The costume design was inspired from the Transformers character Unicron, his Prime Cartoon incarnation in particular. With the extensive details, my father and I had to take a layered approach. For a base to wear, I wanted something that could flow well with armor, while still effectively conveying the dark energy the character embodies. We eventually found a bodysuit of Blank Panther from Rubie’s Costumes that suited.
When designing the armor pieces, the Viking-like character design itself inspired us for what to search for. I found faux leather from Hiifeuer which could be attached to the bodysuit to serve as a base for building up leg armor and weapons. For the head, I decided to use a Looyar Viking helmet that attachments could be made to. To make the eventual attachments which could add some customizable bulk, I decided to use urethane foam.
One of the melee weapons of Unicron was a full fledged mace arm. I found the perfect solution in artificial aloe plants by Cotsen. Using the foam and heavy wire ties, I was able to fix aloe plants to the faux leather in the perfect arrangement. The foam made the aloe plants appear to be as one with each other and the armor. Since they were soft, were was no risk of causing damage to anything. The other weapon was a curved blade arm, which I created by cutting a PVC pipe, and epoxying a toy ox horn to the end of it. I could them attach this with foam as well.
Once the basic limb armor and weapons were complete, I need to balance it out with a sufficiently large chest armor, and one sufficiently sturdy to hold the massive spikes on my shoulders. I happened upon the last football shoulder pads in a discount sports store which turned out to be a perfect fit. It was difficult drilling holes into them to mount the spikes, which I was able to do with foam and epoxy. On HalloweenCostumes website I found Ultimate Black Dragon wings that fit Unicron’s skeletal wings. I then was able to bond them to the shoulder pads with carefully added foam and epoxy.
Next I came to putting the finishing touches on my costume with coloring and finishing off the helmet. I used several metallic copper and hammered copper spray paints for the many parts of the costume. The foam took the spray paint very well. I added extra horns to the helmet, using foam to make them appear more so apart. For the mask, I was able to use the mask that came with the Black Panther costume because it fit well with the helmet, and was easily spray painted with a stone spray paint, highlighted with shiny copper model paint.
To really make my costume look like a Transformer, as well as be clearly visible at night, I added fair amount lighting. I attached yellow-orange LED bike lights to wrap around the shoulder spikes and reflect off the wings. Using velcro, I added additional round LED lights to the chest and leg armor to help balance out the lights around my chest. Since the helmet still had a lot of interior room, I hatched an idea to tape and wire in battery powered LED lights for the eyes. The mask had a screen cover for each eyehole, which helped bring the lights to reflect out and cover far more of the eyeholes than I had hoped, even in broad daylight. The lights themselves could be far enough on the side, and thus allowed me to see completely fine.
When it came time to wear the costume, it was by far the biggest hit of any other costume, and topped all the previous ones my father and I have created over the years. Over the few hours at the Princeton Halloween Parade, dozens and dozens of people came up to my costume to check it out and take pictures with it. Both kids and adults were extremely fascinated by it, and it really brought joy to many. Some kids even mistook the costume for being real, the lights in the eyes and massive shoulder horns really sold the the costume. Even after the main parade event was over, there were still people constantly coming up to me to take pictures after it started getting dark.
A few days later, I went to the Somerville Spooktacular, and it was an even bigger hit. As I marched around the town blocks, I could barely take a step walking down the street without multiple people wanting to take pictures with me. Everybody was absolutely astonished. There were at least a hundred people who took pictures. Unfortunately there were no organized local contests I could partake in, but the impact my costume had was well worth the effort. After this I even took a trip to a local farm to show off my costume to some animals, and they reacted in amazement as well.
It took about two weeks to find, spray paint, customize, and build the parts together. The costume was tons of fun for me and my father to create. We hope it continues to offer amazement and inspiration!