When I was a kid I happened past a hobby store in Petaluma, California that carried rulebooks and miniatures for Warhammer 40,000, a tabletop wargame from Games Workshop.  I immediately fell in love with the rich, dark universe and the heavy, brutal designs of the characters, vehicles, and weapons.  I ended up getting a job at that same store and spending nearly every penny I earned collecting, building, and painting the models.

Years later I've developed a bit of skill collected some helpful tools that allow me to make some reasonably impressive costumes.  I've taken on project after project, but no matter what else I've built, I've always found myself thinking back to those beloved characters from my youth.

After trying to talk myself out of it for years, I've finally accepted the fact that I must build Space Marines in all their glory or I would never be satisfied with any of my lesser projects.  To do it right, the finished characters would have to be about eight feet tall and four feet wide.  Given that requirement, the main challenge was to make all of the pieces lightweight enough to still be a wearable costume.

With that goal in mind, most of the components were vacuum-formed in thin sheet styrene or ABS plastic.  Some of the more intricately detailed parts were sculpted in Magic Sculpt epoxy putty or molded and cast in urethane resin.  The whole project ended up taking about three or four months worth of actual work spread out over about ten months worth of the calendar.

While I suppose I've got a bit of experience with this kind of project, I will admit that this tutorial is not the end-all-be-all resource for this sort of build.  The intent is to inspire other people to take on similar projects.  I encourage you to do more research and spend some time gathering additional references before you begin.  I may have done everything the hard way.

It's also important to point out that Space Marines are the copyrighted intellectual property of Games Workshop and I have used the design without permission.  I'm a fan and these suits are a tribute to a rich universe that I have always loved.  This project is in no way endorsed by Games Workshop.  Instead, I decided that there just wasn't enough Warhammer stuff walking around in the world, so I took it upon myself to help.

In describing this project I tried to be as brief as possible, but there's simply no way to describe all of the hours and days and weeks and months worth of work that went into this project in 50 words or less.  Since it is a bit on the long side, I've at least tried to keep it entertaining.  So pour yourself a beverage of your choice, get comfy, and let's begin...

Step 1: Building Forms in Pepakura

Pepakura is a shareware program developed by a Japanese company named Tamasoft.  This program allows you to take a digital 3D model, unfold it, and print it onto cardstock so you can assemble it as a tangible object in meatspace.  It's essentially a poor man's rapid prototyping system.

To download the program, go to http://www.tamasoft.co.jp/pepakura-en/

Once you've downloaded it, register your copy.  It's a good idea to keep encouraging the developers to continue improving the program.  Besides, at the time of this writing, it only costs $38 you cheap bastard.

After installing Pepakura you need to get your digital 3D models.  With a bit of Googling, you can find models available for all sorts of things.  I found the models I used while looking around on Obscurus Crusade, a Warhammer 40,000 costuming forum.

Now that you have your digital files squared away, here's what you'll need to build them in paper:

Cardstock paper.  At least a ream.  Possibly two.  The heaviest thickness you can get at your local office supply store.
Cyanoacrylate adhesive (brand names include Insta-cure or Zap-a-Gap)
CA accelerator (aka "Zip Kicker" or "Insta-Set")
Scissors (don't run with them)
A sharp hobby knife (don't run with that either)
A cutting board  (this you can run with.  Run your little heart out.)
Music or movies to play while you're working so you don't go insane from the tedium of cutting and gluing.

Print out the pep models.  Make sure to turn on the edge ID settings so you'll have little numbers along each edge to match up with their counterparts along the way.

Use the scissors to cut out each piece as you need it.  This will make it easier to keep track of the pieces so you don't have to go sifting through a pile of parts to find the one you need like some sort of jigsaw puzzle turned into a psychological torture device.  If you have your computer nearby, it's a good idea to keep the program open so you can use the "check corresponding face" function to identify and locate each piece as you're building them rather than just poring over the printed sheets looking for matching edge ID numbers.

Once the pieces are cut out, use the hobby knife to score the lines where the creases will be.  Then pre-fold each crease.

Use the CA glue and accelerator to bond the parts together.  Make sure to keep everything properly aligned while you are working.  The numbers on each seam should line up opposite each other.  If you get the edges a bit off, each mistake will compound and make each following mistake a bigger problem.  It's a good idea to start with some of the smaller pieces to get the hang of how the process works before you waste a bunch of time and materials by learning on a large piece.

If you can shanghai a friend into helping, you can set up a workflow that will really speed up the process.  When I have help, I do the folding and gluing and leave the cutting and scoring to the other guy.  Here's a quick timelapse video showing the construction of an arm model as well as a kneecap:

Fun fact: cyanoacrylate adhesives were used by some special forces soldiers in Vietnam to suture wounds in combat.  Nowadays, hospitals use a close relative of this same adhesive in lieu of sewing up wounds.  This is because this type of glue will bond instantly to skin.  In other words, you will find yourself glued to your project several times and your fingertips will develop armored shells as the glue stacks up on them.  Not to worry, the glue will come off with soap and water after several days of intense, continuous scrubbing.  You've been warned.
<p>Who can I pay to build this for me?<br>Seriously, I want to have it commissioned, but can't find a proper store.</p><p>Anyone have any ideas?</p>
<p>lazy mother trucker</p>
<p>Just finished my first full armour build so thought Id let you guys see it. My thanks to Thorssil for his excellent instructable which helped to make the build a success.</p>
<p>So, my topic question is: What holds the pieces together? I know in the video you mentioned straps. I assume they go from piece to piece or do they run a full length? For example, the legs. Do you have a strap that goes from thigh to knee cap, then another from kneecap to shin, or just one piece going from thigh to shin and tied in the knee on the way? What kind of strap? Buttoned? Velcro? Riveted? I assume more than one as well to keep them from twisting, possibly one front, one back, and one on each side? And the rubber filler pieces, were they glued on as well?</p><p>Hoping for this to be my next project. Been waiting til I had enough experience and confidence to go extreme (to this or close to this degree). After using stilts for my 8 foot tall Frankenstein in the mall, I can say I am comfortable on stilts around kids and people. Just the patience to build it...</p>
<p>Fantastic job! remember playing with the minitures as a youngster, only thing i didn&acute;t like was the colour...But as an old long fang these days that&acute;s to be expected ;)</p>
<p>Truly epic, you used the most common or cheap materials to build something awesome. <br><br>Congrats the size is killer and I bet many people will buy it for sure. <br>BTW I&acute;m not even a warhammer fan.</p>
<p>that picture of you with just the torso on is hilarious! Thanks for the laugh</p>
now build a chaos version... and a Dreadnought
<p>Hey Shawn, Myself Ankit I'm from India, I just love your work man, you are truly awesome. I always follow your blog and all your stories and work helped me to build this giant..Its 7 ft tall, i know somethings are missing but i won Comic Con India with that cosplay and that was my &quot;Embrace Yourself&quot; pose.Hope you like it..</p>
<p>Hey I was wanting to know if you guys could possibly come down to my school for a silent auction thing that were going to have in a bit. Its for an AFJROTC thing at my high school. If you guys can come could you please contact me I'd really like it. There's a lot of 40k lovers here in AFJROTC and I bet they would love to see the armor too, and I'm not saying you guys have to but maybe you could auction one of your armor sets. I know this seems like a big request but you dont have to. contact me back at Arcgamesam@gmail.com (thats my email for games and things that other players and people can talk or ask me things for so its fine) thanks hope to hear from you guys soon. P.S. If you guys do reply I'll tell you more.</p>
Wow! Great craftsmanship.<br>Not many people will hit the &quot;I made it&quot; button.<br>Congrats.
<p>One thing that I thought about as far as the hydration goes. Have you considered a hydration backpack, such as a camelback? Also, you appear to have some extra space in there, you could build in some ventilation fans that would help with cooling.</p>
<p>Hey, someone that gets atmoshperic pressure and a distributed load!</p>
<p>Cyanoacrylate = Crazy Glue/Superglue.</p>
<p>Dude...awesome...simply awesome!</p>
<p>showing this to my friend who wants to go to a con as one of these guys next year.</p>
<p>showing this to my friend who wants to go to a con as one of these guys next year.</p>
<p>showing this to my friend who wants to go to a con as one of these guys next year.</p>
<p>showing this to my friend who wants to go to a con as one of these guys next year.</p>
<p>showing this to my friend who wants to go to a con as one of these guys next year.</p>
I was about to start on the project when I realized that Pepakura wasnt Mac compatible. Does anyone know of a good Mac program thats similar to Pepakura?
<p>Don't know if this is still needed but you can actually use the Pepakura Viewer on a Mac using Wineskin. Look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cfqLrklu50</p>
hey was wondering if you would be able to make me a suit of grey knights armour I'll pay you handsomely oh and then ship it to Scotland again I'll pay you please message back with rough estimates cheers
<p>Amazing.</p><p>But...I was wondering, how much does making one of these cost? I mean, just printing the pepakura model lifesize is pretty expensive. I can't even imagine how much a single armour building process can have cost.</p>
321,016 VIEWS? 647 LIKES? HOW THE?.....
<p>Turns out it's good.</p>
<p>is there any possible way i could buy this off you, this is awesome and literally i would die for one?</p>
<p>I'm not sure if I'll get a response given when this was posted, but I'm curious about two things:<br><br>How are the stilts mounted to the &quot;sole&quot; of the shoe?<br><br>How much side to side motion do they have? I saw in this and the other stiltwalking video that you can spread your feet apart pretty far and still keep them on the ground. This implies the ankle flexes a bit?<br><br>I'm making a costume of similar size and have been looking at options for the feet.</p>
<p>The stilts are bolted onto the sole of the character's foot. There's a piece of foam floor mat cut to fit between the bottom of the stilt and the inside of the boot in order to give it a bit of flexibility while still keeping it mostly straight.</p>
Hey I love the costume and I really want to make a few sets myself. Unfortunately money is tight for me. Is there any way to make a smaller form of the armour ??? I have looked around and found nothing. If you can accept this challenge I would love to see it. Consider it a kid/teen version of the Space Marines XD love the whole thing
I would use one articulated arm and not hold anything in it, and one attached arm for a weapon, that way you can still use one hand as an actual hand. I love your build though and am planning on using it to make my own suit of armour in a few months time.
Maybe for the hands, to have a bit more of movility to at least be able to make a fist, instead of letting it be stuck on a relaxed form, you can use one of those robot plastic hand toys that have a little lever on the other end to flex the fingers. <br> <br>http://www.djibnet.com/photo/2405496230-robot-hand.jpg (couldnt upload it here...) <br>Get my suggestion?
was going to suggest something similar but more on the lines of building one out of simialr materials to what he used in the hands :)
Not only would a Camelback be a good idea to wear under this suit, but you could effectively install some small CPU fans along inconspicuous parts of the armor and use the backpack as the power source to provide ventilation. It was something I was considering for an Ork Meganob build. It'll also give the suit a living humming sound which could only help.
Looks amazing!
Is there anyway I could see a better view of the stilts diagram? I'm commissioning my brother to build them and he needs the dimensions. Thanks for inspiring me to build this suit
That's the best version I've got. If you click on the image, it'll give you a slightly bigger version. My handwriting is awful, but the dimensions are there.
Step14, pic 3. Poor kid.
Would you have a rough estimate on how much some of these parts weigh when left as fiber glass and bondo (not plastic vacuum formed)?
HEY! I saw you in the make magazine!!!
Camelback is a brilliant idea, IMO. Now all that's left is a Jump-Pack :D <br>Anyway, as a fellow lanky person, (20 years, only 107(i know right?)) I'd be quite interested in seeing how this goes for you :P
Great patients. Awesome instructible! I want one, but Chaos Space Marine.
I did the number crunching as i want to build this myself. I am doing it for three suits and as i don't plan on pursuing this as a career i won't buy a vacuforming table. For the fiberglassed and bondo form it comes to around $400 each. Although that price is a combination of most of what i need like a respitory mask ect as well as the supplies added together with around $150 of cush put in for error divided between the three suits. I may also have underestimated or overestimated the amount needed for some materials and i am trying certain things differently for this suit which also affects price, eg. mechanical hands based off childrens toys. I also plan on making the weapons out of pepakura simply because the lack of tools needed, their price is not included in the build. I hope this helps somewhat.
imma do this, but add in a sort of fan in the power pack or at least a pouch with water and straws to the mouth or both as a cooling system
imma do this, but add in a sort of fan in the power pack or at least a pouch with water and straws to the mouth or both as a cooling system
imma do this, but add in a sort of fan in the power pack or at least a pouch with water and straws to the mouth or both as a cooling system
I LOVE how you guys are the same group that did all of the RvB costumes a while back (seriously, I started notice the helmets hanging from the ceiling in the shots XD. Doughnut was the first one I noticed, however lol) <br> <br>Love, love, LOVE all the work that has gone into making the armor, and seriously, thank you for posting such detailed photos :D!

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