Norweigan John Kristiansen says, "make mine Marvel" and puts his money where his mouth is. Kristiansen spent a lot of time and $20,000 to create his own Iron Man costume.
Two main materials constitute most of the Iron Man suit—fiberglass and ABS plastic. Both involve creating a mold of each part, but they are slightly different materials. Kristiansen said he used the fiberglass for areas where he wanted to get the best true-to-the-movie details and he needed the suit to support its own weight, like on the chest and upper legs. ABS, he said, can't be sculpted to such detail, but it is softer, so he used that for the hands and lower legs. For comic and sci-fi conventions, he has created a version of the suit that looks like it has sustained battle damage, which he achieved by using a torch and a Dremel tool to put bullet holes and scratch marks on his creation.Kristiansen's costume was so successful that Paramount Pictures hired him to promote the Iron Man DVD release in Europe. Kristiansen plans on using his $20,000 costume to raise money for charities and reach out to kids.
These materials make movement much more difficult, Kristiansen said. He can only tolerate being inside the suit for about two hours, but won't break character—he'll tell his partner that he's "down to 60 percent power" if the heat or fixed posture of the costume start to give him muscle spasms.
According to Kristiansen , the Iron Man moviemakers often use a rubber suit for better mobility and then touch it up afterward with CGI. "We cannot hide behind effects," he says. "When we meet a crowd, they have to get the feeling that this is not a man dressed up as Iron Man, this is Iron Man." So despite the discomfort, it was worth it for him to use strong materials to make the costume look perfect. Not only that, but Kristiansen in his costume is pretty intimidating—where Robert Downey Jr., who plays Iron Man in the film, is around 5'9" or 5'10", Kristiansen is more than 6ft tall and 200 pounds.
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