Sunday, March 31, 2013

Captain Jack Harkness Rank Braid

A fellow RPF member sent me a PM today asking for some details on my Captain Jack Harkness costume.

One of the things he was curious about was if I had replaced my rank braids on my AbbyShot jacket. The short answer is no I did not, but for the sake of completeness, I thought this detail was worthy of a blog post.

Here are a few reference photos of Jack's coat that I found using google. I cannot guarantee that these are all the same actual coat. If I had to guess, I would suspect they are not. But they serve to illustrate my point:

In these first two photos, you can see how the braid appears wider on the Abbyshot braid, which is in the fourth photo.

This photo, though at a profile angle on the shoulders, clearly shows that the rank braids have a thin strip of light, greyish blue in the middle. Scan ahead a couple of pics to see the abbyshot stripes, which are VERY different from the ones seen in this pic.

But here it gets a little muddy, as these ones seem a little wider, and a little more grey.

This is a publicity photo of the AbbyShot Captain Jack Harkness costume, which I completely endorse, and own one of myself.

To my eye, the Abbyshot braid appears to be a different color in the middle, and also has a wider grey band.

Here is ACTUAL RAF Flying Officer Braid, that I purchased from a seller on ebay. Honestly, looking at screen caps now, it's all getting a bit fuzzy, but this is what is believed to be more accurate to the screen used coat. I own some.

I purchased this from ebay user shiz999, who as of this writing (March, 2013) is still selling this exact braid on ebay. Try searching for "RAF Flying Officer Braid" for more results.

The irony to this entire discussion is that I actually ended up leaving my jacket exactly the way it came from Abbyshot. I acquired the "correct" braid, and even got some extra fabric so that I could extend the epaulets to more accurate lenghts. But when I sat down with the jacket to modify it, I realized that if I pulled it apart, I probably wouldn't be able to get it back together properly. The jacket is very well made, and looks great. Pulling apart the shoulders is a daunting task, and getting them back together is even harder.

I have worn this jacket and my Harkness costume to numerous costuming events, including the worlds biggest Doctor Who gathering, Gallifrey one. Not ONCE did someone stop me to point out that my epaulets were the wrong length, or that my braid was inaccurate. Not once. Out of the hundreds of people who saw me and took photos... nobody cared.

My advice is to not get lost in the details, but to focus on the overall presentation. The jacket looks great, and everyone recognizes it as Captain Jack. The time, trouble, effort and heartache involved in changing out the tiny details just isn't worth it, imho. Whatever sense of satisfaction I may have found by having a "more accurate" coat would never compensate for all the time and extra money put into it to make it an invisible fraction better. Your mileage may vary.

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