Saturday, December 22, 2012

Give yourself 12% of the credit.

I want to be Tony Stark.

Nothing special about that, really. Who doesn't want to be Tony Stark? With the money and the cool toys....  But, I have recently come across a surprisingly large group of people on the Replica Prop Forum ( who are actually making Iron Man suits. Some are using clay, some are using foam, but the most promising I think is fiberglass and body filler.

The shareware program Pepakura Designer (free to use with full functionality except for the Save function) has been used to wondrous effect by many in this group for all kinds of lightweight props and armor, including Halo, Star Wars and Iron Man. It takes any 3D model and "unfolds" it so you can print it on cardstock, fold and glue it together and make a nearly perfect 3D paper model of whatever you want. They have used Pepakura models for Fett/Mandalorian suits, Stormtroopers/Clone Troopers, etc. But the Iron Man Pepakura has really gotten me excited. It is actually doable, making an Iron Man costume that doesn't look silly. (Here's a guy that did it.)

Once the paper model is assembled, a layer of fiberglass resin is applied to harden it, and fiberglass mat on the inside on some of the parts, followed by a body filler (like Bondo) to smooth it out. Prime, paint, assemble. The process is not very complicated, nor very expensive, considering what the end product will be.

So, I downloaded the Pepakura software, for free, and I downloaded the 3D model Pepakura files, for free, and I have been looking at them, playing around with ideas. I think I could have one made and ready to wear within 24 months just working in my free time. But it's not going to be easy. It will be enjoyably challenging.

THEN, I need to figure out how to add electronics, motorization, and sound. I could make a bad ass Iron Man with enough time and money thrown at it.

Ultimately, it would be a lot of fun to get a professional photo taken of me with the beard and the arc reactor under my shirt, standing in front of my very own "Hall of Armor." Stay tuned for news of my progress on this. I think this is going to be more fun than I have ever known before.

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