edvc520's 2012 Halloween Costume Contest Entry: 3 years old Iron Man

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New Member
My wife and I have been making costumes for Luke since the first year he was born. We have made a couple homemade costumes before, including a juice box and a cup noodle. Thanks to the RPF forum, we were able to take our homemade costume to a whole new level, with lights and sounds as well. Big thanks to stealth, xrobot, and many others on the forum that provided information in creating the costume.

After lots of reading and research, we have decided to make an Iron Man Mark 7 costume using foam. Foam is light and comfortable for kids to be in, and it is a good insulator during the cool Halloween night. We started this project since late July not knowing what we got ourselves into. The first helmet we built was using cardstock paper from the pepakura template. It took two of us combined, and ten hours to finish the helmet; it ended up not fitting Luke. Then we decided to make it with foam, the time to finish has cut by half, but it still took us three tries to get the finish and scale right.

Here is a summary of materials and steps we have used:
- Anti-fatigue foam mat and craft foam cut and glued into shape
- PVA 3 coats to seal the foam
- Smooth Cast 305 (3-5 thin coats)
- Sanding for hours (from 240 grit to 800 grit)
- Duplicolor Automotive filler primer, 2 coats
- Duplicolor Toreador red metallic, 2 coats for body
- Duplicolor Sunburst gold metallic, 2 coats for faceplate and accent
- Duplicolor Reflex silver metallic, 2 coats for accent
- Duplicolor Protective clear coat finish, 1 coat

Here are some details and tips for those who want to read:

- Cutting and gluing foam pieces: When cutting and gluing the foam pieces, make sure you have a precise cut, and do spend the time to cut and glue it. The first foam helmet we created was totally out of shape. Craft foam was used for abs, neck, and hands

- Sealing the foam: When applying PVA coats on the foam, do very thin coats. If you do thick coats, there will be a lot of run offs creating lumps and unevenness when dry. You won’t be able to sand the lump down without destroying the coat

- Plastic coat: We got the Smooth Cast 305 by accident. On the day I was planning to buy the 65D, I called the store to tell them to hold a gallon for me. When we arrived, the sales rep told us a film company has came and bought the whole lot of 65D. Then she recommended the 305 to us because 65D is for rotocast anyway, and the 305 is easier to work with longer pot life.

Thank god she recommended the 305 to us because we felt the 305 was pretty hard to work with even though it has 7 mins of pot life! Cannot imagine how 65D will work with only 2.5 min of pot life

Our tips for those who want to plastic coat their costume is to buy A LOT of brushes at the dollar store. The brushes will not be useable after each coat. And do thin coats, it will save you from sanding. It is useful to time yourself even if it tells you there is 7 mins of pot life. When it hits close to the 7 minute mark, the coat will start to get thick and heat up; if you apply it during this time, it will be very thick and it will ruin your costume. I wonder how people work with 65D?!?!

We applied 3-5 coats on the costume to make it thick enough to sand. We tried sanding it between coats, but our advice is don’t because the coat is so thin, it will be sanded down to the foam itself. So we recommend sanding it after 3-5 coats.

- Sanding: we don’t recommend using a machine. It will get hot and kinda melt the coating leaving residues all over the costume, so you will need to start over again. We ended up sanding by hand using 240grit and worked our way up to 600 grit. Sanding was a pain in the *****, still need to sand way more to be perfect, but as time constrains, we had to settle with what we have.

Painting: We used the Duplicolour automotive filler primer to prime the pieces. Then painting is where we screwed up the costume big time. We used Kylon’s Banner Red at first… BIG MISTAKE! I don’t know if it’s because we shouldn’t apply it on the primer or if the paint totally sucked. It looked so plastic, it was sticky, and it just wouldn’t dry!! It was still very tacky even after 3 weeks!!! We then tried to rub the paint off by hand on the pieces. Some came off, some stayed. That is why there is some unevenness on our costume.

We then tried different Duplicolor reds, including Dark Cherry metallic, metalcast red, and then Toreador metallic red. Dark cherry is too dark for Mark 7, metalcast is really meant for bare metal I think; at last, we settled on Toreador red metallic. The colour match is perfect…
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Well-Known Member
LOL! I love this costume! Your little man rocks the suit! I can't get over his little mustache and goatee :lol

Great job!

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