Posts Tagged ‘Iron Man’s armor’

How To: Build Your Own Iron Man Armor

May 8, 2008

It’s one of those worries that keep your friendly Danger Room correspondents awake at night: “If I was kidnapped by terrorists and forced to make them weapons, would I be able to secretly build a suit of bullet-proof armor and fight my way free?”build Ironman costume
 
Tony Stark shows how it’s done in the new Iron Man movie. But how easy would it be in real life?

Maybe not as hard as you think.

We’ll ignore the optional extras (rocket-powered flight, built-in weapons) and concentrate on the armor’s main function: making sure that when you burst out in your new get-up, you don’t get turned into a sieve by a fusillade of AK-47 slugs.

In fact, complete suits of bullet-proof armor have existed for centuries. It’s a popular myth that gunpowder made armor obsolete; armor-makers just improved their product.

In 1642 Sir Arthur Hazelrigg MP was a commander of cavalry in the Parliamentary army; his troop were known as ‘lobsters’ for their full armor. Cavalier officer Richard Atkins shot him, getting so close he touched Hazelrigg with the barrel of his pistol before discharging it. “I am sure I hit him for he staggered and presently wheeled off…”. Atkyns tried with his second pistol, hitting Hazelrigg squarely in the head again at point-blank but with no effect, “for he was too well-armed, with a coat of mail over his arms and a headpiece musket-proof.”

King Charles later joked that if Hazelrigg had been “victualled as well as fortified, he might have withstood a siege.” How we laughed…

Very few could afford the cost of this type of armor, and the weight of it meant that it was not suitable for infantry. But bullets could still be stopped by a stout piece of iron (anyone else remember “A Fistful of Dollars”?) – and this was observed by the man who must be the patron saint of home-made armor makers, Ned Kelly.

Kelly was Australia’s most famous bushranger: an outlaw who was either a simple horse-thief or a resistance fighter for the oppressed Irish against the oppressive English rulers and landowners. His story and especially his last stand at Glenrowan has been the subject of many books, films and web sites.

Kelly and three of his gang wore suits of home-made armor forged from the mould boards of ploughshares. (How they did this was quite a puzzle – the mystery is investigated here ) The mould boards were iron and described as being ‘as thick as a dinner plate.’ It took at least six to make a full suit which weighed around eighty pounds. They were proof against rifles at ten paces, and during the gang’s last stand at Glenrowan police fired volleys at them with little effect. Kelly himself was hit dozens of times but kept fighting and had to be physically overpowered.

how to build iron man costumeUnfortunately the weight of the armor and the restricted view from the visor were major handicaps: Kelly himself, though known to be an excellent shot, did not manage to hit any of the police besieging him. The armor did not completely cover the body, and this was its ultimate failure: with multiple injuries, including leg wounds, Kelly was unable to escape.

More than a hundred years later, there are still people building their own suits of bullet-proof armor. The most notable simple has to be Troy Hurtubise, a larger-than-life inventor of the old school. . After an encounter with a grizzly Hurtubise built a series of “bear-proof” Ursus armor suits; the end results of this, with Hurtubise testing his invention in the wild with actual bears, was filed as Project Grizzly .

This was followed by, among other enterprises, “The Trojan”, a complete flexible armored exoskeleton.

 The Canadian’s latest Trojan rig is comparatively portable, said to weigh just 40lb all-up. It is armoured with “high-impact plastic lined with ceramic bullet protection over ballistic foam”, and supposedly has resisted elephant-gun fire in testing. This time Hurtubise wasn’t inside, but he has said he’s willing to conduct live-fire trials in person.

“I would do it in an instant,” he told the Hamilton Spectator. “Bring it on.”

The suit has a number of interesting features, including emergency morphine and salt compartments, “magnetic holsters”, and a forehead-mounted laser pointer. The helmet has a “solar powered fresh air system”, too, presumably more mundanely described as an electric fan – handy for the desert heat. Built into the forearms are a small recording device, a pepper-spray gun and a detachable transponder that can – of course – be swallowed in case of trouble.

Video of The Trojan is inevitably available on YouTube, of course.

A lot of people don’t take The Trojan too seriously, and Hurtubise has not had any luck selling it to the Pentagon. The limitations of weight and ballistic protection mean that most body armor is confined to the torso, and it’s hard to see how an all-over armor weighing just forty pounds could provide a high level of protection. You’re looking at about 32 pounds for the current Interceptor armor with inserts, and that only protects the torso. Add-ons to protect the groin, neck and upper arms add extra; if you wanted to cover the legs, lower arms and head as well you’d be looking at a lot more. Issues of heat, mobility and fatigue also have to be factored in, and all-over armor does not look like a good prospect.

Then again, dealing with standard AK-47 rounds requires only Class III armor, whereas the hard inserts in Interceptor take it up to Class IV in vital areas. (Since, unlike the fictional baddies we sketched out above, jihadists are perfectly willing to cheat and use armor-piercing rounds.)  Still, I reckon if Troy Hurtubise was forced to work in a terrorist arms factory, just maybe he might manage to surprise them by coming out out in his own working Iron Man ensemble…

 

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Iron Man Least Favorite Armors

May 3, 2008

Now that I’ve gone over my favorite armors, I’ll move on to the next logical step: listing my least favorite armors. This list will include specialty and alternate armors also, and will be the third and final installment for this series. Though there were a lot of Iron Man armors out there, splitting them into three separate entries made the pool pretty shallow. So let’s go tow hat I think are the armors that never should have been for the Golden Avenger.

5) Tin Man / Prometheum 2 Armor Mark III- Jorge Lucas Variant

This rendition of the armor was just plain bad. Looking like hundreds of wielded or connected plates like knight armor instead of magnetized mesh, this monstrosity looked like it was designed with medieval technology more so than modern. The terminator faceplate tried to give off a menacing look, and it was scary, but unfortunately it was scary bad. Oh yeah, and the waist was as wide as the chest, so he looked like a middle-aged football fan with a huge beer gut. Bleh. The only good version of this I saw was Pat Lee’s, which can be found in the bottom right of this blog.

4) S.K.I.N. Armor

I’m not sure I need to explain this one really. Nothing good including the concept, and the most disliked Iron Man artist in recent memory didn’t help things either. Kudos to Mike Ryan when he took over the book for drawing it well enough to make it look “just plain bad” instead of “absolutely horrid”. It was one of the shortest lived armors for a reason.

3) Ultimate Iron Man Armor

I understand that the Ultimates are supposed to look different, but good god. This ugly, low tech, blocky, goggle eyed suit is just embarrassing to look at. It’s more robot than armor and is the least advanced looking suit since the original Grey. They really need to change it, especially the eyes.

2) Every incarnation of the Teen Tony Armor

It followed the theme of the Retro Classic armor: god awful. It changed every issue even after it was completed, and not one ever looked good. Plain, boring and even the guy inside sucked so that was salt in the wound. Though at least we got to see its power in the final issues before Heroes Reborn, and it was somewhat impressive, easily manhandling a sentinel. But it wasn’t enough to make up for the lame design.

1) Retro classic Armor

I’m not sure what was worse for me about this design: that it was just so awful looking or that it followed my favorite armor the Modular. Really, there is nothing good that can be said about this thing, and I still remember all the letters at the end of the issues about people saying how bad it was. While I was never a fan of the classic armor (aesthetically) those that were felt this was a butchering of that design. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Let me count the ways: the gauntlets, the boots, the rivets, the one piece torso/hip design… well, you get the picture.

Armors of the 2000s

May 3, 2008

ironman armorHeroes Return Armor

  • First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #1 (February, 1998)

Fresh upon his return from the “Heroes Reborn” universe, Tony constructed this armor which served as a new beginning, combining cutting-edge technology with classic lines. The armor possessed energy-absorption strips, as well as a “horned” faceplate, reminiscent of the first red-and-gold armor, and a pentagonal chest beam.

 

Prototype “EM-safe” armor

  • First Appearance: Fantastic Four (vol. 3) #15 (March, 1999)

Experimental armor incorporating safe power systems, necessary when it became apparent the constant exposure to the powerful energy fields inside the Iron Man armor were harming Tony’s health. Iron Man transported to the moon to help the Fantastic Four; however a malfunction caused a brief battle between Iron Man and the FF. Despite its rough, unfinished state, it still played a vital role in defeating Ronan, the Kree Supreme Accuser.

 

Sentient Armor

  • First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #15 (April, 1999)

Incorporated ‘safe’ power systems, which insulated the wearer. Too large to fit into the traditional suitcase, it instead transformed into a compact, flight-capable module. It became sentient due to the Ultron Imperative (although the original tale controversially involved the Y2K bug as the explanation) being unwittingly implanted in it by Jocasta. As a sentient unit, it was a superior fighter to Iron Man. It possessed a strong desire to be with Tony Stark, an apparently initially sincere affection which soon grew into possessiveness and deadly obsession. In the end, however, the armor, which had intended to replace Tony altogether, sacrificed itself to save his life when he suffered a potentially fatal heart attack – ripping its own cybernetic heart out and shunting it into his creator’s body. Later, the Sentient Armor was revived by the misguided Sons of Yinsen who sought to use it to resurrect their prophet, Ho Yinsen. Unfortunately, Ultron’s consciousness quickly dominated the armor, even joining with his head, lost during the events of the “Ultron Imperative”-story. In the end, the armor was presumably destroyed when New Timbetpal, the massive floating city of the Sons of Yinsen, crashed.

 

Outer Atmospheric Armor

  • First Appearance: Iron Man: Bad Blood (miniseries) #4 (December, 2000)

A completely new space armor design. It requires a booster rig for takeoff, and has therefore been trimmed down to reduce weight. While it offers less protection than previous models, it is also stealthier and far more maneuverable in space, using anaerobic jets for propulsion. It contains a special compression gel to protect the wearer from G-forces, and automatically seals any leaks. To accommodate re-entry, the unit possesses a massive, expanding solar sail.

 

SKIN Armor

  • First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #42 (prototype); Iron Man (vol. 3) #44 (finished design)

This armor’s main difference from its predecessors is its sheer size; the torso and shoulders in particular are massive. Its development, starting from scratch, resulted mainly from Tony’s fear that an innate factor had resulted in his previous armor developing sentience. Its appearance also differed markedly from the Sentient Armor, perhaps to make it seem as different as possible: It possessed a circular chest beam, a greatly altered overall configuration (including many “industrial-style” details such as external tubing, earning this suit the ignoble nickname “udder armor”[citation needed]) and a restyled helmet.

The armor is powered by a Beta Particle Generator and solar power converters and controlled by a Cybernetic Interface and Battle Computer to enhance reactions when in combat. It can absorb directed energy attacks as well as massive non-directional energy discharges (like explosions). It also possesses a new force field.

The golden sections of Iron Man consisted of S.K.I.N (Synth-Kinetic Interface Nano-fluid), a liquid alloy that can be manipulated to conform to any desired shape. It is lightweight but has immense structural integrity, being harder than titanium and approaching low-grade adamantium. S.K.I.N. can be contracted to fit into a small container or stretched/shaped into another form. The alloy’s wondrous properties were developed by Askew Technologies, and the exact elements incorporated into the S.K.I.N. remain unknown. Tony had set up the S.K.I.N. of his armor to be stored in a small container. On his command, the S.K.I.N. spilled out and assumed its default armor configuration.

The larger size of the armor accommodated storage of several new systems, including an improved sonic array, upgraded chameleon field, energy blade, missiles and even a number of grapefruit-sized, spherical drone units which could hover and fly autonomously, and serve as scouts or remote-controlled weapons.

Unfortunately, this design had to be abandoned after Ultron proved how easily he could make S.K.I.N. (or a human being it was bonded to) jump through hoops.

 

Stealth Armor, Mk III

  • First Appearance: Black Panther (vol. 3) #44 (July, 2002)

Similar to Stark’s earlier Armor, the Mark III Stealth unit was also specifically designed to combat the Black Panther’s anti-metal vibranium claws — it is composed entirely of advanced composite ceramics and experimental bio-neural gel-pack circuitry, fused with a kevlar-like polymer and backed by optical fiber networks; all of which comes down to an armor which was invisible to electronic detection systems as well as the naked eye, even the Black Panther’s. Although the development of Stark’s new cloaking technology for the Mark 25 “S.K.I.N.” armor probably rendered the Mark III unit’s stealth technology obsolete, the Stealth armor is nevertheless an effective weapon against opponents such as the Black Panther and Magneto because of its plastic/ceramic design.

 

Tin Man

  • First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #50 (March, 2002)

After the S.K.I.N. fiasco, Tony once again more or less redesigned the armor from scratch. Improved scanning included GPS and a particle mist that could be used to ‘mark’ targets. The armor, which went through various evolutions, had originally a generally segmented, almost insect-like appearance; later, it became heavier, more industrial, and the ultimate form of this armor (through trimmed down) made Tony sigh “It’s difficult to believe I used to be able to fit this inside a briefcase”.

Carbon dioxide provides underwater propulsion; immediate satellite uplinking even from miles underwater was possible.

Repulsors were improved with a ‘crowd control’ setting. The armor could also release a (tentatively called) “deflector pulse”, a shaped force field blasting outward from various points on the suit. Armor could also release a devastating “blockbuster” blast utilizing uni-beam and repulsors in concert, but more potent than either.

When commanded, the armor could also adopt a hovering, non-humanoid, autonomous combat mode, equipped with energy and projectile weapons.

 

Thorbuster

  • First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #64 (March, 2003)

The Thor-Buster armor was designed by Tony Stark as a precaution against King Thor — in case his good deeds went bad. The power source for the armor was a mystical Asgardian crystal, originally part of a new type of power generator that Thor left Tony Stark to possibly use as a new energy source for mankind. Outwardly, it resembled the Asgardian Destroyer. Because it could absorb and utilize the massive amounts of energy Thor turned on it, in terms of raw strength this armor could be the mightiest Iron Man of all. Nevertheless, it was ultimately destroyed by King Thor, its power source undone.

 

Cobalt Man impostor

  • First Appearance: Avengers/Thunderbolts #1 (May, 2004)

Used to impersonate the Cobalt Man.

 

Ablative Armor

  • First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #71 (October, 2003)

This prototype armor possessed armor made up out of three-inch, honeycomb-shaped tiles, piled several layers thick. Each tile was made of high-impact polymer. When one of the tiles was damaged, it popped off and the next one below it snapped into place. Furthermore, the suit used repulsor-tech force fields to position new tiles, produced in a “polymer kiln” on its back. It could also create a “storm cloud” of thousands of orbiting tiles around itself to act as “chaff”. This armor was originally designed to be used in space, where micrometeoroids provided an impact-rich environment, but was ultimately used to defend against a parasitical alien life form which infected organisms and altered them to suit its needs. For optimal efficacy, the tiles were “loaded” with specialized nanobots which would turn the alien’s biology against itself.

iron man armor suit

 

High-G suit

  • First Appearance: Iron Man(vol. 3) #83 (July, 2004)

Designed to withstand high gravity environments; it was bulky, being able to survive long-term exposure to at least 50 G; the wearer had blood artificially forced to body parts which would otherwise suffer from the extreme gravity. Unfortunately, the wearer is still susceptible to nitrogen narcosis and the bends.

 

Extremis Armor

After being critically injured during a battle with a nanotech-enhanced foe, Stark injected his nervous system with a modified techno-organic virus to save his own life. This fused Stark’s armor to his body, allowing him to store the inner layers of the Iron Man armor in the hollows of his bones as well as control it through direct brain impulses. The Extremis enhancement has turned Stark into a cyborg, whereby the usage of his existing lockchip (a personal area networking implement implanted in his forearm) is directly integrated into his nervous system.

His new armor is no longer a bulky unit which houses its own AI “response server” and miscellaneous interfaces for neural control. Instead, it is more lightweight (constructed of a pliable crystalline material with a molecular structure that can collimate into super-hard planes upon the application of an electrical field) and less complex (as it interfaces directly to Stark’s brain via the Extremis-modified cybernetic connections), and has much faster response time since it effectively functions like Stark’s second skin.

He is also able to remotely connect to external communications systems such as satellites, cellular phones, and computers through the PAN interconnect (that is now thought-controlled). Because the armor’s operating system is now directly connected to Stark’s nervous system, its response time has been significantly improved.

Another major departure from the previous armors is expansion of repulsor technology. The “repulsor flight system” provides lift (something like anti-gravity) and positive flight control (pitch, roll and yaw), while the usual rocket boots provide the armor with thrust. The same repulsor technology allows the individual pieces of the armor to levitate and assemble themselves, by modulating what Stark referred to as “vectored Repulsor fields”.

Furthermore, the Extremis process has endowed Stark with a ‘healing factor’ and possibly even enhanced physical abilities, as he was confident enough to challenge Logan/Wolverine to a fight (and even challenging to see who’s capable of recovering faster from the other’s attack). It was later stated that the Extremis enhancement speeded up a person’s repair process and hence the body’s cells died and regenerated at a faster rate. This effectively made Tony Stark immune to cancer and gave him his ‘healing factor’.

In the “Iron Man: The Inevitable” storyline, it was shown that it’s not only Tony Stark’s body and the interfacing undersheath that has self-healing properties. Even the Iron Man armor has the ability to self-heal and self-repair, presumably through the use of nanotechnology. The armor is also able to store power throughout its structure, indicating that instead of having main batteries mounted around the waist as in the older Iron Man armors, the Extremis armor incorporates distributed and decentralized energy storage.

Note: Although Extremis for reasons of simplicity is referred to as “a virus”, it is not. The Extremis process involved injecting several billion microscopic nanotubes, which act as information carriers, into the brain. The brain is then partly reprogrammed; the so-called “repair center”, that part of the brain which maintains an “integrity map” of the body, is told that the body is wrong. The physical reaction is that the entire body regrows itself, remaking itself per the Extremis instructions. Extremis itself, the original information package, is not involved; neither are “nanobots”.

Further research of the Extremis effect indicated it can cause extreme paranoia, alienation and bouts of aggression in the subject. It has been suggested that this (partly) explains Stark’s actions during Civil War and the Big Brother style posters of himself he has had placed around New York.

 

Argonauts

Sometime after the Extremis transformation, during at attack by the new Super-Adaptoid, Tony Stark realized he could command several armors at once. Building on this, and realizing the world was becoming an increasingly dangerous place, he decided to construct a “team” of Iron Men – hyper-advanced drones that would be under his direct mental command, just as his own armored body. Unfortunately, the “Argonauts” were abused and destroyed before they ever could serve for good. They included:

-“Space Ghost“; space-flight capable, nearly impossible to detect espionage model; possibly intended as a satellite-killer.

-“Submariner“; streamlined for great speed underwater; capable of using the ocean itself as a weapon, it apparently unleashed several tsunamis, and was able to overpower Namor, the Submariner, under water – an incredible feat.

-“Adamantium Man“; equipped with practically indestructible “Stark-Chobham” armor, an experimental composite of carbon nanotube-reinforced ceramics, laced with adamantium.

-“Digger“; enormous drone, possibly over a hundred tons; equipped with (shielded) Antarctic Vibranium (which dissolves any metal) helmet dome and a specialized repulsor/unibeam system which allowed it to tunnel at incredible speed.

-“Hulkbuster II“; also a massive drone, ostensibly designed mainly for raw power and toughness, to take on the Hulk. It proved entirely capable of taking on the Avengers.

While extremely powerful, the drones were useless once Tony Stark rendered himself unconscious.

 

Modern Hydro Suit

First Appearance: Wolverine #45 (August, 2006 )

During the Civil War arc of Wolverine solo series, Wolverine borrows Stark’s armor to pursue Namor who is undersea in New Pangea. A new hydro suit is used by Wolverine that correlates to the style of the modern Iron Man suit.

 

Hypervelocity

First Appearance: Iron Man Hypervelocity (January, 2007)

This new iteration of the armor possesses enhanced repulsors, housed not in gloves but in high-strength manipulator waldoes (giving the armor somewhat longer arms than usual); multiple-mode bootjets that can operate both with and without oxygen intake; improved structural integrity for the armor per se; an improved “chameleon mode” and a “supercavitation spike”, projecting upward from the back, which apparently creates a sort of “bubble” so that the armor can travel underwater at near-supersonic speeds. A massive amount of electrical energy is stored in a spinning, superconductive capacitor ring on the back.

The most radical feature of this armor must be that its vastly increased computing power allows it to make a “back-up” of Tony’s own mind, so that in the event of critical injury of the wearer, the armor can act as him, with all his knowledge, insight and experience. The effect is so complete that the armor, thus activated, referred to itself as “Tony 2.0”.

After several hours of existence, the armor managed to develop a program that enabled it to function at “hypervelocity” – effectively moving at a different timeframe than everyone else.

Note that this story is set before “Extremis”, though it was published afterwards.

 

Giant Armor

Used by Stark in #3 of the non-Canon New Avengers/Transformers miniseries. The size of a Transformer, it allowed Iron Man to go head-to-head with the invading Decepticons. Due to the massive energy requirements, this armor would quickly run out of power, until recharged by Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Bumblebee.

 

Hulkbuster Armor MK II

In the World War Hulk event, Stark designed a new Hulkbuster armor, in order to battle the Hulk upon his return from space. He does so in World War Hulk #1, and initially was able to hold his own against his foe. The new armor was built as a large exoskeletal shell which fits around his normal armor and is equipped with rocket-boosted gauntlets, capable of punching the Hulk back several miles. It is also equipped with Adamantium-tipped injector needles, which Stark used in an attempt to suppress the Hulk’s power with S.P.I.N. Tech nanites, but the nanites failed due to sabotage (See Avengers: The Initiative #4). With the damage done by the Hulk and the entire Stark Tower collapsing on the already damaged armor, it was unable to continue functioning. It briefly re-emerged as a host body for the demon Zom, who attempted to use it to access S.H.I.E.L.D. technology and destroy New York City by shifting it into the Negative Zone; Zom was defeated by the efforts of the self-styled “Renegades” (Amadeus Cho, Hercules, the Angel, and Namora), and the armor was used by Amadeus Cho as a temporary support to shore up structural damage caused in the battle.