Venom Suit build-

Revenant1988

New Member
Been a while since I've posted to the RPF, but I found some time to work on a costume and I'm really excited to share how it turned out.

Venom has been one of my favorite characters since I was a kid and I've always wanted to make a costume of him that was 'true' to form, and not one of the rubber masks that you might see at HotTopic. He's a challenge though, especially for someone like me who is on the shorter side with an athletic build. Venom is huge! Roided out! A monster! When the movie was announced I decided it was finally time to give it a try. I didn't make my original goal of having the suit done by release date, but I still finished it :)

Here's how I built it out, the things I learned and what I felt worked for me. Buckle up!

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The first step was building a duct tape dummy of myself. That process is not pictured, but we did it by stripping me down to my underwear, wrapping me in plastic wrap, then wrapping that in duct tape. I then got cut out and was left with a body shell. I took that shell, re-taped the halves together, put them on the dummy, and then stuffed it with packing paper like a scarecrow. In my mind, I'm not as skinny as the dummy :p

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I purchased a cheap body suit, put it on, then traced out a basic map of where my muscles were while wearing it. Doing this gave me a reference for where my actual muscles and joints were so that I could transfer that to the foam I'd be adding. If I didn't do this, pieces would be misaligned and I wouldn't look right when wearing it. That was then added to the dummy so I could start building.

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The start of adding on chunks of foam in vaguely muscle-like shapes. This is the earliest and roughest stage. I had several reference images up of Venom in the comics, body builders and weight lifting charts to guide me. I used a couple different thicknesses of upholstery foam. My logic was to use a thicker size than I'd *think* I'd need to account for the carving I'd do later.

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Roughing in the back muscles. There is a zipper that runs the length of the back that I had to be sure I left space for.


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A little more built out, a little more detail but still very rough. You can probably tell it's my first time doing this :whistle:


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Same for the back. I struggled a bit with the ass pieces. My Venom's got buns, hun.

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As the muscle suit started to take shape, I had to start seriously considering what material I wanted to use for the coating. Most other builds I've seen use latex- I wanted to avoid that because I'd hate for someone with an allergy to touch me and die or something. So I purchased a couple trial kits of materials I thought would be promising. On the left is UreCoat, a urethane rubber coating. On the right is Dragon Skin 10, a silicone. Both are products made by Smooth-On. My test was 4 fold- apply the material to a fabric costume glove, a piece of EVA foam, a piece of upholstery foam, and a piece of upholstery foam with a skin of fabric. Each has it's pros and cons, and luckily neither material ate the foam. I chose to use the UreCoat because it just simply NAILED the wet, sticky look of Venom. The silicone offered more movement, but was 3-4 times as expensive and would need an additional, expensive additive to be as glossy as the rubber.

The Urecoat and silicone on just the upholstery foam alone kinda sinks in and makes it like a concrete appearance. As I suspected, a skin of fabric and THEN the material worked much better. As for the EVA, both want to just peel right off unless they are mechanically locked on. This was true even if I heat sealed the foam. Glad I tested!


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Once I had a potential coating selected, I got the suit to a point where I could try it on. This was the second real test. If my movement was too compromised, this costume was not going to work the way I wanted it to and it would be better to find that out here, $100 into it than later after much more money and time. I carefully took the suit off the dummy, and tried it on. Because of the work I did earlier to assist with placement, it ended up fitting quite well!

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Here is what the back looked like. Again, the goal here wasn't to have ALL the muscle on; Only enough to determine if movement was feasible and if placement needed to be altered.

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Initial movement tests were good! I could run, sit, kneel and move as if I wasn't wearing it. I knew here that would not be totally accurate by the end, but passing this test solidified that I was going to move forward with the project. That meant however, that I was going to have to start from square 1 and start building out ANOTHER suit, because there was no way I could get this one back on the dummy. Once the suit has been taken off, it wasn't going back on due to the stuffing process. I knew this might be the case, so I wasn't upset by it. Armed with the knowledge from these tests, I started muscle suit 2.0.
 

Revenant1988

New Member
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The 2.0 suit, all built out. I refined the placement and sizes, and added in all the details I felt I'd need for the next phase. I basically started with the Pecs and Thighs and built from there. It's sort of like carving a turkey, but the foam has a tendency to chew through blades quickly. I felt much more relaxed doing it the second time, and I was able to reuse many of the pieces so I didn't add much cost. All that holds the pieces to the body suit is regular hot glue.

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I wasn't totally happy with the shoulders on this version, but I was happy enough with them that I didn't see the point in starting them over. Are they a bit football-pad like? Yeah. But Venom is this big, roided out dude and well, I'm not. Need everything I can get to make me look big!

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And the back. The thin,smaller in-between pieces are important; though they won't be seen directly, they allow an anchor point for the fabric I'd be skinning the suit with before coating it with the UreCoat. If I didn't have those, they material would potentially leak and seep past the outer skin, in between the gaps and then onto the base layer suit, which would not be good!


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The way I built the suit was to be like a sandwich. Fabric-foam-fabric. The outter layer, once coated won't be able to stretch, but it CAN compress. The foam allows that compression. The inner layer needs to be able to stretch to move with my body, and so it can't have the UreCoat on it or it won't move.


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Here is the torso and legs with some fabric on. I used what JoAnn's called "swimsuit fabric" but I'm pretty sure it was lycra, the same stuff as the morphsuit. This stuff was cheap and stretchy, which is what I needed it to be. I used black to make it easier to hide any potential flaws or tears when wearing the suit. Add some hot glue to the outer edges of the foam, stretch the fabric to be tight, tack it down. Leave a little flex in between any joints and seams.

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Here's the back at that stage

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Close up of the outer skin. As you can see, it's a thin material. It just needs to be there to give the UreCoat something to anchor to, and it makes the skin look more realistic. I don't have any sewing skills, so the fabric was rough cut and then glued together with hotglue at the seams. When I do this again, I'll probably try to pattern it out more to save time and reduce seams. In the end it didn't matter, but this process took a lot of time.

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For the back, I purchased a long zipper and simply glued it down the back of the outer skin. What you can't see, is that part of the skin is ONE piece-not two. So, at this stage, if I opened the zipper it would just be a single piece underneath with no separation. I would cut the line later, after it was coated with rubber. I did this because I wanted to ensure the zipper was bonded to the fabric tight, since I could not sew it into the fabric and foam. It was a risky gamble, but it worked in the end. In hindsight, I should have opted for a longer zipper to make getting in and out easier. Oh well!


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Here is a close up of the knee and thigh. I purposefully cut recesses and slats into some areas of the muscles to allow me to "tuck" the outer skin into with a bead of glue. This gives the muscle more depth and the appearance of variations in the fibers when moving around. In hindsight, I could have added more of these to get the look I was thinking in my head, but live and learn.
 

Revenant1988

New Member
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Ahh the hands. I wouldn't look right to have this big chonky body and then little girl hands like I do in real life. So, I followed a similar process as I did on the body suit. Venom is big, and has big hands. Boy I was all thumbs on this part. So, while WEARING the glove (and I'm only right handed, so it was hard as hell to do my right with my left) I glued on big strips and carved them up. I think my idea was in the right place, but my execution was a bit off.

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I didn't add any to the palms because I didn't see a point. This at least allows me to kinda, sort be able to hold some things. I added some bulk to the tips to round out the illusion.

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After they were carved. You can see some of the recesses if you look for them, where I tried to give detail or aid with movement. They didn't work. The urecoat does not stretch. It will bend, it will compress, but it will not pull like your skin or silicone. So, my hands had very limited movement. To correct this for next time, I'll try to not coat the joint areas (knuckles, elbows etc, arm pits). That way, I can bend.

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Ahh that's much better. Still bulky, but passable. I thought I did well here, as when I'd test them I could bend my fingers and hold like a cup and stuff. That would later prove to be a lie when I put the rubber on. No bending for me!

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Another milestone, attaching the gloves to the suit(temporarily). I started to really gain momentum by this point. Seeing it in front of me, becoming more tangible really kept me working. Everything was still looking proportional.


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Here is the point I started really working on the mask. The design I had in my head, I wanted the mask to be removable so if I wanted to walk around without it on, I'd still look "in character". If I had more money and infinite time, I'd have attempted something like a true silicone mask that would move the jaw when I talked and stuff, but that wasn't an option. So I leaned towards making it more like a helmet. I found a SpiderMan face shell template online, scaled it a couple times to get a fit on me (trial and error). That is the Black foam you see above. I then converted that into a full helmet by manually adding in hand drawn templates, which is the white foam.

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Once tested that the scale was right and it fit me as close as it could, I then cut the helmet into pieces you see above and then update my templates. I took those new templates, and cranked out two additional masks. Because I was in uncharted territory, I wanted to a have a practice mask in the event I messed something up, but I wanted to play it cautiously so I could potentially make two different face styles. So I made one more mask for a total of 3 :p


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By this point I started trying out different styles for the eyes. Venom has very distinct eyes. I was really happy with how he was looking in the movie trailers so I used those and some stills from the comics as my guide. I tried several different styles until I settled on two that I liked best- the one above is what I call the more cartoon like of the set- like you might see in Ultimate SpiderMan cartoon. The other set I wanted to look closer to the comics, like Mcfarland or Bagley. I spent a lot of time here, making small changes to the details and trying different styles. So many choices!!

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With the eyes settled, I moved onto roughing out the jaw. Normally I would have agonized over ever single little tooth, but I did different this time and just went with the flow and drew them in super loosely. I wasn't going to sculpt them (no time) and so they would have to be foam. Foam can be cut once, so i was careful to give a little more space than I thought i need so i could carve them a bit if needed.

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Watch out, he'll gum ya to death. Looks like he sucked on a few lemons or something.
 

Revenant1988

New Member
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WE ARE CHESHIRE CAT

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I cut out the teeth on some white EVA foam I had. This allowed me to get an early sense of the contrast and how it might look when finished. As with they eyes, I wanted two styles. One cartoony, and the other move scary. The above is the cartoony shark teeth.

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This mask has the sharper, scary teeth ad a set of eyes I didn't like much. They looked good from the side, but not from the front.


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Boom. This is the one. These eyes were the same style I used on my Venomized, Halo ODST (in my albums if ya wanna see.) This had the menacing look I wanted.


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REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

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The suit, fully skinned out and ready for the next phase.

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I headed back to the workshop and setup the dummy on a table. The next part would take a solid 12 hours to do from start to finish, with no real breaks. It was make or break. I only get one shot to do this right! I put on a favorite shirt for luck.

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He is a chonky boi. The plan of attack: Lay him down. Coat one side. Let that cure to a non-sticky state. Flip him over, repeat. Then, stand him up, add another coat from the top down, fill any gaps. Then, do details.

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My shop helper (wife) helping me mix up batches of UreCoat. As a surface coating, this stuff goes a long way, but due to the nature and size of this project, we needed to pre mix about 30 batches of the stuff. It has to be measured out by weight, so a gram scale is required and the ratio is 10A to 1B. We work in small batches because it's easier to fix mistakes this way and you waste less. The pot life in our environment was about 8 minutes. 3 to mix, 3 to work with, 2 to shape\guide\fill. I was able to do the WHOLE suit (gloves, and two masks) with a 1 gallon kit. Not bad!

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The back and legs with a coat.
 

Revenant1988

New Member
While I was working, some friends at my makerspace caught up with me and did a quick interview while I worked on the suit, check it out and see what this stuff looks like!


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Close up of the zipper. I carefully applied the material here so that it (hopefully) would secure it to the layer of fabric skin, while keeping the teeth safe and clear.

I can't seem to get this GIF to upload right, but here is the direct link: https://i.imgur.com/sbMxwRml.gif

Look at the difference from the uncoated front to the coated back! Look how shiny and gross! Imgur kinda compressed my GIF, but in person, the finish was mirror like in some places.


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Here is the neck and collar areas. The good thing is any time the brush got away from me, it would just make it look like a vein or slick that honestly worked more in my favor than against me. Adding bulk to the neck also makes it look more proportional to the rest of the body, and I was really pleased how it turned out.

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LOOK HOW SHINY. YOU CAN SEE ME IN MY FAKE ABS.


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By this point, the suit was getting pretty chonky and wouldn't stand up without tipping over, so I had to use items around the shop to anchor it while it cured for a few hours. I had coated the front and back, and then a coat while standing so gravity would even things out. A full cure takes 16 hours, minimum. A tack free cure occurs after about 2.

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It was late in the evening by this point, so I anchored him to a safe place, and left a note.

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Spoiler: people can't read and touched him anyway. Oh well. The material has a 16 cure time, but is safe to (lightly) handle after 2 hours. Good thing I wrapped up at like 1am. The shop staff had my back and kept people away from him until I got off work. (I wanted to have him done in time for the movie. That didn't happen. Then I figured Halloween. That didn't happen either). Venom was ready for Christmas though!


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Here are the gloves with their coating of UreCoat. I lost the ability to really close my hand in them at this point. I could extend my fingers, I could wiggle them, I could flip the bird sorta, but could not really make a fist. Lesson learned: Allow slits for your fingers to bend.
 

Revenant1988

New Member
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For the masks, I decided to do the teeth first, since they required a delicate touch and it would be easier to mask them off from the black coating later. I rigged up a couple pieces of PVC to hold the mouths open so I could play dentist.

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I applied two coats of white per jaw. UreCoat cures naturally to a clear amber, so to get it white I had to add a TON of SoStrong white colorant to the mix, which made me nervous because if you add too much, your material won't cure and will remain gooey. Fortunately, that didn't happen to me but it did take a lot longer for these to cure. It had a consistency like frosting mixed with jelly. It could spread easy but wouldn't drip. That made it easy to take a small brush and Popsicle stick to put it on.

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I took my eye templates and transferred them to some sheets of perforated vinyl I had from a previous project. This allows me to see out, but others can't see in. Vision is very good while wearing.

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Cut out. The space between the orange border and black line ie where I planned to apply a very small amount of glue to stick the material to the mask, and to allow the rubber coating to rest on top, essentially sealing the eye to the mask, since the adhesive on the the vinyl doesn't stick well to the eva by itself. A clever work around, IMO.

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Here they are before going under a coat of black rubber. Cartoony on the left, scary on the right.

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I had to elevate them with something, so I borrowed a couple traffic cones from the shop for that purpose. I then masked the teeth off in preparation for the black coat.Why?

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Gravity. The material is kinda watery at first, then as it cooks and cures turns more like syrup, then honey, then frosting. You have great control with it for about 60 seconds to brush it on, then it gets harder and harder. At some point, you have to STOP touching it and let it set, or you'll capture streaks and other flaws. I let this run down, and then figured I'd simply cut it away with an x-acto later. Some of the dripping worked in my favor- see the eye on the left above, vs the cleaner one on the right. The eye on the left looks more organic and Venomy. I wish I had let the other eye do that but didn't notice until it was too late lol

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Uh-oh. So this is what I was afraid of- some kind of reaction or worse, bonding between the black top coat and the teeth. So, what happened here is some of the black ended up seeping under the tape and making contact with the teeth. While the material didn't bond, when it separated it left a discoloration where it was, making that area grey where it should be white. I didn't want to start over, so I simply mixed up a very, very tiny batch of white and painted it on top. It did the job and doesn't look out of place, but lesson learned. Gotta mask off the areas better. This is why I was glad I had a practice mask.

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The second mask, much better. I even mixed up a batch of flesh coloring to add a gum line on this one. It looks really legit in person. I thought about adding some green "slime" but didn't want to get too fancy on my first attempt. I honestly really like the "clean" look.

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Oh man, it's happening. I was so elated by this point. So happy!!!

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Ahhh!!! He looks so GOOD.

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The next day I set out to do the detail, the center piece, the spider. I considered several things for this part, such as using a projector to put an emblem on I could then trace. Or painters tape that I could then fill around. Neither of those worked. The simple solution was the best one. I just pulled up some reference images, got a silver sharpie and drew it out by hand. It didn't turn out bad, and I could wipe the sharpie lines off with alcohol and some hard scrubbing if I messed up. This is again one of those times where a "mistake" can actually work in your favor.

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I mixed up some batches of white, and then carefully drew and painted on the signature spider. It was slow and nerve wracking , but I did it and didn't make any mistakes or errors. I could have added another layer to make it pop more, but honestly liked the semi-uneven tone better.

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Done! I was so beside myself at this point. I had to leave him alone for a couple days to cure fully, but I did it. It was in front of me. I made the thing. NOW. Would I be able to actually wear it?

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After a week or so passed, I worked up the courage to start removing the dummy and skeleton frame. The good news is the suit upened up with out issue, and though it took a while, I was able to successfully remove the paper stuffing and frame. None of the material made it through to the inner skin layer. What you see above is how rigid the suit is, even without the frame. It stands up! You can see where the muscle is attached. I weighed it, and the suit is a whopping 12 pounds :D

The bad thing is that to get in it, I have to lay him on the ground on his stomach, then shimmy into it like a hole in the ground. Had I made used a longer zipper, I'd be more able to easily "fold" the suit in the front and just step in, like a jacket. The first time I put it on I was super delicate, but after wearing him a few times, I figured out how rough I can be and seriously, I can beat the crap out of him and he holds shape.

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Here is the first test fitting. He doesn't breath well, at all. That is to be expected since I didn't leave any vent spaces and it's fully encompassed. It was December at this point so the cold was good, but I would likely not wear him to say, Dragon Con. Well, maybe... at night. with some ice packs strapped to me.

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Happy dance! I have a neck seal to hide my skin, I just didn't put it on for the test run. All in all, this was a fun project, one I've wanted to do for years. I'm not super tall, only 5'7 and was worried that I wouldn't look right as the character but honestly, I'm glad I got over myself because I still think this looks great for a first attempt.

The next thing to do was a photoshoot and convention!
 

Revenant1988

New Member
I'm fortunate to have a fantastic photographer in my area that was able to shoot my suit in the style I wanted.
Here are the images I got from my guy Wes, ThePortrait Dude!

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Thank you so much for looking and reading! I know it is a lot to digest a build thread all at once, rather than over time but I rarely post my builds *while* I'm doing them haha. If you have any comments, I'd love to hear them, and if this helps you on YOUR Venom or Symbiote build, let me know so I can see too! If you'd like to see me on Instagram, my tag is @revenant_1988

Doug (@revenant_1988) • Instagram photos and videos

Happy building, and I'll see you for a Carnage suit SOOOOON
 

Patattack

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Excellent build!! I love the oil-slick finish...I don't think I've ever seen Venom cosplay with a "wet" texture like that, it really adds a lot of character.
 

George

Sr Member
Finally,another breath of fresh air.I visit the forum to see unique projects like this.Thank you for being Venom ! And for sharing this project :D
I hope you get tons of kudos and positive feedback,because you (and your crew) deserve every bit of it
 

Revenant1988

New Member
Finally,another breath of fresh air.I visit the forum to see unique projects like this.Thank you for being Venom ! And for sharing this project :D
I hope you get tons of kudos and positive feedback,because you (and your crew) deserve every bit of it
Well thank you! I really appreciate the compliment!
 
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