Wednesday, May 22, 2013

War Machine (Iron Man 2)

Costume builds from the Iron Man films have been all of the rage on the internet recently. I myself am a huge fan of the MCU films. But my favorite character even from all the way back in the early 90's was War Machine, and after seeing him appear in Iron Man 2, I knew there was only one thing left to do.

In the middle of 2012, I decided to build a War Machine costume for Dragon*Con 2012. 40 days and a trip to the emergency room later, I came out on top.


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Like so many other Iron Man builders before me, I started out on a great prop and costuming site called TheRPF. The prevailing method for building foam Iron Man armor is to use a program called Pepakura. What this program does is turn any 3D model into a 2D papercraft type project. What the ingenious builders at TheRPF have done is use the 2D designs that Pepakura makes and use them to make templates for your foam armor. The concept takes a little getting used to, and there is more than a little bit of trial and error to making sure the parts are the correct size. But the final product is an incredibly easy to use method for building foam armor costumes.


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Over the next 30 days or so I set about printing the 2D templates, cutting the foam sheet, and gluing everything together with superglue. Some people go with hot glue but I've found that it's very difficult to control where it seeps to. Either method works perfectly fine though. The superglue bond is so strong that you will tear the surrounding foam before you'll tear the glue bond. It's pretty insane.


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After I made the chest piece, I decided my helmet was too large by quite a fair margin and set about to make a new one. The new one fit me much better and was much more proportionate to the rest of the armor.


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8 days before my deadline - Dragon*Con 2012 in Atlanta, GA - I had severe pain in my abdomen and wound up going to the emergency room. It turns out that my appendix was inflamed and in danger of rupturing, so I went in to surgery to have it removed. It went totally fine, the worst part was losing 3 or 4 build days from being in the hospital and being stuck in bed recovering when I only had a few steps left.

Like so many Dragon*Con builds, I managed to finish painting everything the night before and made it to D*C just in time.


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A few months later I went to go visit my friend (the girl Iron Man pictured) and we went to a couple of Halloween costume contests and won first place.


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Then finally I last took the costume out to Momcon 2013, another local Atlanta convention and made quite an impression.


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My current plans are to build the new War Machine armor from Iron Man 3, and take what I've learned with this build to improve upon all of the little minor annoyances. Building the costume gave me interesting insight into the character of Tony Stark himself. I can totally understand the desire to build and modify and upgrade a new armor as soon as you finish your last one.

About Unknown

I am an Atlanta based artist making props, weapons, and armor from my favorite video games and comic books. I am interested in 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC, and all manner of digital fabrication. I am involved in the Atlanta hacker / maker community, doing everything from Arduino art installations to maker education.

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