After the primer is sanded, Forrester covers each part in auto body paint — hot-rod red for the torso, feet, and gloves; bright gold for the arms and legs; both colors for the helmet.

But even after all the individual parts — chest, shoulders, biceps, forearms, elbows, gauntlets, shin guards, and so forth — are finished, there are, as Forrester always says, "the little details."

In the comics and films, Iron Man has a glowing blue circle called an "arc reactor" in his chest. There are various instructions on the Internet describing how to construct one for a costume, but Forrester took his own approach.

Epic cheese: Local costumers celebrated the movie Kick-Ass near Tempe Beach Park.
Epic cheese: Local costumers celebrated the movie Kick-Ass near Tempe Beach Park.
Superman, as seen at Tavern on Mill
Superman, as seen at Tavern on Mill
Sales and socializing mix at Atomic Comics, where anime fans like Katherine Jerome can dress up and buy more kitsch.
Sales and socializing mix at Atomic Comics, where anime fans like Katherine Jerome can dress up and buy more kitsch.
Joe LaFortune
Joe LaFortune
Jen LaFortune with their two children love to dress up and geek out.
Jen LaFortune with their two children love to dress up and geek out.

"I looked at the real thing. I wish I could afford the real thing — they actually auctioned off the Mark 1 chest piece at the Chicago Comicon this year, the one they used in the film. I wish I could have bought it," he says. "Anyway, I just looked at it and made my own version of the reactor."

Forrester's arc reactor is assembled from various parts he picked up at Ace Hardware, including copper wire and the electrical housing for a ceiling fan. The centerpiece is painted card stock covered with the same opaque plastic he used for the eyes in his helmet. To make the arc reactor light up, he installed LED lights and attached them to the battery for a paintball gun. When connected, the reactor gives off a steely blue glow.

He couldn't make every single part of the costume himself. He did order a custom-made rubber collarbone that will allow him to turn his head in the suit, and he also wants to order a latex abdomen. "I don't have a six-pack like I used to," Forrester says. "I don't have muscles, but I can make muscles or have someone make them for me. And it doesn't look like a foam pad; it actually looks real."

"I'm a skinny sucker. I'll be the first to admit," he says. "By wearing armor, I can look bigger than I am and I don't have to worry about being buff or anything."

For more special effects, Forrester installed a microphone in his helmet, wired to a speaker in the armor torso. He also installed LED lights in his helmet, as well as the palms of his gloves. The palm lights are actually just touch lights from Ace Hardware.

"Things like that make costuming fun," Forrester says. "The cool part about costuming is you buy stuff and you think, 'Ooh, I could use that for something else.' There's lots of materials from the automotive industry."

To finish off the costume, Forrester says he might use a rubberized coating spray under some of the parts, and sew ice-pack pockets into his jumpsuit. It's going to be hot underneath 40 pounds of armor.

Even after its debut, he'll continue to add to the costume. "It's constant maintenance on the finished pieces, too," Forrester says. "There are things I'll add to the suit after Phoenix Comicon," like pinstripes and shading. He also plans to have custom, bendable rubber knee joints made, along with hip sockets.

And no, he doesn't expect to get much sleep the night before Phoenix Comicon. "I'll probably be up very, very late doing last minute touches," he says. "It's all the little details."

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6 comments
garage door repair irvine
garage door repair irvine

Maintaining a home can be very expensive. From running the electric to running the water, it all adds up. One of the most important and expensive utilities in the home is heating water. Having a proper hot water heater effects all different sorts of daily life. It is a fact than 10% of all utilities are spent on heating water, that's why having a proper residential water heating service is important. And a residential water heating service is there to help you figure out and choose exactly what is right for your home.

garage door repair irvine
garage door repair irvine

Maintaining a home can be very expensive. From running the electric to running the water, it all adds up. One of the most important and expensive utilities in the home is heating water. Having a proper hot water heater effects all different sorts of daily life. It is a fact than 10% of all utilities are spent on heating water, that's why having a proper residential water heating service is important. And a residential water heating service is there to help you figure out and choose exactly what is right for your home.

Jason
Jason

HOLY SHIT! You guys managed to capture Pedobear on film! Hopefully you guys stopped him before anyone was carried off.

Ruth Carter
Ruth Carter

Almost everything you wrote about the 2010 Epic Super Hero Battle was inaccurate...and you didn't give credit to the organizers, Improv AZ. I think you need to publish a correction in your next edition.

Terra Walker
Terra Walker

It's not a costume party:) There are groups of us that appear for charities, and Phoenix Comicon is the premiere pop-culture event in the southwest. You should join us sometime! It would be great to have another face.

 
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