A few of you have asked how Steve made our son’s costume from the movie Pacific Rim – I asked him to write down an overview of the process.
Disclaimer 1 – he’s not a newbie. He’s been making costumes for a few years now and while some of the techniques were new to him, he’s always been good at putting things together. There is no way I could make something like this. I can sew and knit and make jewelry, but I’ve never made stuff like this.
Disclaimer 2 – he’ll be traveling for work in the upcoming days and won’t be available for any further or more detailed explanation. There are a lot of good tutorials on YouTube for building armor like this out of foam, and some cosplayers are very good at sharing their techniques as well.
Here it goes:
I started the build using a program called pepakura that ‘unwraps’ 3D images into their component sections. There is an artist on http://www.therpf.com which is the Replica Props Forum – a home for cosplay and movie prop reproductions. He ‘built’ the model for Gypsy Danger and I used this to print out the helmet. I printed it on cardstock and assembly was pretty easy with hot glue.
Once I had a basic shape and size for the helmet, I then used EVA foam mats which are the anti-fatigue floor mats that you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes or other home-improvement stores. If you find these on sale, STOCK UP! They aren’t cheap and you will go through them… I cut the foam mats into parts and bits and used hot glue to bond them. Almost all of this was done by eye. I wasn’t going for an EXACT duplicate of the movie, but a close approximation.
Here is someone that did a complete screen-accurate build – http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=191528&p=3267895&viewfull=1#post3267895
I followed many of the online tutorials for cosplay armor of Master Chef (Halo), Iron Man, and a few others. The real key is using a heat gun (not a blow dryer or embossing tool but the actual ~$30 one you buy at the hardware store) to heat mold parts into curves.
For the lights, I bought some very cheap book-lights from a Dollar Store. I glued these in place with hot-glue.
I sealed the foam with a glue wash (50% white glue / 50% water) for some sections and spray rubber (FlexiSeal or equivalent) for other spots that I needed to cover some bad seams with filler. Then I painted the entire thing in a base coat of exterior latex paint. This gives the armor a consistent and smooth coating. Over that, I used auto-body spray paint that had a slight metallic reflection. The movie Gypsy Danger was more of a naval battleship blue, but my son wanted it more metallic.
The visor was a bit of yellow plastic sheeting from the old-school notebook dividers that one uses in primary school – Like these – http://www.staples-3p.com/s7/is/image/Staples/s0204755_sc7?$splssku$
Under the entire suit, he wore a black turtleneck and black stretchpants that I picked up at the sporting goods store. While I was there, I spotted some Lacrosse gloves that were close to Gypsy Danger’s gauntlets, so I grabbed them (most expensive part of this build) and painted them the same way as the rest of the costume.
Also for the chest, I used an old CPU fan and powered it with a 9V battery so it would spin. 🙂
The build took me about 50 hours over the course of 2 weeks and I didn’t finish until the Halloween Morning. But I was learning through trial and error and that cost me a lot of time.
All the best!!!