Sunday, November 2, 2014

Making a Space Marine Halloween Costume

So, yesterday was Halloween.  My understanding from non-Americans is that Halloween as not as big a deal overseas as it is here in the states.  Here - it's a big deal, and not only for kids.  So, when my oldest son said he wanted to be a space marine, I knew I needed to step up and make his dream come true.  Urh, with a limited budget . . . and little time . . . and no talent.  

I looked all over the inter webs, and found lots of templates and examples of prop-shop lackies who spent thousands on building fiberglass helmets and vacu-formed armour.  I found nothing that would help me throw something together in a few days with the materials at hand.  So, I basically went cheap, quick and easy.  If I can you do it, so can you!
Nerf gun generously sprayed with flat black primer and trimmed with silver craft paint.  Counts-as Bolt Gun.  Or, something approximating a Bolt Gun.  This actually didn't make it far on Halloween, as apparently it interfered with collecting candy.
Need moar glue stix!
I went to Michael's and bought a pack of multi-colored foam sheets for $9 bucks, then four more single sheets of blue at $1 each.  I needed more blue sheets!  Damn, I'm too cheap.  Don't be cheap like me.
For the shoulder pads, I cut up some old cardboard boxes in the shape above - basically free-handing the design to size, as needed.  Then hot glue.  And more hot glue.  Lots of hot glue.
I first glued the base of the foam sheet on the cardboard . . .
then cut the foam as needed, so it laid down properly.  You can see I patched a few spots.  O.k., maybe more than a few . . . 
The gold (fine - yellow) trim helped cover over the crappy scissor-work.  As did the Ultramarine symbol.  The decorations go a long way to covering shoddy craftsmanship - maybe that's why we see so many purity seals on the more veteran space marines.
Again, details are your friends.
I cut out the general shape of a chest - sort of - and then wrapped it in foam.  I glued on another strip of cardboard (right above the black foam), while curving the chest piece, so that it would remain curved.     
Added details like the Aquila and the stomach tubes (just the plastic tubes that you use to keep computer and audio wires under control - and black foam behind).  Just a bit of detail really adds a "3-D" look.
Now I have some very chaotic speaker wires that need controlling.
Given the limited time I had, I just did a one dimensional backpack on cardboard and wrapped it in foam.  I added some circle cut-outs as well, for the ball-y-exaust-vent-thingies.
Basic shape  . . .  I used black foam strips to hold the chest piece, back pack shoulder pads together, so the whole thing could just be thrown over the head, like a sweater (or, jumper, if you prefer).
The holes along the top are just black foam cut-outs, but add some dimension.  The circle in the middle is just a strip of blue foam glued down in a ring.  Some additional black strips add the "vents."
Red foam, some paper, a sharpie, hot glue and - boom - purity seals.  Just don't get the Roman numerals upside down, like I did.  I suck at Roman numerals.  From now on, the Ultramarines will be known as the IIIXth Legion.
The mask is just your classic space marine head, printed out, painted with craft paint and re-lined with a fat sharpie.  At first, I was going to go with no helmet (Sargent style), but changed my mind at the last minute.  I'd like to someday make a  three dimensional foam helmet - just didn't have the time this round. 
Then I glued the helmet drawing onto some cardboard.  The black strip of foam holds it on very well, as foam is just stretchy enough for that sort of thing.  I poked a bunch of holes into the eyes with a nail, so you can see through the eyes, at least somewhat.  I don't recommend walking around with the mask on, though, the holes are just for aiming the pillowcase opening at the candy bowl.
Details, details. 
Ready for the Emperor's bidding.
The Xenos Scum will never see this side of his armour!
Here's the little brother, trying it on for size . . .
So, that's it.  Less than $20 in materials and more than 20 hours working the scissors and hot-glue like an also-ran on Project Runway.  Boy, do I need me a Tim Gunn.  And, a skin graft for my hot-glue-gun-burned hands.

On a related note, from a gaming fluff perspective, I think Halloween is the most likely holiday to survive the Imperium's next 39,000 years.  Unlike most other holidays, Halloween celebrates the macabre.  Much like the 41st millennium a la Priestly, Halloween is a bizarre mix of pagan idolatry, mysticism and fear-worship.  Daemons, chaos, mutants and xenos can all be found lurking on the streets of Terra after darkness on the October 31st.  It would not surprise me to see children, thousands of years from now, walking the streets in the Emperor's worlds, dressed in the garb of the Imperium's enemies - all the better to mock them, to steal their fear and to gather treats.  Parents would warn them to avoid the boogymen of the day:  "Watch out for the Inquisitors now, child!"  And the children would reply: "But we know no fear!"

If only we could all be children on Halloween - easily ridiculing the horrors, lurking just beyond the light of the hearth.