Gary Sterley's 40k Space Marine





Introduction: Gary Sterley's 40k Space Marine

This is my Warhammer 40k Space Marine Costume. It is a Crimson Fist and was completed just in time for Halloween this year. This is my second ever costume build and I have been working on it since March of 2013.

I have a full build thread located on the RPF forum here: 
an another on Obscurus Crusade here:

And you can find it on facebook here:

This was my first time working in foam and also my first time working on something so large. The costume stands roughly 7ft tall and requires that I walk on stilts. The hardest part of the whole process was probably the Power Fist (the giant left hand). I designed it in google sketch-up and 3D printed all of the digits myself. It is fully articulated and I am extremely proud of it. Designing everything in 3D was a huge hurdle. I am not a 3D modeler. I have been trying to teach myself the software though, and this is the largest and most complicated thing I have ever designed. 

Total cost was roughly $1300 and it took up about 450 hours of fun (aka labor). 

Step 1: You Are Probably Too Short.

Odds are you're not 7ft tall. The completed costume, built to the scale I used, is 7ft tall. You are going to need stilts. I made mine out of PVC, wood and some old shoes.

Step 2: Pepakura Patterns and Foam

The suit is made of foam and uses pepakura patterns First you are going to need pepakura patterns. The ones I used can be found here:

The foam I used can be found here. You will need 6 sheets 1/2" thick foam, measuring 72"x48" each!

Print out the templates, transfer them to the foam and get cutting! Use a SHARP knife. Replace the blade often or sharpen it as you go. Work clean though. A little care now saves you clean up later.

Step 3: Assemble Your Foam!

Now that you have a pile of foam shapes cut out you will need to join the edges together to make your armor. It might be easier to do one piece at a time. You dont want to confuse pieces.

Use a hot glue gun to join the edges.This is going to take some time. I used over 100 sticks of hot glue once it was all said and done.... the big ones too. Refer back to the Pepakura files if you get confused during assembly. 

This is a major step and is going to take a looong time. Dont rush it, work as cleanly as you can. The glue can ooze out a lot if you use too much and will have to be removed later. It takes some time to get the hang of it, but you will get a feel of how much is enough as you go.

Step 4: Reinforce the Armor.

Foam is rather soft and bendable. Not a good thing when you are going to paint a piece. The paint will split if it bends too far. To eliminate the bending and make the armor rigid, I created internal skeletons of PEX tubing inside all of the larger pieces. The skeletons also serve as excellent attachment points for stringing the pieces together.

Step 5: Embellish Like Crazy!

Warhammer Space Marines have ornaments and detail EVERYWHERE. Pick yourself a chapter and start adding icons. When in doubt.... ADD SKULLS. I chose the Crimson Fists. For my details, I used some store bought halloween skulls, 3D printed detail pieces I made at home,  and cut the rest out of foam.

This is also a good time to distress the armor. I added many scratches, gouges and craters. I wanted my armor to look well used! I cut V shaped scratches with a hobby knife and even added some slagg burns with a soldering iron. Have fun with it!

Step 6: Arm Yourself.

Space Marines are going to need some weapons. Apparently, in the grim dark future.... there is only war. I 3D printed myself an animatronic Powerfist (that's a whole tutorial unto itself), and made a bolt pistol out of the same foam as the suit. There are many weapons available though and pepakura templates are widely available for them all. Have fun choosing!

Step 7: PAINT!

Now that everything is built you need to add color. First, you will need to seal all the parts with plasti-dip spray. It's a rubber coating and you will need a lot of it. You cannot spray rattle cans directly onto foam, it will melt the foam. I used around 10 cans of plasti-dip. It seals and protects the foam.

After the plasti-dip is dry, rattle cans are used to apply the desired colors. I used two shades of blue to add depth. A dark base coat and I highlighted the edges with the lighter shade. I then airbrushed all the recesses, seams and scratches with black and drybrushed silver where the armor was scratched or worn (mostly along the edges).  

Step 8: Go Out and Enjoy Your Amazing Space Marine Costume

Suit up! I took my completed suit out for the first time on Halloween this year and it was a huge hit. The kids LOVED it. I also had a chance to take some photos that look like they are from a grim, dark future.... Thanks to a demolition project down the street.  FOR THE EMPEROR! 

Recent Video:

For FULL build details of my costume please follow this link!
the RPF
or the Obscurus Crusade

You can also find loads more pics on my Facebook at:
Stop by and give me a Like :)

Halloween Costume Contest

Third Prize in the
Halloween Costume Contest



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    117 Discussions

    Gary, What changes, if any, would you make to the stilts today if you were remaking them?

    I think there´s some serious problems with the geneseed of this space
    marine cosplayers, seems everyone is born with midget arms.

    Bad-Ass! :)


    1 year ago

    Hey Gary! Your build inspired me to start building my own costume (

    ). Great work.

    that is some serious talent !

    How tall Are you?

    Firstly, amazing work! Secondly, do you have a template file for the 3D printing you did? Loking for the brackets for the feet/leg section.

    i am too short, i'm like 5'6". but that is so cool!! how long did it take??? i do know that that is not any space marine armor; that is the imperium space armor from the titan comics.

    1 reply

    it's mark 7 aquila armor which is some of the most common Space Marine Power armor. he has painted it with the paint scheme of a chapter called Crimson fists

    How much did this project cost in the end

    could you use standard eva foam mats or is that to small

    I love it. I know I'm a bit late to the party but what kind of pvc is that? Ive looked around but cant find anything about how strong it is.

    1 reply

    At the first Step there is a Link for the Material

    Thats the best Tutorial so Far, and I will use half of the Points here for my self, because I will use another Material with the Foam together, but this Tutorial will Help me a lot with my own Project, Thank you for your wonderfull and Inspiring Work.

    I know this is a bit of an older posting, but really want to say thanks for all the tips and step by steps. Started to work on my own, doing Space Wolves, using very similar methods to yours. Had a few suggestions from friends, such as using fiberglass cloth and drywall stilts (they have articulated bottoms). In any case, thanks for all this, and hope mine can be even half as good as yours!