My very first build for my 4 year old son (Batman)

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
First off, let me start by giving some background into my experience with anything prop-making...

-ZERO- I have, until about 3 weeks ago had zero skill, zero experience with foam, with cutting foam, with trimming foam, with forming/ shaping foam, etc...

with that being said, I have learned ALOT, and I continue to learn something new every day I tinker.

diving right in, my son, (almost 5) is obsessed with all things batman... I swear every toy he has is batman related... batman pajamas, batman shoes, batman Legos, batman underwear... I think he has a problem, however when we asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween this year he pointed to my game informer and said "I want to be THAT batman" and of course he was pointing to one of the playable characters in Arkham Knight, now there was no way I would be able to pull THAT one off, but he's not even 5 yet.. what does he care? as long as he has cool gauntlets, a mask and cape he'd be happy? so I set out on a fact finding mission... how to make the coolest costume any 5 year old on our block is going to have? after searching a few of the more well known forums that I belong to for inspiration I came across quite a few great tips and fun tricks from you all here at the 405th! with that being said, there are WAY too many people I should be giving props to for posting their tips on here. with that being said I will post a couple of my pics thus far... keep in mind, this is a work in progress, and as I stated above, I am an absolute NOOB, so if you have any suggestions on how to make any of these pieces look better, feel free to educate me!
Batman belt prior to trimming.jpg
This is my un successful attempt at putting detail lines in 1/4" very soft foam (don't know where I got it from, it was just laying around. I immediate understood my fault, after reading a tutorial from here on heating very thin cut lines into the foam and watching the lines open up... I added that to the lessons learned list. also I didn't realize you could cut the thinner/ softer foam with a really sharp pair of scissors to get the curved shape I needed... I did it with a dremel tool which practically shredded the edges. (lesson 2) obviously i did this BEFORE I read somewhere on here you should dull the grit on the sanding drum so its less abrasive. WOW... im not off to a great start, but I did learn two valuable lessons and I was ready to move on...

Batman chest layout option one.jpg
Again as you can see the "rib lines" I used a exacto knife at 45 degrees to create detail lines (see lesson 1) what I originally started out doing was free hand drawing the pieces on paper and using those as templates (unfortunately I couldn't find any pep files for this sized costume) not that it would have done me any good because as I said before zero experience with even pep (which it looks scary but I'm sure its not as bad as I'm thinking it is) anyway as you can see I cut the larger pieces, ie. the abbs and the chest plate from the thicker harder foam, and I used the thinner foam as a base holder. this is where lesson 3 comes into place, I think either buying the proper foam and using a hot knife would make cutting this thinner foam a little bit easier.
Batman chest, abs and belt before trimming.jpg
Here is a better look at the sides, and the chest pieces, I noticed while uploading these pics, the pattern directions on the abs do not match... at this point I don't think I will re-do those pieces since they have subsequently been glued into place. I found that the rubber cement did not hold the thinner foam to the thicker foam when I attached them end to end, however the rubber cement works great when surface mounting the thinner foam to the thicker foam. so I used hot glue on the edge connections and it seems to hold up rather nicely.

Batman all pieces.jpg
here is a picture showing most of the pieces I have now, the lower left corner pieces are for the shins and they have been strapped using 1/2" straps with 1/2" plastic clips found at amazon pretty cheaply. I used a trick from the forums on these pieces to shape the shin pieces by using my soldering iron to heat up the bend lines and allowing the foam to melt to itself. I will add some detail pieces to these before painting, I just haven't figured out what would look cool on them. I also added the pieces to cover the top of the foot just above the shin pieces which I am at a loss for how to attach them to the shoe... I am thinking elastic looped from one side to another and just "slip it over the shoe" anyone have any experience with this?

The upper left pieces are obviously the gauntlets (HUGE lesson learned here) do NOT shape the thicker foam with a heat gun until all pieces are glued together... it was a PITA to connect the pieces that held the "blades" (I know the blades are from a totally different batman but he really liked them so I remade the blades) to the gauntlets themselves with the strapping on. again the strapping is 1/2" strap material and the 1/2" plastic clips mentioned above.

The pieces in the middle are two different types of shoulder pads I was thinking about using. I like the thinner foam "rounded" pieces but I also like the more squared off shoulders next to them because of how it reminds me of a Halo shoulder pad.

Obviously the far right side of the above picture is the front abb and chest plate, including belt, and below that is the "fake" back plate with my own design for the spine guards. I figured this wont be seen much because the cape will cover it however after Halloween he will probably want to just play with the suit around the house without the cape, and I figured this would be cool to have some "protection" when his sister shoots him with her nef guns.


ill upload what the chest and back look semi connected standing up on its own later.

any ideas of tips I could use to help improve my skills it would be greatly appreciated!

thanks for checking it out!
 

Attachments

  • Batman chest, and back connected without chast plate.jpg
    Batman chest, and back connected without chast plate.jpg
    1.3 MB · Views: 149

Dirtdives2424

Division Scheduler and Keeper of Con Lists
Division Staff
Community Staff
Welcome to the 405th!! The last pic is the only one visible. The rest are invalid. Edit and try attaching them again. But from the last pic, looks great. Nice work dad!!!!
 

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
Welcome to the 405th!! The last pic is the only one visible. The rest are invalid. Edit and try attaching them again. But from the last pic, looks great. Nice work dad!!!!
I edited and reloaded the pictures. I think because it kicked me out half way through my post maybe they were lost.

I guess I will be checking out the video on how to embed pictures in posts.

thanks again!
 

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
if any of you guys need help let me know!

Loco, any and ALL help would be greatly appreciated! I will say this, i leave my ego at the door, especially when adventuring into something new and fun as this is. but i have to be honest with myself, there is ALOT to learn, and not all of it can be picked up from watching youtube videos. some of the techniques that people post here are true art forms!

I have mentioned getting together to a few of the Midwest members and doing like a build party if you would be interested, I'm not sure where you're from, but Im in the crystal lake/ Algonquin Illinois area! i have a decent sized basement that we could use, although i heard ErMaC has a vacuum form rig... which i am dieing to see...

Unfortunately i don't have 50 posts yet so i can be welcomed into the Midwest group, but ill get there one day.

in case one of the pictures from above didn't post here are all the parts i have done for my sons costume so far.
Batman all pieces.jpg let me know if it comes through the right way this time?
 

locostorm

Jr Member
Loco, any and ALL help would be greatly appreciated! I will say this, i leave my ego at the door, especially when adventuring into something new and fun as this is. but i have to be honest with myself, there is ALOT to learn, and not all of it can be picked up from watching youtube videos. some of the techniques that people post here are true art forms!

I have mentioned getting together to a few of the Midwest members and doing like a build party if you would be interested, I'm not sure where you're from, but Im in the crystal lake/ Algonquin Illinois area! i have a decent sized basement that we could use, although i heard ErMaC has a vacuum form rig... which i am dieing to see...

Unfortunately i don't have 50 posts yet so i can be welcomed into the Midwest group, but ill get there one day.

in case one of the pictures from above didn't post here are all the parts i have done for my sons costume so far.
View attachment 32027 let me know if it comes through the right way this time?


looks good to me. im in the alexandria mn area so its like a 4-5 hour drive to there about. and the vacuum form rig sounds cool. i have a friend that is going to make a halo reach eva helmet and that would work awesome if he would let me use it. do you have any armor of your own?
 

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
As of yet, no armor of my own however, after building this Batman costume im totally digging it... after the kids go to sleep i can relax and figure stuff out and cut pieces and fit pieces, its like a giant 3D puzzle...

i am hooked already... i will be making some Halo armor soon, but i think i am going to take some guidance from ErMaC if i can. hes literally right down the road from me, and his armor looks AMAZING! THAT is the level of detail i aspire to for my first personal suit. go big or go hoe right?
 

Invictuss

New Member
This is a great first go of it. I have a son who is turning 4 on Monday as well. He has what I like to call a super hero complex and I love it!!! One week hes batman, the following he is spiderman. He spent a few weeks wanting to be the red ranger from power rangers. Now hes going through an iron man phase. Throughout his adventures though he keeps calling me Hulk and no matter what he is I have to be Hulk. His imagination seems to be what resparked my own, hes my inspiration =)
 

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
That's looking really awesome!
Thanks! if you have any suggestions please feel free to fire away. especially when it comes to strapping... i have no idea how I'm going to connect the front to the back and the shoulders. here is what i did, i hot glued the strap material to the base foam under the chest plate. I measured out about 10" worth of strapping (enough to go over his shoulders) and i glued the other side of the plastic clips to the back. i figured i would cut some velcro and attach it to these straps and just velcro the shoulders to the strap at the proper place, and that will allow me some adjustment if needed.
front glued together and strapped.jpg
I'm expecting to have an opportunity for a lessons learned soon when i go to paint... it is probably easier to seal and paint all the pieces before they have been glued on... but i guess that's the magic of trying it out first and learning as you go.
 

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
This is a great first go of it. I have a son who is turning 4 on Monday as well. He has what I like to call a super hero complex and I love it!!! One week hes batman, the following he is spiderman. He spent a few weeks wanting to be the red ranger from power rangers. Now hes going through an iron man phase. Throughout his adventures though he keeps calling me Hulk and no matter what he is I have to be Hulk. His imagination seems to be what resparked my own, hes my inspiration =)

we are in the same boat, my sons imagination is super inspiring. its funny you mentioned always having to be hulk, my son makes me either be Ironman or hulk all the time... must be a kid thing... or maybe because we are so much bigger than them? LOL i love how their minds work!

let me know if you want me to send you all the patterns for this suit when I'm done with it. it would be a fun project for you to do with him, and he will have a cool costume for play time :)
 

Invictuss

New Member
we are in the same boat, my sons imagination is super inspiring. its funny you mentioned always having to be hulk, my son makes me either be Ironman or hulk all the time... must be a kid thing... or maybe because we are so much bigger than them? LOL i love how their minds work!

let me know if you want me to send you all the patterns for this suit when I'm done with it. it would be a fun project for you to do with him, and he will have a cool costume for play time :)

i may take you up on that then, Im going to do a build for him and let him choose it then have him help me out with all the graphic work on number data. kids already a computer wiz so i may as well start him early

ya definitely hit me back with those whenever you have the time but no rush.

***Edit***
his reason for me being hulk is because he seen me smash a table that was falling apart (really rough shape beyond repair that one) so its been hulk smash ever since
 

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
i may take you up on that then, Im going to do a build for him and let him choose it then have him help me out with all the graphic work on number data. kids already a computer wiz so i may as well start him early

ya definitely hit me back with those whenever you have the time but no rush.

***Edit***
his reason for me being hulk is because he seen me smash a table that was falling apart (really rough shape beyond repair that one) so its been hulk smash ever since

that's a great reason to be hulk :)

all of the patterns i have for this thing are free hand drawn on paper! so i will have to try to scan them into pdf or something. otherwise i was planning on sending you a copy of them in the snail mail! i guess i could model them... but that may take a long time especially if i only have a couple hours each night max to work on everything on my list lol

Have you decided on which 3D printer you're going to go with yet?
 

six

New Member
I haven't been doing this long and actually this is my first post. What little free time I have often goes to building and reading here. I found my build process went much faster when I started using a band saw and contact cement. With the band saw I can place two sheets of foam back to back (I use push pins to hold them) and since most of the parts are symmetrical it saves me lots of time. I also arrange the parts in the pep files to be close together then just pin the card stock right to the foam. The band saw also makes cutting angles really easy and repeatable for me. I glued my first several pieces of armor up with hot glue and while it was ok, as soon as I glued the first pieces with contact cement I knew it was for me. I see a lot of posts about Barge cement but I wasn't able to easily find it so I tried out DAP Weldwood and its been working great. http://www.lowes.com/pd/DAP-Weldwood-Contact-Cement/3006177
 

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
I haven't been doing this long and actually this is my first post. What little free time I have often goes to building and reading here. I found my build process went much faster when I started using a band saw and contact cement. With the band saw I can place two sheets of foam back to back (I use push pins to hold them) and since most of the parts are symmetrical it saves me lots of time. I also arrange the parts in the pep files to be close together then just pin the card stock right to the foam. The band saw also makes cutting angles really easy and repeatable for me. I glued my first several pieces of armor up with hot glue and while it was ok, as soon as I glued the first pieces with contact cement I knew it was for me. I see a lot of posts about Barge cement but I wasn't able to easily find it so I tried out DAP Weldwood and its been working great. http://www.lowes.com/pd/DAP-Weldwood-Contact-Cement/3006177

ill try this weldwood stuff... the issue I have with the band saw is that the pieces of PVA I have are huge 24"x24" pieces from Harbor freight, so it wont fit in my dinky little band saw... I've use hot glue and I have also used some Elmer's rubber cement, I couldn't get the barge stuff in time. its on amazon but I can pick up this weldwood contact cement from Lowes down the street. just curious how well does that stuff work? have you tested the durability and hold strength against the other options?
thanks for sharing! good luck with your builds!
 

six

New Member
I use the same foam from Harbor Freight and have a 9" band saw. I do several rough cuts to break down the sheet just cutting around the parts. Then with the sheet broke down, I go back and cut on the lines. Regarding the Weldwood cement, I have not done any direct comparison but everything is holding up to the abuse of my 4 year old :)
 

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
An update on the kids build, I decided to buy a full mask from amazon for $11 since I wouldn't have enough time to make the mask out of foam. And my skill with the foam is NOT there yet. as you can see from the picture the mask is a little on the larger side so im going to cut some foam to fin the back to tighten up the front a little. so fitment went well... somehow I miss-measured the strapping on the bottom of the legs so now I will have to figure out how to remove that (hot glue).

Batboy1.jpg
I had to go a little crazy with the hot glue on the gauntlets to get the "blades" fixed in place. unfortunately I am going to have to fill in that gap a little. I picked up some plastidip that should do well to hide those little imperfections.

next up, sealing... if anyone has any idea on the best way to seal this, I'm all ears. right now on the bigger pieces I'm using modge podge... (sp)and I also picked up the spray version for the hard to reach places.


I also realized for the thinner foam pieces it is NOT EVA foam... I don't know if that will matter but it doesn't seem to seal as well... its some foam that I got from McMaster for putting in the bottom of my tool cabinets.


thanks again in advance for any ideas or thoughts on how to improve this thing.
 

Dirtdives2424

Division Scheduler and Keeper of Con Lists
Division Staff
Community Staff
OK another Dad of the Year Award Recipient!!!! Looks great. There are a lot of filler items out there. Some people use the bondo method and some even use Spackle....not a fan of that one.......others use paint-able caulk. It's not easy to sand smooth but at least you can paint on it. As for sealing....Its EVA foam right?......you may just want to hit the whole thing w/ a heat gun for a bit as it really doesn't need sealing. Now the plasta-dip is great for covering up all those little pesky imperfection.....and yes it will seal the foam. That"s what it is designed for in the first place. For over gluing, you could try a hot knife to surgically remove a piece by remelting the glue. I recently had to re position a glued piece and it worked like a charm.
 

Private Jenkins

Jr Member
OK another Dad of the Year Award Recipient!!!! Looks great. There are a lot of filler items out there. Some people use the bondo method and some even use Spackle....not a fan of that one.......others use paint-able caulk. It's not easy to sand smooth but at least you can paint on it. As for sealing....Its EVA foam right?......you may just want to hit the whole thing w/ a heat gun for a bit as it really doesn't need sealing. Now the plasta-dip is great for covering up all those little pesky imperfection.....and yes it will seal the foam. That"s what it is designed for in the first place. For over gluing, you could try a hot knife to surgically remove a piece by remelting the glue. I recently had to re position a glued piece and it worked like a charm.

Thanks Dirt! yeah I'm going to pick up a hot knife, and have a go at it, hopefully I can soften the glue without damaging the foam. luckily the strapping is glued to the inside of the foam rather than the outside so I have that going for me.

sealing options.jpg
I did have some time last night to test a few coats of the Plasti-dip in two different colors. it looks good so far. unfortunately the picture was taken at 5 am this morning so the light wasn't the greatest. but you can see the bubbles have all but disappeared. I think that was 4 coats.

How many coats should it take to seal the foam? I like that it was very flexible after the 4th coat. had a little toughness to it as well. I think I like the plastidip method for small pieces.
 
Top