As soon as I saw the costume from the movie, I had to have a Captain America costume replica! This is actually something I’ve been working on for awhile now, so I suppose I should show off the progress.
After Captain America: The First Avenger was released, I saw that UD Replicas came out with their option for a Captain America costume replica – which I almost bought. In the end I decided that their version was too leathery (well yeah it’s leather), although everything looked really accurate. They did all the leather pieces well (as usual) and the straps were all done nicely. But I felt the color was much too bright, and the leather had a shine that I don’t care for. Since I already own their Batman TDK suit, I also know that their suits can be pretty heavy and hot to wear for a long period of time. It’s a motorcycle suit after all. But the biggest reason I didn’t purchase one is that it’s a lot of $$$$!
So, here we are several years later, and I decided I finally needed to get one started. The first thing I did was buy a blank shield, and about 4 days after I bought that one I bought a painted, finished one! The shield is obviously a HUGE part of a Captain America costume, but I still need the costume … so to eBay I went! I actually found a fairly good option from China — check it out:
Overall, the suit is really great! The seller was even very communicative, as I asked for some enhanced stitching on the pants which the seller was happy to accommodate. The suit arrived about 30 days after I ordered it — which is a great turnaround time.
Once it arrived, I noticed there were a LOT of things that needed to be replaced or modified, but the suit served as an excellent base that fit me perfectly. Here are the changes I’ve made so far — I’ll try to show the before / after if I can:
I wanted this suit to look realistic, just like the movie version. That’s a problem when all the straps that are supposed to look like a parachute harness are actually just pieces of grey fabric. So, I removed all the grey fabric straps that were supposed to look like webbing, and added actual seatbelt webbing.
While difficult, replacing this webbing was the most impactful change to the suit. It went from “meh” to “whoa” pretty quick!
I also replaced the pleather arm straps on the pauldrons. They were really thin, just bad straps with velcro to connect them. I replaced them with the same belting I used later for the ammo strap and holster strap.
- Painted the chest star white
- Replaced red ribbon with actual red webbing, doubled-up
- Attached red webbing to pants rather than jacket
- Replaced the buckles with some I found at various stores
- 3D printing a new custom buckle that goes on the red webbing
Before — note how:
- that blue section of the back really REALLY separates from the grey jacket
- the pleather “buckle” at the bottom of that strap
- that strap from the upper back buckle down to the belt is too short!
- the shoulder pauldrons were attached to the wrong side of that upper back buckle
- Sewed the lower part of the blue section to the grey jacket, minimizing puffiness and separation
- 3D printing a new buckle that should be more accurate, will have it made in stainless steel:
- along with re-sewing all straps, elongated and enhanced lower back strap
- re-attached and strengthened pauldrons to upper back buckle
Obviously the pleather accessories that came with this suit weren’t going to work out.
I acquired a UD Replicas belt, bought a holster off Amazon, and got a bunch of leather belts to replace leather straps wherever needed. I finished off the holster straps with some scrap leather and built up my sewing skills by means of trial and error. Turned out well. All the leather has since been roughed up, of course, with sandpaper! I then coated everything with a round of brown shoe polish just for good measure. It shines, but looks worn now.
I also bought some double-buckle rough-out boots and dubbed and browned them too. Not perfect for the costume, but not bad:
One hard part was the Captain America costume replica gloves. I could find nothing online that was even close to the gloves, especially with that big gauntlet pet that goes up pretty far and looks awesome!
Here’s the movie gloves:
So, I made my own. I ordered several scrap leather pieces from eBay, and using my Hot Toys Captain America: The First Avenger figure as a model, I sewed em up! Take a look – I’m very proud of these:
So for now, this is the “mostly” finished suit. Still waiting on those stainless-steel buckles from shapeways.com, and have a few changes here and there, but this is pretty much good to go!
And here’s a sweet photoshop version:
And just to make sure you get enough, here’s a video!
Let me know what you think in the comments!