Klingon Equipment - FAQ


Imperial Date ID 0412.13

by QIb vestai yabHuj

This FAQ tries to concentrate basic information and tips about Klingon equipment: masks, uniforms, weapons, etc.

Please send corrections, adresses, contacts, information and whatever you know to contribute to this FAQ to me.

This FAQ is posted about monthly to the USENET newsgroup

and news.answers, alt.answers
(Archive-Name: star-trek/klingon/equipment-faq)

The FAQ is available via WWW at

http://www.khemorex-klinzhai.de/faqs/equipment.html (HTML)
http://www.khemorex-klinzhai.de/faqs/equipment.txt (ASCII)
You can receive the newest FAQs about monthly via the mailing list. To subscribe send a mail to eminimalist@sf-fantasy.de with "subscribe equipment-faq" in the subject line.

0. Structure of this FAQ (Table Of Contents)

1. Some general remarks
2. Masks and makeup
3. Uniforms and clothing
4. Acessoires (sash, pins, etc.)
5. Blades: betleH, meqleH, daggers...
6. Beam weapons: phasers, disruptors...
7. Overview over Klingon Equipment
8. Useful links for uniforms
9. How to find / join a club...
10. Other FAQs for Klingons

1. Some general remarks

Sure, you can buy nearly everything a klingon needs to be outfitted at your merchandize dealer - for a horrifying price and not as good looking as the klingons you have seen at that con...

So how to get such stuff? Ask the quartermaster of your (local) club. (S)He should be able to help. If you don't know any club: join one.

In best case, you make your own uniform and an own, unique, made-to-fit latex mask. That will in any case be better looking than the mass-produced uniforms and masks - and it will be MUCH cheaper than bought (custom made) uniforms. Hey! We Klingons are individuals (even Borgs are)! So be individual! Don't stick too hard to the series. Go and create your own outfit! Look at the broad variety of uniforms worn by other fans (e.g. at our webserver: http://www.khemorex-klinzhai.de/gallery) Just let your imagination and fantasy flow - make it on your own!

The best place to start when you begin costuming is at Thrift shops, resale shops and flea markets or garage sales. When creating a Klingon uniform on a budget, the above places are beneficial to your pocketbook or wallet. These areas sometimes provide a wide variety of unique items that can be converted to your uniform. Some possible items to look for are high top boots, toy weapons, old jackets, wigs and unusual jewelry. Toy weapons can be adapted to make Klingon sidearms and old jackets can be used to create battle armor. Wigs can be used for head appliances and extra facial hair. Unusual jewelry can be taken apart and reassembled to make Klingon medals and awards. A habit to consider, is to look at everything and if something strikes a particular cord with you, get it whether you use it at that time or not. The old packrat syndrome!

Maybe you think, that to do Klingon well you need a costume and makeup. Many clubs require it (later in your "career"). And, a lot of people just don't have the $$...

Money? Hey, the most important position you need money for, is postage and traveling costs (to attend to meetings). There is a lot of fun by making up stories, plots, planning and organizing meetings, labouring (sic!) on the language, maybe with an own personal project - there you DO NOT NEED a uniform. O.k., going to cons with an own uniform is great, but you can easily do without. E.g. we had quite a lot of fun with our "transracial" crewmember: a klingon unluckily born into the body of a human...

A uniform is like a good bottle of wine: first you pick selected ideas. Let them fester for a good measure, stir them from time to time. When it's ready, take the best lot and filter it before finishing. And then it still develops with age!

Add piece by piece, slowly, let your ideas develop. A good accessoire often makes more "look" than a (much more expensive work of) plain but "good" uniform. And even if it becomes old and torn - each stain tells a story, each scar sings of a battle.

2. Masks and makeup

If you know the right persons, a fully fledged, custom and made-to-fit latex mask will be (much) cheaper than the commercial ones. Ask your local club representative. BUT you can "play" a Classic Klingon, where there is no need for a latex mask.

The complete guide how to make a latex mask (the FAQ chuQun (Heidi Wessmann) wrote some quite time ago - 11/1995) is available on our Webserver (18kB ASCII):


Some (pictured) steps on masks you can see at http://www.getspfx.com/.

As a rough guideline, here some prices for MATERIAL costs (in Germany, may differ a bit in other countries):

Latex mask: minimum 20 Euro/US$)
If treated properly, each one will last some years.
  • mold form (plaster of paris, etc.): 10 Euro/US$
  • latex milk (enough for about 5 masks): ca. 15 Euro/US$
  • false hair (for each mask): ca. 10 Euro/US$
Makeup: minimum 15 Euro/US$
You will need makeup to give the mask and your skin the same colour. Then you will need glue (to glue the mask to your head) and wax to cover the borders. Grease makeup does better than water makeup, because it is (relatively) waterproof and can be toned more easily and better.
  • grease makeup (skin colour): ca. 5 Euro/US$
  • transparent powder: ca. 5 Euro/US$
  • Mastix (theatrical glue): ca. 5 Euro/US$
  • theatrical wax: ca. 5 Euro/US$
If you used pre-toned (theatrical) latex milk, you maybe can skip this section. But if you used the (cheaper) industrial latex for casting your mask will be white. Then you should use special latex grease makeup (rubber mask greasepaint). It absorbs/reflects light differently and can look more natural in flash photos... With regular greasepaint the light of the flash goes pretty much straight through the paint and you see the underlying latex (another good reason for coloring it), resulting in the dreaded "whitehead" look....

3. Uniforms and clothing

You can save a LOT of money by using your own creativity instead of a sales ad. Hey, Klingons are INDIVIDUALS, so take advantage of that fact! Invent your very own, individual dress. Very distinct and very our own. On our Qetlops (feast), there are more than 100 fully costumed and masked klingons - and noone looks like an other. At Qetlop 97:2 there was a "Braveheart" / "Highlander" klingon (of the Scottish headquarter), two "armoured" klingons wearing costumes which had an (American) football shoulder protectives as major part, etc.

A quite cheap "uniform" could be made of: black jeans or trousers, mother's old (black) fur or wool pullover, some motorbike gloves (the thin ones with cut-off fingers) and -belts borrowed from your brother (or a friend) - and if you assemble that with some spirit and maybe have some accessoires (invented), you will have a quite good klingon uniform.

As a rough guideline, here some prices for MATERIAL costs (in Germany, may differ a bit in other countries):

TNG-Uniform: for a good one minimum 50 Euro/US$
The TNG klingons do have a quite elaborated leather-and-metal uniform, which begin at about 5 Euro material costs for a simple plastics filming mock-up (no upper limit).
  • black jeans cloth (3m): ca. 15 Euro/US$
  • mock-up leather (1.5m): ca. 25 Euro/US$ real leather is much more expensive!
  • metal stripes (for border reinforcement) ca. 15 Euro/US$
  • big black leather belt (price depends heavily on where you get one)
  • (false) belt buckle (depends heavily on how you make it: cut wood is cheap, CNC-cut metal is much more expensive)
  • + assorted acessoires!
  • Spine armor: It is a overlaying series of panels that start at the from the back of the neck, down over the shoulder armor, going down the middle of the back to provide protection to the spine area. This can be made of different materials but one of the easiest and more comfortable versions is for it to be made out of vinyl placemats. Each piece can be cut out and attached to a long piece of cloth or vinyl and designed to attach with either snaps or hooks.
There is a list uf useful links below. I highly recommend a visit to K'Puts Uniform website before starting to sow your own uniform: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Shuttle/8981/ (outdated link)

TOS klingon uniform: maybe no extra costs
These can be quite cheap (still good looking) as one can use normal clothing for most of the costume.

Civilian clothing: maybe no extra costs
In the films (esp. TNG/DS9) "civilian" klingons (with cheaper costumes) could be seen, too. Maybe you can use normal clothing for this.

Maybe you will want one of that stola-alike command cloaks (as seen in TNG/DS9)? These are great for wearing as well with civilian clothing as well as over TNG uniforms.

4. Acessoires (sash, pins, etc.)

There are variety of other items that can be used to accent and enhance the overall appearance of your uniform. This is left to the individual preference and style. Basic rule is "If it looks Klingon, then it can be used as Klingon".

The Sash

If you want, you can add a sash to your uniform. That can become quite easy and cheap: I found my best one (interwoven strands of genuine leather) for about 2 Euro/US$ in a "cut leftover" chest.

Some ideas for a sash:

Pins, rings, etc.

You can buy pins etc. at your local merchandize shop. But maybe you want to invent your own pins and medals - but then you will have to cast them by your own (or know one who does). How to do that: look at the hobby section of your local library: lead, tin or plastics modelling.

As for rings and other jewlery: simply ask your local jeweler - that CAN become quite expensive, but sometimes you can have luck to meet a guy which is so fascinated by your idea, that you only have to pay the material costs. Or do that by your own (or let it do by a friend).

Some ideas for (cheap) retitting rings:

  • A metal (trefoil) pin (from a merchandize dealer) which was soldered to a plain ring.
  • Get a plain seal-ring (without a seal) and let the trefoil be engraved into the seal area. Maybe the trefoil can be coloured using email or other colour stuff.
  • Maybe you will want to have a ring with a (false glass-) stone to be engraved.


Klingon boots are unique in design. Boots of this type can be obtained through different costuming resources. The budget version is to utilize high top boots, trekking or biker boots. You can add horns to the boots by attaching them with elastic. You can even create a greater Klingon impression by adding metallic strips around the soles and an elastic cuff to the tops. Your imagination is the limit.

For the horns on the boots I have seen converted futuristic doorknobs or coat hooks, even plastic bear claws. They can be glued or fixed with screws either directly to the top leather or to a metal band which runs across the toe tip.


Gloves can be done by either purchasing fingerless gloves or take an old pair of gloves (ones you can find at a Thrift shop) and cut the finger tips off. To add claws, the blades of a plastic toy shuriken (throwing star) will work real well. Cut the blades off and glue & thumbtack them to the gloves. This gives the impression of being menacing but allows for the safety factor.

5. Blades: betleH, meqleH, daggers...

First: See section 7 for some glossary and an overview over the broad weapon families the Klingons developed.

Second: how to get these things?

Third: How to wield them?

Very, very carefully (as all weapons).
Only with enough free space around you. So never in crowds. Especially not near other people.
Only in a _large_ area to work in. Learning to use a betleH can be hazardous to lamps, ceiling globes, etc...
Never when intoxicated or otherwise not 100% functional.
In public only when obvious as performance. You won't appreciate policemen shooting "that raging lunatics", won't you?
Sharp blades
The only exception: during a feast/meal at the table (to replace the "asylum spatulas" the Feds call knifes).
Carefully. That blade has quite a momentum - enough to break your wrist even when swinging it around freely.
Develop your own style. Maybe you have friends doing (middle ages) reenactment show fighting, some martial art, etc.
There iswas a book by Pacific Warriors (The Secret Fighting Art Of The Warrior Race). Due to licensing problems with Paramount/Viacom had to be drawn off market. But some seemed to survive...
I guess any machete fighting style would be appropriate here. But maybe usable analogue to a tonfa? Ask a Kung Fu or Iaido/Kendo trainer...

Please you ask your martial arts trainer (even if you are one yourself). Advanced trainers can quite fast adopt to these nonstandard weapons. They know the most important thing about whirling steel around: how to move - and (at least as important) how NOT to.

Foam/boffer weapons can be loads of fun to fight with - I will include an extra section as soon I get the material...

6. Beam weapons: phasers, disruptors...

"Original" phasers and disruptors with sound function can be found at your local merchandize dealer. But very often you can refit a children's toy gun to look great as beam weapon - maybe just repainting will do.

If you want to design a weapon by your own, you have various options:


Please DO NOT equip any of your "beam weapons" with a laser. Lasers can easily blind a person, at least do permanent damage to an eye. Laser pointers are commonly available in laser class 1, 2 and 3a (even 3b). Class 1 is harmless, class 2 CAN do harm to an eye, class 3a DOES harm to the eyes. Classes 3b and 4 are powerful enough to do harm to eye, skin and many materials.

Even if you do exactly know what you are doing, DO NOT. As some idiots will be likely to trying to copy your "awesome" laser-thing without knowing what they are doing. And - BANG - the shit happened. Because of that laser-equipped gadgets are already forbidden in some clubs and on some cons. So please DO NOT!

7. Overview over Klingon Equipment

Klingon society developed an amazing multitude of weapon types. See below for an overview. Maybe you get some ideas about what you really want for your uniform. And that is the most important part in making equipment: the right idea.

Modern Weapons / Sidearms

tlhIngan Hol English Description
nISwI' Disruptor Klingons use a standard phase disruptor as a side-arm. They use a disruptor handgun (nISwi' HIch) and a disruptor rifle (nISwI' beH) (ST-III).
'uD Laser  
pu' Phaser  

Archaic Swords / Blades

tlhIngan Hol English Description
'etlh Blade (sword) A bladed weapon in general, also: a sword.
yaD (slang) Sword A sword in general.
betleH (Bat'leth) The Klingon "sword of honor," it is a two-handed blade that Klingons will often use in combat ("Reunion" [TNG]). The Sword of Kahless (qeylIS betleH) was said to be the first betleH ever made ("The Sword of Kahless" [DS9]).
meqleH (Mek'leth) A type of hand weapon, smaller than a bat'telh, but larger than a knife ("Bar Association" [DS9], STFC).
'aqleH (Ak'leth) A type of weapon, a cross between a bat'leth and an ax. It is a pole with a curved blade attached to each end (KGT).

Spears (different types)

tlhIngan Hol English Description
naQjej Spear Any type of spear.
QIn Spearhead The head/blade of a(ny) spear.
SeDveq Spearhead (barbed) The barbed head/blade of a(ny) spear.
ghIntaq battle spear A type of spear traditionally used in battle ("Birthright, Part II" [TNG], KCD).
chonnaQ Hunting spear A type of spear used in hunting (KCD).
tlhevjaQ thrown spear A type of spear, thrown with the aid of a chetvI' (KGT).

Knifes (different types)

tlhIngan Hol English Description
taj Knife Any type of knife / a knife in general.
There are many tyes of knives less commonly known than the other knives presented here. There is the QIS, a knife with a wavy blade, the ghonDoqwhich is a knife with a slender blade or a stiletto, and the tajtIq which is so long it's nearly a sword. There are also knives not used for for fighting or hunting, such as the vegetable knife (naH taj), used for cutting plants, and the tool knife (pe'meH taj) (KGT).

ghojmeH taj Boy's knife A knife used by boys training to be warriors (KCD).

Daqtagh (D'k tahg) This blade is the most commonly used knife in combat. It is composed of a long central blade and two short, spring-loaded blade that open outward from the top of the hilt (STIII, "Birthright, Part II" [TNG]). Some Klingons believe that if a one warrior steals the Daqtagh of another during a fight, the warrior dishonors the Daqtagh's owner ("The Way of the Warrior" [DS9]).
The total length of a Daqtagh is about 39cm with a 23cm blade. The two short side-blades are about 5cm long. (puqSopwI's version: 42cm / 24cm / 9cm). All blades are about 3mm tick.
ma'veQ (Mavek dagger) A dual bladed dagger used in the Mak To'Var, or honorable suicide, ritual ("The Sons of Mogh" [DS9]).
qutluch Kut'luch The traditional blade of an assassin. Its serrated edge causes much more damage than a normal knife ("Sins of the Father" [TNG]). The Knife of Kirom, a sacred blade said to be stain with the blood of Kahless the Unforgettable, is a qutluch ("Rightful Heir" [TNG]). Some Klingon groups use the qutluch in rites of maturity. A young man is given a qutluch and sent out to draw blood from someone with it ("Real Life" [VGR]). Note: In "Real Life", the producers used the Mevak dagger prop instead of the qutluch.)
The qutluch is shorter than a Daqtagh (37cm) but has the same blade length (23cm). The side blades are non-movable and are very small: merely 3-4cm in length and about 5mm width. But the blades are with 5mm much thicker than the ones of a Daqtagh thus increasing the weight of the knife. The fuller reaches farther to the tip and is broader than the one of the Daqtagh. The tip is about half as long as the blade (Daqtagh: about 1/3). The most distiguishing non-feature is that the side blades are not movable as they are on the Daqtagh.
SoS taj Mother's knife A weapon used by a Klingon mother if she is not a warrior (KCD).

Archaic Weapons

tlhIngan Hol English Description
'obmaQ Ax Any type of ax, but specifically a single blade ax, like a hatchet.
jey'naS Double-sided Ax An ax with a blade on both sides of its head. (KGT).
'alngegh Spike-Ax An ax with a blade on one side of the head and spike on the other. (KGT).
jeqqIj Club, bludgeon  
ghanjaq Mace A large, spiked club with a metal head (KGT).

Other Weapons

tlhIngan Hol English Description
'oy'naQ Painstick A weapon used in the Age of Ascension (nenghep) ritual to test a warrior's strength. The use of a painstick on a two-ton Rectyne monopod will cause it to jump five meters, and will cause it to die of excessive cephalic pressure ("The Icarus Factor" [TNG]). The painstick is also used in the Sonchi (SonchIy) ritual to prove that a Klingon chancellor is dead ("Reunion" [TNG]).
Qab Theragen gas A nerve gas used by Klingons. In its purest form, it kills instantly, but if diluted in alcohol, it deadens nerves and works as a cure for spatial interphase madness ("The Tholian Web" [TOS]).
moQbara' (Mok'bara) The Mok'bara is not a weapon, but Klingon martial arts ("Man of the People" [TNG]). It has several moves, including the KoH-man-ara (QoH man 'ara') ("Second Chances" [TNG]).
tuQDoq Mind-sifter A device used to read the memories of a person being interrogated. High settings can cause irreparable brain damage ("Errand of Mercy" [TOS]). The construction of these barbaric devices was rationalized by the Klingon saying: "In war, there is nothing more honorable than victory," or "noH ghoblu'DI' yay quv law' Hoch quv puS" (TKW).

Common Equipment

tlhIngan Hol English Description
may'luch Battle gear  
vaH Sheath  
yoD Shield  
botjan Shield (force field of a ship)
HIp Uniform  
yIvbeH Warrior's tunic, armor (archaic)  

8. Useful links for uniforms

K'Put has set up a great website with all you might want to know about how to sew your own uniform - Great!
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Shuttle/8981/ (outdated link)
Studiocreation's website - for StarWars uniforms, but loads of general information about props and more "complicated" stuff. Great!
Bloodstar's costuming - good & cheap (German language - sorry)
Costumes of q'IDar
KIDC Costuming Mailinglist
To subscribe, send an e-mail to klingon_costuming-subscribe@egroups.com
or go to the List's archive: http://www.egroups.com/list/klingon_costuming/
The Yahoo-Club "Klingoncostumes"
http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/klingoncostumes It is a message base with a good source of photos to help anyone with their costuming needs.

9. How to find / join a club

In best case you know a club member from a Klingon Club...

Simply attend one or more of their meetings before joining a costly or inactive club. If that club does not fit your wishes, then either make it fit or look for another. There are quite a lot of clubs (at least in USA).

If you do not a club member personally, then you should have a look at the "Klingon Clubs and Groups FAQ". You can find it

about monthly in the USENET newsgroup
and on WWW at
http://www.khemorex-klinzhai.de/faqs/kli-faq.html (HTML)
http://www.khemorex-klinzhai.de/faqs/kli-faq.txt (HTML)

I can mail the FAQ to you (monthly) if you want, or just once e.g. if you missed the posting and are not able to access WWW. Just drop me a note.

10. Other FAQs for Klingons

There are other FAQs dealing with Klingon culture. There is an overview in the

Klingon Meta - FAQ which is

posted about monthly to the USENET newsgroups
available via WWW at
http://www.khemorex-klinzhai.de/faqs/meta.html (HTML)
http://www.khemorex-klinzhai.de/faqs/meta.txt (ASCII)

11. Credits

Special thanks to...
Qeltor (qeltor@khemorex-klinzhai.de) and tah'IH (tajih@khemorex-klinzhai.de)
...my compagnion webmasters of the Khemorex Klinzhai webserver, for their constant support.
P'tar Palshai (ptar@khemorex-klinzhai.de)
...my favourite quartermaster, for his great ideas and work
chuQun (damian@iinet.net.au) and
K'alv Tai qulHaH (falk@khemorex-klinzhai.de) and
Q'vaD (qvad@nofreakinspamcdc.net)
...for their tips regarding latex and makeup
Adm. Kragtowl (trekkan@aol.com)
...for his addenda to this FAQ (and his newbie guide)
Heike Schmidt
...the first one I ever saw (intendedly) tumbling and jumping while wielding a betleH (Warning: kids, she's doing show fighting and hours of daily training since more than 15 years - so DO NOT try to do such things without at least the same background). Thanks for your introduction to the betleH, Heike.
My aikido trainers (esp. Bernd Blasius) and comrades (esp. P'tar, ye Bajoran flamethrower)
...for their training which enables me to develop my QIbSuvwI' betleH fighting style (based upon aikiken and kenjutsu).
HetaQ (Chet Brown) of Pacific Warriors
...for their fine book "Secret Fighting Arts of the Warrior Race (volume 1: betleH)" - sorry, it's out of print.
The Klingon Data Banks (http://members.aol.com/magusnk/klingon/index2.html)
...for the weapon data bank, which I robbed.
All of members the Klingon Imperial Weapons Guild (http://www.klingon.org/KIWG/. ...for their great stuff and colleaguesque support.
Thanks to all the Klingons making the fandom such a great place. These are especially the ones supporting me constantly with their information, as there were (a more less than more selected or complete, totally unsorted list):
  • Qor, JeH JorwI' and Capt. Balling (fleet-command@khemorex-klinzhai.de)
  • G'Amar (GAmar@concentric.net)
  • Cmdr. Morgh (cmdrmorgh@aol.com)
  • Volker Grieser of KDF (and other)
  • HoD jo'raQ and Qugh tai puqSopwI from Khemorex Klinzhai

...and all the others not mentioned here.

DISCLAIMER! I know that everything even REMOTELY concerning STAR TREK is the sole, exclusive and stingily held property of Paramount. No infringement of those rights is even thought about.
But... this list is mine, not Paramount {{;-)
Distribute and contribute!

QIb vestai yabHuj Chief Ambassador
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yabHuj@khemorex-klinzhai.de GPG Key available
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Klingon Equipment - FAQ (ID 0412.13)