How much would you spend to build a near-perfect replica of your favorite movie costume? To design and create a copy of his favorite space suit, Adam Savage, the host of Discovery Channel's "Savage Builds" and former co-host of "Mythbusters," spent over $15,000.
Savage recommends people follow their "secret thrills." And his not-so-secret thrill is cosplay. For years, Savage has attended Comic-Cons all over the country in elaborate costumes that he designs and builds from scratch.
But one of these experiences stands out as not only his "favorite costume on the planet," but also the most expensive one he's created.
"My most expensive costume build — that's going to have to be Kane's suit from 'Alien,'" Savage tells CNBC Make It. Savage says he spent roughly 14 years gathering the information, parts, knowledge and research required to make his own version, investing over $15,000 dollars in the suit over time.
"Alien," the 1979 movie directed by Ridley Scott, follows a crew as they encounter an aggressive alien race. In the movie, executive officer Kane, played by actor John Hurt, encounters the first alien, which attaches itself to his face and, later, spectacularly bursts from his chest in a pivotal scene.
After years of working on and off on the project since about 2005, Savage set a deadline to finish it. "Leading up to the planning for 2014, I knew that I wanted to complete Kane's Alien space suit and wear it on the floor at San Diego Comic-Con later that summer," Savage writes in his new book, "Every Tool's a Hammer: Life is What You Make It."
Before even attempting to actually start putting the costume together, Savage says he devoted a lot of time to researching all the details of the suit. He spent hours pouring over footage from the movie and trying to figure out what each part was made from. "I made my own versions of things several different times when I realized that some of my details weren't correct," he says.
Sourcing the materials proved tricky as well. He sent away for textile samples from Italy and China for different types of woven fabric.
Many of the individual pieces of the suit, such as the shoulder pads and helmet, had to be built from scratch. "I hired people to make molds for me. I hired people to make castings for me," he says, working his contacts in the industry. The PropStore debuted the original Kane suit used in the movie during the San Diego Comic-Con in 2012, which also helped Savage nail some of the details.
"I've aspired to having one these for years, and now, I finally have it," Savage said during a Tested video interview. The Tested team then followed Savage around while he wore the suit walking around the floor of Comic-Con for just 20 minutes. "That was a new level of hot," Savage said after the walk. "I don't think I'm going to go for a suit this hot again."
His pro tip if you're designing and creating a costume on a budget: Go slow and steady. "I spread it out over 15 years, so it didn't hurt my wallet as bad as it would have in one fell swoop," Savage says.
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