Introduction: Group Toy Soldier Costumes
This was a fun and very successful costume. People went nuts when they saw us. We felt like celebrities with all the cameras flashing and people talking as we posed. The reactions were endless from "that rocks!" to "that's epic, best costume ever, unreal, kick butt, off the hook, a classic memory brought to life, out-freakin standing, awesomeness, done perfectly" and a few other extra explanatory compliments but they were all good! This is a costume that takes some time, funds and hiccups along the way but the end result was totally worth it. As far as comfort, it was stiff and warm but loosened up a bit with moving.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
Go crazy, hit the local thrift store, flea markets, ebay, yard sales and army surplus is where I went to gather all my supplies. Because I was buying 5 of everything, most times I was able to strike a deal. You will need nylons, spray paint primer, gallons of green, oil based paint, an oil based spray gun, toy soldier hats and toy grenades (found mine on amazon), web belts, (found belts on eBay) toy guns, pvc pipe for canons, disposable gloves, canteen, cardboard and string for the bases, and used boots and military uniforms. I imagine these could be substituted with pants and jacket or even rain suits possibly but we achieved total execution using uniforms. If you are going with uniforms I suggest the summer weight BDUS, for some reason the paint seemed to eat away more at the winter weight material in the BDU.
Step 2: Prime It All
I bought the cheapest gray spray paint primer I could find and started priming everything, even the shoelaces. I wanted to be sure everything was exact color. It took about 3 coats each to cover all. Plan on at least 3 cans per costume.
Step 3: Time for Paint
I started with cheapest green spray paint from Walmart but eventually through trial and error switched to gallons of paint. The fabric really soaks a lot of the paint up before it starts taking to it so you will go through some serious paint before you achieve a good coverage and gloss. We picked up a paint sprayer as well which helped. We picked our color right at Lowes of our choice and got the indoor outdoor glossy, oil based, enamel paint. We went through about 2 1/2 gallons for 5 costumes. The color we picked also matched the green spray paint we had already bought that we later used for touch ups, the nylons and laces.
Step 4: Drying
Layer after layer we painted, allowing a few hours drying time in between each coat, in the end everything dried nice. Painting took place over a few weeks due to a whole lot of rain, we would hang them on this greenhouse base outside to paint and then moved them in each night to the garage. Mother Nature will surely dictate how long this process will take with humidity and rain so allow ample time for drying. Keep on painting till you reach full coverage and gloss.
Step 5: Faces, Canons, Gloves, Bases, Hats Etc
Faces- I took each pair of nylons and used the panty part, I stretched the nylons over balloons and spray painted each one, I then tied off the legs at top of head and cut excess off. So the waist band ended up being around our necks. This was nicer than paint, and easier to match to the uniform color. I think it was comfortable, more than face paint anyway and gave a great fake look to us.
Canons/guns/props- We just had fun making these props, used toys, pvc pipe, boxes for walkie talkies, things around the house to create something each of us could carry and of course primed and painted green.
Gloves- We used large blue disposable gloves and spray painted them. They were difficult to take off once on but they worked pretty good and looked great! We also used the spray paint on the shoe laces so they were not so stiff.
Bases- We cut cardboard out and painted with the oil based paint. We then strung green paracord through them so we could carry them around with us ready to strike a pose at any given moment at our Halloween Party.
Hats- We hit these with the oil based paint
The picture shows all the components of the uniform, this was also mid painting before we reached that high gloss look. It is best to try them on mid painting because as we saw, we missed many areas and were able to fix them with the last coats of paint.