Man of Steel Fabric update--Warner Bros Studio Museum visit.

Lunaman

Sr Member
As many know, the small Studio Museum on the Warner Brothers lot has great displays of authentic 'hero' costumes and props, with rotating displays on the lower level and a very elaborate Harry Potter collection on the second level. There are no photos allowed in the museum, but you can get right up and inspect the stitches of the costumes, usually without any glass or barriers in the way, so long as you do not touch or harm the pieces. It's a very nice environment for examining the results of the techniques used by various artisans on large motion picture and television productions.

*NOTE* I did not wish to violate Warner Brother's policy and thus did not take any photos of the props or costumes during my visit. I cannot and will not take detail photos of the costumes at any point. I was a guest at the studio for work purposes and had a valid pass to browse the collection, and I honored their understandable ban on photos, checking my bag in their provided lockers until I was finished with my museum visit. Any pictures in this post are either from events like Comic Con where picture taking was allowed, images from trailers and promotional pictures, or do not involve the costumes in question at all.*

Currently, the Studio Museum has a very thorough Man of Steel collection on display in the lower level (along with Dark Knight and Great Gatsby stuff and costumes from various other works). Given that the Kryptonian suits have been such a popular project with some frustrating elements still unanswered lately, I though it would be worthwhile to carefully examine the suits up close with no glass barrier and see if I could gain any new insights.

Stray observations about the details of the Zod, Faora, and Kal-El/Superman suits, before the wild speculation.

  • Faora's armor is aided in its harnessing by some strategically-placed low-profile straps at the elbows and armpits that were screen-printed to have the same chainmail pattern as the bodysuit, thereby camouflaging their presence.
  • The raised bodysuit details (cuffs, belt buckle, etc) seem to have been cast with an iridescent or metallic powder on the surface, reflecting a bit more light than a raw colored cast would. The gold stripes and buckle on Supes' suit have a heavier gold topcoat of paint applied.
  • The screen-printed chainmail pattern is fairly glossy on the Superman suit, but matte on the Zod and Faora suits. On the Supes suit the chainmail pattern is dark blue on the blue areas, and dark grey/almost black on the red boots.
  • The chest emblems are one thin layer, and in some places less than that. The border is not at all a large step down in thickness and does not appear to have been cast separately, that is, not in the way that talented artisans like Pannaus props have been casting them in layers. Here's the real kicker, though: The background layer of the emblem, the gold negative space around the 'S'? It does not exist as a part of the flexible appliance. The ground level is completely open and empty, and what we see there is actually the fabric body suit showing through the holes in the emblem's design. I had to triple check this because I didn't believe it at first, but the gold areas of the emblem are the fabric bodysuit itself, airbrushed to a golden color with weathering instead of blue. On Zod's bodysuit there is no color change, just the exact same fabric visible within the confines of the emblem and outside its borders. Crazy. That's how they got it to look so low-profile.

    Man-of-Steel-Michael-Shannon-e1366159413466.jpg
  • Most of us have heard the reports by now that the bodysuits were composed of three layers: the screen-printed raised chainmail pattern, the 4-way stretch spandex itself, and an allegedly metallic muscle layer beneath. I can't be the only one who was a little mystified by the idea of the silvered muscle layer being visible through the spandex and chainmail and felt confused by this explanation at first. But I'm here to confirm emphatically that this is the case and likely the secret to the look of these suits on camera.
    I noticed the effect on Zod's suit first, as it had more directed lighting that caught the shine. What I noticed up close was that the 4-way stretch fabric was much thinner in weight than I had assumed, and was actually quite translucent. Think more along the lines of pantyhose than UnderArmor, if that makes sense. The raised chainmail gave it dimension, but the fabric itself was thin and permeable to light. The metallic tone of the muscle suit was plainly visible. The suit even had veins and scars that showed through the veil.
    There was no color contouring on the suits, essentially, any area where the muscle suit was convex allowed it to shine through onto the surface, whereas any concave area cast a shadow against the fabric which made it appear darker and more opaque. The suits created their own color contouring that shifted according to the light and the position of the observer.
    Here are some example photos from Nick Daring's Comic con thread:
    7554847556_a75e1e4b39_b.jpg

    7554848214_6f22f6cd7e_b.jpg


    I went to the fabric store afterwards and found a fabric that displays the same characteristics. It's called Glissnet, a nylon and Spandex blend that has the right thinness and translucency, with great 4-way stretch and surprising strength. I stretched it over a reflective belt buckle to demonstrate the layered effect. A fabric similar to this must have been screen printed with the rubberized chainmail pattern for the film suits.



 
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Mektar

Sr Member
great info there and thnx alot. Atm looking into how to get the most accurate really and this will def help alot. Interesting fact about the fabric btw. Def gonna look into it. Wondering if one would make a suit from similar fabric in blue and then attach the chainmail pattern and raised effects etc.

Or you reckon that it would still be better to have a mos print and puffy?
 

Lunaman

Sr Member
great info there and thnx alot. Atm looking into how to get the most accurate really and this will def help alot. Interesting fact about the fabric btw. Def gonna look into it. Wondering if one would make a suit from similar fabric in blue and then attach the chainmail pattern and raised effects etc.

Or you reckon that it would still be better to have a mos print and puffy?

Happy to share. Yes, I should have expressly stated that the fabric on the Superman suit is blue, while I was only able to find a sample of the Glissnet in black. The most accurate way would be to get the dark blue fabric and screenprint or handpaint the chainmail onto it, and use that over a metallic bodysuit like the one RevolutionZ is building.
http://www.therpf.com/f24/man-steel-muscle-structure-suit-wip-193879/

A really good dye sub print and puffy job like Eldonnaty's work will look fantastic and be much more practical, but the film suit's effect is only really possible with a translucent fabric.
 

Mektar

Sr Member
Y guess its something else ill have to think about in what direction ill go. Seen revolutionZ's thread and looks great, def something else id look into.
 

6ringsguerra

Active Member
Fantastic info. Guess my assumption was correct about it being mostly light to change the colors. So looks like I will research Glissnet and see about using it as the base.
 

6ringsguerra

Active Member
Lunaman What about the boots?? This one is huge to me. It looks like the same material as the body suit just draped over a cast of a shoe. Zod's are a dead give away to this being the case. Not only that according to the MOS suit the calf muscle is showing through to me that tells even more.
 

Lunaman

Sr Member
Fantastic info. Guess my assumption was correct about it being mostly light to change the colors.

Thanks. That's the conclusion I came to after examining the suits from every angle. I could not find any evidence of color variation on the fabric surface.
Lunaman What about the boots?? This one is huge to me. It looks like the same material as the body suit just draped over a cast of a shoe. Zod's are a dead give away to this being the case. Not only that according to the MOS suit the calf muscle is showing through to me that tells even more.
Whoops, I forgot to mention the boots! There's a shoe upper built into the boots, like a tuxedo slipper, that gives the foot structure, and a molded sole is glued to the outside with a very slight heel. The Boots on the Zod suit are a continuation of the leg fabric, BUT the boots on the Superman suit are a different fabric, a thicker, more opaque red Spandex that is sewn to the blue leg beneath the glued-on "top of the boot" appliance. The appliance had become unglued slightly and the seam that joins the two was visible when I got near the ground and looked up.
It's tough to know how transparent the boot fabric is since the entire shape is convex, but the color did not change much from different viewing angles and I couldn't really detect the silver color beneath it. The chainmail on the boots, however, is very glossy and catches the light on the calf muscles well.
 
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steamshovel

Well-Known Member
If anyone looks closely, you can tell there are invisible zippers at the ankles and wrist, so the hands, and feet can get in without stretching the fabric too much.

Also, the cape is a micro suede (which I made and am selling on ebay right now.)

They used a water shoe for his boots.
 

Lunaman

Sr Member
If anyone looks closely, you can tell there are invisible zippers at the ankles and wrist, so the hands, and feet can get in without stretching the fabric too much.

Also, the cape is a micro suede (which I made and am selling on ebay right now.)

They used a water shoe for his boots.

The zippers are readily evident on the wrists and in the back, but I did not see evidence of invisible zippers in the ankles. Though they are a very good idea--I built ankle zippers into my newest Spidey suit and they make life a lot easier.

The cape is definitely microsuede, as you have replicated perfectly, there was no question when examining it. I'd love to see an image of the water shoes you say they used, the toe box and heel were very firmly defined.

*EDIT* I'm actually at Warner Brothers right now, I just got done with my lunch break and I walked over to the museum to check again-- there are no zippers in the ankles.
 
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Lunaman

Sr Member
Yup that's what the cape is, but does it have some sort of texture? Or just a solid red about 6 to 8 Yards?

It's polysuede, so it has a fine texture somewhat like chamois or suede, in a solid deep red. No pattern on the surface. Not sure of the yardage, but there's a lot of luxurious folds, very regal. It must be BIG when it's spread out flat.
 

pinder91

Sr Member
Jackpot thread!!

When looking at the cape, did you notice any visible seams? Particularly down the center back? I'm wondering if this was a custom milled fabric, or if they just used a standard size bolt of fabric.
 

Lunaman

Sr Member
Jackpot thread!!
Hahaha. :)

Jackpot thread!!

When looking at the cape, did you notice any visible seams? Particularly down the center back? I'm wondering if this was a custom milled fabric, or if they just used a standard size bolt of fabric.
I did not notice any seams in the cape, but unlike the Zod suit where I could walk around the whole suit and inspect the back closely, the big blue suit was raised on a little platform and nearly against the wall, so I don't have as good a reference for the back and the cape as for other parts of the suit. I could possibly go take a look tomorrow, to make sure about the number or lack of seams on the cape, as I'm working at the studio again.
 

Lunaman

Sr Member
Youve been extreamly lucky to see these costumes up close, many thanks on sharing the information on the suits.

You're welcome, but anybody can come take a look at the suits up close just by visiting the Warner Brothers lot. A trip to the museum is included in the studio tours, but any valid visitor's badge will also grant you access to check out the props and costumes. It's a very cool and inviting little place. Their no-pictures and touching policy is more for the sake of preservation of the artifacts on display than for the sake of being tight-lipped about details getting out or whatever. I mean, they'll plop one of the screen-used sorting hats on your head if you go up to the Harry Potter area and the voice yells out which house you belong in--- they are very open to people getting to see and inspect treasures from the films and tv shows they love.


"Glissnet" is not easy to find in blue thats for sure
Yea, sorry, it likely doesn't have to be that exact brand, it's just that of all the stretch fabrics I examined Glissnet had the closest characteristics to what I saw on the screen-used suits, in terms of thickness, stretch, and translucency. The Glissnet fabric was listed as 60% nylon and %40 spandex, so it should be possible to find spandex blends that match the characteristics without having to be that particular brand/name/what have you.

I visited the museum again today to take a closer look at the cape if I could. Still difficult to see with all the folds and the suit's display position, but I'm now nearly certain that there are no seams anywhere on the cape fabric. The edges don't even have any seams or hems or anything, it is just a contiguous piece of microsuede from one corner all the way to the other. The cape has four major pleats at each side of the shoulder where it attaches to the suit that all the rest of the folds flow from. I couldn't ascertain by what mechanism or fastener the cape was attached, but I know from set photos that it was removable without taking off the main suit. It's a lovely deep red.
 

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