I built this custom Incredible Hulk Costume with my wife for our 2012 Halloween. It took approximately 120 hours and cost around $600 in materials to create. The only item that we did not make was the mask (we purchased it online), we did however repaint it to match the suit and installed foam inside the mask for a more stable and visually appealing wear.
Hulk Smashing Loki:
Hulk Chasing Black Widow:
Hulk with the other Avengers:
My lovely wife who worked very hard on this costume with me:
Pictures taken the night the costume was finally finished:
Here is a picture of me and my brother getting ready for the party, he is 5'11" 215 lbs for size comparison. Also notice that I painted my eyes to match the mask so the skin color no longer sticks out.
Here is the instructions on how we did it.
I've made some creative Halloween costumes over the years but nothing as elaborate as the Hulk Costume I just built. It all started last month when my brothers talked me into making a Hulk Costume so we could be the Avengers for Halloween this year so I started on the build early last month.
First off I wanted the hulk to be big but move naturally with my body movements and I didn't want arm or leg extensions like other Hulk customs had so we created Hulk Concept Drawings to show Hulks desired proportions and where a person would lie inside the suit, see diagram:
Now was the job of how to build it. We bought a bunch of couch foam from the craft store, a lycra suit, and two cans of spray glue, (we ended up going through 8 cans of spray glue). I already had an electric carving knife from cutting custom slots in my rifle cases (we ended up burning up six electric carving knives during the build). I bought two rolls of duct tape and plastic wrap to make a mannequin of my body size.
The mannequin was the easy part, except we quickly discovered to put short strips on rather than having my wife wrap it around my arms which began turning my hands purple. LOL
Then I took the diagrams and projected them onto the wall, we had to do some slight tweeks as we found that the proportions of the persons image we used was not the same as mine, I'm 6'2" 195 lbs, modifying it for my size made the Hulk slightly wider, we lined up the arm profiles, the bottom of the feet, and the top of the head and the crotch with my profile. Once the projected image on the wall matched my body proportions then my wife and I traced the outline of the hulk on wax paper and hung it on the wall for a side, front, and rear picture. Then I drew the muscles inside the outline freehand. Here are pic's of the wax paper drawings:
Now placing my dummy in lycra suit in front of the drawings, holding foam in hands and carving knife in the other I had a dumbfounded look on my face while I tried to figure out how I was going to attach shoulders that will be over 5" away from the dummies and a back that is over 10" from the dummies back. Finally we figured it out, we would cut truss's to Hulks Profile on the side and the back and then glue foam to the trusses. Now this was no easy task and took many many hours attaching each piece of foam, but one piece at the time we got each part figured out.
The chest, ribs and abs were easy, followed by the bicepts and shoulders, the tricepts were more difficult as the size became much larger and further away from the body and required multiple pieces of foam to be glued together. The back was very difficult as it required significant amounts of foam and several mounting pieces to secure the large pieces of foam to the lyrca suit and trusses. I sculpted each muscles shape with an electric carving knife to make it look realistic. It took some getting used to but it worked itself out.
Here you can see the upper body is nearly finished, I did eventually redo both front deltoids, the traps, and one of the bicepts to improve the proportions. The forearms were worry-some because I had to glue approx 8" of foam to the rear and tie the front into the tricepts and bicepts. At first the forearms looked like giant drumsticks and but I carved some muscle definition and did some reshaping and they turned out great. I wanted the elbow to be able to bend but there would have to be a large section that would separate in order to do so, I was worried it would look dumb when the arm was bent but it doesn't it looks very natural.
While I sculpted the body then my wife built the hands, she traced my hand profile and used 1" foam for the palms and 1/2" foam for the fingers. Initially she used 1" foam for both the palm and the fingers but it looked like Mickey Mouse's hand so she redid the fingers. The hands in the left picture are 1/2" fingers and I believe the right picture is 1" fingers. The final hands have braces inside the palms separating the fingers and all three knuckles of each finger are slightly bent to look more natural. The hands allow about half of each of my fingers to insert into the fingers so I can move each individual finger (really cool looking! you will see in the video below).
Once we had the upper body done then I wanted to make sure we could get it off the mannequin so it was time for its first test fit. We unzipped the back and the dummy came right out, the lycra suit was still once piece and I was worried that if we left it as one piece it would be too bulky and stiff to climb into and get out of once the costume was complete.
The fitting went great, the upper body moves very easily and looks realistic. We were extremely happy with how cool it turned out. My daughters had fun making fun of hulks big square butt (which we fixed later on) and they loved my skinny grey tights. LOL
Here is a video of the first test fitting:
Hulk Costume Test Fit 1.MOV - YouTube
After the First test fit my wife and I agreed it would be better to separate the top and bottom halves of the suit so we cut it in half, two inches below the waist line, to give us plenty of room to later attach velcro to join the two halves together and keeping the velcro seam inside of Hulks jeans.
In the concept drawings we wanted it to look like Hulk was hunched forward with legs bent while the wearer was standing upright which required large amounts of foam on the back, butt, front of the thighs, and on the rear calves. Sculpting the legs took about half as long as the top half. I should note that by this point we had gone back to the craft store for more foam and several more cans of spray glue. We had also worn out four electric carving knifes (dull blades and burned up motors).
The pictures show initial sculpting of first leg, it's still square and boxy and needs refinement, but the calf muscle has been built up to protrude approximately six to eight inches behind my actual calf, I believe the finished width of each calve ended up being 10.5". I made sure that the back of the knee was at the rear surface of the suit to allow for unrestricted bending of the knee.
In the mean time I found a decent latex mask online to go with the suit, funny thing is the mask is slightly smaller than the suit but still looks fine.
PartyBell.com - The Avengers Deluxe Hulk Mask (Adult)
When carving the foam no matter what you do you will have jagged edges in the foam so to smooth out those edges we attached cloth with spray glue, the cloth did a much better job smoothing the surface than spandex and it made an excellent bonding surface for latex. Also when carving foam do not cut through foam that has wet spray glue on it, it gums up the knife blades and cuts poorly leaving very jagged edges.
Here the legs are pretty much finished and being test fitted. You can see the white cloth attached to the arms. When making muscle poses it looks like the muscles actually are flexing because they move so freely.
Here is a video of the fitting and no I do not normally dance to Alvin and the Chipmunks, but hey Costumes make people to crazy things. LOL
Hulk Costume Test Fit 2.MOV - YouTube
Now it was time for the feet. I hadn't been looking forward to building the feet. I had been able to scrounge up some very hard foam that I had planned on carving the feet out of and using them as shoes. I started carving away and after an hour realized that the surface of the foam was too fragile and it was a terrible bonding surface. My son thought it was great to make a mess of when I had my back turned though. LOL
It was back to the drawing board on the feet. I knew I had to increase my height approx. 3" in order to keep the scale from our initial concept drawings. I scrounged through my closet and found a set of old boots that I hadn't worn in years and a pair of sandals with velcro straps that were at the end of their life. I decided to cut the rubber sole off of the boots and gorilla glue a 2x4 piece of wood between the sole and the bottom of the sandal. I cut the piece of wood to match the profile of the boots sole and spread gorilla glue onto every surface that I could I then tied the boot laces from the dismembered boots around the contraption. 24 hours later I removed the boot laces and I couldn't rip the sole or sandals off of the 2x4. I measured the thickness and it gave me 3.5" of additional height which was 1/2" more than my goal, I was excited. I then proceeded to attach the same couch foam around the perimeter of the new frankinstien shoes I just created. Using the same proportions off of the original concept drawings I carved out both feet and tested them out. The feet were very stable and worked great, I cut off the rear sandal strap so I could comfortably slide my foot in and out of the Hulk feet easily.
After smoothing out the ankles on the feet and legs then I did my full test fit at which point my wife had wrapped nearly the entire suit with the cloth, as you can see it smoothed the muscles really well.
Here is a short video demonstrating walking around with the new feet, the suit now stands 6'7" tall, notice I nearly touch my head on the ceiling.
Hulk Foam Costume Test Fit 4 - YouTube
Time to do the Latex Paint, now this was my very first experience with Latex so I had to do a bit of online research as well as consult with the local costume shops. I was going for a light olive drab like the version of Hulk in the new Avengers movie but the colorant I used in the latex has a demon soul. LOL I used a colorant powder grain for cosmetics that the local shop guy recommended but I found that as I brushed the coating more vigorously the grain would break up and then the green started coming out very bright and strong and the yellow seemed to fade.
In the end I did 3-4 coats on everything, each coating got progressively more frustrating and took a lot of patience to get it right.
The green is very strong so I softened up the protruding areas of each muscle with a bit of yellow acrylic paint which helped a bunch but the color still looked more like the cartoon Hulk but I wanted the Avengers Movie Hulk coloration so I planned to add accents, shadows, highlights, etc... Whatever color scheme the body ended up being then I planned to paint the mask to match. The latex bonded great to the cloth and it looks and feels like real Hulk skin (at least how I would imagine it to be). Oh yeah almost forgot, I am still going to be adding veins and such. Also I have read that I need to put Talcum powder on the latex to get the stickiness to go away but it clouds the details, how do you guys get around this so your suits don't look like they just had a baby powder fart all over them?
In the picture showing the back then I put Talcum powder on the left foot to see what would happen.
Okay so we finished the latex on the torso and legs, and are doing finishing touches on feet and hands (fingernails, veins, bone structure, etc...)
Yesterday we spent several hours on veins. At first we used a technique we got of youtube to put tinfoil in a cookie sheet and make the veins on the tin foil. It worked ok but the veins seemed to flatten out and it was a pain in the but contouring the dried veins onto the body. After installing 3-4 veins I elected to just make veins on the suit itself which worked much better. The did not sink down and go flat on the suit because the suits surface was not slippery like the tin-foil. The veins are still wet but when they dried the color was still more yellow then the base suit. The color we mixed in the latex was too cartoon Hulk green as you can see in the picture and video, suprisingly the suit color looks much different in the sun than interior lighting.
My wife also added velcro at the waist to connect the top and bottom halves and it works really great, made the costume stiffer to move around in but visually you can't tell it is stiffer. This video was taken before the airbrushed layers so its just the latex base and it looks way different outside than it does in interior lighting.
PS. Hulk is naked in the video, we will put the pants on after all painting has been finished. LOL
Hulk Costume Latex Painted.MOV - YouTube
Oh and By the way Hulk doesn't fit through doorways or hallways.
Hulk Costume doesn't fit through doorway.MOV - YouTube
To get the coloration more in the real of the Avengers Hulk I went out and bought a air brush and compressor. I never used an airbrush before so I watched some online airbrushing videos. I added a thin layer of beige to lighten it up and some yellow to get rid of the cartoon green and make it look like the Avengers Hulk. I haven't done any airbrushing on the feet yet so you can see the difference between the base latex coat versus the airbrushed layers.
Here is the Hulk suit after todays work. Did shadowing on the torso and legs and finished the feet and hands (including attaching latex nails). Tomorrow I will be sealing all of the pieces. The feet and hands came out too yellow and darker than i expected so i redid them. Then all that is left is sealing the paint and the pants so no more naked Hulk running around.
PS. Airbrushing is hard and airbrushing with the color black is a major pain in the butt!
I redid the feet and hands tonight they are way better now. It was 3 am when I painted them and i got sloppy with black. Lol
Everything is finished completely except the pants. We are putting them on now. No they aren't going to be purple.
As you can see above the finished Hulk turned out fantastic! It Moves around very easily and looks like the real Hulk walking around. I Will post some videos when I get them in two days. We won the best overall Costume award at the party for those who were wondering.
When i painted around my eyes like in the group picture with Nick Furry then it looks much better, Also notice that the refinished feet and hands match the rest of the suit perfectly now.
The pants turned out really great, I like the bursting tear we put on the right side.
The black on the spine is not really that dark in real life the camera caught some shadows. It did hide the velcro seem well though.
After action items that are still open. I am going to cut vent holes in strategic locations (armpits, back, etc...) and likely install a ventilation fan unit or two. I also want to install a speaker with an activation switch for a true Hulk roar that would match the suit. I also may redo the finger-nails and toe-nails to increase the realism a bit more.
Wish I had a video handy right now to show you guys how cool this thing looks moving around, stay tuned and I will put one up in the next day or so.