Even simple cosplaying can be a highly complex and time-consuming endeavor. Yet some extremely dedicated fans and skilled craftsmen manage to make their cosplay costumes not only look authentic but also have full functionality. There is a number of talented innovators out there dedicating their time and energy to create unbelievable working cosplay costumes and props. These guys, and girls, use all kinds of techniques and materials in order to build real versions of their favorite comic book, video game, movie and TV costumes. Seeing what these awesome people can do with foam, 3D printing, LED lights or just random stuff they find in the garage is truly impressive is proof that anything is possible with science.
Whether it’s the Batsuit, the Iron Man armor, or Wolverine’s claws, these incredibly gifted and creative craftsmen manage to make it look and function just like the real thing. It is truly mesmerizing to watch these amazing costumes performing in the real world. Have you ever imagined a real-life Iron Man suit with functioning parts? Or perhaps, a real-life D.Va mech driving around the neighborhood? Well, it’s time you stop dreaming and start scrolling down. We have scoured the web tirelessly in order to find the 20 most high-tech functioning cosplays ever.
20. IRON MAN MK 7
Anthony Le, aka Master Le, is a cosplayer from the United States, who enjoys building cool armors. Especially, Iron Man armors. Sounds unbelievable, but Anthony has made over 10 functioning Iron Man armors. Ever since the first Iron Man movie came out, Master Le has been blowing everyone’s mind with his incredibly realistic, detailed and fully functional Iron Man costumes. In fact, he’s so good at recreating Iron Man armors that he now builds commissioned Iron Man suits.
Anthony’s Iron Man MK 7 armor looks impressively authentic. The helmet is made using a silicone resin, while the armor is made of high impact urethane plastic. Anthony’s video shows the motorized shoulder weapons, motorized flight stabilizers and CO2 powered jet streams equipped to his Iron Man MK 7 armor. Talk about high-tech.
19. SPIDER-MAN MASK
McLean Krieger is an incredible costume maker currently living in Los Angeles and making masks, costumes, props and other cool stuff. McLean must be a big Spidey fan, considering the number of Spider-Man masks and suits he’s made. On his YouTube channel and Instagram you can find a bunch of tutorial videos on how to make a Spider-Man mask. Apart from Spidey’s costume, McLean also made an Iron Man suit and a Batman suit.
His newest fully functional Spider-Man mask is based on Spidey’s latest outfit from Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. McLean made a video of his amazing mask with functioning moving lenses that open and close. Yes, McLean actually figured out how to make Spidey’s eye lenses functional. Although, McLean has announced plans to further improve his Spider-Man mask, we sure think it’s already an impressive achievement.
18. WINTER SOLDIER’S ARM
Steven Meissner, the owner and artist behind SoloRoboto Industries, is an incredibly talented costume and prop maker from California. Ever since third grade Steven has been making his own costumes and building guns, swords and helmets. After his first visit to the San Diego Comic Con in 2007, Steven started making props and costumes as a hobby. In 2009, he turned his hobby into a business and now prop-making is his full-time job.
The Winter Soldier Arm was Steven’s most time-consuming project thus far. The final piece was molded and cast in urethane resin and metal plated with a bright-satin, nickel finish. The arm consists of three pieces: the bicep and shoulder piece and the 2-part forearm piece. The arm unlocks at the elbow enabling movement and locks into a single piece for photos.
Egg Sisters Cosplay is a well-known cosplaying sister duo from Chicago. They grew up loving cosplay, art and conventions. These two nerdy sisters enjoy making elaborate nerdy costumes and they do it incredibly well. Their true specialty is creature-type costume building. Egg Sisters Cosplay often participate in cosplay contest and have won awards for their amazing costumes.
The sisters cosplayed as the Overwatch hero Reinhardt wearing his Blackhardt armor at the 2016 Blizzcon and Dragon Con, rendering the crowds speechless with their unbelievable costume. And if you also want to see this costume in its full glory, you can check out this video. The costume is fully functional with glowing LED lights and a working booster pack on the back. This awesome Blackhardt costume is around seven feet tall, making it a striking figure indeed.
16. ALIEN XENOMORPH
The man behind this amazing cosplay is a Swedish costume maker Henrik Pilerud. Henrik builds costumes as a hobby and mainly uses them for charity and nonprofit work. Henrik has created incredible cosplay costumes, such as Kylo Ren, Space Marine Power Armor from Warhammer and many more. Just like this one, all of his costumes look unbelievably realistic.
Henrik built this awesome Alien Xenomorph costume from scratch. The costume is based on the first Alien movie from 1979. The costume took around 320 hours to build and is just over six feet tall. The costume is mainly made out of foam and Styrofoam and was very expensive to make. It takes about 10-15 minutes for Henrik to put the costume on. Henrik’s video shows him in the costume at the Alien Covenant premiere, scaring the pants off of the moviegoers.
15. WAR MACHINE
Heroes Workshop is a project started by Stealth Cosplay, an incredibly talented cosplayer specializing in all kinds of armor. According to Stealth he was disappointed by the lack of tutorial videos and overall knowledge on the topic of armor building. Therefore, he decided to start his own project in order to pass his knowledge on to aspiring cosplayers of the world.
This insanely realistic War Machine costume was built using foam, paper and cardboard. However, what really makes it stand out are the motorized parts and lights. This suit has it all: a motorized faceplate, glowing eyes and arc reactor, and a motorized shoulder gun. Stealth’s fully functional War Machine costume took one month to build. Watching the video of this War Machine cosplay in action is an incredible experience.
14. GAME BOY
A guy inviting strangers to come touch him is certainly cause for alarm. Unless he’s wearing a playable Game Boy costume at a convention. This unnamed Game Boy fanatic wore a Game Boy costume to the Ohayocon 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. This mysterious, but very creative, guy really took his love of video games to a whole different level.
The costume consists of an LCD monitor in the front and uses a Raspberry Pi to run the emulation software and accept the input from the buttons mounted on the costume. The costume also has swappable cartridges and you can change the game without any action from the wearer of the costume. The attention to detail and the effort this cosplayer put into his Game Boy costume is truly admirable.
13. COMBAT BATSUIT
Jackson Gordon, founder of Armatus Designs, is a 22-year-old Industrial Design student. Ever since he was a child, Jackson has been into various prop making and DIY hobbies. For the last seven years he has been constructing props and cosplay costumes. The success of the Combat Batsuit project prompted Jackson to form Armatus Designs. Now he creates commission-based costumes and props for clients around the world.
The aim of the Combat Batsuit project was to make an armored combat-ready suit which can provide significant protection without affecting mobility. Jackson’s video shows how the Combat Batsuit guards against punches, blades and clubs. The suit took in total five months to create and cost roughly $2,000. Jackson’s suit has been featured on over 50 websites and even received TV coverage on Fox and the Discovery Channel.
Tom DePetrillo, known as the Extreme Costumes guy, is a very talented costume maker and YouTuber, who’s been making extreme costumes for over 19 years. Whenever Tom sees a cool costume in a comic book, movie or anime, he is inspired to take matters into his own hands and create his own version. On his Extreme Costumes channel Tom vlogs about the mind-blowing costumes he creates.
In his video about the Hulkbuster armor, Tom talks about the process of building his largest armor yet. This gigantic Hulkbuster armor is over nine feet tall, has full functionality and the design is spot-on. Tom wore his Hulkbuster Iron Man armor to the 2015 New York Comic Con. Naturally, he was the biggest attraction among the sea of fans.
11. WOLVERINE’S CLAWS
Colin Furze is a British garage inventor and video maker who likes to bring fictional inventions to the real world. Contrary to popular belief, Colin is not an engineer, but a plumber. According to Colin, you don’t need expensive tools to build awesome things. Although he now has his own garage, at the beginning Colin was building his incredible inventions in his bedroom. The crazy things this guy makes and does on his YouTube channel are guaranteed to blow your mind.
The video shows how these fully automatic retractable Wolverine claws deploy and retract automatically. The claws are made out of stainless steel and are 12 inches long. The claws are easily deployed with a mere touch of a button. Retracted claws are compressed together and firing them out makes a nice little ring. Certainly, the closest anyone has ever come to having actual adamantium claws.
10. PRINCE ROBOT VI
Contagious Costuming is a group of talented cosplayers who like to read a lot of comic books. Back in 2014 their favorite comic book was Saga. The villain Prince Robot VI quickly become their favorite character and Contagious Costuming decided to make a functioning cosplay costume for the 2014 HeroesCon. The biggest task was of course building Prince Robot VI’s TV head.
Their functioning TV head for the costume displays different images the character flashes throughout the comic. The images were blown up, recreated and animated using television distortion effects to help sell the CRT look. The monitor is a smaller LCD screen and there is a camera system hooked up on the inside, allowing the person wearing the costume to see. Contagious Costuming’s awesome Prince Robot VI costume won best in show at the 2014 HeroesCon.
9. IRON MAN MK 3
Shawn Thorsson is an incredibly skilled costume maker based in California, who spends his time making toys for kids who refuse to grow up. Shawn has his own workshop where he builds custom-made costumes and props. So, if you’d like to have your own Iron Man armor Shawn’s services are at your disposal. The amazing costumes this artist and craftsman builds look authentic and have full functionality.
Shawn built his functioning Iron Man MK 3 armor by using his 3D printer named Jarvis. The first thing Jarvis printed was the Iron Man helmet. The helmet opens in the front and the eyes have built-in LED lights. After finishing the helmet, Jarvis printed the rest of the suit. Shawn then painted the parts, fitted the hands and chest with more LED lights and finally assembled the armor. The video of this Superhero of Cosplay shows the armor’s functionality.
8. CAPTAIN AMERICA
James Hobson, better known as The Hacksmith, is a multi-disciplined craftsman and YouTuber who takes fictional ideas and makes real functioning prototypes. James quit his full-time job as an engineer and product developer to build only the coolest inventions. His YouTube videos show the engineering process behind his awesome projects, proving the power of science.
As part of his YouTube series titled Make it Real, The Hacksmith made this functioning Captain America’s Shield. James made the electromagnet arm bracer used by Cap in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, while the replica shield was made by Machina Props. For James, this has been one of the best and most fun projects and we can understand why. The video of him catching and throwing the shield, smashing through doors and bricks definitely looks like a fun day.
7. GENJI’S SWORD
Matt and Kerry Stagmer are brothers and amazing craftsmen who create fantastic metal objects. Their Baltimore Knife and Sword has been the number one name in stage combat weaponry for decades. Passionate about spreading knowledge, these brothers gather the best talents at their shop once a year to share secrets of the craft. BKS strives to make every weapon fully functional and durable.
The Stagmer brothers participated in the YouTube series Men At Arms: Reforged. In the video they made the famous Dragon Blade, used by Genji in the immensely popular video game Overwatch. The sword’s blade is made of a mixture of mild and hard steel and can do some serious damage. Mat and Kerry’s Dragon Blade looks incredibly awesome, authentic and cuts things up real nice.
6. IRON MAN
James Bruton, the guy behind the amazing XRobots costume designs, enjoys cosplaying, building robots and engineering. James built various working robots, including this awesome Iron Man suit and an equally impressive Hulkbuster suit. He is currently building various Star Wars Droids and working on his most serious project Ultron the Real Robot. On James’s YouTube channel, you can find a video, in case you want to build your own Iron Man suit.
In order to build his real-life functional Iron Man suit, James used foam and 3D printing to create the parts and relied on mechanical engineering to make to suit work. The helmet is fully functional with LED lights, as well as the body armor. In total, it took James around four years to finish building this incredible Iron Man suit and helmet.
5. GRAY FOX
Diegator is a Seattle-based cosplayer, engineer, wannabe artist and amateur photographer. He builds props and costumes using 3D printing and electronics and posts videos on his YouTube channel, in case you want to learn how to build your own stuff. He won’t however take commissions, unless you’re a certain game developer who goes under the name of Hideo Kojima.
The Gray Fox helmet from the video game Metal Gear Solid was built over the course of seven months by combining parametric 3D modeling, SLS rapid prototyping and silicone molds. The body armor was built using EVA foam and the lights and servos are run using AVR microcontroller. If you want to see this costume in action, ceck out Diegator’s video, where he plays around in his Gray Fox outfit.
Julian Checkley is an Irish cosplay enthusiast, who made his first cosplay costume at the age of seven. Ever since he was a child, Julian had two big loves: the love of comic books and the love of costume making. So, he combined the two and became a movie model maker and art director. Now, Julian and his Order 66 make all kind of incredible costumes. Being a huge fan of the Dark Knight, Julian decided to make his own fully functional Batman suit.
Julian’s suit is equipped with 23 functioning gadgets, earning him a spot in the 2017 Gamer’s Edition Guinness World Record. In their video you can see gadgets such as smoke bombs, grapnel gun, bat tracker and even the fireball shooter. The suit parts were 3D printed, molded and then mounted on an undersuit. When Julian puts his Batman suit on he is over six feet tall.
Cosplayer Mike Carambat, also known as Retroresource, is officially the coolest dad ever. Mike spent over six months designing and constructing a fully functional D.Va mech for his daughter. When he’s not building cool stuff, the world’s coolest dad travels to a lot of sci-fi, anime and fantasy conventions and enjoys the wonders cosplay has to offer.
Amazingly enough it cost him less than $1,000 to build the suit. In order to build the costume of the beloved Overwatch hero, Mike used simple tools he found around the house. The base and the torso are foamed around an old wheelchair, which serves as the steering mechanism. The thrusters blow smoke and strobe, the arms are mobile, the guns rotate and the lights change colors. Plus, the suit also has a sound system with D.Va voiceovers. To see D.Va in action, check out Mike’s video.
JJ Griffin is a professional cosplayer and a full-time Pre-Med student from Virginia. JJ has been a cosplayer since 2009 and now he builds incredible cosplay costumes and props. JJ Armory Inc., founded by JJ Griffin, provides professional design and production services. JJ made a replica of Falcon’s wings from Captain America: Winter Soldier and impressed everyone at the 2015 Katsucon.
The video of JJ’s Falcon wings in action is something you need to see. The design of this piece of high-tech cosplay is nothing short of impressive. The inside of the jetpack contains all the mechanisms and electronic systems, enabling the wings to spread, as well as the bottom of the jetpack to glow and produce smoke. JJ’s Falcon wings are spot-on and fully functional. The only thing these wings can’t do is actually fly.
1. BEAT-UP IRON MAN MK 43
When Archie Whitehead, a 17-year-old from the United Kingdom, built his functioning Iron Man suit, it instantly became a hit on the internet. The suit’s success inspired Archie to embark on a career in costume design. This amazingly talented teenager spent 300 hours building his suit for a school project. Everyone at school was impressed with Archie’s suit and started calling him Tony. Archie even appeared on BBC and there’s a video of him in the suit.
Archie’s beat-up Iron Man MK 43 armor is over six feet of handcrafted awesomeness. The suit is very detailed with LED lights and fully functional parts. Plus, the beat-up look really makes this Iron Man suit sand out. Archie’s Facebook page, Blackout Props, has the full process of building the Iron Man suit documented. You know, in case you want to build your own.
So which of these high-tech cosplay costumes would you like to own? Let us know in the comments!
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