoles. Dr. Scholl's "work" insoles work the best for me, but everyone is different and you'll need to do your own research based on your physical needs.

If your boots still feel slightly loose even with insoles, I recommend wearing thicker socks. It should make your boots nice and snug.

Price: About $4

Ah yes, the bandana, Snake's signature article of clothing. Depending on which concept art/ in-game models/ HD art you want to follow, you should go with either olive drab, dark blue or blueish-grey fabric. Most fabrics at craft stores have a width of about 60 inches which is plenty to tie around your head.

You want to make sure you have enough cloth to cover your brows and forehead. Measure the distance from the bottom of your brow to your hairline, double that measurement, then add about half an inch, as you'll need that half an inch for when you stitch/glue the fabric together.

Fold the bandana in half length-wise and stitch/glue the bandana closed. Then, flip it inside out so the seams don't show.

Individual Equipment

Stabo Harness
Price: $50-500

Link: Parachute Harness Buckle Kit

Hands down the most important but also the most expensive/rarest piece of his outfit; a real one will cost you about $500, if you can even find one in decent condition.

The in-game harness is black, however, olive drab reproductions are easier to obtainMy first harness was an olive drab military grade reproduction from eBay. You can also have them commissioned for about $200.

Another option would be making your own, however, you will need a very durable sewing machine as the nylon webbing is thick. I provided links in this section to the hardware and webbing. 
You're gonna need about 5 yards in black or olive drab. Type - 7 Webbing is very thick and sturdy, Type - 8 is thinner and easier to work with. 

I had my current harness commissioned made from Type - 8 webbing in black.

M1956 Individual Equipment Belt

Price: $9-50

Snake uses an individual equipment belt in olive drab with a horizontal weave pattern. These are hard to come by in decent condition, but there are lower quality reproductions for cheaper.

M1956 Universal Small Arms Ammunition Pouch
Price: $10-40 each pouch

Snake is equipped with two M1956 Universal Small Arms Ammunition Pouch. I currently use the 2nd pattern (Pictured above) for my cosplay. Its practically impossible to find the first pattern in usable condition, I've looked for years.

These pouches are great for storing your phone, wallet, etc.

Place an open box of baking soda in each pouch for about a week or two to help remove any stale odors and to help it reform its box shape. You can also use sturdier cardboard to help reform its shape.

M1956 1 Quart Canteen and Cover
Canteen: $10
Pouch: $20-$30

The plastic canteen is Probably the easiest piece of equipment to obtain. You can get them anywhere that sell camping and military supplies and they're fairly cheap.

This is one of the functional features of the cosplay that makes it fulfilling to dress up as Snake. Nothing like filling your canteen with nice cold water (or booze *shhh*, get a separate canteen exclusively for booze.)

A good condition pouch is a little difficult to come by. Most are faded or soiled from real use. Mine is started to show its age. If you do happen to come by one in nice condition, snatch it up. You might not get that opportunity again.

M1956 Combat Field Pack 'Butt Pack' - 1st Pattern
M1961 Combat Field Pack 'Butt Pack' - 2nd Pattern
Price: $15-50

The butt pack used in the original MGS3 was a 1st Pattern M1956 Combat Field Pack, aka 'Butt Pack'. However, in Pachinko and Delta, Snake uses the M1961 Combat Field Pack which is bigger and more efficient. I use the 1st pattern butt pack.

To maintain its shape and storage capabilities, I inserted a box that was roughly the size of the pack, and cut off one of the box's walls 
so I can still use it for storage.

AN/PRT-4 Radio and Radio Pouch
Price: Varies

Dummy AN/PRT-4 Radio and Custom Radio Pouch (Left Picture)
Real AN/PRT-4 Radio (Center Picture)
In-Game render of AN/PRT-4 Radio (Right Picture) 

The radio Snake uses is an AN/PRT-4, it is a rare, pricey and heavy piece of equipment. I used to use it as part of my cosplay and do not recommend. I've since designed 3D printable dummy. I'll post it to my Etsy page once its perfected. Designing the top portion where the antenna connects is still a challenge, I don't know if I'll figure out.

A real Vietnam Radio Pouch looks nothing like the one in-game. As of 2018, I'm using a pouch I custom made using material from an old M1945 Combat Field Pack. This was a pain in the ass to make and I will never make one again. However, I will upload how to make one at a later point.

If creating a pouch isn't within your skill set or simply don't want to go through the hassle, below are three similar alternative pouches you can use. Note, an An/PRT4-A Radio will not fit snug in the alternatives, you're better off getting creating and filing it with Something like a portable charger (pictured below using a German Uzi Pouch)

Makeshift Antenna and German Uzi pouch

German Uzi pouch - the right pouch
Australian M16 pouch - the left pouch
Australian L2A1 30rd Magazine Pouch  - the middle pouch

The easiest pouch to obtain is an olive drab German Uzi pouch (the pouch to the right). Looks extremely similar to Snake's radio pouch. If you're planning on inserting something in the pouch, there are dividers within the pouch that need to be removed. You can do that by cutting the seams of the dividers located on the exterior of the pouch. Also, the color doesn't match the color of the US pouches exactly, so if you have OCD, this might not be your best option. 
Both Australian pouches do!

Ne0ven0m's guide recommended the Vietnam Era Australian M16 Ammo Pouch (the pouch to the left) but I found the pouch to be too wide to be a radio pouch, still a great option if this is the only pouch you can obtain. 

You can also use an extremely rare Vietnam Era Australian L2A1 30 Round Magazine Pouch (the pouch in the middle). The pouch resembles the radio pouch from the concept art.

For a makeshift antenna use anything you could find that's a thin pole, like a flagpole or a thin PVC pipe from a home improvement store. I would recommend cutting its length to around 17+/- inches, depending on your height and the pouch's dimensions. Snake's radio antenna reaches a little under his shoulder blade. Then wrap it in electrical tape in a diagonal direction giving it an antenna look and wrap it a few times at the top to give it that thicker antenna tip. 

You'll have to cut a hole on the flap of the pouch and slide the pipe in. I made a "+" shaped incision.

Like the ammo pouches, use cardboard to keep its shape.

M1 (M1916) .45 Pistol Holster
Price: $28-40

There are plenty of affordable reproduction holsters out there. I myself use a reproduction holster. 
There are left handed variants so make sure you read the description carefully and get the right handed version.

This is going to be very very stiff when you first obtain it. You'll need to break it in. I recommend obtaining the holster a couple weeks before you plan on using it or use leather conditioner/mink oil.

Snake's Weapons

Colt M1911
Price: $7-25

I found a toy version of a 1911 on AliExpress and Amazon. In the near future, I will design 3D printable parts to modify the toy to look more like Snake's Custom 
Colt M1911.

I've also linked a spray painting tutorial by Cosplay Chris on YouTube.

You'll want to remove the firing mechanism from the gun as most conventions do not allow functioning toy guns.

Survival Knife and Sheath
Price: $20-30

Search: Pilot/Ontario Knife/Sheath

The survival knife in the game looks like a modified USAF Jet Pilot Survival Knife. I've come across a rubber replica from a company called TheFieldWerks. Unfortunately. as of my research in 2024, TheFieldWerks page seems to be offline so it might be possible to purchase the replica anymore.

I purchased the Marble's Pilot Knife replica for it's leather sheath, but as of 2020 I could no longer find the replica knife/sheath combo. 

The sheath and knife replica might be custom jobs from now on. I will design a 3D printable file for the knife in the near future.

A cheaper/more obtainable alternative is a Ka-bar rubber training knife. The Ka-Bar sheath is a little tight for the rubber knife but it'll fit once broken in. It's not accurate but it gets the job done.

I used two tan colored 2 inch wide elastic boot blousers. It's a little tight but they're easy to use and they secure the knife in its place.

CQC Knife
Price Total: $2.50 for the file

Link: 3D Printing Service

Like many of his equipment, Snake's CQC knife doesn't actually exist either. After hours and hours of research I designed what I feel is a game accurate replica. Y
ou can download the print file from my Etsy page for just $2.50! As of right now, I do not have the capability to print the knives myself. I hope to be able to sell the knife printed and paracord wrapped.

If you don't have a 3D printer you can use (Link above) to find local 3D printing services. I suggest using grey or silver material if you don't plan on painting it, otherwise any color works. 

Like the sheath for the survival knife, I have not been able to find the Marble sheath for some time now, either. Might be custom jobs from now on or search "6 inch fixed blade sheath" to find a more obtainable alternative.

I've also linked a paracord wrapping tutorial (Link above) by ITS Tactical on YouTube.

I placed a stick-on clip (Amazon link above) on the backside of the knife sheath and simply slid the holster onto my harness

Gadget time!

Vox/PTT Switchbox
Price: $2.50 for the file

Like the CQC knife, the Vox/PTT Switchbox is also a thing of fiction. You can download the print file I designed for just $2.50!

Throat Mic
Price: $24- $140

I bought a professional throat mic called 
NT3-R THROAT MIC – BLACK which was stupid expensive but fun, functional, all black and connected to my phone. You can always go the cheaper route if you're not looking for functionality.

Snake's earpiece is on his left ear but the throat mic's earpiece is designed for the right ear, not a big deal, just simply use the throat mic upside down so that the earpiece now resides on the left side.

I also added 3D printed ports to my mic so that I could connect 3.5mm dummy aux cables. I will provide these files at some point for free once I perfect them.

Throat Mic, Vox/PTT, AN/PRT-4 Radio Set up

I will update this section in the near future of how the three pieces of equipment connect together.

Optional Add-ons/Accessories

Eye Patch
Price: Varies

If you go on you'll find lots of high quality custom eye-patches.

Cardboard Box
Price: IDK... Free?

This is self explanatory.

Calorie Mate
Price: $6 individual - $60 for 20 pack

These are a fun snack to have. You can buy them from Japanese Taste for like $60 + Shipping.

I've tried them all. Best to worst:
Maple: Tastes like pancakes.
Vanilla: Tastes like a vanilla cookie.
Plain (Discontinued): Tasted lika potatoes and apples.
Cheese: Tastes like blue cheese.
Chocolate: Tastes like a spoonful of coco powder
Fruit: Tastes like lemon cakes. 

As a bonus, you can keep the Calorie Mate boxes as props

Blue Eye Contacts
Price: $25-50

I've experimented with them, they're definitely a fun add on but not necessary, I'm not used to contacts so my eyes got irritated by the end of the day.

Face Paint
Price: $5

 I don't bother with it.

Price: $1?

Buy any cheap cigar from a gas station or convenience store.

Mullet Wig

You don't necessarily need to add a wig to your cosplay. I've tried the Jett wig from Arda years ago when I first started cosplaying Snake, I did not like it. If you can grow out a mullet, fuck yeah! Do it!


Well Snake Crew, that just about wraps up the cosplay guide for Snake, I hope it was enjoyable and easy to follow. If you have any questions, recommendations, or concerns; comment below or send me a message on Instagram! 

If you found this blog helpful please follow me and tag me on Instagram, I would love to see the cosplays I've helped you create.

See you at the Cons!

- Ace of Snakes



  1. Great guide, man, the final product looks amazing!

    One small suggestion: I personally would recommend checking out local army surplus stores rather than eBay. You'd be surprised at the uniforms and gear you can find at those places, and for relatively cheap! (Or if you're a military brat, just raid your parent's box of old uniforms and such, haha.)

    1. Ah thanks for the suggestion. It's been a while since I've edited this. I did suggest checking local surpluses originally but I must've deleted it at some point during my edits. Will add it back

  2. You're a lifesaver, Boss. Thank you, this will make sourcing my gear much easier and you look amazing! Still deciding between making or commissioning a STABO-- finding a reproduction green one is tough enough, I'm not holding out hope that a black one will pop up on eBay.

  3. Hi! I followed a ton of you guide and really appreciate it! Excited to wear it at this year's MomoCon!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the guide! Sorry to get back to you late. I hope it came out great! I'd love to see pics!

  4. I found a dummy replica of his survival knife on amazon, full rubber but theres only 12ish left in stock, heres the link if anyone wants to see it (no sheath btw):