Posts Tagged ‘tony stark’

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 pictures different armor

May 3, 2008

I’ve recently updated my older Iron Man picture to reflect the changes in armor subtlely and gradually made by Adi Granov, and now Steve McNiven and Frank Cho, to the old armor (was it designed by Jorge Lucas? The model I’d previously used for reference was drawn by him anyway). I hope you enjoy it. More, like his original armor in silver and in gold, his classic Silver Age uniform, his old silver and red armor, his stealth armor, the Romita-era red and gold, the War Machine armor, and probably the Busiek-era from after Heroes Reborn ended. Anywho, here he is for now

Tony Stark as Iron Man currently

IronMan
And the previous Jorge Lucas, clunkier version…

Iron Man pictures different armor (3)

May 3, 2008

The Silver Centurion armor…

IronMan Silver Centurion

The late eighties/early ninties version of the red and gold…

Iron Man Modern Classic

The Romita-modified version of the same, called the “encephalo remote armor” in the comics…
IronMan-Encephalo

Tony’s version of the War Machine armor, worn briefly before faking his death and be placed in cryogenic stasis, leaving a new, customized version for Rhodey to use in his place, over a decade ago in IM’s comic…

IronMan-WarMachine

The quasi-retro look from Heroes Return, after their time in the Franklin-Richards created “Heroes Reborn” universe, and in the Avengers/Iron Man relaunch from the time…

IronMan-HeroesReturn

And the streamlined/tweaked version with different shoulder/knee portions and a few other changes….
HeroesReturn2