Train2Game student Sheldon Gilman has made it his mission to create the ultimate Iron Man suit. He also has plans to create more suits from the popular Iron Man series of films.
He’s recording his journey in creating these wonderful creations via the Train2Game blog. Posting updates on his own creations while giving advice to other aspiring costume makers.
In this latest entry to his blog, he discusses software used to create his design, mould creation and some of the setbacks he has encountered.
Sheldon Gilman: “Files to create an Iron Man suit are all available through various forums like The 405th and the RPF Forum, and even through Facebook groups. However, you need to be familiar with a program called Pepakura to access these files. Pepakura is a paper modelling program. Essentially, it will take a 3d file and lay it out flat on an A4 sheet for you to cut out and glue together. It is much like the UVW unfold feature in 3DS Max (if you are familiar with that), with the added function of being able to print what you have unfolded. Below are pictures of the helmet I designed in 3DS Max, then imported and unfolded in Pepakura.”
3DS Max 2013
Pepakura Designer 3
“On my first attempt, I made the helmet out of foam. My thinking was to cover the helmet in latex rubber, then plaster to make a reusable mould. There are some great tutorials on how to do this process on YouTube. However, my first attempt turned out to be quite costly and failed spectacularly.”
“The mould was flaky and crumbling when it was handled, when I put fibreglass on the inside of the mould there were huge air bubbles, and the latex mould was too thin, which meant that whenever I added fibreglass to the inside, it kept collapsing in on itself. Worse yet, even though I was doing it outside, the smell was quite potent and lingered for about a day or two, which wasn’t good around my one year old daughter. Due to all of that, that idea was abandoned for the next method, and I went down the cardstock route.”
“This process involves printing the parts out from Pepakura onto cardstock, cutting them out with a craft knife, and glueing them together. While this at time was mind-numbingly boring, with all of those teeny tiny intricate pieces, overall, it is great fun seeing your work slowly come to life.”
“Next, the part will need to be covered with fibreglass resin both inside and out. This gives the part more rigidity. Then, the fibreglass can be added to the inside. Bondo or car body filler is applied to the outside to fill in any imperfections, and then sanded down to make it smooth. Primer is applied and, lastly, paint.”
“If you would like a more in-depth tutorial on how to do this process, please take a look at Boochieboy’s youtube channel. Evil Ted Smith also has some useful videos on how to build costumes using foam.”
“I am now making the parts out of 160g card stock. Many people wonder, “why not just make it out of normal printer paper?” That would be a big no no! For this process to succeed, the parts need to be made from card stock as it is thicker and can absorb fibreglass resin with minimal warpage.”
Iron Man Mk20 Chest and Back
War Machine Chest and Back
Iron Man Mk20 Helmet
War Machine Helmet
“As I mentioned, the parts will need to be covered both inside and out in fibreglass resin. This helps make it more rigid before applying the fibreglass. Once all the fibreglass is on, the part will be rock hard.”
“If you have never worked with fibreglass resin before, it comes in two parts: the resin and the hardener. Once the hardener is added to the resin, you have a very short window of opportunity to apply it to your project; roughly three to five mins depending on if you’ve mixed it right.”
“An unfortunate drawback to this method is once you’ve used a paintbrush, it can never be used again as the resin will solidify within a matter of minutes and make the brush rock solid, and there is no way I know of to clean a brush off so this means I have to buy paintbrushes in bulk. However, it’s not too bad as I get about twenty-four 12mm brushes for about £6 from eBay.”
Further details of Sheldon’s project will follow on the Train2Game blog.