Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marines Part 3: Boots

When last I wrote about this project, I had a fully-assembled backpack.  Working on the other end of things, it was time to make some boots.

Here's one of them:
SM Boot Assembled

For assembly details and a quick video of them in action (with my new, huge legs) read on...

Like so many pieces of this costume, the first step was to make a Pepakura model:
SM Boot Scale Pic

It was not small:
SM Boot pepped

Since the left and right boots are essentially the same, I settled with making the one pep model serve as the form for both sides.  Once the paper model was assembled, I reinforced it with fiberglass:
Boot heel glassed

When the fiberglass had set up, the next phase was the "grinding down the hard edges" phase:
SM Heel

Here's the toe after a few minutes worth of working over with an 80-grit flapwheel grinder:
SM Toe

After oodles and gobs of sanding and filling and sanding and filling, the toe form was painted with a high-heat paint:
SM Toe Form Finished

The back of the boot required a bit more work to make it ready for forming.  In addition to all of the smoothing and fairing I did on the toe, I split it down the center and laid it open so it would form as two halves.  Here's the two halves joined along their bottom edges and reinforced with additional fiberglass:
SM Boot Split

The first pulls made a good fit with the other armor pieces:
SM Lower LegPull

The initial plan was to fill the back section of the boots with foam and make them into a pair of 10" high platforms.  Strapping the wearer's feet on top would gain the needed height for the character.  Initial tests proved this idea to be pretty clumsy in practice:
SM Matt Test Fit Legs

Back to the drawing board, I glanced over a few pictures of drywall stilts.  Then I sat down and doodled out this little gem during lunch:
SM Stilt Drawing

I emailed this image to Ryan Kertz of Kertz Fabrication and he agreed to take on this part of the project.  In short order, he had the first working prototypes:
SM Stilts Prototype

Adding a bit of duct tape (because every build needs at least a little) I tried them out:
SM Stilts Test Fitting

The mobility was good and it was actually surprisingly easy to adapt to walking around in them.  As an added bonus, the cutouts for the uprights make a stop that limits the movement of the ankle to about 20 or 25 degrees in either direction:
SM Stilts Test Fitting 2

The narrow footprint made up for the fact that the ankle had no sideways movement.  Unfortunately, adding the very large footprint that the boots needed meant that the wearer might twist or break something if they stepped on an uneven surface.  To counter this, I added a bit of wobble to the bottom of the stilt by inserting a soft rubber gasket between the bottom of the stilt and the inside of the sole.  Here's the rubber gasket taped in place:
SM Stilts Wiggle Insert

Assembling the boots began with the making of a plywood sole with the toe section attached with a piece of piano hinge on the bottom:
SM Boot Soles Hinged

The vacformed toe piece was stapled onto the front end:
SM Boot Soles With Toe

Then the rest of the boot was stapled onto the sole:
SM Boot Assembled

With the stilts bolted in and the shin armor in place, the wearer's knee is located just above the character's knee:
SM Boot Test Fit with Shin

This means that the hip is in just about the right place too:
SM Stilts Test Fitting 3

I still need to add the rubber soles to the outside of the boot, but for now, they work:

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  1. This is going to be awesomesauce. I'm paying close attention to your problem solving with oversized armor - I've promised to make a Starcraft II marine costume for my 10 year old stepson this year and it has to be huge!

    1. Fun. The Terran Marine has been on my fun project list for a while. I'd love to see what you come up with.

  2. Awesome work as always :-)

    Have you thought about metal soles? So the movement would make a nice sound, like a big huge space marine in full armor :-)

    1. Thought about it, but decided against it. The soles will be rubber, but I may cut a few holes to make the boots into resonant chambers to add a bit more "thud" to the footsteps. We'll see how it works out.

      Most of the plastic scraping noise in the video is actually from stepping through the scraps on the floor.

  3. Very impressive work! I've found your blog some time ago, and was inspired of it. Now I'm planing to make Space Marine Terminator's armor, but I afraid that it will take several years. And when I'm looking at your works, I believe there is nothing impossible.

    (Sorry for my English)

  4. I know alot of people have mentioned Buzz Lightyear, but what I am seeing is Ironman's Hulkbuster armor.

  5. nice! I think you're doing pretty good

  6. Nice work. What are your thoughts on the material you're going to use between the armor on the joints? Something flexibly rigid...