The Unofficial Warhammer 40k Costume and Prop Archive
Materials: "It cost about £400 for all the bits (paint, fibreglass, plywood, plastic and numerous fittings etc.) It has taken about 160 hours so far. I have a fairly well equipped workshop - but only standard power tools, pillar drill, dremmell etc. How easy is it to make? Depends how much patience you have! overall it's not that complicated - the powerfist is probably the most difficult bit.
The procedure is wooden frame, wire mesh and then tape the outside. The tape is simply to provide a base for the fibreglass resin and mat. Fibreglass mat is added to the outside only. It drys to form a rock hard surface which I then fill will car body filler and sand to get a smooth surface for painting. the hard surface makes it look realistic, plus you can drill and attach fixings to it without it breaking. Inside you can still see the wire and tape, but it shouldn't be visible from the outside from anywhere. It is important to add as little weight as possible as the finished article is heavy.
For the new shoulder pieces I am making I have used 6mm ply instead of 12mm. This makes a massive difference, but is harder to work with and only becomes strong when wired and fibreglass.
The door provides access in order to strap the foot and the leg into the unit. The leg needs to be firmly anchored in for stability, the door allows (someone else) to secure the velcro straps around the heel and leg.
In order to fibreglass the toe and back part I removed the spring from the rear. When re-assembling drill a hole large enough for a screwdriver in the top of the rear shoe piece to re-attach the spring. I then plugged this hole with a small plastic cap. The non slip sole and tyre tread were the very last things added.
I have had several questions on how the Helmet was made. Here is how. I used an optimus prime voice changing helmet and used this as a base. There are loads of different ones around many of them suitable. They are ideal as they are screwed together so you can take off what you dont need. For the space marine conversion I had to cut off some pieces and add plastic to the back. I made the nose cone from a piece of ply and then wrapped plastic around this. The two ear pieces are tupperware boxes connected to the nose piece by two plastic pipes. I then filled all the gaps with expanding foam and then filled with car filler and sprayed it. It still has the voice changing ability!
The sizing was a real trial and error affair. As i started with a ply skeleton it was easy to try it on and see how it fitted before the fibreglass was added. I would recommend you sketch it first that helped. I added about 3 inches height on the feet. You could add more I guess tho may start to look out of proportion. The suit despite its weight moves really well the new huge shoulders restrict upward movement, but its not too bad. The legs work really well - but take some getting used to. I built my straight which means they rub on the inside of the knee - If i was doing it again i would build them with a slight inward camber.
For the main strength pieces I used 12mm ply. When I rebuilt the shoulders I used a mix of 6mm for the less structural pieces and 12 for the rest. It was much lighter this way. If starting from scratch i would do this for each piece of the suit.
I started with the foot and chopped up an old pair of sandals which would secure the foot into the shoe. All of the fabrication consisted of a plywood skeleton, to which wire mesh was then stapled. The mesh was then covered with Duct tape and finally fibreglassed, filled and sanded. The finishing touches are then added before the whole assembly is undercoated and then sprayed.
The footprint would have been too large, so the toe was made separate and pivoted in the same position as the ball of the foot would. The mechanism was then sprung loaded to make sure it returned to its orginal position. All other pivots (ankle and knee) were simply a M12 bolt resting in a copper tube. A door was added to enable access to secure the leg and for re-assembling after the fibreglass was added. An old football shin pad is positioned within the shin to hold the assembly firmly to the leg. The final shoe has a mountain bike tyre as tread around the edge of the shoe and non-slip rubber as a sole. After wearing - I added a plastic heel guard from a pair of in-line skates to make it more comfortable!
The belt was a fairly easy piece. Two identical halves hinged at the front. The swinging hinge was covered by the hinged buckle, which also covered the hinged groin protector. The most difficult thing with any costume is making it wearable and functional.
This was always going to be one of the more complicated pieces. It would be made in the same way as the legs - plywood frame, wire mesh then fibreglassed, but the shape was more difficult to get right. There are hinged doors with a sprung bolt on either side to allow me to get into it. The back has a slot for the Jetpack to fit into and an old rucksack frame has gone inside to provide a comfortable fit. The eagle was done in plasticine and then fibreglassed over.
The jet pack was fairly simple as it didn't have to function or fit ergonoimcally. The finished pack contains two compartments which allow access to the drinking system (one for water, and one for beer). There was also room for the helmet electronics which will be a later addition.
The arms were built in the same way as the rest of the suit - plywood skeleton, but covered in plastic rather than fibreglass, as they were simple tubes. Anywhere I could save weight would be a bonus. The elbow is a plumbing ball valve float and it is sprung loaded to keep it central when bending the arm. Left vambrace was cut short to allow for the powerfist.
The shoulders always posed a problem as they had to hinge and pivot. Making something strong enough and big enough to move over the chest armour was always going to be a problem. It took a few paper templates to get the right size. These were fibreglassed and the decals added in plasticine and then fibreglass tissue over the top.
This was the biggest challenge. I wanted to create a fist that looked massive but not stuck on the end of my arm, and I also wanted it to work. First attempts at the finger mechanism with the expansion springs inside didn't work, so I had to mount them on the back. It also took many attempts for the cable routing to ensure it didn't snag. The palm of the fist had to house my hand and allow me to clench my fist in order to move the fingers, it also had to pivot at the wrist. The finished fist, i think looks in proportion but doesn't have the mobility I wanted. It is also heavier than i would like as the finger tubes are steel as I couldn't get hold of aluminium. Holding a pint of beer in the hand may prove tricky!
I reckon the suit must weigh in at around 80kilos - as it is spread around the body it's not too bad. - Powerfist on its own is 15kg. It is a good work out wearing it.
With the suit on I am just over 7ft tall, but then again I am 6'5" to start with. The shoulders and jet pack make it impossible to fit through a standard door. Overall the suit turned out as I expected. The legs are surprising mobile and walking is fairly easy. The suit still needs a few tweaks but overall I am pleased with how it turned out
If I was building it again I would introduce a camber on the legs to make it easier to stand and definitely make the powerfist fingers from aluminium or plastic.
You'll need 5kg of general purpose resin and a catalyst (included mostly). 2kg roll of CSM 300gm mat this is for covering the large areas and anywhere you need strength. 10m roll of surface tissue - use this for any fiddly bits, corners or around corners etc. You'll also need the following bits, measuring jug (it will get ruined) mixing pot (any plastic container) surgical gloves (a must) a measuring syringe and some really cheap brushes. Sounds like a lot but it is fairly cheap and should be enough to do everything.
The fun bits! The grenades were simple - a vitamin container with sticky cable anchors stuck around and a toggle switch with guard on top. They attached to the belt via a universal phone clip. The Bolter. I wanted to make a realistic gun, and not something that looked like painted foam. I found a BB MA41 gun that fitted my grip and magazine pattern, so made the remainder of the gun around this ensuring it still functioned as a gun (of course!). The finished piece is a working single shot BB gun with red-eye sight and touch activated lazer dot. "