Wild Card Prize - The Textures! The details! The feet!

Smaug The Magnificent



Sandy Baker


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographers: Gabe Duval Media, Lisa Wilson/Being Breathe, The Portrait Dude Cosplay Photography

Outline the story …

"The Hobbit" has been a favorite book of mine since I was seven years old, and ever since I began costuming I’ve had the idea to create a costume of Smaug, the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamaties. Over the years I’ve sketched several iterations but all had several things in common - a jeweled corset, a long tail, horns, wings, fangs and claws. When I finally set out to build this costume I went back to the text. Smaug describes himself as being heavily armored," “My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!” so I decided to incorporate armor into the costume and leave a gap just under the left breast, for the fatal blow which is dealt by Bard's flying arrow. I also wanted to incorporate the Arkenstone, the pride of the hoard and a jewel so beautiful it drives both Thorin and his father mad with treasure-fever. "It shone with its own pale light, but when outer light fell upon the Arkenstone, it changed it into ten thousand sparks of white radiance shot with glints of the rainbow". The other main design component was that I rarely have a handler at events - I needed to be able to dress and undress myself, eat, drink and use the restroom, so I needed everything to be in small, easily removable pieces.

Outline the construction…

The tail based on a small bustle, which I extended into a longer boned tail. The underside of the tail is partially enclosed by a zippered panel which opens so it can lay flat for transport, the face is covered in a patchwork of silk, beaded and metallic fabrics smocked in a dragonscale pattern. The fins are made of wire covered in angelina film painted and decorated with rhinestones. The bejeweled “waistcoat” is a steel-boned underbust corset, made of coutil covered in shibori dyed silk, before being covered with hand-sewn rhinestones. The armor itself is made of heat shaped craft-foam and thermoplastic, to create greaves, pauldrons, bracers and hip armor, all of which are painted with Smaug’s descriptions of himself in Tolkien style runic writing and decorated with jewels and puff paints to create surface texture. A beaded bikini top fits under the top edge of the corset comfortably but uses dangling trim to bridge the gap and create a continuation of the stomach armor. The feet and horns are made of sculpted, coated and painted foam. The feet were then attached to a heelless boot with claws of thermoplastic shaped over wire. The horns sit on on a headband which is worn underneath a buckram hat covered in pleated fabric and angelina film covered spines to match the tail. Hand-dyed tights and long sleeve shirt create the base layer for the costume, and the teeth, contacts and makeup complete the look.




  1. Avatar Emily Donnelly on March 11, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    Jaw-droppingly amazing! Orange is my favourite colour and I am so happy to see it here in spades and the use of other colours is amazing.

    • Avatar Sammyra on March 12, 2021 at 6:48 pm

      oh wow! this is so fantastic… the colour and the detail just jump right out at me, this is so much fun to look at! ♡ i can tell a lot of work and love went into this. well done ♡

  2. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 11, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    This is so over the top in the best way! I love it so much. specially the picture of you standing under the glass ceiling I feel the ensemble really getting to shine

  3. Avatar Laura Holland on March 11, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    Wonderful leap.

  4. Avatar Gabrielle Amey on March 12, 2021 at 3:12 am

    This is amazing!

  5. Avatar Simon on March 12, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    I must say I was expecting more “Hobbit” outfits, but nothing like this! I could totally see this being a Smaug costume for a West-End / Broadway show of “The Hobbit”.

  6. Avatar Amanda on March 13, 2021 at 1:14 am

    This is so friggen cool! I absolutely love this!

  7. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 13, 2021 at 10:23 am

    A fantastic interpretation of Smaug, love it!

  8. Avatar Ali Moore on March 13, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    So decadent, and perfectly in the spirit of Smaug

  9. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 16, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    Wow! Everything looks awesome but I am especially captivated by the tail. I wish I could see it in person. Well done!

  10. Avatar Suzanne Egan on March 23, 2021 at 4:00 am

    Wow! I think you have managed to capture the essence of Smaug exceptionally well! The jewels, the armour and the tail. Would love to be able to see it move in real life!

  11. Avatar Sarah on March 24, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    I love this!

  12. Avatar Danielle Probst on March 27, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    This is incredible detail. I can barely comprehend the effort and lengths you went to in order to create this magnum opus. So cleverly designed and impressive.

  13. Avatar Lizzie Blake on April 1, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    This is amazing! The amount of detail work alone is just staggeringly overwhelming to think about, and turned out so stunning.

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