As a huge Assassin’s Creed fan I was chuffed to bits to see that Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate being set in Victorian London especially after predicting it some time ago when Stewart Gilray was our guest on the JoypadAndMe JAMcast.
I mentioned my idea of cosplaying to my sister-in-law who’d helped on the Photo-shoot during my review of Musterbrand’s Metal Gear Solid Collection and managed to convince her that we should attempt a Cosplay as the Frye twins, Jacob and Evie.
I started by looking at images of the two Assassins to decide what items I would need to buy, what I already had. Given how much trouble I had just making Jin’s trousers last time, I wasn’t in any rush to make the full outfits. Musterbrand were kind enough to supply items from their Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Collection for review .
I already had an official Ubisoft limited edition promotional Pocket Watch due to donating money to last year’s Joypadandme.com Extra Life 24 gaming event. So I took to Google to try and price up official Ubisoft Licenced products to compliment Musterbrand’s awesome apparel and compiled the following list:
- Hidden Blade Gauntlet
- Cane Sword
- Top Hat
- Shilling Coin necklace.
Amazon seemed to be a good starting point and I found a really good deal on the first two but due to it being the American Amazon I couldn’t buy them, because of the type of products. This is totally insane as they are damn toys not actual usable replica weapons. Thankfully Amazon UK had the Gauntlet and Top Hat within budget but the Cane Sword was triple the amount I was willing to spend. I managed to find a couple of listings for it on eBay and picked the first one that said UK stock, being a Novice to eBay this may have been a mistake. I also found listing for Jacob’s Shilling Necklace for around £4 but with up £15 shipping, way out of my price range for an item that was given away for free as promotion for the game. I then found a listing for it via a Greek seller for $10 and ordered it, with a 8-12 day delivery listed I wasn’t expecting it for sometime.
On March 4th surprising all of the items were delivered so here’s my opinions on them:
Delivered in a sealed envelope with a sheet of paper folded and stapled around a red fabric pouch. Inside the pouch I found the Necklace and I’m far from disappointed the cord necklace has a good metal clasp extension chain and the shilling looks beautifully polished and attached via a loop of metal through a hole just off top centre. One side is a replica of Jacob’s coin, with the other showing Assassin’s Creed logo. It’s so nice I haven’t taken it off since putting it on. A great value item that will add a subtle detail to the cosplay.
Jacob’s Top Hat
Arriving from Amazon in the same box as the Gauntlet, sealed in a plastic bag. The first thing I noticed was the fabric was badly creased due to transportation with a bulky item. Thankfully a bit of steam and the creases with disappear. The black top hat is made from a reasonable if cheap looking material on the outside, with a brown ribbon running around it finished with a Syndicate Assassin’s Creed logo in metal on one side that looks really good. The lining inside the hat is a beautiful red with a gold pattern print of flowers with Syndicate emblem at their centre and a label confirming it’s a licenced product. There’s also a plastic clothing tag through the brim with a cardboard label again showing it’s official. Fit wise it’s alright but nowhere near perfect for my massive noggin but as a piece of costume wear it’s suitable.
Assassin’s Gauntlet with Hidden Blade
Comes in a bigger box than I expected showing Jacob thrusting it on the front and the back shows more details. Opening it reveals a large plastic Easter Egg style packaging with the rubbery Gauntlet being in two parts the wrist piece with velcro straps to secure the separate hidden blade segment. I put it on to my left had as it’s only designed to be worn that way. I first tried it on with a thin Musterbrand hoodie for size and to give the hidden blade a test. Feeling a bit loose I tried it with a similar thickness coat to the Jacob and the fit was much better. There’s four velcro straps that loop through parts of the hidden blade casing and one at the wrist with an elasticated band for looping and the finger. The Gauntlet itself looks really authentic but feels very rubbery but thankfully doesn’t look it. There’s a dart launcher on the top is nice but purely ascetic and sadly doesn’t fire any kind of projectiles. The Hidden Blade is triggered by a button near the inside of your elbow and a spring loading release is supposed to extend the blade, sadly this is broken as the force actually extends the blade with such force causing the hard plastic tip to fly off. Which means I have to replace the blade back into the mechanism each time then carefully push the whole blade system down until it locks. Far from impressive, as a piece of costume wear it looks quite convincing and far cheaper and quicker than trying to make a gauntlet myself with a rubber blade, but the low quality plastic is deeply disappointing.
I’d seen images of this item and was expecting it to be delivered in a box not dissimilar to the Gauntlet. It wasn’t, it came securely bubble wrapped in three parts without any assembly instructions. Thankfully it’s easy to put together and has self explanatory operation, with a button just below the Rook’s head handle that releases the hidden sword, which given it’s length is more of a dagger. The bottom on the cane has a tipped end and a concealed scythe blade that is triggered by a little button or unfortunately by flicking the stick it releases. The cane is actually perfect length for my 5’9” height and would work as a walking stick except for the fact it’s a bit creaky and plastic. It’s obviously not a new item as there’s some wear on it. It did teach me an important lesson, that I should read the product description on eBay before parting with my cash. It’ll do for what I need which is as a cosplay prop.
Evie’s Pocket Watch
As I mentioned this was kindly donated by Ubisoft as a way to encourage donations for Extra Life 2015 and I managed to secure it with a reasonable donation and I’m far from disappointed in it. Comes in a presentation box, covered by a cardboard sleeve, both featuring the Syndicate emblem. Inside the box the watch is protected via foam packing in the form of a 5mm top sheet and a cut out holding the pocket watch and chain. The chain’s end has a fastening for attaching it through a buttonhole either in an inside pocket of a waistcoat or in the same style as Evie due to a decent length on the metal chain. The metal watch itself is lighter than a real pocket watch but the detailing on the outside both back and front is magnificent, with a clear centre to be enable reading the time without opening it. To open it you push the button on top and it releases the clasp to form a clamshell, setting the correct time is done by pulling the same button up. Which I had to read the instructions to discover. It looks really good and I recently wore it when attending a wedding, but don’t expect a heavy Swiss made timepiece.
Trying Jacob on for size
For the Jacob Frye look I already had a pair of black trousers that would be suitable, a white shirt that is an interesting weave to the fabric and I decided to use my Oxfords rather than buy some boots. I still needed a couple of items a red tie and a waistcoat, so off I went on the hunt for appropriate items. Trying to find a green waistcoat wasn’t an option as I’m not a fan of the colour and a quick bit of Googling didn’t fill me with much hope. I hit the town centre and saw a beautiful Ted Baker in blue waistcoat but at £120 it was way too expensive, saw a few others but settled on this Lambretta waistcoat in blue chequred patteren for half retail price. I also managed to pick up a red tie with pocket hankie within my limited budget and did a partial outfit test.
The items from Musterbrand arrived on 7th March which meant I could finally do a cosplay test and wear them in a non-cosplay setting to be able to write my reviews which you can read by clicking the image below.
I’d learnt from mistakes 10 years ago that it’s the simplest things that cause the biggest problem. Previously it was Jin’s trousers which caused more pain than the tattoo I got and trying my hair to look the way that was obviously Jin Kazama. Thankfully Jacob’s hair style is quite simple but in order to try and get it right I did a dry run. I purchased some very Nineties wet look firm hold hair gel reasoning this throw back styling product for was two fold: I needed my hair to look greasy and unkempt without actually being dirty or blathered in any oils or heavy waxes; I also knew I’d need to be putting the top hat on and off with the hood being used for photos.
I’d also been growing my facial hair for the last couple of weeks to create the Jacob’s Mutton chops look, so I shaved to shape them. Here’s some poor quality selfies I took trying out the outfit and potential poses.
My plan was meet up with Helen who’d be preparing her Evie Outfit, try on the Evie Coat and make sure the sizing was right, also style the Hansom scarf as a cape and give her the pocket-watch, then head to the Old Town of Kingston upon Hull to take some picks. I’d already planned on some areas I wanted to take pictures and planned a bit of Sibling Sparring.
You may not be aware but 2017 marks Hull as City of Culture which means there’s a lot of renovation going on and it scuppered my plans of using the area in front of Holy Trinity church, as it’s currently a doing an impressive impression of a building site. Traffic also delayed the arrival of the photographer which meant I had to change my shooting plans on the fly and cut a set of planned images out. As there simply wasn’t going to be time to get the shots I wanted but I did get the shots I needed for the Musterbrand Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Collection review before we lost the sunlight.
I did manage to get a lot of allyway shots and found a suitable location which passes for a Victorian street in London to shoot the below Sibling Sparring photo-movie, it was a great excuse to use my favourite bit of music from the Assassin’s Creed 3 soundtrack.
I managed to get some shots with Holy Trinity in the background and did a little bit of climbing in process, then finished off with the shots below giving a Past meets present tilt to the shoot.
And here’s a collection of the images that were shot compiled into a Photo-movie using Music from the Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate soundtrack.
Room for improvement
Looking at a couple of images and playing Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate I needed a Brass Knuckle, and after playing the game a machette styled weapon would have been excellent. There’s also some room for adding boots, revolvers and belts with pouches to accessorise the Jacob coat and Lancaster hood, that certainly gives me so ideas for trying out making props in the future. Whilst I talking props they did look really good in the pictures but it certainly would have helped if my budget had stretched to picking Helen a Gauntlet up as well, as she looked fantastic in it with the Cane Sword.
On a personal grooming level I actually think my facial hair looked more convincing when it was shorter in the test shots due to the patchy nature that it grows, but it does fit the scar that Jacob has on his left cheek. The wet look hair gel really didn’t provide the hold I required due to constantly being mucked about with and the length of my hair certainly didn’t help. Styling wise I personally think I looked more convincing in the early test shoots as I don’t feel the Jacob Coat collar was turned up or my shirt was exposed enough due to the Lancaster hood. I was also very tempted to pick up Musterbrand’s White Diplomacy Shirt and Red Concealment Tie from their Hitman themed apparel collection, as I feel they would have been Perfect Partners but couldn’t afford them in time for the shoot, maybe that Collection should be next This Geek’s Ce Chic review but I refuse to shave my head as I look like a baked bean without hair ;-D
To conclude I really had a lot of fun planning, getting all the items and playing dress up with Helen as the deadly Frye Twins and thanks to the photographer Sinead as she helped us get got some really incredible photos. It’s made me very tempted to take the cosplay with me and pop my a gaming conference cherry as Jacob Frye.
Previous This Geek’s Ce Chic Articles:
NB: This is not a paid advertisement for either Ubisoft, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate or Musterbrand’s products. All products were purchased with my own money with exception of the Musterbrand apparel that were kindly donated for me to photo-shoot and review here on JoypadAndMe.com as part of my This Geek’s Ce Chic articles.