Starlight Express Belts
(And a kneepad!)
First belt is a mystery. In design it looks like Rusty, but it measures 22". That means it is TINY! However, I'm fairly sure it's not just the front half of a bigger belt- all the 2-part belts I've seen have 2 buckles on each side, and the handles attach on the centre of the back panel. As you can see, this belt has the handles on either end, meaning that if there was a separate panel in the back, the handles would be VERY wide apart. Also it only has a single buckle, making it not very strong. It is the buckle strap which has broken on this one. I've hunted everywhere, and not found this belt in any photos. So, it's a mystery. Maybe one day someone will contact me and tell me what it was!
Second belt is reassuringly straight-forward. This is a rehearsal belt, used for practice, obviously. It says so inside. This belt is seen in a video clip where the TV presenters are taught to skate onstage by Adam Floyd.
Third Belt is my most treasured - This is not a Caboose Belt, it is C.B.'s belt. Its design is very simple, plain compared to the german equivalent. It has canvas with velcro that was originally glued to the inside, which would have held it in place over CB's costume. It's very worn, obviously. Other than being pre-1992, which all these belts are, I don't know how old it is.
Next are several very broken down belts- in order Bobo (top), Weltschaft, Milton Keynes, and Flat-top. They all feature the slightly strange design of being a single piece, side-fastening, yet with the false buckles to form the illusion of symmetry and of being made in 2 pieces. Later belts were made in 2 pieces, which gave them greater flexibility in terms of adjusting to different waistlines while remaining central. However the buckles are a weak point in the structure, considering that these were worn by racers, where quite some stress is put on the handles of the belts, pulling their partners.
The decoration on the national belts is cut leather, glued in place. This is clear where the glue has worn out and bits are missing. The studs used on Weltschaft (Green, german) are standard, widely available, same we used on our Wrench costume.
Flat-top is curious, given that there is the fixing for his brick on its chain to be attached at the front, and velcro to stick his brick to on the back. In later costumes his brick was chained to his wrist, and there was velcro on the front of his belt. The german flat-top's brick velcros onto his hat, with no chain.
Finally, as a bonus item, A single Rocky's kneepad! This is a seriously weighty item, made with many layers of leather, and lots of internal padding. This will have protected many harsh knocks during the break-dancing routines. The fastenings consist of hook and eyes on the lycra back panel, and the velcro straps. This is relatively light fastening compared to the weight of the piece, and the stresses it took in performance. The clear bowl is held on by large tacking stitches, except ehre it has come loose in one corner- this makes them easily replacable. Underneath is also a solid bowl. The pale leather shows traces of being silver painted originally, and the silver is much brighter under the bowl. This also shows the subtle colouration in the lycra of the Rocky costumes.