I decided to build General Grievous from Star Wars and this was my most challenging build ever! I got some pipes and parts and built the basic frame out of 1″ and 3″ ABS piping all bolted together with lag bolts. I built a custom 3″ ABS pipe hip axle that swivels in three spots to give realistic movement when the the robotic legs are attached to mine. The axle is held together with 2 massive cotter pins which I can slide out and remove the legs for traveling.
All of the basic frame was then covered in cardboard and paper mache parts with lots of molding and sanding work to make the fit and finish look great! I did 4 coats flat black paint and a metallic silver mixed with a bone colored flat exterior paint for the armor and head. I took some old running shoes and spray foamed them and carved the claws into them and then painted it all black. I made the head out of layers of cardboard, then paper mache, and then rigid spray foam followed by sculpting and sanding it into shape and finishing it with a stretchy material pulled over the whole head (similar to reupholstering a chair) and using ping pong balls with model paints to create realistic eyes.
After that was all done I put some detail work into the costume like the symbol on the stomach armor, the ears, facial features and round caps on the knees and thighs. The idea is that I am inside Grievous’ cape and the robotic creature will be connected to my hips, legs and hands and move along with me as I walk so you can not see me at all just the robot which is really creepy! The actual costume attaches to my body by hanging around the back of my neck, shoulders and around my waist. This was all done by using four old leather belts with holes drilled into them and bolting the belts to the hip axle which the strongest part of the costume. I specifically designed the hip axle with this in mind and so it was pre-drilled with holes and filled with car body filler (bondo) to reinforce the part that would be taking all the weight of the costume. On the inside if the costume there is a layer of soft 2″ thick foam that rests between the costume and my body that makes it extremely comfortable to wear.
I tested the mechanism that I made in a variety of situations and I can even sit down, kneel and dance in it! I designed the scale of all the parts so I would end up with my head just above the rib cage and I would be able to look out some black mesh that sits in between the chest and rib cage which worked out very well as visibility was great. So me at 5 foot 11 and Grievous at 7 feet tall and 3.5 feet wide worked out just nicely! I just have to duck and turn sideways to get through a doorway!
I made a light saber from two toys that were donated by my friends kids since they did not work! I took two and managed to make one, plus made it a little more high performance!
I was at two Halloween parties with this costume and one party had 100 people and I was literally pulled on from each arm and mobbed by groups of people that wanted their picture taken with Grievous! I think I must have got hundreds of pictures taken that night from the party and people on the streets, I walked through the front doors of the party and charged toward some people and some screamed and camera flashes could be seen everywhere as if I was a celebrity, it was really cool! So this was a great outcome for me. I plan on taking Grievous to Comic Con and Fan Expo so i can mingle amongst all the other Star Wars fans and have some more fun and take pictures with more people and kids!
This costume was built over a 2 month period and was 78 hours labor. If anyone plans on making something like this plan on twice the amount of time especially if your new to costume building! Always try out the costume with each step that gets added since you don’t want to find after it’s finished you can’t move in properly it or fit through a door!!! It’s all about being comfortable and safe!
Here is a video of the costume and how the movement looks and a few shots from the party:
And here are a few photos showing the process:
Hip axle with thighs and cotter pins installed
Mid section armor using cereal boxes for the smooth curved side
Paper mache rib cage bolted to the hip axle and cardboard trim work
Body after second coat of paint still needs trim work and accessories to be complete
Face cut out with ping pong ball
Face formed and hot glued together
Face formed after being paper mached then spray foamed
Face formed after being sculpted and first coat of paint
Face with all parts added only painting left to do