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. 

This guide is for those, like me, who have little to no tailoring skills. Fair warning though, Snake is both complicated and expensive to put together but once completed, it is a satisfying cosplay to wear! I will do my best to keep this guide updated with detailed steps, pictures and options for all sorts of budgets and skills. For reference, I'm an average 5'11", 180 pound American male so my sizings 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 laying the groundwork! 

Kyles Guide
Alex's Guide
The Ronin's References

Reference Pictures



Now Let's Get Started!


Price: $60-140

You'd be shelling out easily close to $1K If you're lucky enough to find a vintage set of the uniformThere are however, identical reproductions on eBay for about $140. 

I sought advice from a militaria expert and they pointed me to the Tru-Spec 100% Cotton Rip-Stop Original Vietnam Tiger Stripe as a good alternative. The coat however, has four front pockets and neither pants nor coat have the cigarette pockets on the left sleeve/pant-leg.

Since Snake uses many different patterns throughout the game you can essentially go with any pattern as long as you get the same brand for both. Two different brands of the same pattern will not match. 

Fold up the sleeves right above your elbow and make sure to use tie the drawstring at the end of the pant-leg to tighten them around your ankles.

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, that is where your Throat Mic will strap around. Any brand works as long as there are no logos visible. If you find one you like and it happens to have a logo you can always cover it up with a black marker. 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. You can look on Amazon for a cheap shirt. Some of the ones you'll find online are in asian sizing so make sure you pick the right size.


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. You're gonna need to cut the thumb, index and middle finger off of each hand.

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 a little under your mid-finger knuckles and cut the tips off at the chalk line. Stitch or glue alongside the seams so they won't come undone and flip them back.

Knee Sleeve

Price: $10-13
Knee Sleeve

There's not much to explain here, its just a knee sleeve that's needed for aesthetics. Unfortunately Snake's knee sleeve is unrealistic compared to how tight a real knee sleeve is. I first tried a padded knee sleeve from Walgreens but was too tight around my pant leg and caused irritation around my knee due to the pant leg being compressed. I recommend using a Coppe Fit knee sleeve in an XL, its easy to slip on and thinnerIt's still tight but not enough to cause irritation. You can remove the Copper Fit lettering with the acetone/nail polish technique.

Jungle Boots

Price: $30-40
Vietnam Jungle Boots

You'll need to purchase Vietnam Jungle Boots in Olive Drab. I purchased Rothco. The sizing is odd. Some online reviewers say get a size smaller, others say go one size up. I wear mostly size 9.5 shoes but half sizes don't exist with these boots, I ended up with an 8R because the 9R was too big.

Walking around all day in these boots are going to make your feet ache! l highly recommend getting some insoles like Dr. Scholls. In my opinion, gel insoles made for working or sports are the best options.

If your boots feel slightly loose I recommend wearing thicker socks. The 8R felt slightly loose so I put on a pair of hiking socks. Combined with the gel insoles, it made the boots feel nice and snug.


Price: $4

Ah yes the Bandana, Snake's signature article of clothing. This isn't something that can be bought, it needs to be made. Crafts stores usually have coupons on their sites/apps.

You want to buy between 5-7 inches of olive drab cloth at JoAnn Fabrics for $4. Most fabrics come at about a 60 inch width which is plenty to wrap around your head and have enough for tails. You want to make sure you have enough cloth to cover your forehead as well.

After you sew or glue the bandana together turn it inside out the the seams don't show. Once inside out you can once again sew or glue the tail ends shut.

If you don't plan on sewing the bandana I recommend folding the cloth into thirds if you want to give it a thicker look in the front. The only drawback to folding the cloth is that it might push your ears outwards.  Snake's ears aren't affected by bandana physics lol. 

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

Stabo Harness

Price: $50-500
"Stabo Harness" on eBay
Harness Buckle Kit
Nylon Webbing

Hands down the most expensive and most important piece; this is what makes Snake's outfit. The harness Snake uses in game is black but olive drab also looks good.

 A real one will cost you about $500 if you can even find one in decent condition. You can find military grade reproductions or have them commissioned for about $180. My first harness was a military grade reproduction I purchased from eBay. I currently use a black harness I had commissioned from The Ronin.

You can also make your own using the links I provided. Make sure you get plenty of webbing, about 5 yards in black or olive drab. The minimum order is $25 so you'll have to buy more than 5 yards worth or just find something else to add to the cart.


Price: $9-50
"M-1956 Horizontal Weave Web Belt" on eBay
G.I. Belt
Belt & Canteen

Snake uses a G.I pistol belt. Black or olive drab are acceptable colors. Snake uses a horizontal weave pattern with a brass ball buckle, those are rare to come by nowadays. You're more likely to find the vertical weave online or at an army surplus store. There are cheap reproductions for less than $10.

1 Quart Canteen and Pouch

Canteen: $10
Pouch: $20-$30
"M-1956 Canteen Cover" on eBay

If you plan on using the canteen to store water do not use a vintage canteen. There are plenty of usable reproductions for cheap.

A good condition pouch is a little difficult to come by. Most are faded or soiled from actual use. If you do happen to come by a nice one do snatch it up. They help complete the authentic look!

Ammo Pouches

Price: $10-30 each pouch
"Vietnam M-1956 M-14 ammo pouches" on eBay

These pouches are great for storing your phone and cosplay cards.

You'll need to search on eBay for these pouches. As of 2020 I noticed the Fox Outdoor Korean Army Style Pouches are

no longer in production. However, there seem to be 1956 M14 reproduction pouches on eBay.

Make sure you get canvas ones with the metal clasps instead of the nylon ones with the plastic clasp. Heavily used pouches will run you about $10 each. If you desire un-issued/lightly used you're looking to be dishing out at least $20 a piece.

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. Once your pouches are back in shape use sturdier cardboard to keep them that way.

Butt Pack

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

You'll need to create a cardboard box you can fit inside to give it structure. Measure each side including the base of the pack and cut sturdy cardboard pieces for each "wall" and "floor" to tape together. I don't recommend storing heavy objects in the
pack, for it can sag easily.

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 Snake uses, doesn't exist. There are Vietnam Radio Pouches but they do not 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. 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 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 resembles the radio pouch in the concept art.

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: $28-40
Search "M1916 Colt Holster" on Amazon or eBay

This is very easy to come by. The black leather holster is accurate but I've seen people go with brown as well. There are left handed variants so 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 obtain 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.

Now onto Snake's Weapons!


Price: $7-25
Toy M1911

I have yet to find an M1911A1 thats custom like Snake's. There are however, a few inexpensive options for an M1911.

I found a colorful toy version on AliExpress for about $8 (FREE 2 week shipping so order way ahead of the convention.) and Amazon for a little more (Faster shipping.) You'll have to do some painting and gutting but it's cheaper and convention legal. I've also linked a painting tutorial by Cosplay Chris on Youtube.

Alternatively there are airsoft replicas. Every convention I attended did not allow functioning parts so make sure to check the weapons policy.

Leg Knife

Price: $20-30
Rubber Pilot Knife Replica

Search "Pilots/Ontario Knife (Sheath) on eBay"

The knife strapped to Snake's leg looks like a modified Ontario Knife. As far as I know there are no dummy versions of said knife nor the modified version Snake uses. Instead, i've come across a rubber replica of a Pilots Knife. Pricey but convention legal. You can use acrylic paint to color it more accurately to Snake's.

I purchased the Marble's Pilot Knife just for it's sheath. As of 2020 this knife is no longer available. You can search eBay for the sheath but I have had no luck even finding replicas at a reasonable price. This might be a custom job from now on. A shoe maker might be able to make one for a good price.

A cheaper 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 sand colored wide elastic boot blousers with velcro. It's a little tight but they're easy to use and they secure the knife in its place. I do not recommend using tape as it may leave residue. (Unless you're really doing recon lol.)

Chest Knife

Price Total: $10-30
CQC Knife
Strider Knife
Paracording Video
Leather Sheath

Like many of his equipment, Snake's CQC knife doesn't actually exist. After hours and hours of research I designed what I feel is game accurate! You can download and print the knife I designed for just $10! The Strider knife is also a great free alternative. Strider Knife print is super sharp so you'll need to dull the edge! If you don't have a 3D printer you can use to find local 3D printing services. I suggest using grey or silver material if you don't plan on paining it, otherwise any color works.

I suggest purchasing about 50 feet of Olive Drab Para-cord just in case you make more than one knife. Watch the video and follow the directions.

Cut the top part of the sheath off so that it's just the holster and place the stick on clip at an angle so it clips on the harness just like Snake's. Depending on how thin/thick your harness is this clip might not work for you. Paint the black zig zag lines.

Gadget time!


Price: Varies
At one point 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 fun at the time, but 3.5mm ports are a thing of the past. If you're still looking to use your phone by all means check the photos I have provided.

If you want to just make a craft foam switchbox go to Kyle's guide. It's fairly simple.

As of 2019 I have been using a 3D Printed non-functional switchbox. I am still working on perfecting it. Once I have it perfected I
 will post it on my etsy shop.

Throat Mic

Price: $24- $140
Cheaper Throat Mics
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.

You can also construct a throat mic as well if you have those skills, Kyle 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. 

Wether 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


1 comment:

  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.)