Anthony Le, 25, has been a fan of Iron Man since he was a kid, but when he heard that the comic-book superhero was hitting the big screen in 2008, he was inspired to build his own Iron Man suit. That version was more of a costume, but his new one, finished just in time for the movie’s sequel, edges much closer to the real thing. With its dent-proof exterior, motorized faceplate and spinning mock Gatling gun, his take on the movie’s War Machine suit could easily frighten a supervillain.
Le, a fitness consultant, studied some concept sketches of the suit posted on the Internet. He used thin, high-impact urethane for the armor, cutting it into plates and joining them with some 1,500 rivets and washers. He sculpted a clay helmet mold and then used a liquid resin mix to create the final product. But that was just cosmetic work. He also added a small servo motor that opens the faceplate, as in the movie, and built a gun out of pipes and a motor. LEDs in the eyes and chest-plate further add to the illusion.
Le plans to wear the suit to the movie and already has quite a following, especially at sci-fi conventions. “I’m kind of hard to miss,” he says.
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Le built a replica of the machine gun on the suit’s shoulder out of PVC pipes and other materials. He added a small motor and belt drive to make the cylindrical gun spin like the real thing. To activate it, he presses a button in the palm of the suit’s glove. He says the gun could also be converted into a paintball shooter.