Commissar Cap

Clockwise from top left: Muammar Gaddafi, Alphonse Simms, Ibram Gaunt, and M. Bison.

It isn't the scarlet sash and the fancy hat that makes you a commissar, it's the way you wear them.
Ciaphas Cain note 

A subtrope of both Nice Hat and Bling of War. A large, high peaked cap similar to those worn by Banana Republic dictators. The trope namer is Warhammer 40,000, with Commissars wearing such caps. This headgear surely makes the wearer look badass in an authoritarian sense of the word. Sometimes decorated with elaborate silver or gold designs on the visor and/or the front of the crown, nicknamed "scrambled eggs" by military folks; the stereotypical Banana Republic leader's cap has so much of these that you can barely see the colour of the actual cap underneath.

Sometimes, especially if the cap in question is black with silver piping, it's Putting on the Reich.

See also Bling of War, Nice Hat. Often worn by The Generalissimo and sometimes The Political Officer.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comicbooks 

    Fan Fiction 
  • In A Small Crime, the character Kit wears a black peaked cap.
  • In the Mass Effect fanfic series Uplifted Hanala seems to enjoy stealing Hoch's cap. Rundstedt forces SS officer Joachim Hoch to give his hat to his granddaughter as a form of humiliation, telling him that he is not a real officer. Rommel seems to have a tendency to fiddle with his.

    Film 
  • M.Bison (played by Raul Julia) wears one in Street Fighter. To further stress the Putting on the Reich aspect, the metal Shadaloo symbol on the front looks rather eerily like a mix between the Nazi "Reichsadler" and the SS "Totenkopf" motif.
  • One is part of the regalia of Paradorian President-For-Life Alphonse Simms in Moon Over Parador. Richard Dreyfuss wears it with a jaunty tilt that makes it much less impressive.
  • Frantic. Michelle wears one when she first meets the protagonist played by Harrison Ford, along with a black leather jacket.
  • The Great Dictator. Charlie Chaplin lampoons Adolph Hitler and wears a wonderful Commissar Cap with a XX logo in place of the swastika.
  • Seems to be part of the Star Fleet dress uniform in Star Trek Into Darkness. Particularly visible in the gathering at the end of the film.
  • In Lord of War many Red Army Ukrainian officers wear them.

    Literature 
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel His Last Command, when Ludd is sent to get troops to the battlefield, he loses his cap getting there — across the battlefield — and their first question for him when he said he was a commissar was to ask where his hat was. (He gets them to the battlefield anyway.)
  • Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!!) wears one, and he does it with style, as page quote states.
    • Say it with us now: Cowardly Commissar Ciaphas Cain Contains his Coiffure in a Commissar Cap!
  • In Honor Harrington, the Grayson Space Navy's uniforms seem to be modeled after the US Air Force, so naturally they have these, complete with gold oak leaves and lightning bolts. It's stated that they seem to weigh at least 3 kilograms and cause the title character to feel like "some comic-opera costumer's idea of a prespace military dictator".
  • Every Warhammer 40,000 book that contains a commissar will mention the cap from Steve Parker's Rebel Winter to Andy Hoare's appropriately named book Commissar.

    Live Action TV 
  • Illya Kuryakin donned one in an episode of The Man From Uncle; appropriate for a former Soviet officer.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • Girl Genius: Bangladesh Dupree.
  • In Narbonic, Mell acquires one for a while when she takes over Madblood's moonbase.
  • S.S.D.D: CORE officers are often shown wearing blue and red pointed caps (including Tessa in her first appearance). Anarchist "leaders" tend to prefer Shakos.
  • Zee Captain boasts such a hat.

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle:
    • Rocky the Flying Squirrel would occasionally wear one while announcing a commercial break.
    • It was certainly a must for Fearless Leader.
  • The "Banana Republic" in DuckTales and Thembria in TaleSpin have people wearing these hats. Baloo wears one as well, albeit a less decorated one.

    Real Life 
  • Played straight in Real Life in the 1990s with Russians with Rusting Rockets and Russian cops. Unlike Reds with Rockets, they have these as part of uniform. But the caps are going to be abolished soon, replaced with smaller ones in the older Soviet style. Soviet officers did often have this kinds of caps as part of the dress uniform (hence the trope name), though Soviet caps were not quite as large as modern ones.
    • An overview of Soviet uniform caps may be found here, showing civilian and military caps from various decades, with different designs—the collector's photos are widely copied for other websites.
    • Modern huge peaked caps are disliked among the Russian military, derisively known as "Pinochet caps". They are also a case of Sukhomlinov Effect, becoming larger and more fanciful as the Russian army weakened and grew underequipped and undertrained.
    • As of recent years, Russian military funding has risen again, and coincidentally, they have adopted smaller caps lacking the double-headed eagle of the Russian federation and look similar to Soviet caps. The new Minister of Defence, Sergei Shoigu, brought his old EMERCOM hat, quite compact and soft, into Russian military fashion.
  • Across the world, this is a common feature of the uniform of high-ranking officers in the military and many civilian law-enforcement agencies in many Western nations have something like this as part of the uniform (or at least the dress uniform). In most of these cases, however, they tend to be smaller and a bit more modest than the stereotypical authoritarian model.
    • On the other hand, during the Cold War, the US Armed Forces had larger-crowned caps than their Soviet counterparts, for reasons similar to above: American caps wear a large insignia on the crown, almost always some variation of the eagle of American heraldry, whereas Soviet caps almost always had a small, less obtrusive Soviet insignia the band (American caps also typically have thinner bands). This almost certainly was a large inspiration on the Russian Federation's placement of their own eagle on the crown of their new caps, and when the Russian military moved away from the American style, their caps shrunk accordingly.
    • The hat worn by Royal Air Force officers is nearly a subversion of the trope. Small and with horribly bent edges that sag downwards, it harks back to the time that all RAF officers were pilots and their hats were much abused, normally stuffed away in some pocket and thus scuffed and worn. In all other words, a mess, and in contrast to the hats worn by other ranks which are rather smart.
  • North Korea loves this trope to the bone
    • If only in bad photoshops.

*BLAM!*