How to Make a Transformers "Hot Rod/ Rodimus Prime" Costume

Introduction: How to Make a Transformers "Hot Rod/ Rodimus Prime" Costume

About: I'm a kid in a candy store when it comes to creating things. I love learning different versions of art, whatever medium it may be. Feel free to like the official site on Facebook to keep up with past, presen…
"Until the day til all are one!" When Optimus Prime died, the Matrix of Leadership was eventually passed on to my main man, Hot Rod. This past year, my friends and I decided our theme for the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo was going to be Transformers. We all picked characters and I decided to be Hot Rod. 

* This costume is quite warm
* Your peripheral vision is limited
* Lots of location space will be needed to maneuver inside this costume
* This build takes ALOT of time and can create a very large mess
* Included in this tutorial is the Matrix of Leadership

*A very special shout-out to instructable members: dannyeurena and Incxtc for their previous Transformers tutorials as theirs were the the foundation for my Transformers creations.

Here are their amazing tutorials:


- lots of cardboard (just ask at stores for their left over cardboard)

-lots of hot glue

-Old gym shoes

-black long sleeve tshirt

-black leggings

-heating gun


-black gloves


-shoe laces

-door hinge

-foam board

-cardboard tube

-planks of wood


-PVC pipe

-PVC elbow joints

-reflective blue sunglass lenses

- comic cardboard

-craft foam




-double sided velcro

-black fabric

- construction paper/ poster board

Step 1: Feet: Wood Construction

1.Take your shoes and remove the laces (save laces for later). it is good to use low tops for these shoes. Cut further along the tongue of the shoe, because you need to be able to get a drill all the way to the toe part of the shoe.  (pic 1)

2. Then, take your exacto knife and cut across the width of foot sole where the ball of your foot is.. The easiest way I found out is to bend your foot forward a bit with the shoe on, and that way you can see where the shoe naturally bends.  This is because when you walk, your shoe needs to “give” a bit so that it can bend while walking. (pic 2)

3. Now, get your 2x4 and use a saw (or get it cut) into the following 2 shapes. (pic 3)

4. Take 4 slender pieces of wood ( about 1 inch thick, and however long your two pieces are)and drill them underneath so that you are even more elevated. (pic 4)

5.Place your shoe on the two pieces so that the “cut” of the shoe sole is right in between the two pieces of wood. (pic 5)

6. Due to the notion that the two pieces of wood are on either side of the cut in the shoe sole, your robot foot should naturally bend when you walk, (pic 6)

7. At this point, take out the pad inside the shoe.  Take your screws and drill inside the shoe directly into the wood. I used 3 screws for the front of the shoe and 4 for the back piece.   Replace pad into your shoe so that your foot is not directly on the screws. replace the shoe laces.

Step 2: Feet: Encasing

Now, start covering the shoe with cardboard.
  • Start with the front and the back of the shoe (pic 1)
  • Add the sides of the back portion (pic 2)
  • Add a little more cardboard to the front flap, and then add the top of the shoe (pic 3)
  • Add the sides of the front (pic 4)
  • cover the wood sole

it’s really just trial and error.. you can make your own little designs to add different details to the shoes.

Once assembled, put some foam on the bottom of the shoe to help with traction and also noise. 

Step 3: Legs

Now that you have your feet done, you want to be in them to measure where your knees are. You need to be able to bend at the knee when you walk also.. Granted, you wont be able to do jumping jacks, but you should be able to move decently.

1. Basically you are making a rectangle around your calf. make sure it is a little wider than your robot foot.

2. Once done, just start adding little details such as curves, or boxes to give it more detail. remember to put a “lid” on the top of these legs. i just made cut out a trapezoid where your leg can slide in.

3. Now take some of your thin strips of wood and glue them inside the leg piece.. it should be right about where your ankle is and just a little below the top of the shoe. The reason for this is that it will prevent your leg from being super loose inside that big box of a leg. Also, gluing the strip a little lower will allow the leg to be off the floor and not dragging.

Step 4: Thighs

1. The thighs are basically boxes. They are just angled in and there is a little section cut out if you are a dude for your :;ahem:;..

2. Poke a hole on the sides (hip side). Take a metal circle washer and glue it on either side of the hole.  get some string or more shoe lace and thread it through. about 4 -5 inches should do.

- The washer is so that the thread will be supported by the washer, and not the cardboard (which can easily rip through with wear/tear)..

3. To wear the thighs, you need a belt around your waist. put on the thighs and then use the string to tie them to the belt. This way, they do not fall when you are walking around.

Step 5: Chest

Start by making a box around your chest. This chest piece is quite snug, but it has to be if you want to house the matrix inside you.

- You will get into this costume by putting it over your head.  The neck section lifts like a door and is secured through velcro. (pic 1)

- make some arm holes.

-Once the box is snug around your waist, start building up the chest. 

Remember to build in the collar (pic 2)

Once painted, use some yellow foam for the headlights (pic 3)


Matrix of Leadership (link Below):

The space in-between your actual chest and hotrod’s chest is hollow. that is where you will house the matrix. (pic 4)

the chest opens up with your door hinge and is secured closed with the velcro. You can add any kinds of detail you'd like. If you want, you can get some glow strings or El wire and string it through for some added effect (pic 5)

Step 6: Pelvis

1. Now that you have your waist and thighs, you can determine how large you need your pelvis to be. It is 4 pieces (2 sides, crotch, and butt).

2. It really just depends on the transformer. I just added some random details based on the pictures i found.

3. Once completed, you can attach this to the waist through the use of velcro and fabric.
  • Pic below is not Hot Rod's, but concept is the same

Step 7: Shoulders

Start making boxes where your arm can fit through a hole on the side. The shoulders are separate pieces, they will be attached to the arm holes of the chest piece with either elastic or velcro. (pic 1)

There are wheels that protrude out of the back of his arms.. so this is an inside look. This was the first transformer build, so i did not think of making the wheels yet out of cardboard.. But you get the idea. (pic 2)

On the outside of the arms, Hot Rod has 3 exhaust pipes.. Make them out of your pvc and pvc elbow joints and some craft foam (pic 3 + pic 4)

Step 8: Forearm

1. For your robot forearm, you are making a box to wrap around your actual forearm. (pic1)

2, Cut the top elbow-side corners off so that you will be able to bend at your elbows 

3. Then you make caps (one for your wrist, one for your elbow) for both ends of the box. Cut a square within the elbow lower cap for your arm to fit through. this should be somewhat snug around your forearm. (pic 2)

5. For the cap around your wrist, You need to take a strip of cardboard (about 1 inch wide) and wrap it around the girth of your hand. take the ring and place it on the top cap and cut out the circle. Now take that ring and glue it inside the circle. once complete, glue that wrist cap inside. (pic 3 is from different forearm, but concept is the same.)

Step 9: Forearm: Pipes + Details

The thing to note about Hot Rod’s forearms are that they have 3 exhaust pipes.

You can heat the pvc with a heating gun to make the back angle.  I used PVC for the pipe and then carved the ends out of foam.. I then bondoed the foam pieces, sanded them, and attached them onto the ends. (pic 1)

Also, Hot Rod has these orange elevated parts on his forearm I just bent some cardboard so they con-caved a bit. You will have to attach some type of string or elastic to hook around your thumb when you wear this. The pvc attachment is too heavy and will make your forearm piece rotate due to the weight. (pic 2)

Step 10: Hands

For the hands, get your black glove and the thin comic book cardboard. I meticulously cut out 3 different pieces for the 3 different sections of your finger (2 for the thumb). Then i made a simple cover for the back of your hand (use regular cardboard covered with comic board.. It acts as a sturdy support when you are trying to take off your gloves) , and a few little covers for the palm.

Indymogul does a brief tutorial on how to make them. (link below)

Step 11: Backpack

  1. First, make the fender. I sketched this out on some paper and laid it underneath the top portion of the suit for sizing.
  2. From there, i wanted the fender to be thick, but not heavy, so i chose foam board. (pic 1)
  3. From there, i took sandpaper and sanded off the edges (pic 2 + pic 3)
  4. Now, i took the cardboard tube and put some sandpaper around it. i started sanded the section where the tube would connect to. I also used the foam to make two cones on either side.. If i did it again, i would bondo the cones, because foam dents very easily. Do NOT glue the wings together yet. (pic 4)
  5. Prior to glueing, cover the wings in posterboard. this should give them a bit more stability (pic 5)
  6. Now you want to make a case that will attach to the the underside of the tube. (pic 6)
  7. Now you can make a “backpack and attach the fender to the backpack. This completed fender backpack can now be attached by velcro to the back of your suit. (pic 7)
*since the backpack is hollow, you may want to consider making a “door” for it, so that you can use it as a functional backpack.. it cant hold alot of weight, but you could probably put your wallet, keys, phone… even slippers in there.

*the pack doesnt have to be big (this is the first attempt).. but you can add details and such.. make sure it is far away from your shoulders that you can lift up your arms without any obstruction from the fender. (pic 8)

Step 12: Face

The face is comprised of 6 main pieces: 2 cheeks, a mouth, 2 cheek bones, and a forehead (pic 1 + pic 2)

Once glued, add a nose. we cut a small slit in the nose to assist with breathing. Also, add a mouth, and add lips (pic 3)

*sometimes it is good to have a open mouth. if this is the case, place some black fabric on the inside of the mouth. this also helps with breathing.
Once painted, don't forget to add your sunglass lenses in (pic 4)

Step 13: Helmet

1. To do the helmet, begin by making the crown illustrated in my previous tutorial, “how to build a Darkseid costume” (pic 1)

Do this with the mask on because the mask increases the size of your head. (pic 2)

2. Once that is done, stark thickening it up by adding the details. Hot Rod's helmet somewhat looks like megaman's. Also, there is a silver emblem in the front.  (pic 3 + pic 4)

Step 14: Finished

The Assembly should be complete

-Glue all the seams closed for extra support

-Masking tape ALL the seams so that they are unnoticeable.

-Primer the ENTIRE suit

- Paint designated colors

-Dont forget to print out and glue/ modge podge the emblem on the chest as well.

Links to the other Transformers below:

*Special thank you to Larry Cheng for his superb photography

Feel Free to find me on Spicy Panda Creations for more current projects

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    1 year ago

    This is really awesome, my son wants me to make this for him, thank you for putting this together. Question, do you have any templates your used that you can share? Thank you!


    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi! I’m sorry but I don’t have any templates. It was all free hand. As long as you follow the general Shape of things, you should be fine! Please let me know if you need any help if you try out the project !

    Skidmark Steve
    Skidmark Steve

    7 years ago on Step 3

    Could you add more pics explaining the steps please.


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 3

    for which part? or in general? try taking a look at the other transformer instructables from me.. once you build one, they are just variations of each other =)

    Skidmark Steve
    Skidmark Steve

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 3

    It was for the third step at the time I wasnt understanding it but now after slowing down and READING it I understand it. Sorry


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 3

    lol. totally fine. i had to re-read it myself just now. and i was the one who built this thing!