Iron Man Costume.

Introduction: Iron Man Costume.

About: im an avid cosplayer, who works in cardboard, paper mache, foam, resin, fibreglass, electronics and plastic pipes. im a gas fitter by trade and can fix any boiler, fire or appliance and i occasionally creat...

here i am going to be showing step by step guides on how to build and tech up an iron man costume, its a work in progress and will be added to each week. The reason ive added it now is if i dont start an instructable now ill likely forget to take progress pics.
the matirials are varied and relatively inexpensive wherever possible, some progress pics are missing due to writing an ible 3 weeks in to working on it.

mostly made with eva foam (foam camping mats)
hot glue gun
sharp stanley knife 
various spray paints
small battery operated under cuboard circular lights
safety glasses lights for  the helmet
rubber work boots
extreme sports knee pads.
whatever i find along the way
please be patient as this will be finished at the latest by september. but hopefully sooner.

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Step 1: Body

the most important parts for me were the helmet and chest, because if these parts look stupid then it doesnt matter how good the rest is.
the main chest was made using eva foam camping mats that cost around £2.99 at most discount stores.

the chest front
the process was to create the upper chest that houses the arc reactor and mount it over a longer piece of foam that encompasses the whole body from shoulder to groin.  then another upper chest piece was cut from the first and went on top of the other. this gives a depth and durability.

these pieces were glued together with a hot glue gun.

then definition was added to the abdomen area with a large piece cut with a U shape giving a 6 pack area.
a few pieces of foam were cut out to give detailing and added were it needed something to build it up.

i had no templates but looked at different versions of iron man for guidence and this was mostly trial and error.

using a sharp stanley knife i cut a hole for the ark, leaving the inner layer (of the three) of foam to mount the light later. I also added the sausage shaped slits either side of the central circle, based on one of the movie suits.

i made a very plate armour style collar from scraps of foam and attatched it with more hot glue.

the back
the back and front were initially from one piece of camping mat that draped like a tabbard, this proved very weak and required strengthening up, so i cut them at the shoulder and added extra foam to reinforce.

the back and front are now attatched with a strip of red nylon belt on each shoulder.

the back, as can be seen, is made with pieces of foam that are cut to look like shoulder blades and a spinal design, with other components added to it. again trial and error.

once finished with the foam work i tried it on for size and sealed the foam with pva glue to aid in painting later.
then after the first coat of paint i decided to add belt clips either side of the waist and under the arms (4 in total), this was done with a hot glue gun.

as an after thought to reinforce the front torso and hold its shape i used a makeshift body manaquin and added fibreglass and resin, this was done to the front only, to shape around the waist better.

ive now dremmel sanded and resprayed the body armour that was fibre glassed using an all purpose bright red "easy spray" paint. it looks better on the back section now

update 19-6-12
im now making a miniture version for my son so you can see the raw unpainted one, see last pics.

Step 2: Helmet 1 (foam)

Im not gonna lie, this was the hardest thing to create, and i often thought of buying a hasbro one and modifying it.

basically eva foam pieces plus trial and error equals my first helmet.

you can get templates from pepakura sites, but since i dont have the software and my cpu runs slow enough without added programs i made my own from pics on the net and some great stuff on this site helped.

UPDATE ------------------after creating one from foam and ruining it i found a seller on ebay offering un-finished cast helmets at a price i liked (£35 is way better than £100+)  

so basically i copped out and bought one.
its not cheating if the one you recieved looked like crap and took 3 hours sanding, drilling and polishing to get it looking half decent, seriousley this helmet was a mess and had no room to fit your head in, it was made from a mold that leaked and had to much resin poured onto the inside, for a while i was worried my head wouldnt fit,

A nifty tip i learned from trying different matirials for the helmet lining.....foam pipe covering sliced in half and cut to shape then glued in.

Also im making the foam one better for my sons costume.

UPDATE 14-6-12
This is now helmet 1 step as im currently working on the foam one while my friend takes a silicon cast of the resin one.
just finished repairing the damage to the face area with fresh foam
 and adding more accurate ears cut from foam
have sprayed the red area

update 19-6-12

Done a full repaint and my son loves it, im now working on a mini iron man costume using the same process.

Step 3: Helmet 2 (cast)

not started this yet except for the prep work and sanding/filling etc for recasting so theres more room inside the helmet.

update, 23-6-12
just got my helmet back from a friend who was taking a latex cast of it, unfortunately it had warped because of his heatgun drying the latex and the blocky plaster casts added weight. if this ever happens to a rotocasted helmet by the way, you can easily reshape it in a sink basin filled with hot water and good old fashioned elbow grease.

the first thing i did was to clean and sand the helmet

next i used car body filler to correct any impurities or air bubbles etc,

i used a thin coat of grey primer and waited for it to dry.

more soon

then i sprayed the face area gold and allowed it to dry

next i masked the face area off taking care to leave no exposed areas.

then a bright coat of red car spay, still drying.

update- 23-06-12
after my update during the earlier hours of the morning i fished the helmet.

after the red coat was dry i peeled back the masking tape and set about giving it some detailing, I scanned the net for tips in giving it a wash, aging etc. someone really needs to do an ible on this, i found loads of examples and showcasing in pics and videos........which is great, except i wanted a walkthrough or some tips on making a wash and applying.

so what i did was mix some acrylics and water to create a black for the cheek areas, then topped up with burnt umber and brown for the general lines and divot holes. i spent 2 hours on this with a cocktail stick slowly applying to ridges and lines.....there must be an easier way, any time i made a mistake i used a dry cloth to rub gently and slowly the helmet lines were done and the mistakes added a weathering effect after rubbing and patting. I think it worked so well for weathering because it was random rather than planned. later today im applying a laquer to it to protect from little greasy fingers (my son keeps trying to get it).

earlier today i added the eye lights which is covered in electronics.

Step 4: Now for Some Electronics

Basic stuff here with no modding or soldering, under cuboard light that is battery operated. glued to each guantlet, im happy for now but they are a little bulky. The great thing is they push on and off with the flik of a finger. they were glued into postion and luckily have a twist plate for changing batterys.

Reasonably basic if you can solder. its a camping light thats similar to the above under unit light, battery operated with a push button on the side, i opened the whole thing up and removed the switch, then i added a long wire to the circuit board and battery pack with my soldering iron, and added a sturdier switch to break the circuit. i sliced a section of foam and fibreglass from the chest armour and mounted the arc light there with hot glue, the wiring runs on the inside of the front armour with the battery pack and swicth on the hip (where its accessible). one thing i did to the light to dim it down was to add a paper circle with crome tape details, the paper was standard photo paper.

UPDATE 19-6-12
Just redone the arc reactor using a chrome kit car wheel for details in the arc, i took the light apart and used a hacksaw to cut down the wheel, inserted and now it looks awesome. 

EYES, what i did here rather than creating my own wiring circuits was to seek out small lights, i found them on a set of safety goggles for working in dark areas, under cars etc. i removed them from the goggles and set aside safely. the reflective strips were made of pieces cut from a plastic milk bottle, i used hot glue to attatchto the top eye ridge covering half way down the eye to keep visibilty, the small lights were fitted pointing down with the switches facing into the helmet. i added some silver tape to the inside of milk bottle strips to prevent glare inside the helmet and then covered the led alowing the light to pass onto the strips only, this was trial and error to get the best lit eyes that didnt impede vision.



these were made from foam and have a very ROBOCOP look to them, the legs started as single sheets cut and glued, then built up details with foam pieces mirrored on each hip and thigh front.

update 19-12-12
ive now used pva to seal the foam and hope to paint tommorrow
more soon

update 23-6-12
ive used automotive paints for the red and metalic gold "hammered metel effect" gloss paint for the gold areas and they look ok, not as cool as some ive seen but since this is my own take on a movie esc ironman im happy. hope to get pics up soon of trying them on.


first of all i made eva foam boot covers but after trying out durabilty i realised that they would wear easily and not last a substantial session of wear.

plan B--- wellie boots with details built in, these were from a DIY store
 they are sprayed with automotive paints in bright red and look good with the whole get up.

update 14-6-12
just added some gold detailing to the boots, used pre-existant shapes on the boots to give it the iron man workover.


guantlets with repulsers

the tech is simple and covered in step 3.

this was the easiest bit and negated the need for fancey gloves.

basically a pair of knee pads that go in work trousers were chopped up to the size of the back of the hand
then cut a piece of foam to the size of your palm with a little extra 
glue both pieces together, making sure the foam piece fits inside the knee pad
then cut a thumb hole into the foam and try on.

add the repulser

paint up



basically i made foam ones in the first week of creating stuuf for this build.
i hated them
so i deided to use a set of shinpads i sanded down the manufacturers imprinpt with a dremmel and sprayed up, they look ok.

update 19-06-12

wasnt happy with the forearm shinpads as they only covered the back and deciced to cut of the velco straps and pad out with foam segments and a hot glue gun, this was mostly trial and error with no templates.. have sealed the foam with pva and will paint soon.


so far im only in the experimental phase of this, as you can see ive only tested an extreme sports plate armour knee pad and havnt decided where to go with it yet.
i did build some large plastic shoulder pads but the overall effect and practibility were less than promising.
updates soon to follow

UPDATE 24- 6- 12 just found what i may be looking for on a bidding site, ex riot gear armour for shoulder and upper arm.

Step 9: KNECK

not sure how this will look yet
but im thinking pvc matirial collar with a zip on the back.

update 24-6-12 decided to go with a carting ballaclava which covers the neck, waiting for delivery to try out.
update, pics on





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