My wife decided to be Poison Ivy for Halloween. I thought Batman would be a nice compliment. So my son decided he wanted to be Nightwing. For those who do not know, if you know who Batman and Robin are, it's Robin all grown up. That's Nightwing. However, there has not been any good costumes to buy so he asked me to make him one. The costume was not difficult, but he wanted Nightwing's weapon. It's two shock sticks (called escrimas) he uses as fighting sticks. He connects them in the middle to make a staff (with electric shocks on the end). My son is 10 so he's not getting actual shock sticks. But he was happy with the final result with electric blue lights on the ends.
Step 1: First the Failure Parts
I have a male torso hanger. I got the idea to use it as a pre-framed mold to make my own Batman armor. The first thing I did wrong was not measure (more on that later). I used SmoothOn plastic to form a copy. I then used some Eva foam in the middle of the hanger and the mold on top to form a press. The shape turned out pretty good. However, that is when I figured out the hanger (which is listed as an adult hanger) is not proportional. The pectorals and abs are smaller (although looking very ripped). Also, they are too close together as my torso is long. After some playing around with it, I discovered the size worked perfect for my 10 year old. So, that become the next step.
Step 2: OK, a Side Step
OK, not wanting to give up on my armor, I used paper mache and tried to elongate the torso to fit, but it still didn't work. So the bottom line is. .. measure and use your own measurements. I gave up on the paper mache option for this round.
Step 3: Front Armor
So, I decided to forgo anything regarding mine and use what I had learned for my son's costume. I used 12x18in 2mm thick Eva foam sheets and a heat gun to form the foam to the inside of the hanger. This worked very well. I used the failed SmoothOn Plastic reverse mold to press the foam into the hanger outline. I then used Mod Podge to coat the form. That created the front chest armor which seemed to fit my son almost perfectly. It took some trimming, but eventually formed nicely.
Step 4: Back Armor
The back armor plat was just some .30 polystyrene which I cut using the front armor as a rough guide. I forgot to take pictures of the process. Sorry. After I cut the form, I used the same type of 2mm foam on the back side of the plate. Then painted the entire thing black.
Step 5: Symbol
After going through several versions, my son finally picked which Nightwing symbol he wanted on his chest. I found a great website which can convert a jpg image to an SVG image. It's located here. I have a "cheap" lasercutter, but it only cuts from SVG files. So, after I got the conversion, I used the SVG file and cut out the symbol out of the same 2mm foam. More Mod Podge and blue paint to harden it up, then super glue to affix to the front armor.
Step 6: Affixing the Armor
I had to purchase a body suit for my son simply because my sewing skills are not that great. I then affixed Velcro tabs to the various places on the suit and corresponded them to the armor plates.
Step 7: Touches of Blue
I used the meager sewing skills I do have to sew blue stripes onto the arms and shoulders of the suit. We purchased some inexpensive "batman" gloves and I pained the spikes blue. One version of Nightwing has electric spikes which come out when activated. I figured this would come close, at lease for Halloween sake.
Step 8: Next the Weapons
As for the shock sticks/staff, I took some 3/4 PVC pipe and measured for my son's height. I cut it in half. Then used PVC threading ends to allow them to separate or reattach. I followed some of the steps used by a kind gentleman gracious enough to share his own build, found here. I used bushings and more PVC on the ends to allow for detachable ends (to change batteries). I drilled holes into each detachable end so the electric light can shine through. The staff's paint job looks a little worn just because my son keeps playing with it.
Step 9: Electric Lights
I started to solder some blue LEDs together to place into the ends of the shock sticks. I was trying to figure out how to 3D print a battery holder which would hold up to shaking. Then, while in the Dollar Store (one of my favorite places) I found these small LED flashlights. The size was perfect and the battery compartments were already there. So I purchased two. I used a blue marker to color the lenses.
Step 10: Electric Ends
I used some friction tape around the flashlight to keep them snug in the PVC. Once inside and on they projected a great blue light symbolic of the shock tips.
Step 11: The Shock Stick Effect
I know the dark picture is a little hard to see, but it was necessary to demonstrate the lights.
Step 12: Batarang
I 3D printed a batarang from a file off thingiverse found here. It moves and is easy to carry, although my son decided afterwards that he did not want to have it distract from his shock sticks. So it will be left at the house during trick-or-treating.
Step 13: Leg Armor
I took some polystyrene strips and measured my son's thigh. I had a metal water cup which was pretty thick. So, I took my heat gun and melted the polystyrene around the cup which was a perfect size for his leg armor. Again, I formed some foam on the inside and affixed with hot glue. I used some Velcro straps to keep it attached to his leg.
Step 14: The Mask
I have to credit my wife for this one. When I could not fine a suitable image for the mask, my wife took images from the Injustice game and recreated the mask in Corel Draw. I then converted to an SVG file and laser cut it out of the same hobby foam. I used a heat gun to soften it up, then molded it over my son's face (it was not hot, just warm). Once it took the shape and cooled I used more Mod Podge to harden it up. Then poof, a mask. We used eyelash adhesive to affix it to his face. Took only a few seconds to dry and it stays on very well.
[Failures: We tried copying the process for making a latex mask instead of a foam mask. NsomniaksDream did a video tutorial which is pretty good. You can find it here. However, despite all we tried, the masks did not work out as well as hers. Plus, it was a little painful to pull the latex off if you do not use a sealer/separator. So, in the end I went with the foam construction. It was just easier. But I'm going to keep practicing with the latex for future projects because foam will not work for everything.]
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