Iron Man Mark 50 custom version

OJ102

Member
Hey there,

I thought id share a progression story of my first build. A mark 50 Iron Man suit. Its a thin shell design with a LOT of surface details to fight with.

A year ago i started working with pepakura as a hobby after an opperation and for 9 months successfully failed to produce a single suit as i never felt it was good after glueing to progress.

I went through the cardstock-fiberglass approach to find it was too ridgid and heavy. So i looked into EVA foam, initially 45gsm but found that while it was easy to work with it wasnt tough enough. So i upped the density to 65 gsm. 5mm thickness.

Getting a scale was tough as it not only has to fit snugly, you have to get inside it! Certain parts need minimun clearances, like the cod piece needs to fit past your hips, the abs need to fit the cod intersection smoothly etc. Another aspect with scaling was realising your not naked under the armour! you need to take into account clothes. Not just for size but also temperature and ventilating your self. EVA foam doesnt breathe, you do!

I chose to plan to wear a unitard style full body suit with a zip back.

Initially i was always building helmets, but the front was always so close to my face i found it hard to breathe. But if I made it bigger my head rattled round inside it... i found the answer when hanging up my kids cycling helmets. Sponge pads. Attacking them to certain points within the armour maintained the correct spacing from your body to the armour, allowing air to move and more importantly for you to breathe. I decided to leave the helmet quest however and focus on the torso as it needed tighter margins for fitting and not being huge.

I cut out the components for the chest and the back seperatly and assembled them according to the 3D design, but it was tacky. Some aspects of a 3D image cant be copied into EVA foam as they are too small. I also found that seams were all over the place and i couldnt fix them. I found the answer to this to be simplicity itself. Its your design, if it looks like it wont work on paper, change it.

So i printed my templates out on card and assembled them flat to see what parts could be combined.

If 2 parts meet flush for a curve, i joined the templates and cut them out as a single part. This removed a seam and a weakness.

If 2 parts meet and form a step or ledge, extend the lower one out 2cm, making sure to trace the shape for alignment, then you glue the flap to the underside for a stronger bond and neater seam.

On some occasions i found a flush seam couldnt be avoided or combined and in those cases lined up the edges while on a worktop and then place a piece of foam on the inside of the component covering the seam, this reduced stress on the bond.

I used this style to make the Cod piece. The part just tof over my hips so met the minimum size. It was spacious on the tummy so sponge strips will maintain positioning. I then made the Abs to the same scale so they fit but found the gap between the 2 components unbearable. I noticed however that the 2 parts sync up perfectly on paper so tried joining them, not easy on completed parts but i got there, reinforced the joins and used a LOT of filler to smooth the joints. I could have combined the parts before assemble if i had the thought to but live and learn.

Once sprayed with plastidip it looked far better. And more importantly went on easily without the nasty joint. An important note is to think about where you keed to bend. You dont actually bend your torso until above your tummy so these parta could work.

I thought the next logical step was the upper torso. A chest and back part. From previous experience i know the seam between them would be under a lot of stress when moving, i also knew combining them post assembly would be hard and messy so this time i cut the templates for both together and flat assembled them, within each component i joined what i could and simplified details that couldnt be made neatly. I then looked at places where the chest and back meet, and combined the flush parts there as well.

Im looking at making the upper torse as one component. But as it goes on from the top, ive made the neck line first, by combining the half on the back with the chest collar i made the entire ring confirming it would fit over my head. I will build down from the neck, combining all i can for the most seamless version i can. Depending on the fit will dictate if i can combine the bottom of the torso, so ill be trying it on as i move down and go slow.

Ive attached the cod/abs section below. Its had 1 coat of plastidip. Another to follow. Ill post the upper torse once its got more then a collar. Hopefully someone finds my exploritory apporach to learning this usefull of lets them skip some pitfalls!
 

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OJ102

Member
Thanks.

I started this build in september 2018. It was my first venture into cosplay. I tried fibergalss but didnt like it, so tried foam and loved it. Its not as ridgid as i would like for armour but its a lot easier and faster to work with.

I finished the back/chest/neck conponent that the above images are of, but they felt too big when fit over my torse, so i modelled them digitally and the suit would have stood 9 feet tall... i tried to chop it down to make it fit but it was just too much to alter and looked bad.

The helmet image ive attached took about 2 hours to throw together. I made it using a new scale based on what i learnt from the gaint previous one.

The helmet fits snugly over my head, resting on my hair gently, both ears are not on contact, i can see through the eyes, its the right shape,. I class the scale a success! Its only made of light density foam so ill remake it with good stuff now i know it fits.

So essentially restarting it again but its just smaller, and ive already got all the digital templates ready. I just need to order more card for the templates and some more 100* high density foam to build with!

Hopefully get some more pics shooting up now that ive got kinks worked out
 

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OJ102

Member
Alas my suppliers is having stock issues with high density foam which has slowed me down. However ib order to keep the project progressing i thought it would be a good oppertunity to try a component that ive been putting off for difficulty... gauntlets!

The reason i say this ia because hamds are all different sizes and scaling them is a nightmare. So i routed round my stock bag of remainjng foam and found some 45* low demsity foam in 2mm and 5mm. For ease i chose to test it in 2mm.

The issues expected were not being able to get it on once built, the fingers being the wrong length or the hand not being able to move .

As a starting point i used the same scale up that i did with the rest of the suit, i specified this as i dont actually have a gauntlet for the end game suit, however i do have one from infinity wars and i reckon they look close. Technically i have them gioig back to the mark 3, but thats like a toaster now!

I joined as much as possible in pepakura to reduce seams, then cut it into 2mm foam i chose the 2mm mainly for the fingers but for ease did the whole hand in it for this test. I thought 5mm thick fingers would be hard to move.

The end result was a little fragile. Low density foam rips easily, but its cheap and fast to cut. The parts fit together well, i used a yellow rubber glove that happened to be sat in the kitchen unguarded to attach the parts to. I sprayed with plastidip as it was all i had, the result wasnt great, i sould have coated each part before glueing but that's why i did a yest run!

Learning points from this test.

1. Fingers need to be in 2mm for dexterity, but the hand olates should be a mix of 2mm underlay and 5mm panels. That way electronics and wire have room for embedding.

2. Paint them before assembling else it looks like its been in combat!

3. Rubber gloves had be painted with plastidip and flexi paint so nase colour wont be a big deal. Thin rubber is better tho for easier fit.

4. Dont use low density foam, it damages too easily for the effort to make.

5. Unguarded rubber gloves are not fair game lol

For 2 hours casual work they came out well for a test run to find pitfalls.

Any one know pf any other things i may encounter with gloves?

The gloves will have a flex wrist sealing them to the forarm. The forarm will most likely have a joint for ease of access as i want a snug fit. Ive got an idea for a seamless joint that ill try on the next forarm test and report back on!
 

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OJ102

Member
Update. Still cant place an order for the high end foam but honefully i will in the next few days.

In the mean time ive used some more of my low density foam to test out scale. This time a Bicep and forarm to go with the gauntlet.

Both parts took less then an hour each to form so not too tricky. For the elbow im trying nylon elastic on each side it hold the parts snug but allow movement. The gauntlet glove is also glued into the forarm now. Its glued in a few inches up to allow wrist rotation.

Thooughts.

Wrist: i think it will look better if i use 2mm foam going from the glove up inside the forarm. This will make thw armour look more flush without reducing flex. The joint itself works fine, just needs to look better when wearing and moving

Forarm: i initially tried having it open along the side, the idea being to attack foam sponges that will lock around the arm when closed to hold it firm, but the joint wasnt asthetically pleasing and altered the curvature. Thankfully you cam actually put it on without a squeeze other then the wrist, and even that is minor so i think a solid part is the way to go. For padding im thinking of layering half cut pool noodles in ribs to simulate muscle mass to support the inside of the arm.

Bicep: same as forarm, no need to alter the sides as ot slides on, tho will need internal padding to hold it perfectly in place. Once a torso is done i reckon some elastic and buckles will allow it to attach nice and snug, most likely to the back and chest plates for flex. The shoulder will connect to the chest too and hide the join tho i may ectend the outer bicep once i can see the joint.

While the undersuit will be a red nylon, i want as much of the joints as possible to be plate layered foam, so thin foam will be used as underlays
 

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Update. Still cant place an order for the high end foam but honefully i will in the next few days.

In the mean time ive used some more of my low density foam to test out scale. This time a Bicep and forarm to go with the gauntlet.

Both parts took less then an hour each to form so not too tricky. For the elbow im trying nylon elastic on each side it hold the parts snug but allow movement. The gauntlet glove is also glued into the forarm now. Its glued in a few inches up to allow wrist rotation.

Thooughts.

Wrist: i think it will look better if i use 2mm foam going from the glove up inside the forarm. This will make thw armour look more flush without reducing flex. The joint itself works fine, just needs to look better when wearing and moving

Forarm: i initially tried having it open along the side, the idea being to attack foam sponges that will lock around the arm when closed to hold it firm, but the joint wasnt asthetically pleasing and altered the curvature. Thankfully you cam actually put it on without a squeeze other then the wrist, and even that is minor so i think a solid part is the way to go. For padding im thinking of layering half cut pool noodles in ribs to simulate muscle mass to support the inside of the arm.

Bicep: same as forarm, no need to alter the sides as ot slides on, tho will need internal padding to hold it perfectly in place. Once a torso is done i reckon some elastic and buckles will allow it to attach nice and snug, most likely to the back and chest plates for flex. The shoulder will connect to the chest too and hide the join tho i may ectend the outer bicep once i can see the joint.

While the undersuit will be a red nylon, i want as much of the joints as possible to be plate layered foam, so thin foam will be used as underlays
This is cool! I got to learn from some tutorials in the future.
 

OJ102

Member
Sorry if the constant updates are a pain but this log also helps me consolidate my thoughts. Quick alteration. You know you are obsessing on something when your working on it in your dreams... i had a nightmare my armour wouldnt fit properly and i had to restart just as i painted it! It did however give me some R&D time to think over joints.

The nylon worked well to hold it together but made it look wierd and didnt allow a good pivot. So i thought how a robotic arm would work and so this morning used some offcuts to alter the test arm.

I lined up the arm in the straight position and bent it to find its central axis, then used card to extend the original templates for and under-over lap. cut the foam and added it. Essentially adding stuff on to each side of the hinge. I then poked a hole through the central axis and inserted a bolt, 2 washers and a nut on each side. Securing but not tight.

The result is a more ridgid arm that when worn bends correctly with the arm, doesnt distort as its rotating and more importantly returns to default when straight!

Its a little scrappy now but its also made of low density foam while i perfect the templates as its cheaper to alter.
 

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OJ102

Member
I added 2 inches to the top of the bicep and saved the new template. Fits much better better now.

Question: can the shoulder be attached directly to the bicep with glue? Ive bolted mine on for the moment but found that there isnt any range of movement where the foam strains, the shoulder has to always point down the arm else you cant move the arm upwards! Im thinking ill add under layers coming out of the torso to cover the joint from the inside but connecting the parts togethet is a new frontire for me!
 

OJ102

Member
Update: since my supplies arriving yesterday ive made the Chest, Back and Abs. The chest and back fit perfectly when bolted together, the abs however look too small for the upper torso.. unless tony stark had an hour glass figure! Its looking like ill need to add almost 4 inches somewhere to make it line up correctly around the abdominal area.

I cut the abdomen down the middle to see how much off it was, the scale is correct but its very thin, like a 28 inch waistband...

Im not going to alter the templates until the cod is done since if that fits fine the abs will need a progressive expansion i think.

Ive added the image of the torso and arm to date on the test foam, i think its starting to look half decent :D
 

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Sean Anwalt

RCO
405th Regiment Officer
Once you finish the practice foam and move on to the high density foam, are you going to put up the files you come up with? A friend of mine wants an iron man build, and we're struggling with templates.
 

OJ102

Member
Im manually altering the templates by hand. Ive got a pepakura files of the End Game Armour, i set that to scale and then am tweeking it while trying it on. Like i extended the bicep 2 inches for my longer arms, im aparently taking the waist line out a little.. etc

Is there a way to upload a zip file on here? Ive got the whole body assembled for getting a scale number and then each component seperatly for building.
 

OJ102

Member
Cod piece done and as i feared, its a perfect fit to a abs.

I cant extend the front or back due to details that would be ruined.. so im thinking of modifying the sides where its got the least detail and stretching those panels out 1 inch on each side to keep it even.

For some reason the abs even look too small for the chest plate, yet they are the correct scale from the 3D file, so widening them a little should allow them to meet up with the upper torso details on the front and back, a few mm trimming may be needed for curves but should be easiest. Ill also add on extenders onto the abs going up that will allow an overlap into the upper torso. That will be used for securing them and allowing some flexibility. Im thinking of using suspender style holdings to secure the cod/abs in place ad a solid section and have the torso resting on my shoulders going down. So there is no physical joint on the 2 and they can move freely over each other but wont have a physical gap
 

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OJ102

Member
Update:

The cod and abs can mesh perfectly so im going to build then as one component to mininise seams. Then use 2mm foam to extend the underside of the abs upwards into the chest so i can rotate my self at the tummy and also bend without "popping" out.

To fix the cod abs "tightness" issue i cut alon each side to keep it symetrical then using mega paper clips found the best fit before bending them into place. I can now measure the gap and extend the templates accordingly for Version 2.

For the glove, i took insperation from the IronMan mark 1 (cave edition). Excuse the poor sketching. It should allow all the movement i need while retaining a connection to the forearm. Still need to prototype it on the hand but any thoights on pitfalls?
 

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Sean Anwalt

RCO
405th Regiment Officer
Looking like a good plan so far. I think 3 inches between your glove and forearm in going to be a lot of excess material, but you can always trim that down if you need to.
 

OJ102

Member
The 3 inches is overlap, the glove itself will sit almost flush i hope.

I altered the cod/abs. Had to insert a total of 10 inches to the wasteline for it to be the right fit! I also combined the templates for them to reduce the seams massivly. It will "JUST" fit over my hips and sits snug on with no additonal supports when wearing jeans. So will be a little looser in the red suit but thats not a bad thing.

Next up is the leg! So a thigh, knee, shin and boot.

Like the arm i was gonna start at the bottom and work up for joins, meaning the foot is first. My design is a full shoe bit im skeptical of the ability to use eva foam as a shoe.. even high density is unlikely to do well walking in on the outside ground... i was thinking possibly making a front and back of the shoe with overlap and using elastic to have them fit over trainers, so the foam isnt actually under your foot.
 
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