Introduction: Halloween Cardboard Costumes and Weapons Gears of War Style

About: im the wrong side of twenty i can mcguyver myself out about any situation with pen and me trusty leatherman i like making props taking photos and proving physics wrong

** well looks like i was too late to get it in this years comp but maybe just maybe the nice folk here at instructibles might just let it slide ; } ***

 Welcome along 
this is my first structible so bear with me and enjoy the ride.

Each year come halloween my friend has an amazing halloween party to end all parties. There is much drinking of spooky punch and listening of spooky music but most of all there is the best costume competion.
We geeks and horror enthusiasts take this to heart and go all in to out do each other.
A couple of years back i one the much coveted best costume awards and have been plotting my come back since then.

SO to the point
this instructible will guide you through basic start up creating painting and decorating as well as anything else i can think of along the way.

First ill cover the weapons, basic crafting techniques i found useful and other humorous anecdotes along the way.

Quick note on project im in Scotland and will probably mention alot of craft materials that may differ from my fellow makers across the pond where possible i will give as much details for substitues and costs in dollars.

Step 1: What Your Gonna Need

 so this is a fairly comprehensive list of most of what i used as well as any thing else i think might make the job easier.

Cardboard (lots of it, double thick if possible)
thick foam board/insulation (inch thick)
copper/plastic pipe offcuts
small (airline size) toiletries bottle
masking tape
regular scotch tape
super glue
decent marker (sharpies worked best)
ballpoint pen
glue gun 
glue gun glue sticks (lots and lots and lots and lots)
pva (wood) glue
black paint (acrylic worked really well after i ran out of black spray primer)
silver paint 
red paint (again acrylic is recommended i accidentally used some oil paint and it took far to long to dry)
glow sticks

there may be other things but i cant remember at the moment

and also not necessary but highly recommended.
beer and snacky shmores for energy

Step 2: Lets Get Arty

 so im playing gears of wars one day and im like thats it im going to halloween as him. This year im going as Marcus Phoenix.

That was the easy part the next part required rendering down and spitting out a viable costume from the various source pictures and such. Luckily i happen to have a scale model action figure of said Marcus.

So gather your source material pics from the internet, toys, magazines, and sketch out what your gonna do i took side on shoots of the figurine and weapon drew it out to the scale and then using a grid system blew this up to the actual size i wanted.

Using a grid system is simple just take your little drawing or image draw a series of lines breaking it up into a grid, then on your bigger pic draw the same amount of grids and then you can copy section by section grid by grid.

so as you can see first i copied the lancer gun at scale 
next i blew the image up to the size i wanted so a 10 cm drawing became about a meter long the whole thing was 5 sheets of a4 paper long
i took my sharpie and highlighted the edges i was going to cut out for ease then carefully did.
next i traced this around a sheet of cardboard and the foam board and cut them out 

Step 3: The Next Step

so the next step is to laminate up your cardboard weaponry.
to save time and effort i used a piece of foam insulation as the central core but if you dont have any just keep adding slices until the main bulk feels right.
i used about 2 layers either side of the foam stuck it down using the glue gun before i started with the raised details. i reckon if i had just used cardboard it would have been about 10 slices thick.

Next i started adding the raised details like the panels at the back the round parts at the front and middle.
after this i glued around all the edges to ensure pieces wouldn't be split off and also to help seal the corrugations and generally smooth of bits.
for the front grip i used an old power cable cut it into length's and glued it down this gave it this nice ribbed handle feel.
for the teeth of the chainsaw i simply cut lots of triangles out and stuck about 4 together at a time

Now if you are a perfectionist or want to spend the time you could use filler let it dry and sand it down to a perfect finish. but thats not my style so i didn't.

Step 4: Its All in the Details

 so now the main body of the guns ready and it needs a few details added 
the grip at the front the barrel, sights and trigger as well as little things like the chain saw teeth and little rivets.

so i didnt think to photo alot of this stuff so ill try and show it from the other pics i uploaded

The barrel, so i wanted a kind of oversized charicature barrel to get this effect i used a small section of copper pipe 22mm (or 3/4) about 3 inches long and a small toiletry bottle (from the bodyshop i believe).
so i sanded down the threads on the bottle until it fit snuggly into the pipe. then  used a little hot glue to affix it, next i cut a 1/4 inch slot from the side and end so it looked like the suppressor . I wasnt happy about the curved shape so i cut it off and used 2 C shaped pieces of card at the end to give the barrel end shape i wanted.
So i wanted to give the thick raised barrel parts a more 3d part so i again using the hot glue and gave a raised ring in 2 places which actually worked really well.
The trigger wasnt very difficult mainly because it didnt move but i did want it to be stiff enough that it would take a bit of a battering from all the handling the guns would get, so i used the cardboard layering technique and used an L shape it was about 4 layers thick and given a good smoothering of hot glue to fix it in place and fill all the corrugations (which im sure also helped make it stiff and stay put.

The grip at the front want that hard to do. If you look at the gun its got a ribbed grip i was just going to paint it in but i thought id try something else, and if i ever do it again ill definitely do it alot neater.
So i found a suitable thickness of cable ( i first started with a really thin wire but it was to small) next attaching it, first i tried double sided tape but that failed and after a couple of hours the cable peeled of so again it was out with the hot glue gun. The curved section was single bits cut to lenghts and stuck down but in the section that your had goes through i used one piece from one side to the other that seemed to work relay well.

the sights. This was a combination of copper pipe and cardboard. The rear sight was another cardboard layered job using about 6 slices fixed side ways again smothered in hot glue which adds to the stability of it.
The front sight was a small layer triangular shape at the bottom and a small length (about an inch) cut and sanded to remove sharp edges and burs. 
I must say i was quite happy with the results with someone saying "sweet its got working sights"

the chainsaw teeth where cut from a template lots of little cardboard triangles about 4 layers per tooth, i didnt bother filing the corrugations with glue this tile i didnt mind if they ended up looking a little snaggled it helped with the effect.
I made sure they all pointed the right way especially the top 2 as these are the other way around, for the top gap i sued a little strip of cardboard the width of the gap and stuck the whole thing in place.

The little glue rivets, if you look at the gun at various parts it has what looks like little rivets or screws and to give a more 3d feel so these are just small blobs of hot glue this worked brilliantly and gave a much better machine metal made kinda feel. 

So painting all the parts was pretty simple the front sight was black so that just took a couple of coats of primer spray, the barrel was a combination of plastic copper and glue, so primer was a must a good coat of primer then simply dry brush it. i applied a couple of dry brush layers to give it a more metaly feel and them used a little back at the end to give it a scorched look.
The back sight teeth and glue rivets all needed a primer layer first as the glue wasnt taking the silver paint well after this the front teeth and general body where spattered and daubed with red paint again an acrylic based paint worked best and definitely DONOT use oil paint by mistake cause it never seems to dry.

Step 5: Painting the Lancer

 so this is a pretty important step 
with both the gun and the armour there supposed to be metal plating and also to look worn and battle hardened so it naturally requires a little bit of care and attention

To start with its advisable to undercoat and prime, since im using a metalic finish they can be a nightmare to apply on uneven or glossy surfaces.
i began using a black matt spray primer and i would have just used this if i hadnt ran out its quick to apply dries pretty fast leaves a great matt finish and covers a good bit of material.
so failing this i used a black acrylic paint which as it turned out also dried quite well and left a decent finish.
make sure you get into all the nooks and crevices and have a complete black base coat as thi will also act as are base colour. 

So next where gonna dry brush in silver.
i picked up a tester pot of silver emulsion this was perfect, to dry brush simply get an old stiff brush apply a small amount of paint to it then using an old newspaper precede to wipe off most of the paint, this will leave dry particles of paint on the brush only, now vigorously brush the gun and a fine layer will be added.
So do this about 3 or 4 times until your satisfied youve covered the whole thing as you whant.

Next he little details, now using pics from the game and from what i found online i started to line draw with the sharpie all of the details i hadnt made with cardboard.
( a wee hint i used the hot glue gun to put little spots at points that are supposed to be rivets or screws this gives it a lot more 3d feel)
next i took a finer brush and using silver paint started applying added silver along the black lines and highlighting the glue rivets. Also using a technique called edging where you load up a brush with enough paint and run the edge of the brush blade along the edges giving you a great sharp highlight.  

know go back over any spots you may have covered with silver with black again untill your happy it looks right.
Now add some red at the chainsaw part for authentic gore.
I added some additional graphics again from what i could make off the figurine model as best i could and the finished results are below.

Step 6: Making the Body Armour

 so this part is pretty easy once you get going, I built this suit to me custom style.
To do this i used a skelatal frame work as a base then built over it with sheets of shaped cardboard.
Again i used two disks of foamboard to lighten the front and again on the large rectangle of the back section. If you dont have the foam just build up the cardboard again.

as you can see from the first pic its the skeleton of the front, strips where shaped around my frame them interwoven with vertical strips and glued the disks where positioned and fixed too.
As i began adding symmetrical panels to the front and forming the sides i cut away loose bits and shaped with a sharp knife (careful know), the best thing is to do one side and mirror it, i mainly used triangle shapes to help stiffen and form especially at the sides where it would need to fit tightly under my arm.

As for the shape again i used my little action figure to get the overall design im afraid i didnt do a cut out and keep section here it was done in pretty quick stages one side being built in an evening,
so its kind of half done then completely finished but please ask if you want any more info.
The front was built and covered around to two third the side of my torso and then a cut out where the arms go.
The top loop around the head is quite an important part feature as it gives the costume its distinct look to me it kinda looks like a loo seat but hey hey. So cut out a shape that looks like a loo seat shape, it has to go at a slight angle and meet up with the back part so again use your best judgment. At the front it cuts away below the head i made this thicker by adding wide strips and gluing down look at the front shot to see this.
The back started as a large piece of foamboard rectangular then trimmed at the bottom into a triangle. I then built up the details and shape using pieces of card and foam. the round section at the top of the back piece was just curved pieces layered up the domed section made using a clamshell pattern (basically cut triangular strips and curve them then stick them together the result gives you a nice dome shape) then cover the whole lot with layers of newspaper and glue.

The top of the back piece has a crescent wedge that the loo seat bit in the front sits on (excuse the pun) this was shaped to suit the front i sized up how big a gap the crescent had to fill and what angle the front ring would sit on it at. Once these details where finalized it was very easy to get the whole thing to look natural.
The sides of the back where attached straight on the edges this gave the back quite a square shape and took a little shaping to fit right again this is going to be a person by person fit so it may need to be bulked out or padded. I cut a curved shape that matched the front shell it was again 2/3rds the side of the my torso this way it gave enough overlap to let me fasten the two half's.

The straps that come over the front are attached to the back piece they where actually 2 layers of card in one shape, this was done to stop it either coming loose or ripping off to add to the strength i inserted 2 lengths of webbing strip between the card. These also hold the suit together with velcro.

Painting. Again i used a good base coat of black primer this would also be seen in the front disks and in the creases. Then dry brush with silver, layer up around the corners and edges, then edge with a fine line of silver.  i went back over the creases and the front disks to ensure they where crispy. Using a sharpie i drew the details in i also decided on putting some rivet details in so draw a black dot and then put a spot of silver in the center.
To be honest the better a painter you are the better this is likely to look and you could spend alot longer finishing and detailing this but i dont do anything like this so do what you feel best doing.

To get a better finish on the front and back sections i used pva glue and newspaper strips i preferred this over paper mache as it gives a smoother flatter look it also added a great deal of strength and covered small holes and gaps really well.
I sued a 1/1 water to pva glue mix this gave it a good consistency it wasnt too thick or thin and didnt dry too quickly, making sure the newspaper is fully saturated as the finish will really benefit and you wont have edges curling up on you.

Its worth pointing out im a big chap and this is a fair indication of my size remember to try and keep this thing bulky thats how its supposed to look.

Step 7: Fastening the Suit


should be all i need to say really.
But ill expand anyway
The suit was initially gonna be fixed in 5 points,
The back of the head ring to the crescent on the back piece.
The 2 shoulder straps attaching to the breastplates.
At either side on the overlapping edged of suit.
However i felt the bottom need a little bit more securing and added two straps at the bottom of the back piece that attached to the front plates.
I used sticky backed velcro which worked brilliantly but i didnt give the glue long enough to set properly, which when i tried the suit on and tried to take it of removed most of the velcro too. 
So i used a little bit of my old friend mr hot glue gun, after this i just stuck all the velcro down with this as it was much stronger a bond.

I knew where i wanted the velcro to fasten so i attached it to one part and then positioned the other side where i was comfortable too move and not overly contorting anything.

I used three strips of inch wide tape about 4 inches long at each point, except the bottom strap that was just one long strip of velcro.

Step 8: Lighting the Suit

One of the things that i liked and thought would be a good challenge about this was the lighting.
The lovely blue glowey lights on the armor and gun.
I had thought about using LEDs and some kind of a frosted black but the cost seemed a bit much and to rigg up a whole thing as well as either having to incorporate from the beginning of the design or chop up later on in the build.
So thinking what else would give a cool blue glow as well as be fairly disposable and cheap i naturally decided to use good ol GLOW STICKS.
Yep they have a cool fluorescent glow are pretty moldable and fairly cheap.
I bought 100 x 8 inch slim blue glow sticks with fasteners for about 6 pound of fleabay so about 10 bucks. This meant i could experiment with positioning and have a load leftover for the night.
So the areas that i needed to light where.
The shoulder straps 
the back plate
the front chest disks
The gun had 2 places to light 
The middle of the round part by where the magazine fits 
And at the rear ( i assume it supposed to be a little display or something)

so i hot glued the connectors in a circle pattern, it took 3 slightly overlapping to do the circles on each of the chest disks.
On the shoulder strap i carefully cut in between the top layer of cardboard and then cut windows out, then i slipped about 4 sticks in the gap they lit all the little windows really well.
On the back i just went nuts i must have stuck about 15 on there wanted the back to be fairly glowing so i added them in the central back piece. After i was happy with the position i hot glued more of the connectors in place for new sticks to be fitted on the night.

The gun was a bit tricky to do because the gaps are quite small in the end i took a chopstick sharpened it to a point and punched wholes through the parts to be lit, then i fed the glow sticks through the holes and bent them into the body of the gun in channels i had made with the chopstick. The back only used 1 glow stick in the end it went straight through and into a hollow of either side of the gun under the card layer in the foam.
The front was much the same but i used 2 side by side. see below.

Step 9: The Extra Bits of Armour

 so along with the the main suit and the gun i wanted to ad some other bit of armor to add to the effect.

So i made some chaps some elbow pads, some shin guards and shoulder pads.

the only thing i couldn't get to work right was the shoulder pads i just couldnt get them to stay in place if you had more time im sure it would be easy to sort.

everything was made from card shaped to fit again no cut out and keep section but check the picks for the shape i used.

Painting techniques where the same again i used them to create some metal plate type look.
to hold and fasten them to me i used tights (or pantyhose) black worked best and cut them into strips which i glued with my trusty glue gun.For the shin guards i used velcro to fasten and it worked really well didnt come off once.

the chaps where 2 kite shapes these attached as you would expect on the side of your thighs but on the out side.
i used a belt of tights material looped through the top part of the chaps this was worn around the waist. On the bottom of the chaps i used a leg loop for each leg which sat just above the knee and was very comfortable.

For the elbow pads i cut a shield shape out then took cut some wedge shapes out at three places, then simply bent the card down and glued the splits and used the same technique to paint as above.

that was it really and the extra details helped had i the time and the effort to do it i would have made a belt and some ammo pouches around my waist .
So please feel free to ask any questions and i will be as happy to answer them

Thanks for watching 

Step 10: Go Kick Some Mutant Ass

 so now your costumes done go show off in it 

i attended a good friends halloween party and incidentally won first prize for the costume.
As a base i wore black combat trousers and a long sleeve black tshirt (believe it or not it got pretty hot in there) and a black doo rag on my head.
The suit its self couldn't be worn in a car there simply wasn't enough room so short of leaping from the back of a transit van i had to get dressed at the event but one on it was pretty light fairly comfortable and stayed on really well.
I did find i had to unvelcro the bottom strips when i sat down or i simply couldn't move enough but it was so easy to re velcro and get back in to my suit.
As i may have said the velcro was a brilliant idea and made getting in and out a breeze.

the gun made the whole thing work and yes i did actually shave a stripe down my face GET SOME 
and other motivational statements. 
 so go out enjoy and kick some mutant asssssssssss.!!!!!!!!!

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