This is how you can make yourself the gladiator loadout that Thor is rocking in his new movie. This build took me several weeks of on-and-off building, maneuvering around school and getting enough materials. The helmet, most of the shield and the swords are from Odin Makes tutorials, but the rest of the armor I had to design myself. This is my first proper cosplay outfit, so I copied a number of techniques from the other DIYers on this site and others.
This will consist of a helmet, a vest and 'tunic', a hammer/mace, a shield, 2 swords, 2 daggers and their harness, two different bracers, a shoulder pad, a shin guard, and a lot of time.
There are more pictures out there, but the party ones aren't posted anywhere yet, so I had to get these 2 days before the Halloween contest ended.
Step 1: Planning
I got the helmet solely from this Odin Makes tutorial, the templates and their instructions are in his description, his work is fantastic.
The vest was designed from screenshots of the outfit from trailers and pictures of for-sale costumes. I cropped out the vest and drew colored lines on it so I could get the shapes of the vest. Then I traced over it with lined paper and spent some time tracing out the front, back, and additional details. Scanned it and expanded it and printed it and used those. I also made the vest out of cardboard so I didn't waste precious foam seeing what actually worked.
The mace, swords and shield were referenced from the trailers and other pics. The shield and swords were made using Odin's techniques, but I had to add my own steps. The shoulder pad had a sprinkle of Evil Ted Smith, the techniques for the bracers were fromrainingfiction's gauntlet Instructable,
This took me 50+ hours to make, working a few hours a day for most of October.
Step 2: Materials
15+ 12" by 18" sheets of 2mm foam: You'll need this for his vest, tunic, bracers, and some detailing. These are 99¢ each at Michaels (in the brick and mortar store, you could order online).
A pack of 6 EVA mats. 3/8" or similar sizes would work. You need these for the shield, mace, swords, shoulder pad and a bit for the vest. Always use fresh blades for these, or your cuts will mess up.
Cardboard. This is primarily for planning things. The foam mats came in a nice, big, flat box, I used it for this.
Brown felt fabric. This is for the loincloth thingy that goes with the tunic. I got a little square for like 34¢ at Michaels.
Black Pants. Black relaxed fit Jeans are perfect.
Hot glue or another adhesive. You'll want a lot, I got a pack of 100 long, high-temp sticks from eBay for 20 bucks well before this project, they haven't let me down.
Heat gun for sealing and curving foam.
Utility knife or something for all that slicer-dicey. A pack of extra blades is paramount for really clean cuts, i found a pack of like 100 for less than $15.
Paint: Black Spray Paint, Primer (I had grey automotive primer), Silver spray paint, red, blue, black and yellow acrylic paint (don't screw around with washables and stuff, I wasted alot of time on the mace that way).
A Dremel. Whiiiiiir Whiiiiiiir.
A wood burning iron (I used a cheap one for walmart with no tip for widening grooves, cleaning small edges, and making the 'rivets'. It will burn through foam very fast, play around with scrap pieces before working on the project.
Over 5 feet of 1" and 2 feet of 2" PVC Pipe for his new mace and for the sword handles.
3 belts for the belts. One was my normal belt and wasn't cut, but the other two were old ones I couldn't wear anymore.
60" by 58" of red four-way stretch spandex. This was the size amazon had for $8 bucks, I used less than half of it for the cape.
Nylon Webbing and Buckles of matching sizes. I used 1" webbing and buckles. Get lots of each, they are really handy.
Thumbtacks, these are really handy for holding templates onto foam while you are tracing them out. I kept twenty stuck in a bit of foam to keep them on hand (and not in my hand).
Paper, Rulers, Sharpies and Stuff for making and drawing templates. Paper plates make good pallets.
Duct Tape. This comes in handy for stuff and for the prototypes.
A Dowel Rod for the shield. Mine was like 3' long.
Arrows. Check to see if your childhood bow in the attic has any. Light metal ones are preferable over the plastic/carbon fiber ones, which splinter when you cut them. Odin used carbon fiber golf clubs, but I wanted mine to be really light.
This build cost quite a bit because I had to get many of the materials for the first time.
Step 3: A Mighty Helm
Odin Abbot, a prop maker person does really cool stuff and happened to make this exact thing. My helmet is not nearly as good as his but it does the trick. I used his designs and instructions to make mine. My wings do not articulate and I made mine with 2mm and double layered the sides and center of the helmet instead of using 5mm foam like he did. You should probably use 4 or 5mm, 2mm might be too flimsy for a really good helmet. Follow his instructions for sizing up the templates.
I used white+black=grey acrylic for the base coat, then I mixed some teal and a tiny bit of black acrylic. Keep the pallet you use for this blue: you want the same blue on the rest of the costume.
After a few coats, I added some squiggles on the right side of the helmet (all the symbols are on Thor's shield side, so my left while wearing it. If you are a lefty, you should probably reverse these symbols). My symbols are random, their aesthetic is mimicked from reference pics.
Step 4: Vest
I am not experienced with armor building or measuring myself, so I made this out or cardboard before I started using up my foam. This part is very useful if you are a noob (like me) or just want to get a feel for the vest before making it.
I drew some templates for it based on the pictures and tracing over a cropped pic of a for sale costume. I took this drawing, scanned it, and started copying and cropping pieces of the costume so I could print each one on its own template. I had to print them bigger than I drew (i drew them at about 1:3 scale), so ended up at 135% for most of the pieces (play around with this number). I cut out the templates from the paper, tacked them onto cardboard, traced and cut.
I duct-taped the pieces together at the back, forming a plate big enough to cover my front. I actually used a collapsible laundry hamper to estimate the size of my back, 14" by 22". I cut out a piece of cardboard that big and started cutting bits off the sides and top to get the shape more accurate. I just looked back and forth at the picture of the back. I half cut into the cardboard along lines I drew to get it to bend naturally. I held on the front and back (with great difficulty) and had my brother find the distance between them at my sides (5" bottom and 4" top). I cut out two pieces of cardboard with the same edge as the front to be the sides. They are actually positioned a few inches below the bottom rim of the back 'plate' to make it the right size. I duct taped these on. This makes a wearable 'tube'. Re-enforce with tape. I cut off the tape holding the side part on one side and replaced it with buckles and webbing so I could get it on and off.
Whew, that was alot.
Now that this vest is done, we need it in foam. Use the paper pieces and, keeping in mind your data from the cardboard suit, cut them out. Lay the back and front pieces on top of a sheet of 12x18. This is for rigidity and because 2mm won't do it alone, the extra layer really helps. Center them up and start gluing them on. Repeat with the back.
After this, cut out the side pieces and attach with nylon webbing. On one side of the costume, install buckles on the inside so they are hidden. Make sure you have two sheets here for durability.
For the shoulder pads, cut out two rectangular pieces 8"x2" and cut one end into a semicircle. Glue this to the back so they can come over and attach to the front. I added a few more sheets to give the pads more mad, with the right (while wearing) shoulder pad extended out as in the picture. Poke a hole through it in the middle of the 'cricle', this is where the paracord will go through. Glue a set of buckles just below the waist inside the costume, tie the paracord to the buckles, and then make a big knot at the other end of the paracord. When buckled, this will keep the shoulder pads down nice and tight.
Turn up your heat gun and seal it all.
Paint over this is with black acrylic. Then take some red and paint on a squiggly line down the right side (left side if you were wearing it). Then add some shapes to it. SQUIGGLES.
Also, cut out 2 circles of 2mm foam, I used the inside of a roll of duct tape for a template. Use the heat gun to give them a slight dome shape. Seal and paint yellow. Then glue them on top of the shoulder pads to conceal the knot.
Step 5: Thor's Mighty Shield
I used the Odin Makes Tutorial for the shield itself, but had to throw in my own twist. Mr. T's shield has some pieces that jut out for extra protection of one's Asgardian face and lower body, so I had to make those pieces. I used two pieces on top: one was about 18" long that curved around the circle in the middle (i used a paper plate for the size) and the other was maybe 3" wide and 1 or 2 inches longer than that first piece was wide. This second was was dremel-ed and cut to fit on the rim of the shield and stick straight out, with the first piece onto of it.
The bottom guard was made of four pieces and a few scraps on top. You can see the measurements in the picture on their respective bit of cardboard, the longest is 18". Trace them out and cut them out. Glue them together to form a wide panel, with the bigger side piece on the right and the smaller on the left (when looking at the shield from the front).
In order to keep the shield from flopping, I glued some loops of nylon webbing on at a few spots and slid a dowel rod through them. A lot of good a flimsy shield would have been here. Blocks of scrap foam at the ends keep it in, I'll put the rod permanently in place when I'm done with other structural pieces.
For the handle, I just took a bit of foam from a scrap piece and glued it into the side where I felt a handle would be comfortable. Add a loop of nylon webbing with a block of foam on it for superior grip. I also made another strap in the middle and connected it to buckles so I can adjust around the bracers later. A third strap will go in, but do it after you've got the bracers done so it's the right size. You could also make this last strap out of elastic, I did add a bit of the stuff inside my third strap.
I freehanded the symbols in the middle and scanned them so you guys can make them easily.
I made the grooves and lines with the small sanding bit on the dremel. Trace some out with a pencil beforehand. I just looked at pics to get the jist right, then grooved them and widened and smoothed them out with a wood burning iron.
I used some caulk and a putty knife to smooth out any gaps or sloppy seams. Don't leave a ton of this stuff on except in the seams, it paints differently than foam.
Spray this with automotive primer. Then spray paint it silver. Then trace out some stuff with a pencil and paint a few coats with some red. Add blue to the symbols in the middle and to a few spots elsewhere. No squiggly-ez here.
Step 6: The Mace
*Thor Throws Hammer*
*Hela Catchers Hammer*
*Hela Breaks Hammer*
This mace replaces Myu-Myuh after it gets hammered by Emo Galadriel. Take your 1" PVC pipe and your 2" PVC pipe. Put the 2" over the 1" and then stick foam bits between them to temporarily hold them against each other. This mace feels quite unbalanced, so I took 3 concrete anchor bolts and stuffed them in the bottom. Stamp the hilt on the floor (a garage floor, not a kitchen floor (or your dad turns into Odin)) to get them in (unlike the OG Mjolnir, this won't summon a thunderstorm). It's cool if these bolts stick out, the bottom is getting a pommel later anyways.
Next, get four equally sized foam strips about a foot long. These go on the sides of the mace to make the edges.
Use a short section of thin-walled PVC for the pommel and cut a circular piece of foam with the 1" hole saw to go inside.
To hold the 2" around the 1" pipe, take four long scraps of foam and, one at a time, put hot glue on one side and put them on the inside of the 2" pipe. Put in all 4, then put in the 1". It should be a very tight fit. Do NOT shove it all the way through, just a little bit of space from the top. Add a bit of hot glue to some scraps stuffed between the 4 strips to hold this on for good.
Draw out a circle of foam using the 2" pipe as a guide. Cut out this circle and smooth out the edges so it has the same diameter as the pipe. Put this on a bit of foam and glue this into the top of the mace so it has a 'cap' on the end.
Spray it down with black spray paint. It paints onto PVC well, I didn't need primer. After it dries paint the flanges of the mace and at the beginning and end of the shaft with red acrylic. DO NOT use thin paints on this or they will not show up against the black. I wasted a lot of time here using water based washable paint. This will still take a while, so do a few coats and while they dry, watch the older movies to get some quotes. It also took me a while because I did crappy paint jobs with other paints before finally using the small amount of acrylic I had left.
After painting, I wrapped paracord around the handle. You'll need a good deal. At the top where I hold it, I laid vertical lines of hot glue to hold it in place, while on the rest of the handle I just glued the ends. This is because you hold the mace up high because...
Step 7: The Swords
To make the swords, I borrowed a few tactics from Odin again. Design a template for the sword and keep it on hand. Then make the swords his way, being mindful of how much you'll have to cut off. I did not have golf clubs on hand, so I used old metal arrows, the cheap kind. These are light and small (but they are metal, I don't know if that makes them a problem at comic con. Then make the template and cut it out. When working with 1/2" foam, you NEED to use fresh blades or you will not make clean cuts. This does not seem necessary with 2mm foam, cardboard, and similarly thin materials. (Go and finish gluing the sword halves to the arrow before adding a handle and sanding). After you've cut out the swords, sand down the edges. I made mine with the texture inside because I only had a bench grinder. I used it to make the edges instead of a dremel so I could see the 'big picture'. Next, you'll want to look at photos of the swords and using a small dremel bit, drill some angular lines into the sides. Mine were relatively random, you can do whatever lines you want.
For the cross-guard, just take two sandwiched pieces of foam and glue them along the arrow shaft (which you left sticking out of the sword several inches). Paint red.
Cut out some small squares that fit snuggly inside PVC pipe. Get 8" of pipe and glue the two squares in (make sure they have holes through them. Then stick the handle onto the shaft by pumping some hot glue in the holes and on the top end of the pipe where it meets the cross guard. After it is assembled, paint the handle yellow, if you have it, gold. I added a circle of foam to the bottom of the handle for more dimension and to hide the hole. I didn't bother painting this cap.
Next, take some teal and a tiny bit of black and mix them with a drop or two of water until you have a color that matches the helmet's color. Paint the swords and don't forget to get inside the grooves. Find some red and yellow and go over the cross guard and handle, respectively. I took my silver spray paint and sprayed a bit onto a paper plate and dry-brushed some silver onto the edge and in the grooves. And done here.
Step 8: Shoulder Pad, Bracers, and Tunic
The shoulder pad wasn't very hard. I found a free dome template from Evil Ted Smith for the top of the guard. I made it from 1/2" foam. Then I cut a rectangle as long as the edge of the quarter-dome and glued it to the bottom. I then shaped both pieces to a comfortable shape and cut off the excess. Add 2 bands of nylon webbing to keep them in that semi-circle shape. I used the heat gut to flare out the edges where they meet. Paint it with teal and a bit of black, try and match to the swords and helmet. Red squigglies. I actually was initially making this whole arm's armor from half inch foam but it was too thick. I however decided to keep a piece. You can get another rectangle of foam to match your other rectangle, heat it and curve it. I also sliced off the edges of this bottom piece some it wasn't a boring shape. Paint this too (if you want to add it to the shoulder pad.).
For the bracers, I just looked at some pictures, traced and cut. I then painted them with black acrylic and painted on some squiggles with red.
Then tunic is just 2 sheets of foam glued to an old belt. The belt was too short, so I glued on some buckles and webbing so it was long enough. I then gave the sheets a diagonal cut at the right spot and lightly scratched in some lines with my knife. Paint with black acrylic and paint squiggles.
Step 9: The Cape
While this is usually the case, our character is the god of thunder and not limited by such trivial problems.
I took a large leather belt from a thrift store and cut it and glued it so it hung around my body as you see in the pictures. Be sure to give room for it to go on top of the armor. I had to cut mine in half lengthwise then took of another foot of length. Don't focus on a super clean cut, this isn't a new cape. I fiddled around with the vest until I found out how it should go on. Thumbtacks help. I then poked a hole through a few layers of the spandex so I could run a cord through it. The cord goes through the bandoleer. This is the same cord that it holding down your shoulder straps. I hot glued buckles to the end of the belt and at a spot along the cape and secured them to the back. This makes the costume easier to take off.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
I used red fabric paint on the pants. Apply a nice globy line then brush it relatively smooth.
I could not for the life of me figure out how to mount the irregularly shaped swords on my back so I just put them at the belt. I made a loop that could fit around my belt snuggly, then got a long strip of webbing with buckles on the end long enough but short enough that it held the swords on snuggly but were still easy to buckle back up.
I had some mock-leather twine stuff that I wrapped around my ankle outside the pants. Not necessary.
Some red faceprint should be used to make the stripes. Clean, sharp lines are best even if they look thick and heavy, it's better than wobbly, blurry lines. Play around with this paint before you put it on your face and go somewhere.
Step 11: Done. Now Show Off.
Whew! After a good month and 50+ hours, this is finally done.
I wouldn't wear this to a con, my skill level and materials I used did not make one that can really hold up to the good stuff. However, this was a fantastic learning experience for me, and I still had fun wearing it. I am taking this entire build as practice, and I am going to use this shiny new xp in future works.
If you enjoyed it, please vote for it in the contests :)