“A Tale of Prop Exploration, Obsession, and Execution”

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It all started with wings.

In particular: these wings. Made by Adam Ezekiel, Nostromo Clothier Extraordinaire.

By hand. (Yes, you read that right.)

One of the joys this year brought me is meeting this unassuming Alien fan with an incredible talent for creating Nostromo uniform wings.

Whether you’re into serious costume-replica collecting, cosplay, or just interesting in Alien production lore, you’ll find something to like in Adam’s work.

And thought he does it mostly to please himself, just seeing the crew jackets he puts together and learning about his research discoveries is great fun! And those wings really make a nice touch.

So let’s dig into the story of Adam’s journey to making the perfect Nostromo wings replicas, shall we?

>GETTING STARTED. <

Adam says that he was working on his Nostromo jacket when he realized he wasn’t satisfied with the machine-sewn patches seen on the internet. He’d seen the very nice Magnoli Clothier wings, but to him there was something missing.

So he bought some metallic embroidery thread and went to work. And this is what he came up with:

>RESEARCH.<

Lots of time and energy went into that version, but still unsatisfied, he began two year’s worth of research to learn more about the wings and how they were made.

For starters, he studied a few designs before settling on John Mollo’s original concept art:

Next, Adam turned to on-screen evidence of the wings designs and how they were used. He found that there are two types of designs: one used for the shirts of Dallas and Kane, and another for their jackets.

The Replica Prop Forum (RPF) was also a research site. There he saw the work of members and was able to get photographs of Kane’s original jacket and Dallas’ shirt (part of Bob Burn’s collection).

Using these photographs gave Adam a proper understanding of the process that went into making the wings, especially the specific threading techniques, and placement. He was also able to how the use of gold or yellow thread was used in combination with the metallic coil, and the dimensions of the piece as a whole.

Goldwork embroidery is a time-honored technique considered very luxurious and once available only to the very wealthy. It was used in religious, royal and nobility-class textiles, and military uniforms. The work is intricate and exclusively hand-sewn, thus driving the price higher compared to machine-sewn patches.

The threads are made from real metal. With some types, the metal is wrapped around a fiber core, while in others the fiber is also metal.

>FIRST TRY.<

After spending hours reading an RFP thread (no pun intended), Adam found a fellow wing-maker who posted an embroidered wing patch:

Seeing this stunningly beautiful work, Adam noticed they were made from a type of shiny metallic thread. The wings used on the costumes were a combination of shiny and matte finishes, as he shows us here:

>SECOND & THIRD ATTEMPTS.<

Armed with this knowledge and the experience of his first attempt, Adam worked with a professional artist to improve his gold work skills and this is the result:

>SUCCESS!<

As you can see, Adam’s progress is remarkable for someone whose sewing knowledge was previously recreational. Yet, the perfectionism that drove him to match the on-screen versions was relentless, resulting in significant changes to the design. He removed the wavy inner parts and replaced them with a braided stitch. With this version he had reached his goal to produce the most true-to-screen, true-to-the-original-design patches in both design and production process:

Well, there you have it! The tale of one fan’s road to his goal of making something that shows his appreciation of this damned movie that has caught (and held!) our collective attention for all these years. This gives me inspiration for my own endeavors, and I hope it does you as well. Thanks for reading.

>ABOUT ADAM EZEKIEL<

Adam Ezekiel is Israeli-born, has lived in Canada, and married an American and settled in Las Vegas. As a 9-year-old in his grandparent’s house, he snuck a glimpse of the movie he was too young to watch but “blew me away completely”. Although Star Wars was his favorite movie, he didn’t appreciate Alien as the grungy piece of art it is until he reached adulthood, where he continues to notice details when he re-watches it.

Adam is a professional chef and until the pandemic, his Alien costuming was just a hobby. His first Kane jacket took about 8 months to assemble. Four years ago, he wore it to a local screening of Alien and was approached by a fellow fan who made him an offer on the spot and literally went to the ATM and bought it. Adam uses the money he makes to create better, more accurate versions of the jacket. His wings have been recognized by Adam Savage for their accuracy (the quote in the title of this post is taken from the video). In addition, he makes crew shirts with the same attention to detail.

He says the most most interesting detail he has yet discovered is that the detail on the crew shirt buttons is hexagonal, like the Nostromo engines. Of all the Alien costumes, he’d like most to inspect the original Dallas jacket (which he says is lost) to see what color it is, and the original gold wings. (By the way, consensus is that the t-shirts on film were pistachio green.)

Adam is currently working on making his Nostromo jackets, crew shirts and belts more screen-accurate (yes, belts! This guy never stops…) Stay tuned to his Instagram account for news on those and more.

Thanks to Adam for taking time to share all of this, and for thinking the best of me for jacket sizing.

You can see more of Adam’s work on his Instagram account: nostromocrew

Read about Adam’s other projects:

1979 ALIEN – NOSTROMO CREW SHIRT – Accurate Reproduction

ALIEN Nostromo Wings, Screen Accurate, GOLD and SILVER, HANDMADE

Portions of this article were previously published by Adam Ezekiel in the RPF thread: Alien / Nostromo Uniforms and used by permission.

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