How to become an award-winning cosplayer on the cheap

I love cosplay. Or, rather, I love the utter joy which leads people to dress up like their favourite characters. This is the story of how I won 2nd prize in a beauty contest for dressing up.

It seems to me, there are three ways to find success with cosplay:

  1. Be pretty and coat yourself with colourful latex.
  2. Spend a lot of time, money, and effort on building/buying an incredible costume.
  3. Cheat!

I am not body-confident enough to go for the skintight option. And I've previously gone down the replica route. So I went for the cheap option!

Skip To The End

For an 1980s themed #Techsmas party, I decided to go as Arnold Rimmer BSc SSc, from Red Dwarf.
Me dressed up as Rimmer from Red Dwarf..

And, yes, Red Dwarf first aired in 1988 - so it totally counts.


It is important to remember that you want to be accurate to people's memories - not necessarily reality.

I based my costume off my memories, and supplemented it with photos from the Official Red Dwarf site's article about Rimmer's outfit.

Rimmer wearing a khaki shirt.

Khaki shirt

£20 from Amazon.
A Khaki shirt.
It was important to me that it had suitable pockets and epaulettes - but any dull coloured shirt would do.


£3.25 from eBay.
Cloth patches.
A simple set of iron-on patches. Nothing fancy, but looked the part.

Hologram H

£3 from eBay. This was what sold it. Everyone recognises the H!
A shiney H to stick on the forehead.
This was where I cheated a little bit. Rimmer didn't get the sparkly H until Series 3 which was right at the end of 1989. Whereupon he also started dressing in snazzy uniforms.
Rimmer wearing a green costume.

Identity card

I didn't need this - but I wanted it! I found a company who would print anything on an ID card for £4

So I mocked this up and sent it off.
An ID card with Rimmer's face.

No, it isn't using the right fonts. And it wouldn't pass muster trying to access a starship, but it'll do!

Oh, scan the barcode 😉

Total cost

About £30. I didn't bother buying special trousers or moon boots, and I never wear a tie.

I did learn how to do the "Full Rimmer" salute - and took great pleasure in having several people salute me back!

Nobody does it better

I came second in the prize-giving. The victor? Pauline, with this epic Goblin King costume.

Other notable entries

Thanks, as ever, to Thayer Prime for organising such a lovely evening.

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One thought on “How to become an award-winning cosplayer on the cheap”

  1. Mike says:

    The barcode text is much longer than I thought it would be. I was expecting it to indicate the wearer is a fan of particular Italian brand of high-end domestic appliances.


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