HALLOWEEN! My great motivator. This year my wife, Tiny Doom of The Ladies of Comicazi blog, decided she wanted to be The Wasp, from The Avengers, specifically she wanted to be the Wasp from the cartoon, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, so I naturally decided I would be Ant-Man. I decided against the cartoon version and chose to go classic silver age comic version.
So, armed with an excuse to buy more silver age comics, I picked up the Essential Ant-Man book and I started scouring the internet for costume ideas. I was shocked to come up with very little. Only two other people have made Ant-Man costumes, one very very good and one pretty good. Unfortunately I could not find any blogs by either men explaining how they made their costume. I then scoured web pages like The Replica Prop Forum which is filled with amazingly talented creators and the Cosplay.com forum, which seemed to be closed, but still contained quite a bit of useful info.
Right away I knew the most important part of my costume was going to be Ant-Man's helmet with the second being his belt canisters which contain the gas that allows Hank Pym to shrink and grow. I looked for quite some time to come up with a base helmet to modify but wasn't able to find anything that was affordable and allowed me to wear it with my glasses comfortably, so I knew I was stuck making the helmet from scratch.
I followed this post and it was amazingly helpful, I doubt I would have had any success if not for Featherweight. This was the initial result of much cardboard and hotglue:
This is the end result of the first stage. I used dowells for the antenna and the belt canisters. The rest is completely cardboard.
From this stage I painted the helmet with fiberglass resin, which made the cardboard waterproof and sturdy enough to take the next step, bondo, and lots of it. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the fiberglass and bondo, but basically the fiberglass just looked like the pics above but green and the bondo you can basically see in the next pics, once it's been sanded and reapplied and sanded and reapplied and...well, you get the idea.
Bondo-ed and primed.
First blast of silver spray paint.
The last few applications of bondo and fiberglass were mostly attempting to fill in the little holes in the bondo from it drying. This was a big bitch, those damn divots would never seem to go away! You keep sanding and then suddenly you are sanding cardboard and then you've gone too far. So I'd cover it all up again with fiberglass, but then it'd get sanded away and this went on seemingly forever. I finally had to just accept that I wasn't going to have a perfectly smooth helmet, especially since there were a few spots that were cracking and I was not able to completely fix them. You can barely tell from most of the pictures, luckily, and you can only really see the bad spots upon close inspection.
The belt canisters I just sprayed silver, that never needed anything more complex, thankfully. As for the rest of my suit, which I hope fell somewhere between the two I posed above:
Click to Embiggen.
The gloves were superhero gloves I found in one of those pop-up Halloween stores, the boots were pvc boots from Amazon that I spray painted blue, the red suit was actually one of those red onesie longjohns, the shorts were a pain to find, but they were running shorts I found on Amazon and the black details were just black felt that I used a mix of stitch witchery and iron-on velcro to attach (so I could get in and out of the suit).
There were different gloves that were also spray painted blue but like the boots, they never dried properly. I had read a lot of mixed results online, after reading that pvc takes plastic fusion spray paint, that it doesn't always. Mine sure didn't. On dry days they seemed ok, rainy days you'd get blue on your hands. The boots eventually dried enough that I could wear them, but still got blue on myself getting in and out and the parts of my suit that rub along the tops of the boots were ringed with blue when I got out of my suit. So don't believe everything the internet tells you about chemical bonding.
Overall I am very very happy with how things turned out. My wife and I won Best Overall in the Comicazi's Halloweeniversary party that they throw every year, so it seemed other's agreed that it went well.
Aside from quite a bit of stress, I actually had a lot of fun creating the helmet. So much that I have already set up my next project. This one is just for me, for fun:
Wish me luck.
Until next time! ...which will hopefully not be next year. Happy Halloween!