Picture of Full-Size Power Loader Costume from Aliens
Shortly after I started making my life-size Alien Queen statue (http://www.instructables.com/id/Life-Size-Alien-Queen-Statue-from-Aliens/), I began to wonder if it would be possible to make a Power Loader to go along with it. Two weeks later, I came out with this:

Before we get into this, I'll say that I borrowed some ideas from flaming_pele!'s Power Loader costume: http://www.instructables.com/id/Aliens-Powerloader-Halloween-Costume-1/. I will give him credit where it is due along the way.

There have been many Power Loader costumes before, but this Instructable will show how I made mine on a modest budget in a pretty short time.

Step 1: Inspiration and Goals

Picture of Inspiration and Goals
At one point or another, I remember having seen all of the Alien movies in my youth. I'd always remembered the xenomorphs, but specifically the Alien Queen, and the awesome fight between her and Ripley in the Power Loader. As the the beginning of the school semester neared, I wanted to make something really cool to finish off the summer break. I made the Alien Queen in the first 2 weeks of August. Then I figured with the last few weeks I could make a Power Loader as well, using a lot of the same cheap and lightweight materials that I used for the Queen (mainly foam boards, hot glue, and spray paint). I was titillated at the idea that I could be the only person who had ever made a life-size Power Loader and Alien Queen. Yes, I am truly a geek.

Shortly before beginning construction, I looked around to see what other Power Loader costumes had been made before. There were many awesome ones on YouTube. And, of course, I saw flaming_pele!'s cool one on here. After looking at these previous attempts, I made observations and decided on some goals that I wanted to achieve in making my own:

Firstly, I wanted mine to be truly life-sized. A lot of other Power Loaders were slightly scaled down, and the foot stilts especially weren't as tall. That's completely understandable, especially in terms of balance and movement. But I wanted mine to be the same size and proportions as the original. I also wanted it to be screen-accurate on all other details. I wanted the exact same shapes, colors, and structures that the original had. I wanted it to match it as closely as possible in all physical details. If I was going to bother making a Power Loader at all, I wanted it to be the Power Loader. All or nothing. And, of course, I wanted mine to be practical. I wanted to be able to walk in it and move the arms, all with a reasonably stable balance and control. I'm not mechanically inclined enough to have figured out a way to make the pincers move, but other than that, I wanted joints to be articulated, complete with pumping hydraulic cylinders.

And finally, for the ultimate challenge, I wanted my Power Loader to have two qualities, when compared to other attempts: made cheaper and easier. Most other attempts didn't have any budget estimate, so I had to figure the always-assumed standard of spending as little as possible. But I also wanted this to be made quickly. Other attempts had been made over the course of several weeks, even months. I wanted mine done by the first week of school (beginning construction in mid-August). In the end, I wanted the best of all categories: cheap, quick, functional, and accurate. I then began to make the machine.

Good research and reference was critical. I used the Sideshow Diorama of the Power Loader as a constant template, taking precise measurements and scaling them up 8 times to be full sized. I also went through the movie and took screen-caps from its featured scenes, and also gathered behind-the-scenes images. It's always fun to understand how the original was made.

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vkelly110 months ago
you can get foam board at the dollar store too
psavas1 year ago

I know you mentioned you had trouble lifting and extending the arms because of how cumbersome they were, as well as having to take baby steps. I'm wondering if you considered using counterbalancing weights and pulleys to take the "weight" out of the limbs and make moving around easier? It would probably double the total weight, but when you're moving in it, it would require almost no effort on your part.

Mostlymade1 year ago
How is it I had months to make an Alien costume but no time to make this!?!?!
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Creating Fantastic LifeSize Movie Figures, Delivering Worldwide!
oh my well that is just bloody fantastic I totally love it, :)
mocale3 years ago

chipper353 years ago
I wanna be you when I grow up!!
kenmneth3 years ago
why don't you put a blue print out of the design so others can try to make one
jedics3 years ago
I got a real laugh out of this, especially the bit of you walking like some old guy with a back problem :)

awesome build.
omg can i buy that off of you
barondixon3 years ago
You sure have the knack for cutting foamcore! WHAT DO YOU USE???? And how do you use it? Could you give some detailed info regarding neat cutting of foamcore? Perhaps its own tutorial would be a good way to address this.
flyzilla4 years ago
Bravo! And the video was well done as well.
D00M994 years ago
WOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! You won! Great job!!!!
KNEXFRANTIC4 years ago
nice but what do you do with stairs or you fall over
I don't know if the author's familiar with "Drywall Stilts" but they're about the correct height, securely strap to your legs & have pivots & springs that allow for easy movement. They have a very mechanical look to them & I've seen tradespersons go up small steps like in a split level home or search Google & YouTube for wild results! While searching (decath1 was the user name) I saw "Jumping Stilts" that had high mobility & looked fun to use ! CoroPlast might serve construction a little better in that it's rigid, comes in colors & weights, can be screwed for attachment.
pensativo4 years ago
Dude! That is off the hook. This is one of my favorite movies and you did an awesome job putting it together. Thanks for sharing that!
zypher3.144 years ago
pringles can in the feet! :)
Quicksolver4 years ago
Could you add some specific measurements? I have no frame of reference...I really want to build this (and I like your tip on those PVC pipes) but I don't know how big to make the legs
LuciferRex4 years ago
Oh my god, that is AMAZING
mary candy4 years ago
man |I lost all my chances on this contest! :(
This costume is very cool!
I am really jelous.
Something like this would be excellent for budget film production.


Does anyone know how to build an "Avatar" style armor exoskeleton?
SHIFT!4 years ago
I think I speak for everyone when I say: BEST &#$@ing HALLOWEEN COSTUME EVER! Awesome Job alexthemoviegeek! You make life size threatening machinery look life size and threatening! I am at a loss for your amazingness!
crazzzik4 years ago
I would modify it just a bit to make it look like SUV from starcraft.
its not a truck, its a SVC
JimmySlo4 years ago
That's NOTHING!! How about TWO Loaders doing battle with each other?!?!

Defiant Theatre did this much cheaper, dumber, and awesomer!!

The battle begins around 2min45sec.

Alien Wars YouTube Link

StooB4204 years ago
AWESOME costume design... Aliens is my all time favorite movie! Very nice build, i love the detail you put into this. All you need now is a welding torch added to it and it would be perfect =0)
xd12c4 years ago
Had an idea to keep your hydraulic cylinders from popping out.
You would need the PVC end caps, a drill & some thing like duct tape.

Drill a hole in the cap the diameter of the rod & then feed dowel through. Tape the ends with a mass of duct tape to prevent it from coming out of the cap & then trim the rod and apply caps to cylinders...
hope it helps :)
alexthemoviegeek (author)  xd12c4 years ago
I actually did something very similar to that: the cylinder barrels are "capped" at one end to let only the rods in, and the rods did have a piece of foam board glued at the end to keep it from coming out easily. The problem came with trying to move a joint that was at an angle rather than aligned. Putting pressure on that just made the angle tighter and eventually something would give way and break. That and foam board is interesting in that it is a foam board covered on either side with a sort of paper. So if there's enough pressure on it, the paper can peel off of the foam, and that's what happened on most of the failed cylinders. I guess that's the drawback of getting the cheaper foam boards. But it can be repaired easily enough.
What about a 2 part epoxy putty like the one from Loc-Tite? You could use it to make a sphere around the end of the rod & reduce the pressure put on it by the sharp angles?
-chase-4 years ago
Great Costume! You really did a great job with this.

Not taking away from anything you've done but i would love to have the means to be creative. Area to work in - money to buy the nessasary items, time etc etc.

Who says money can't buy happiness... maybe not - but it can get you damn close.

alexthemoviegeek - Your very fortunate to have all the means to be able to build this. And time to put into it.

I commend you. Keep going and who knows - perhaps one day we'll see your name in the movie credits.

pokster4 years ago
holy moly, that is absolutely amazing!
bobdog4 years ago
hmm...Mount the gripper jaws on light drawer slides and a light weight cable (monofilament) and block and tackle mechanism to magnify your gripping motion. Cheaper than stepper motors anyway...unless you know a copier/printer guy with OLD stuff in the warehouse.
bobdog4 years ago
Greeeeeeeeeeeeat job!

Just a thought..for low budget audio effects, record the walking movement tracks on the sound units from recordable greeting cards, then set them into the costume where your walking motion tugs the trigger tabs. Use a little elastic to relieve stress on the tabs, or stretch silicone jewelry cord Joanne's crafts has it, maybe Michael's & probably Hobby Lobby. Cost you ten bucks.
YoungPyro194 years ago
I can see someone is ready for halloween.
clicclic4 years ago
Incredible accuracy. Great work!

Now what about insulating the garage?
Ichijoe4 years ago
Now could someone make a BGC-19 XD

See S02E01 MST3k (Rocket Ship X-M)
relu23064 years ago
good job !continue, and holywood make you surrely rich.
kea4 years ago
COOL really great.

Just the thing for Cub night, or take to school to keep the little so & sos in line. Great for shows as well.
Cheers all Kiwi
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