Bee kit review

5000REM is having a kit drive. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it’s an excuse to make new kit. I’m supposed to be finishing my bathroom tiling, and prepping for my Uni course, but I’m sure I can fit in some kit improvements.

So, as per kit drive suggestions, I’ve been photographing my current character kit. I’m fairly pleased with it. It’s suited the character well. But it’s getting battered, and the character has changed a bit as I’ve played her, so there are things I’d like to change.

 

I’ll start with clothing/armour;

The leather dress I made a while ago. It’s served it’s purpose well, but it is starting to fall apart now. I’ll probably fix it up as scraggy armour to have in my crew kit pile but I’d like something more professional looking for Bee. With that my leather chaps. Yeah. It gets very hot under all the black leather. The gillet I’ve had since I started playing Bee. I added in elastic at the waist to make it a little more fitted than standard. It’s handy, I don’t always wear it now I have my sleeves though. The sleeves of many things are super handy, and count as armour. They’ve survived really well, but aren’t the easiest to move around in.

 

Next I’ve got belt accessories;

I had in my head when I first designed Bee’s kit that she shouldn’t have a backpack. It seemed really important for making her look ‘chic’. So, everything bulky had to go around my waist – hence the bum bag. It holds my water bottle, lunch and gas mask as well as a couple of other things depending on the adventure. It works, but it’s bulky and uncomfortable. It’s on my ‘things to change’ list. The 1st aid kit works ok, nothing special. The knife I’m not happy with. It’s a lovely knife, one of a pair from Saxon Violence, but it’s a ye olde knife not a modern one. I’ve wrapped t-shirt fabric around it and made a ‘distressed’ scabbard, but it looks a bit poo. Looking at these pics, I wonder if just changing the scabbard to a black one might help. Might be a waste of effort if I’m changing the knife though.

 

And altogether;

It works. I do like Bee’s costume, it’s just a bit meh. It’s all lumpy and shapeless, which isn’t really ‘right’ for a fashionista character. I’ve gradually acquired more and more stuff to carry round with me, and it’s got tacked on top of other equipment. It can be difficult to move, for anomaly jumping I have to dump the sleeves and bumbag belt (and all it’s attachments), at least.

I’m quite attaches to the hat, aviators and scarf. They’ve been part of Bee’s kit for a long time, I never quite feel ‘Bee’ until I’ve got them on. But, they aren’t the most practical things. The scarf is a bit big, it catches on things and is very warm in summer. The hat is awesome. The sunglasses I’m constantly breaking, I go through a pair each adventure. They sometimes don’t even survive a Glowing Dog. But mirrored aviators have become Bee’s ‘thing’!

 

Sleeves;

I was curious to see how many things I had in the sleeves/jacket. I do really like this bit of kit. It’s stood up well to wear and tear, but it is bulky, and very hot in summer.

Left arm; Notepad, field guide, Bee Grotesque posters, water purification tablets, UV light, sharpie, salt/sugar/matches, sewing kit, rad pills, pencils.

Right arm; Knife, whistle, lighter, matches (and cotton wool), 6ft of string, electrical tape, lipstick, camo makeup (and mirror), voice recorder, anti-bac gel, UV pen, glowstick, emergency food, plastic carrier bag.

Chest; Torch, compass, purse with rations, tissues, pencils (and my personal medications), ID barrel, monocular

Back; Rain poncho, rope, fishing line, water purification tablets, fold away backsack

That’s just in my jacket. Should an apocalypse hit while I’m out playing REM, I reckon I could survive pretty well with Bee’s equipment. But no wonder the sleeves are so heavy!

I could get rid of half of this stuff. There’s things in there I have never used IC, and probably never will. But it feels ‘right’ to have them, to be prepared. It suits the character too, Zoner Barbie should come with lots of accessories.

 

Accessories;

Speaking of accessories, these are a few of Bees. The compass with rosary she’s had from the start. The rosary has snapped a couple of times which I’ve fixed with other beads and bits and pieces. It’s really added to it’s character. The compass I use all the time, it’s functional, but I’ve found Bee having little chats with Jesus too – which I never planned. I like it though, it gives her a bit more depth. I have thought about improving the compass, buying a proper folding one, but this one has become so much a part of the character I can’t bear to get rid of it!

The gas mask. It’s horrid. It’s bulky and uncomfortable and ugly. It’s also quite useful IC. This is something I want to change. I could just buy a more snazzy one, but I have something more ‘futuristic’ in mind.

The water bottle serves. It looks right for general REM kit, but not exactly ‘Lodge’. I’ve drained it on warm days too, which isn’t ideal.

 

I want to mention make up too, it’s a big part of what makes Bee look different from other Zoners. I learnt a lot about applying make up for Bee. I didn’t used to wear it very often but since practising for Bee I’ve got more confident and wear some make up pretty much every day. I didn’t even know what primer was when I started Bee, and was amazed when a friend pointed out that not wearing it was why my foundation had gone by the end of an adventure! I had great fun at the REM weekend event prepping a load of fake ‘designer’ products for Bee, and sitting in the middle of the IC camp applying layer after layer of them (most of them were the same basic moisturizer in different bottles). Re-applying lipstick in the Zone feels very ‘Bee’ too. Her general make up look is quite smudgy and overdone. Far too much foundation piled on, dark eyebrows, heavy black smudgy eyes with spider leg thick lashes (I wear my contacts as Bee, they’re more practical for LARP even if I can’t see quite as well long distance in them) dark lipstick, smudged. It’s not a high glamour look, I try to keep it a bit more grungy and apocalypse-y. Sometimes I mess around with different hair and eyes for the Glowing Dog, but for most day adventures it’s too early in the morning to try anything complicated.
Hairstyles are a bit tricky – I’m still not very good at doing fancy styles for Bee. I sometimes manage a faux-hawk for the Glowing Dog, but sometimes it just fails. I’ve mastered the art of slathering it with gel and combing it back into an emergency ‘wet look’ when everything else goes wrong, though. Bee always wears her hair over-straightened to make it look different from my, naturally wavy, hair. If I don’t have time to straighten it properly I’ll braid it, pigtails work quite well for Bee on adventures. And hair spray, all the hair spray. I am very flammable when playing Bee.

Edit; I forgot to mention nail varnish! Another thing I never really bothered with but learnt to do for Bee. I found I really like wearing it, and now am rarely without coloured nails. Weird, LARP characters influencing me… Not sure about that! I’ve learnt some nail art techniques for Bee – I’ve posted my Camo nails on here before. They take a couple of hours to do, and I end up removing them straight after the event, so I tend to go for flat colours in appropriately Bee shades that I can wear for a few days too. I have more than 70 shades now, which can make choosing difficult!

Beauty-wise there is something I’d like to develop for Bee – her own scent. I’ve got interested in perfume over the last year, trying to find a ‘signature scent’ for me. But Bee should have a fragrance preference too. I usually just wear one of my perfumes for her, but they are never quite ‘right’. I’ve picked up a few essential oils with the idea of blending them to make a scent for Bee, but haven’t got around to doing it yet. Not sure that quite fits into the kit drive scope, mind.

 

So, changes I want to make. Lots. The leather dress and chaps. Bum bag, knife, general amount of things worn at the waist. Gas mask, water bottle. Overall silhouette of the character – should be more deliberate, less thrown together.

 

It is tricky, making kit for Bee. There’s a lot of boxes to tick. The general ‘look’ of 5kREM is post apocalyptic – things should look tattered, scruffy and thrown together. But, Bee is a member of the Torn Street Lodge – a rich, elite group of Zoners. So she should be more put together than the average Zoner, with better equipment. But Bee has her own sense of style – an ironic ‘Zoner chic’ look that’s more tattered than the Lodge, but more colourful than the average Zoner (I think I hit this better at the Glowing Dog than on adventures). REM costume also has to be very practical, especially for Bee as she’s a very physical character – she explores anomalies, navigates, scouts and fights. I have to be able to carry her equipment, maps, weapons, food and water. I try to avoid looking too ‘military’ too. There are military classes in the game world, I want to look obviously different from them.

 

I don’t usually post works in progress, but here’s a few of the things I’m playing with for Bee. I’m not sure exactly where I’m headed yet. I have what I’d like her to look like in mind, but making that fit into equipment available in the game world is provide difficult. I want to have decent armour and PPE, I want to be a useful character. But I don’t want to compromise making my character look right to get better stats. Then there’s IC money – Bee has to be able to afford the IC equipment represented by the kit I make, and Bee is not good at budgeting!

Some concept sketches;

 

One of the things Bee should really have is an NBC suit. It’s PPE, useful for jumping anomalies. But it’s bulky, ugly, very military looking and heavy. I don’t want to wear one all the time as Bee, it’s just not her. I don’t want to have to carry one round to put on for anomaly jumping – that slows down everyones fun (and would be another reason for Bee not getting to do anomalies). There is another PPE suit called a Rad skin, but that’s really overpriced and under-powered since rules changes. There are armour classes that incorporate PPE suits, but they are expensive IC (and complicated, rules-wise).

At the moment I’m going with just making something that seems right and trying to sort out what it is IC afterward. We’ll see how that goes.

This will probably be the base, a ‘Burkini’;

 

It looked silver on the Amazon listing, but I think I like this washed out green colour better. It fits fairly well, the head bit is a little loose though.

I’ve picked up a face mask I’m planning on doing something with too;

I’m hoping to make a cooler looking, and more comfortable, gas mask. One I can wear all the time. I’m not sure about the helmet, it looks a bit too ‘combat’ for Bee, but it could work. It’s quite good with the goggles too. The lower part of the mask is detachable – this would be the actual gas mask base (I’ll be adding tubes to a separate filter). The burkini doesn’t quite cover all the bits of skin I want it too, I might have to add to it, or wear another hood under it. We’ll see.

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And there’s this. Might try and make it into something REM appropriate? We shall see.

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