Star Trek Borg Queen Costume Restoration and Display

A restoration and display of a screen used Borg Queen costume worn by Alice Krige in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact.

Many of the projects we work on here at TSD’s New York studio are eventually reduced to just a few before and after photos. But what those photos don’t show is how much time really goes into each project and the Borg Queen costume display is a perfect example of one of these projects.

The Borg Queen foam latex costume arrived to our studio very dry and cracked, and since the suit was somewhat unsupported, some areas like the gloves had begun to flatten. Since the costume was meant to fit like a second skin to Alice Krige, who was already very petite, the process of creating a custom mannequin to fit the costume was challenging and time consuming.  With the suit securely fit over a customized foam and fiberglass body form, Maria Teran, the lead conservation artist for this project, began the long, tedious process of repairing the costume. She started rebuilding any of the areas of missing material. This sounds simple enough but this process alone took several months.  With those areas blended in texture and detail, we then only painted the areas that had been rebuilt, to retain the integrity of the original material. After that she sealed the entire suit to help the delicate material stand up better over time.

While Maria was working on the costume, Tom began by sculpting the head, another process which took several weeks. He had to not only recreate actress Alice Krige’s anatomy but also the special effects appliances created by Michael Westmore and his team for the film. Layered airbrush paint further reflected that on screen movie makeup.  We were able to source castings from the original molds for some of the Borg Queen’s ports and greeblies. These helped finish off our head sculpture in a way that was as close to the original as possible. Steve Richter fabricated a “spine” which included faux metal pieces, latex “flesh” bits and even lights.

Rather than mounting the head onto the mannequin, we tried to capture the dynamic moment from the film when the Borg Queen was introduced to the film world, her head coming down from the rafters and her spine connecting to a neutral-posed waiting mechanical body!  While this was one of the most time-consuming projects we’ve tackled, it was also one of the most satisfying!

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