Iron Man has finally returned to cinemas, inevitably leaving a lot of us lusting for our own set of red and gold armour. But it turns out that billions of dollars, a genius IQ, and the magic of Hollywood aren't required to realise that dream. At least not for these brilliant amateur creations.
Here are some of the best attempts at building a suit of Iron Man armour on the cheap, made with not much more than some decent sculpting skills, an eye for detail, a stick or two of hot glue, lots of free time, and a desperate need to impress your friends and random YouTube visitors. They don't fly, they don't shoot anything, and they'll barely protect you; but damned if we aren't still jealous of each and every one of them.
Do you remember what you were doing at 16? Jackson Laverman spent countless weeks modelling and crafting his own Iron Man suit from card stock and Bondo. From afar, the results are almost screen ready.
Anthony 'Master' Le's Iron Man suit takes cosplay to a whole new level with animated features like moving thruster flaps and a helmet that automatically opens. In the right lighting it might actually fool J.A.R.V.I.S.
Archie Whitehead is a 17-year-old amateurprop maker who probably won't have much difficulty turning his hobby into an actual career. Expect to see his name in the credits starting at Iron Man 12.
Pictures: Archie Whitehead
The clunky steampunk-like aesthetics of the Iron Man Mark 1 suit leave something to be desired. But Wang XiaoKang's recreation of the armour that helped Tony Stark escape his captors is still an object of lust, even if it doesn't shoot fire.
Titanium? Nope. Graphite? Not here. Believe it or not, Mark Pearson's (on the right) Iron Man armour is actually made from 400 sheets of recyclable cardboard covered in fibreglass. It won't protect him from attacks, but it will protect the environment.
Pictures: The Sun
If any homebrew Iron Man suit looks like it could go toe-to-toe with the real Tony Stark, it's this one. Made from fibreglass with a flexible plastic used for the midsection armour, it's as comfortable to wear as it is awesome to look at.
Pictures: RPF Forum
The 'suit case' sequence in Iron Man 2 made fans giggle with pure joy. And even though you need a little help to get into this version, it's by far the best attempt at recreating Stark's mobile armour.
War Machine always seems to play second fiddle to Tony Stark's Iron Man. But not at this contest where Anthony Le deservedly won best costume and best of of show. The spinning machine gun definitely put him over the top.
It's joked that duct tape can be used to build anything. But maybe there's some truth to that statement since McLean Krieger used the sticky stuff -- in addition to cardboard and craft foam -- to give his Iron Man suit an authentic look. And it definitely worked.
The filmmakers spend a lot of time in post-production making the Iron Man armour sound realistic. And the inclusion of sound effects do the same for this DIY armour.
And then there are the components. Master.K -- aka Zhi Wang -- took an entire year to sculpt, mould and then paint this stunning Iron Man helmet. If he spent this much time and effort crafting just the head, imagine how amazing the entire suit will be when finished in 15 years.
Stark is literally a dead man without the arc reactor protecting his heart. And if accuracy is your primary concern when creating an Iron Man suit, you'll need to start with this Instructable and an awesome sounding material called polymorph.
Helmets and arc reactors are fine and all, but this gauntlet with a pop-up balloon-popping blue laser looks far more entertaining.
If function is just as important as form for your armour, get a set of Advancer Technologies' muscle sensors that let you fire Iron Man's palm repulser by just flexing your arms. The realistic sound effects will go a long way to selling your getup as well.
But what if you love the Iron Man aesthetic, but just can't picture yourself wandering around in a cardboard suit? Don't worry, you can still cosplay along with this $50 glowing iPhone case that turns your device into a tiny pocketable Stark.