Introduction: Gary Sterley's 40k Space Marine

Picture of Gary Sterley's 40k Space Marine

This is my Warhammer 40k Space Marine Costume. It is a Crimson Fist and was completed just in time for Halloween this year. This is my second ever costume build and I have been working on it since March of 2013.

I have a full build thread located on the RPF forum here: 
an another on Obscurus Crusade here:

And you can find it on facebook here:

This was my first time working in foam and also my first time working on something so large. The costume stands roughly 7ft tall and requires that I walk on stilts. The hardest part of the whole process was probably the Power Fist (the giant left hand). I designed it in google sketch-up and 3D printed all of the digits myself. It is fully articulated and I am extremely proud of it. Designing everything in 3D was a huge hurdle. I am not a 3D modeler. I have been trying to teach myself the software though, and this is the largest and most complicated thing I have ever designed. 

Total cost was roughly $1300 and it took up about 450 hours of fun (aka labor). 

Step 1: You Are Probably Too Short.

Picture of You Are Probably Too Short.

Odds are you're not 7ft tall. The completed costume, built to the scale I used, is 7ft tall. You are going to need stilts. I made mine out of PVC, wood and some old shoes.

Step 2: Pepakura Patterns and Foam

Picture of Pepakura Patterns and Foam

The suit is made of foam and uses pepakura patterns First you are going to need pepakura patterns. The ones I used can be found here:

The foam I used can be found here. You will need 6 sheets 1/2" thick foam, measuring 72"x48" each!

Print out the templates, transfer them to the foam and get cutting! Use a SHARP knife. Replace the blade often or sharpen it as you go. Work clean though. A little care now saves you clean up later.

Step 3: Assemble Your Foam!

Picture of Assemble Your Foam!

Now that you have a pile of foam shapes cut out you will need to join the edges together to make your armor. It might be easier to do one piece at a time. You dont want to confuse pieces.

Use a hot glue gun to join the edges.This is going to take some time. I used over 100 sticks of hot glue once it was all said and done.... the big ones too. Refer back to the Pepakura files if you get confused during assembly. 

This is a major step and is going to take a looong time. Dont rush it, work as cleanly as you can. The glue can ooze out a lot if you use too much and will have to be removed later. It takes some time to get the hang of it, but you will get a feel of how much is enough as you go.

Step 4: Reinforce the Armor.

Picture of Reinforce the Armor.

Foam is rather soft and bendable. Not a good thing when you are going to paint a piece. The paint will split if it bends too far. To eliminate the bending and make the armor rigid, I created internal skeletons of PEX tubing inside all of the larger pieces. The skeletons also serve as excellent attachment points for stringing the pieces together.

Step 5: Embellish Like Crazy!

Picture of Embellish Like Crazy!

Warhammer Space Marines have ornaments and detail EVERYWHERE. Pick yourself a chapter and start adding icons. When in doubt.... ADD SKULLS. I chose the Crimson Fists. For my details, I used some store bought halloween skulls, 3D printed detail pieces I made at home,  and cut the rest out of foam.

This is also a good time to distress the armor. I added many scratches, gouges and craters. I wanted my armor to look well used! I cut V shaped scratches with a hobby knife and even added some slagg burns with a soldering iron. Have fun with it!

Step 6: Arm Yourself.

Picture of Arm Yourself.

Space Marines are going to need some weapons. Apparently, in the grim dark future.... there is only war. I 3D printed myself an animatronic Powerfist (that's a whole tutorial unto itself), and made a bolt pistol out of the same foam as the suit. There are many weapons available though and pepakura templates are widely available for them all. Have fun choosing!

Step 7: PAINT!

Picture of PAINT!

Now that everything is built you need to add color. First, you will need to seal all the parts with plasti-dip spray. It's a rubber coating and you will need a lot of it. You cannot spray rattle cans directly onto foam, it will melt the foam. I used around 10 cans of plasti-dip. It seals and protects the foam.

After the plasti-dip is dry, rattle cans are used to apply the desired colors. I used two shades of blue to add depth. A dark base coat and I highlighted the edges with the lighter shade. I then airbrushed all the recesses, seams and scratches with black and drybrushed silver where the armor was scratched or worn (mostly along the edges).  

Step 8: Go Out and Enjoy Your Amazing Space Marine Costume

Picture of Go Out and Enjoy Your Amazing Space Marine Costume

Suit up! I took my completed suit out for the first time on Halloween this year and it was a huge hit. The kids LOVED it. I also had a chance to take some photos that look like they are from a grim, dark future.... Thanks to a demolition project down the street.  FOR THE EMPEROR! 

Recent Video:

For FULL build details of my costume please follow this link!
the RPF
or the Obscurus Crusade

You can also find loads more pics on my Facebook at:
Stop by and give me a Like :)


bf90rono (author)2017-06-12

I think there´s some serious problems with the geneseed of this space
marine cosplayers, seems everyone is born with midget arms.

chechos84 (author)2017-05-01

Bad-Ass! :)

Volum3 (author)2017-01-20

Hey Gary! Your build inspired me to start building my own costume (

). Great work.

Aralute (author)2016-09-26

that is some serious talent !

WillE13 (author)2016-05-07

How tall Are you?

clydezjr (author)2016-01-20

Firstly, amazing work! Secondly, do you have a template file for the 3D printing you did? Loking for the brackets for the feet/leg section.

Blockbreaker0501 (author)2016-01-13

Warhammer 40k!

Dustpelt (author)2015-08-12

i am too short, i'm like 5'6". but that is so cool!! how long did it take??? i do know that that is not any space marine armor; that is the imperium space armor from the titan comics.

MortenJ3 (author)Dustpelt2015-12-08

it's mark 7 aquila armor which is some of the most common Space Marine Power armor. he has painted it with the paint scheme of a chapter called Crimson fists

tylerlowel00 (author)2015-11-24

How much did this project cost in the end

jaydog06122000 (author)2015-09-26

could you use standard eva foam mats or is that to small

mlduffy (author)2015-09-25

OwenD3 (author)2015-09-16

I love it. I know I'm a bit late to the party but what kind of pvc is that? Ive looked around but cant find anything about how strong it is.

MarcoL13 (author)OwenD32015-09-16

At the first Step there is a Link for the Material

MarcoL13 (author)2015-09-16

Thats the best Tutorial so Far, and I will use half of the Points here for my self, because I will use another Material with the Foam together, but this Tutorial will Help me a lot with my own Project, Thank you for your wonderfull and Inspiring Work.

angryrobot17 (author)2015-08-26

Any idea on how to make the head? Preferably a terminator?

BuckeyeENG (author)angryrobot172015-09-10

Hey angryrobot17, A while back I found another prop builder who did a terminator helmet. While it's not the same method he does have a link to the pepakura files. If you do some hunting you can find all of them for the whole armor suit. see this link;

The pepakura file link is in the first paragraph

SeanA4 (author)2015-06-14

I know this is a bit of an older posting, but really want to say thanks for all the tips and step by steps. Started to work on my own, doing Space Wolves, using very similar methods to yours. Had a few suggestions from friends, such as using fiberglass cloth and drywall stilts (they have articulated bottoms). In any case, thanks for all this, and hope mine can be even half as good as yours!

lukeb10 (author)2015-05-21

did the plasti-dip spray make the armor hard or is the armor still soft like the foam?

Lwils (author)2015-03-21

What kind of caulk did you use to fill the seams?

martiin.sylvestre (author)2015-02-21

looking for the pep files....

lj.schulz (author)2015-02-16

G'Day.....quick question, do have or know where i can find Gears of War pdo's, Ive tried RFP and both 405 and 501.


Jobar007 (author)2013-11-08

Your powerfist is exactly what I was thinking should be done for one. I'm glad to see that someone made it a reality. I, for one, would like to see an Instructable on that if you documented it!

gsterley (author)Jobar0072013-11-08

For now you can follow the link to my build thread on the I have detailed progress pictures there as well as video updates on my youtube channel.

gsterley (author)gsterley2013-11-08

I will try and post an instrucatable on the Power fist itself soon!

bookmunkie (author)gsterley2013-11-12

That's the part I want to see. I will be waiting with bated breath.

gsterley (author)bookmunkie2015-02-05

The power fist instructable is now up!

Sykomonkey (author)gsterley2014-07-14

This would be of GREAT help. Thanks agian for sharing all the info you have on the Crusade Forums. Very helpful even as such!

FLYzilla2008 (author)gsterley2014-02-12

can't wait for the Power Fist Instrucatable. Great job on the Space Marine.

buffy.irwin.7 (author)2014-11-14

do you have any video that you can add so we can see it actually moving around ?

gsterley (author)buffy.irwin.72015-02-05

There is a good deal of footage on my youtube channel with me walking around at cons. Just search for Gary Sterley on Youtube :)

GarrettM3 (author)2015-01-16

Also does anyone know we're I can get a spray to coat the foam so it does not obsorb paint?

SammyManny5 (author)GarrettM32015-02-05

Plasti-Dip, just don't use the spray kind, it'll eat the foam.

gsterley (author)SammyManny52015-02-05

This is true of traditional spray paint. However, the spray on plasti-dip will not melt your EVA foam.

GarrettM3 (author)2015-01-16

I am 14 and I wish to follow these steps to make black Templar armor. Do you know how much this would cost for all of the materials?

sean.cthulhureed (author)2015-01-12

Hi there, Love the suit!
I'm making a suit myself using this method and I'm following you on the rpf. I was you changed your design for the stills and I was just wondering what foam you used for the front section?

Thanks for any help :)

jackmaster (author)2014-11-20

I love warhammer 40k

ninjanathan (author)2014-11-08

me and my brotherinlaws like warhammer and wear going to do this

GrimButler (author)2014-10-21

this is amazing

tysonvw (author)2014-10-15

liked! also liked the comment below ;)

Bvbbuh (author)2014-10-09

Wow... I am so amazed dat I could suck farts out of a seat cushion

kcortesi (author)2014-10-07

wow I am speechless! This is just amazing! You are so talented. My son just asked me: "Please tell me you can make that for me?" Lol!

Victor805 (author)2014-10-04

Holy cow, that's impressive, no more heresy.

deus ex (author)2014-08-29

the heretics won't know what hit em'

ncanfield (author)2014-06-13

Congrats on your win at Miami. It was awesome seeing it on heroes of cosplay.

cameron33 (author)2014-06-10

I was watching heroes of cosplay I saw the same exact costume on tv

amulder1 (author)2014-06-10

Wow amazing! The looks on some off the faces in the clip are just priceless!

syke25 (author)2014-06-08

Do you still have the files for this. I checked the rpf and I'm having a lot of trouble getting the files to work. Any suggestions?

ALECIALLEY (author)2014-05-22


the ultimate smaug (author)2014-05-08

there is no chance in hell that I could make it but that is awesome! !!

About This Instructable




More by gsterley:Destiny Warlock Costume by Gary Sterley 3D Print an Articulated Warhammer 40k Power FistGary Sterley's 40k Space Marine
Add instructable to: