Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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


Hello there fellow Cosplayers, I'm Andy AKA Ace Of Snakes (formerly BlueLaguna88) and this is my first blog ever and also my first Cosplay guide. This guide is for my favorite MGS character from my favorite MGS game; Naked Snake aka Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. This is also my fourth cosplay but my first complicated one; I cosplayed as Ash Ketchum, classic Pokemon Trainer Red and Akira Takizawa from Eden of The East. Those are not challenging costumes at all and require barely any tailoring skills.

This guide is for those like me who have little to no tailoring skills. Naked Snake is both a complicated and expensive to put together, but once completed its very satisfying to wear and to be complemented on your efforts. I will do my best to keep this guide updated with detailed steps,  pictures and choices for all sorts of budgets! For reference I'm an average 5'11" at 180 pound American male and so my sizings will be in Standard. 

We're going to start off with the essential pieces of his outfit such as his clothing, gear, weapons, gadgets, and add-ons. But first I want to thank and credit all my predecessors and the original pioneers of Naked Snake/Big Boss Cosplay guides! Us Big Boss Cosplayers couldn't have done it without you! 

Thank you Kyle:
Thank you Ne0ven0m:
Thank you The Ronin:
Thank you Alex:
Thank you Whoever made this Snake Diagram:

Reference Pictures



Now Let's Get Started!

Stabo Harness

Price STABO: $150-250
Search "stabo harness" on eBay

This is hands down the most expensive piece of the costume but it is the most important; this is what makes Naked Snake's outfit. I purchased mine from eBay for about $180, it's an expensive reproduction but the quality is professional and it supposedly meets the military standards (although I would never test this out LOL). 

As you can see mine is an olive drab color while Snake's is supposedly black (Though it looks lighter than black when using the all black camouflage). Black or OD works, I wouldn't use any other color for the harness.
Price Parachute Harness : $15-30 + Hardware

Parachute Harness
Webbing and Hardware except V Ring
V Ring and Metal Hardware
Alternatively you can make a Stabo Harness using Kyle's excellent tutorial, check his link above. Purchasing a parachute harness should provide you with all the necessary hardware needed. In case it does not have all the hardware I've provided links to purchase what you need. Thank you Sam from Kyle's guide for finding these websites.

You can also get yours commissioned as well on eBay or anywhere else, The Ronin is known to commission the harness. I do not know if he still does commissions but it doesn't hurt to shoot him a message.

BDU Fatigues

Price: $60-80

Snake's BDU's are his 2nd most important piece of his outfit luckily they are pretty affordable! I purchased Propper BDUs Asian Tiger Stripe pattern (There are a handful of color options in the links) at my local army surplus store. In the end you can buy any brand you prefer as long as you buy the same brand for both the top and bottoms; you don't want to mix two different brands of the same pattern, they will not match. Medium Regular for both pants and shirt fit me perfect. 

Now the shirt is not an exact replica because Snake only has two pockets in the front of his shirt plus a pocket on his left arm but an exact shirt like Snake's is harder to come by and way more expensive. The 4 pocket BDU is the easy to find/affordable way to go without losing the authenticity of your look. Fold up the sleeves right above your elbow.

The pants are fine, they look enough like Snake's pants, in fact I can't tell the difference at all between the ones I have and in-game. I've read that alot of people had to get their's tailored because the pant legs were too long/too wide, I haven't had a problem length wise because Propper BDUS has drawstring ribbons that let you tighten them and fold them inwards and around your calfs like real G.I.s. Alternatively if yours doesn't have the drawstrings you can use a strong rubber band to hold the cuff of your leg (don't cut off your blood circulation LOL).

Compression Shirt

Price: $15-20
Compression Shirt

This one is an easy one! You should look for a base layer compression shirt with a turtleneck. Or if its colder in your region a thicker compression shirt might be more appropriate. You don't necessarily have to purchase any top brands like Under Armor, Nike or Reebok, Walmart/Target brands work just as long as no logo are obviously showing in the chest or neck area. If you find one you like and it happens to have a visible logo you can always cover it up with a black marker if it's embroidered on, Nike and Under Armor is famous for placing their logos on the neck. If the logo is printed on you can use acetone/nail polish remover and rub it on the logo over and over (Be patient if you don't want residue!) until it falls off. 

The link is to the one I use, the brand is H2H Sport (I never heard of them either lol). Its pretty comfy, plus it's for both hot/cold climates and does truly adsorb/dry sweat. As for sizing I chose US Medium (Asian XL) this one fit perfect. The turtleneck on this shirt stayed in place with my Throat Mic, I've used a few where the neck would pull down and get caught and that's just annoying.


Price: $16-20
G.I. Style D3A Gloves

These gloves are the closest gloves you'll find for your buck! I have averaged sized hands so I went with Size 4. Your're gonna need to cut the thumb, index and middle finger off of each hand.

I have no sewing skills so my friends grandmother helped me. First you're going to need to flip the gloves inside out so the stitching is visible DO NOT CUT THE TIPS OFF UNLESS THEY'RE INSIDE OUT, mark the gloves with chalk at about where your mid-finger knuckles are and a little under your knuckle for your thumb, do a Lock double/stitch/seam (I think that's what she called it.) alongside the glove's stitching so they won't come undone then cut the tips off at the chalk line, and finally flip them back. If you cut the tips off without double stitching the seams you risk them coming undone.

Knee Sleeve

Price: $10-13
Knee Sleeve

There's not much to explain here, its just a knee sleeve that's needed for aesthetics, but also for function for those with knee problems. I bought L/XL real knee sleeve from Walgreens but it felt really tight and made the back of my knee irritated because of the pant leg being compressed, and that was only wearing it for 5 hours. Unfortunately the way Snake's knee sleeve is designed is unrealistic to how tight a real knee sleeve is. 

I've since started using a Coppertone XL knee sleeve, it's not as thick and tight as the padded knee sleeve. It's easier to slip on and feels like a compression material. It's still tight around the leg but not as tight to the point you'll have irritation such as the padded sleeve. Coppertone also has lettering on it which you can remove using acetone/nail polish remover, do not try to pull the lettering off, even if you feel like you've rubbed enough acetone, it'll leave a gunky residue of the lettering (Once again be patient!).

Icurrently wear the Walgreens knee sleeve under my pants and the Coppertone over the pants that way I get function and fashion. I tried getting on one knee with just the Coppertone and it hurt, so now I use both.

You can also make a fabric to place in that area if a knee sleeve isn't for you.

Jungle Boots

Price: $30-40
Vietnam Jungle Boots
I purchased the Rothco Vietnam Jungle Boots in Olive Drab at my local surplus store years ago for my Akira Takizawa Cosplay, which is the same style of boots Snake uses. For those buying online sizing is going to be very odd; some reviewers say buy a size smaller, others say buy one size up, etc. I wear mostly size 9.5 shoes but half sizes don't exist at all with these boots, so i tried a 9Regular and that felt way too big so I stuck with an 8R, I did try a 7R but that felt too tight.

If you're going to walking around a Con all day these boots are going to make your dogs bark! l, like many people have recommended before me, recommend getting some insoles like Dr. Scholls, the gel insoles made for working and sports are the best ones in my opinion.
If your boots feel slightly loose I recommend doubling up on socks or wear thicker hiking socks, the 8R felt slightly loose so I put on a pair of hiking socks, plus with the gel insoles it made the boots feel nice and snug.


Price: $4
Bandana Tutorial
Ah yes the Bandana, Snake's signature article of clothing. This isn't something that can be bought, it needs to be made, I linked SnowBunnyStudios bandanna tutorial. I didn't end up following her guide because I wanted a thicker look and feel to the front of the bandana but you could if you don't care about thickness.

I bought about 7 inches of dark green cloth at JoAnn Fabrics for $4, most arts and crafts stores have 40-50% off coupons so check their sites out. Most fabrics come at about a 60 inch width, that's plenty to wrap around your head and have long bandanna tails. I Folded the cloth so that its 2.5 inch fold then another 2.5 inch fold and then a 2 inch fold. The 2 inch fold is short on purpose so that the fraying of the cut doesn't show nor does the bandana get too thick for your ears. Having the 2.5-2.5-2 inch fold made it thick enough for that padded look in the front but not thick enough to push my ears outward. Snake wears his bandana so unrealistically low and it results in real ears getting slightly pushed outwards, and tactically it messes with your upwards peripheral view LOL. I'm gonna have to sew the tails so they don't look folded.

Now that we have the his clothes and harness out of the way we'll move onto his belt & pouches!


Belt Price: $6-50
Canteen Price: $10-20
G.I. Belt
Belt & Canteen

Canvas Cover & Canteen

Snake uses an olive drab G.I pistol belt. Black or olive drab belts are acceptable. Snake uses a horizontal weave belt with a brass ball buckle, those are very very hard to come by, the vertical weave are common and the ones I keep finding at my surplus store. 

I purchased the canvas belt and canteen combo which was a good price for a belt, cover and plastic canteen, I ended up using just the belt for a while because the canteen cover was cloth and not canvas like advertised. Also the canteen wasn't 1 quart, if you don't mind these slight details then this combo is your best bang for your buck. I now use an authentic horizontal weave brass buckle canvas OD belt size medium, I'm a size 34 waist but with all the gear on you'll need to adjust it slightly larger.  

Ammo Pouches

Price: $10-30 each pouch
Vietnam Pouch: Search "Vietnam ammo pouch" on eBay
Korean Pouch

There are 2 choices for the pouches; surplus Vietnam M-1956 M-14 ammo pouches or Korean army style boxed pouches in olive drab.

If you decide to get the surplus pouches make sure you get the original canvas ones with the metal clasps instead of the nylon ones with the plastic clasp. These will be a little harder to obtain, my surplus store had plenty but they were all soiled and frayed so I did not bother with them. Ones that are heavily used will run you for about $10 but if you want cleaner lightly used one's you're looking to be dishing out at least $20 a piece on eBay which is what I did and they look incredible!

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. I originally emptied out the baking soda boxes and cut off their tops so I can store things in the pouch. A great place to store your 3DS, I fit my NN3DSXL in the pouch perfectly. I now just fold strong cardboard into the shape of the pouch and use that to give them their box shape. Can't fit my 3DS anymore but I still fit my camera and cosplay cards lol.

I originally purchased the Korean pouches before I found the M-14 pouches. The Korean pouches are easy to obtain, they go for about $10-15 a piece on Amazon depending on shipping. I wouldn't worry about smell unless you buy the pouches used. The Korean sometimes have a brown look to them depending on lightning/other green pouches which was a turn off for me. 

Butt Pack

Price: $15-50
Canvas Butt Pack
Search "1956 Combat/Field Pack" on eBay

Snake uses the first model of the 1956 Combat/Field Pack the one with the straight flap. Most Snake cosplayers just use the 2nd model of the 1956 Pack, it's going to be the closest you'll find to his pack that's affordable/obtainable, I've used it myself and no one pointed out that it's not accurate. I now use the first model since I've obtained a great conditioned one for a decent price.

Create a cardboard box that you can fit in your pack to give it structure regardless if you'll actually use it for storage or not. I measured just about the size on each side including the base of the pack and cut sturdy cardboard pieces for each side, you'll have a total of five or six pieces; four "walls", a "floor" and an optional lid. If you're using the 2nd model follow the upcoming directions, otherwise fully tape your box and insert it into the pack.

2nd Model Directions: Once you have them tape the "walls" to the "floor", but don't tape the walls together, you need the walls to fold inwards in order to gently fit it in the pack into the "Rain" sleeve, it'll be a tight squeeze. You can tape the walls together once the box is in your pack. Don't store heavy things in the pack, a lot of heavy things can make it sag.

You'll find that the 2nd model Butt pack will sag a little especially when you're storing things, my solution was to bring the bottom straps first up behind the belt then back down between the belt and pack and into the buckles and tighten them (check out the photo). This gave it some more support and less sag than it would by just relying on the ALICE clips. You can cut the straps shorter, Snake doesn't have long straps at all. Cut and glue the ends, do not burn the ends, they will not melt like nylon and they'll continue to unravel. 

Radio Pouch

Price: $10-30 (Depending on the kind of pouch)
Search "Australian cartridge pouch" on eBay
Search "German Uzi pouch" on eBay
Search "Australian L2A1 30rd Magazine Pouch - Vietnam era"

This was by far the hardest item to locate and when I mean locate I mean an item similar because the radio pouch doesn't really exist or it's next to impossible to find (I have not come across one). There are Vietnam Radio Pouches but they don't look a thing like Snake's. 

I experimented with a tall skinny Olive Drab German Uzi pouch I found on eBay, looks extremely similar to Snake's radio pouch, only problem was that there are dividers in the pouch and if you have OCD like me and want all the pouches to match colors then this might be a problem LOL (Might experiment with dyeing but I doubt I'll get the right OD). I needed the entire space so I used a box cutter and undid the stitching on both the front and the back of the pouch for both dividers. In my honest opinion this i pouch is the easiest to obtain and is the most affordable and looks great!

It's been recommended to go with the Vietnam Era Style Australian Ammo Pouch. I ended up importing a used one from eBay for 36 Australian Dollars (about $26 U.S.) but I found the pouch to be too wide for it to be a radio pouch, still a great option if this is the only pouch you can obtain. I currently use an extremely rare Vietnam era Australian L2A1 30 round Magazine Pouch, it matches the rest of the pouches color wise and its tall and thin! it also resembles the taller radio pouch Snake originally had in the concept art which I've always liked better than the in game pouch.

In the end you should just look for an ammo pouch that's at least 8 inches tall in Olive Drab, the M-14 ammo pouch is about 7 inches so you want a radio pouch a little taller than your ammo pouches but totally up to you. You can place sturdy cardboard to give the pouch its shape, also you're going to need to make an antenna for the pouch, I'll get to that later.

Gun Holster

Price: $28-33
M1916 Colt Holster
Search "m1916 holster" on eBay

This is very easy to come by. I went with the black leather holster like Snakes uses but I've seen people go with a brown leather one too, I think either looks fine. You will come across some for about $25 that look exactly the same however, there are left handed variants so unless you're a lefty make sure you read the description carefully to get the right side (Pun intended LOL). 

This is going to be very very stiff when you first use it, you'll need to break it in so I recommend obtaining the holster a couple weeks before you plan on using it or use leather conditioner/mink oil, I've seen and used water to soften and shape knife holsters to knives but I haven't tried water on the gun holster, I imagine it works the same way. Also I found it hard to pull the flap off the clasp so I just made a further incision where the slit is on the flap so it's easier to unhook the flap and grab your gun.

Now onto Snake's Weapons!


Price: $20-25
M1911A1 Airsoft
Toy M1911

There are a few inexpensive options for the m1911. You can go with an airsoft model but you'll have to gut its insides to be con legal.

I didn't want to gut my airsoft, instead I found a colorful "NERF" gun version on AliExpress for $8 (FREE 2 week shipping so order way ahead of your con date) that I gutted instead. I highly recommend going this route, you'll have to do some painting but it's cheaper and con legal. I've also linked a video on how to paint the gun.

Unfortunately you aren't going to find a model that you can screw on the suppressor. What I did was purchase this inexpensive suppressor and depending on the gun you'll need some modifying to do.

Leg Knife

Price: $20-30
Boot Blousers

Rubber Pilot Knife Replica
Search "Pilots/Ontario Knife (Sheath)" for other options

Snake uses an Ontario Knife but they're expensive and there is no rubber version of the knife, the rubber Ka-bar knife is the cheapest alternative but it's 7 inches long. The sheath Snake uses is tough to find on it's own and most of the time they only go up to 6 inches and are ridiculously expensive. The Ka-Bar sheath is 7 inches and will fit the rubber knife (very tight fit), it's not accurate to snake's sheath but it gets the job done and it'll still look great. 

If you plan on doing photoshoots then go with the Real Pilot's Knife its cheaper than the Ontario Knife and it's more accurate than the Ka-Bar, the sheath that comes with it is also accurate to Snake's. 

I custom ordered a Rubber Replica of the Pilots Knife, it was pricey but it's con legal, I definitely will be using the Replica, i just used the Pilot Knife's sheath and painted the  knife handle brown with acrylic paint.

I used two sand colored Wide elastic Boot Blousers with velcro. It's a little tight but they're easy to wrap on and off and they secure the knife in its place. Do not use masking tape or hockey tape, residue!

Chest Knife

Price Total: $35
Knife Blueprint
Printer Locator
Paracording Video
Leather Sheath

Knife Directions:

The other guides tell you to purchase the "Jungle Recon Knife" because it's the closest knife there is to Snake's, that's fine if you don't plan on going to a Con but let's assume you're going to a Con. Unlike Snake's Pilot/Ka-Bar Knife, there's no such thing as a rubber/
dummy version of the Recon Knife, so instead of buying a rubber knife that looks nothing like his knife I've decided to make my own knife (Photos coming soon!)

If you don't have a 3D printer (or know anyone or anywhere you can print a knife without violating their printing policies) you can use MakeXYZ; scroll to the bottom and enter your zip code and it will find local 3D printing services you can use. I've been asked before why I'm requesting a knife, I've assured them it was for Cosplay and they agreed. Sometimes the person printing them will allow you to do local pickup which will save you on shipping.

Choose either black or grey for your print color, just do standard infill and stick to PLA plastic for the most economically efficient print.

I suggest purchasing about 50 feet of Olive Drab Paracord just in case you make more than one knife (you'll never know if you'll need a backup). Once you have the knife and the paracord watch the video and follow the directions. In the video he'll tell you to have 15 feet of paracord and 5 feet of gutted paracord, you don't need 15 feet, stick with 11 because you're going to have about an extra 4 feet leftover. 

If you have a problem putting the loops of the girth hitch through the top hole of the knife bite the loop so it flattens and push the loop through. Also if you're having trouble pushing the two open ends through the bottom hole of the knife pull out about an inch or two of the "guts" and cut them, that'll make the open ends thinner so you'll be able to pull them through.

Sheath Directions:
Cut the top part of the sheath off so that it's just the holster, should be long enough to fit your knife in perfectly, and place the stick on clip at an angle so it clips on just like Snake's. If you have your own way of attaching the holster or a more efficient way for you go right ahead and ignore my directions lol. Depending on how thin/thick your harness is this clip might not work for you, worked perfect for me. Paint the black zig zag lines on or glue paracord.

Gadget time!


Price: Varies

 If you want to just make the switchbox go to Kyle's, Ne0ven0m's or Alex's guides and they should have some pretty thorough directions. Also download demon-vice-commander's template of the switch, thank you demon-vice-commander for the inspiration! 

I made a prop case for my phone so I can use my phone as the switchbox with the Alert notification tone and Codec ringtone! It was my first attempt at making a prop so idk how well it holds up to prop standards but its good for now. It's a little bigger than the one in the game but that is expected since I want it to hold my phone. I will record a video on how to make it, was fairly easy.

Throat Mic

Price: $24- $140
Cheaper Throat Mic
Iasus Throat Mic

I bought a professional throat mic for my phone which was stupid expensive but fun, functional and all black including the earpiece. Make sure you're purchasing the "Black Ops 2 Throat Mic" (Not related to Call of Duty in any way LOL) to get it in all black. You can always go the cheaper route if you're not going to use your phone as your switchbox.

Snakes earpiece is in his left ear but this mic was designed for the right ear, not a big deal, just simply use the throat mic the opposite way, you'll find that the earpiece will keep falling out of your ear, that's normal since its not designed for that side; takes a little manipulating and breaking in, I found that curling the earpeice once and bringing the wire over the curl to hold it down and around the back of my neck was both comfortable and an easy way of shortening the wire. As said the throat wire was ridiculously long and my BDU had some openings where the buttons flap is which let me guide most of the wire through and back up into my phone which was awesome!

You can also construct a throat mic as well if you have those skills, Kyle, Ne0ven0m and Alex have examples and a tutorials on how to make it.


Price: Free-Depends

You don't really need a radio to fill in the pouch, you can actually get creative with this pouch; I filled it with a portable battery for my phone. Why? because the higher end toys and in the MGSHD/3D artwork Naked Snake's switchbox features a wire coming from the bottom and all the way down his harness strap and around his side and into the radio pouch, so I figured why not give that illusion by using my portable battery and USB wire? I get to charge my phone and use it as the switchbox. If you do this I recommend a 2 foot long cable,  anything longer will just need to be shortened with a knot because it'll be a nuisance and hang too low. 

Weather you decide to use a battery pack or not you're still going to need the radio antenna. You can find thin PVC pipes at home improvement stores. Luckily while at my job I opened a box of lamp shades and a 25 inch thin black plastic tube held them together, I kept the tube since it was going to be thrown out anyways. Use anything you could find for the antenna anything that's a thin tube, I would recommend cutting it to about 16-18 inches, depending on your height and the pouch's dimensions- I went with 16 inches- 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.

I wasn't able to figure out a way to have the antenna stick out from the sides of any pouch so I took Ne0ven0m's advice and cut a hole on the lid of the pouch, I made a "+" shaped incision and slid the tube in. You'll need a really really sharp Exacto knife. The canvas around the incision started to get frayed on the inside so I cut off all the frayed material and super glued the edges so it wouldn't fray anymore.

Optional Add-ons/Accessories

Eye Patch

Price: $3-30
High Quality Eye Patch
Search: "Metal Gear solid  Eye Patch"

If you go on you'll find lots of high quality custom eye-patches. Don't bother with a pharmacy eye-patch they won't fit right and they look like doodoo. You're better off with a costume eye patch if you want to save money. I purchased a high quality patch from an Etsy Seller, it came out beautiful and I highly recommend it if you can afford it! I do not use the eye patch often, its a pain to have partial vision lol.

Face Paint

Price: $5
Face Paint
Optional face paint, I didn't bother with it because I didn't want to feel greasy and smudge my shirt with my sweat and paint.


Price: $1

You don't need to go crazy on this, buy any cigar from a gas station or 7/11, you can burn the tip or paint it red-orange to give it that lit looks. Alternatively you can buy an E-Cigar. Just check with your Con rules.

Calorie Mate

Price: $3-6 each

These are a fun snack to have, they're not too expensive, you can buy them from amazon or on eBay. Cheaper on eBay; $22 for all 5.  I've tried them all, best to worst; Maple, Plain, Cheese, Chocolate and Fruit. Maple tastes like pancakes, Plain had a potato/apple taste to it, Cheese smelled like shit but tasted good, had a slight hint of bluecheese, especially the aftertaste, Chocolate smelled amazing but tasted like bland coco powder, Fruit smelled sour, tasted like stale lemon cakes.

Once your snacks have been consumed you can insert slabs of cardboard in them to make the sturdy.

Mullet Wig

Price: $30
Jett Wig
If you can grow out a mullet do it, it'll look better, however I stopped using long hair years ago and I don't want to put the effort into growing it again. You don't necessarily need to add a wig to your costume. I Ordered the Jett from Arda Wigs, I tried using it but I think it's too poofy to use with the bandana, need to do some modifying. 

Blue Eye Contacts

Price: $25

Again an unnecessary item. 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. I do not wear them often at Cons.


Well folks that just about wraps up the guide for this cosplay, I hope my guide was very thorough and easy to follow. If you have any questions, point out mistakes, if I forgot anything, recommendations, alternative items, or concerns comment or send me a message, I'll answer anything I can. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I enjoyed piecing together the costume and this tutorial. If you found this blog helpful please follow me on Instagram and Facebook and tag me in the cosplays i've helped you create! :]
See you at the Cons!
- Ace Of Snakes


Photo Credit: Simply Sutton Photography

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