Fan-Made TRON Costumes!
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Thanks to the site attack a couple of years back, several articles have been corrupted. Fortunately, thanks to Wayback Machine Internet Archive I've restored the article to its original state. Enjoy.
- Mr. Sinistar (2010)
The descriptions and pictures of the following costumes were supplied by the designers, although I've edited them a bit.
If anyone else has a costume they'd like posted here, email me the details and images.
TRON by IronWulf
I started out with the one element I knew would take me the longest, the helmet. I should mention that any time I have to work on a helmet or loose-fitting full-head mask, I use a bust that I created just for this purpose.
The bust began with a standard life-mask made with plaster impregnated bandages available at craft and medical supply stores. As you might have guessed, I sat for about half an hour with pieces of drinking straw up my nose, while my mother wrapped my Vaseline coated face in plaster bandage. After the bandages had set, the cast was carefully removed and the breathing holes patched with small pieces of bandage, and more Vaseline applied to the inner surface of the mold. I then poured plaster of paris into the life-mask, let it set, and carefully removed the finished life-mask. I sculpted a bust around the life-mask, all the way down to the beginning of the shoulders. This involved taking measurements from my head and comparing the bust to them, until the basic geometric requirements had been met, and then using a bit of finesse to make everything fit together properly.
The original helmets used for the film were a style of hockey helmet in use at the time, extended slightly at the back to hide the hairline. Since I couldn't lay my hands on one on short notice, I began sculpting it in oil-based clay over my custom-made bust. I used paper templates as a guide to insure that the sculpture maintained it's goemetric qualities, and to make sure the side details would remain symmetrical. Finally, a plaster mold was made, and a positive cast made with a cellulose-based material called Celastic. If I had it to do over, I would have cast it in polyester resin and fiberglass, since Celastic must be dissolved in acetone (which is relatively toxic if not handled properly), and must be sanded and filled before being painted and finished. Alternately, I could have broken the original up into sections and vacu-formed it, but we live and learn! The finished positive, after having been filled and sanded, was painted with a cheap, white, oil-based primer (which has yellowed with age - next time I'll use acrylics), and detailed with the circuit pattern. Lastly, the interior was padded to make it more comfortable to wear.
In the images above you see some of the painted circuitry work being done by hand. I could have masked all of this off, but it was faster to do it freehand. The disc, is a glow-in-the-dark frisbee with most of the surface detail sanded off, and new stripes scribed in and painted flourescent blue. The shoulder and arm guards are formed from Celastic in much the same way as the helmet, and attatched to the leotard with small pieces of elastic glued to the pieces and sewn to the costume body.
YORI by IronWulf
Visit IronWulf's TRON costume page for more pics and info.
TRON by BaumSquad
First thing to find was some armor. For this, I went to Play It Again Sports (the BEST place to get Halloween gear IMHO) Anyway, I picked up some Hockey gear, which looks amazingly similar to Tron gear. Some hockey helmets look almost identical to the Tron helmets. I found a GREAT helmet used for pretty darn cheap. Then I needed a chest plate because I'm a scrawny little guy and a plain tight T-shirt would have looked too wussy. I found a wonderful thing for baseball catcher's (maybe) and it was great. Had a big chest plate on it and some nice big round shoulder covers. Then I just got some Soccer shin guards to use as those things that Tron has coming off of his elbows. Just wear shin guards on your wrist, with your hand coming through where the foot goes, and the shin part running up your forearm, mocking the things that Tron has quite well. So that takes care of most of your upper body.
Then at Play It Again Sports I bought an old weight lifters belt to wear, well, as a belt. It defines the look a little better, though drawing lines on the shirt would work as well. And then I bought some old moon boots at Goodwill (okay, goodwill is probably the best Halloween store) Oh, and the disc. Of course the disc. Well at Play It Again Sports they had some PERFECT discs. They were for real regulation Frisbee discs, but they are totally the real deal. Great weight and feel and size... just awesome. They are kind of like lightweight discuss. Anyway, I got one of those, but it was new and like $15, but pretty crucial to the whole costume, so well worth it (mind you that on the street MANY people wanted me to throw the disc to them, but I didn't since it was pricey, and integral to the costume)
So then all there was left was a shirt and pants. I just found a nice grey tight thin turtleneck long sleeve shirt, and then some (probably female) stretch pants that were sort of silver grey. But that was the entire wardrobe... Oh, and I put a criss-cross of stretch waistband type material on my back to hold the disc when I wasn't holding it.
Now for the tough part...
Here's where you could use the same stuff, but wire it all up with electro luminescent... but I went a different route. I went to a crafts store and bought a couple cans of grey base coat spray paint, a can of clear coat top coat, some acrylic, as neon as I could find, green paint, and the key, some glow in the dark paint.
Now I took the stuff that wasn't grey and sprayed multiple coats of paint on it. After 4 coats or so it was looking very good. I let it all dry and then the real work began. I started painting, with a small brush, all the etchings in the neon green paint. I probably did two layers of this stuff on all the etched lines so that it would look nice and bright. This took a LONG time, but it was only the beginning. After covering EVERYTHING with some nice etch lines (using some stills of TRON and the DVD freeze framed for reference) and going over them, then I started to do a layer of glow in the dark paint. Now the reason I did neon AND glow in the dark, is that the glow needs a backing to bounce off of. While I would have liked to have all the stuff glow blue, it just doesn't work well with glow in the dark. So I went with green. And I choose Tron's costume because I think it looks coolest, though my chest plate kind of pushes me more towards Ram, but anyway... I did probably three layers of the glow paint, since it is pretty thin... But once this was done, it looked REALLY good. I then put a top coat of clear coat to ensure that the stuff would not flake off orchip off. Maybe a couple of clear coats.. It looked very nice.
Then I went out. People went absolutely NUTS when they saw it. Well people who knew what it was. The thing I realized is that there are a LOT of Tron fans in this world. And seeing Tron on Halloween got a lot of people excited, which was wonderful. I spent most of the night on State Street (the main stretch for Halloween in Madison) and literally thousands and thousands of people were moving through. It's a blast. Anyway, I got up on a flower bed-bench thing and re-enacted scenes all night. It was a ton of fun. Earlier in the night it was cool because I was at a party in a basement with LOTS of black lights. And I glowed like you wouldn't believe! It was incredibly cool.
Anyway, that's how to do it! I was VERY pleased with it, and it really didn't cost THAT much (though it was still pretty expensive) The effect was well worth it, and I think I will pull the costume out of the closet again this year, as I can't think of anything I would rather be this Halloween (and every Halloween for that matter).
Flynn by David Silva
This Flynn costume was made in 1998. I actually went out partying on Halloween outside Washington DC in Georgetown (near the Exorcist steps!) in these white tights. It was quite the evening. I was called a Power Ranger on more than one occasion!
I owe the detail in the costume to a 1982 copy of Rolling Stone Magazine. I dug out an issue from my parent's attic only to find an article on the making of Tron. The several page spread had great color and b/w photos detailing the costumes and effects.
I went for the cheap method of costume making. Total expenditure was about $50. This meant, of course, that a lot of it was made by hand, instead of purchasing hockey gear. I've made several costumes this way.
The helmet began as an el-cheapo-deluxe batting helmet. I sawed off the brim and started adding details. My standard construction method is Foam-Core, Hot Glue and Masking Tape! Now I could go on forever extolling the virtues of Hot Glue but anyone who has ever used one knows the feeling. You basically start roughing out shapes with the foam core and gluing them into place. Foam core is a 14 thick foam sheet sandwiched with thin poster board. You can score on side with a knife and bend it into many shapes while still maintaining its strength. Using the hot glue gun I tacked pieces to the batters helmet until I got the shape I wanted. The masking tape is like instant papier-mâché, forming an outside layer. I know this sounds pretty Mickey Mouse, but for a temporary costume, it works really well, and with no drying time! After the shaping is done I primed the whole thing with Gesso (white latex). And then gave it a final coat with Gloss White Latex.
I used the same basic construction method for all the parts, which were later attached with elastic straps or Velcro.
To get the detailing of the lines I used 3M Brand Reflective Blue Vinyl. The same stuff they make road signs out of. Getting the vinyl is sometimes difficult. You go to your local sign shop and ask for a few feet. It comes in rolls 15 wide. It's the most expensive part of the costume. It'll run about $10 a foot. Sign shops are funny about selling this stuff. Unless you're in the business you'll get a lot of slack (being an exhibit designer, I am in the business). Your best bet is convincing them you're a college student doing a project really. The vinyl is like a big sticker. You can cut with an x-acto knife and stick it in place. It will bend slightly so can make all sorts of great detail lines. I used a hole punch to knock out some perfect circles. The cool thing is how it reacts to direct light. I added some details with an airbrush as well. I accentuated the curves here and there with a little deep blue paint.
The fabric elements were dance tights. I went to a dance supply store and just asked. This is why I decided on the Flynn version of the costume. The tunic covers your bum.
The disk was just a Frisbee painted white. I cut the lines in the vinyl with a compass as a guide. I glued a small magnet inside the disk to attach to a metal plate on my back. I also glued my driver's license to the inside of the disk. Outside the noisy bars there were few bouncers who found the humor in my identity disk.
TRON by Scott Jerry Lawrence
So far, here is a list of the parts i've bought for it...
1. $120 110 feet of Electroluminescant wire (www.elwire.com, purchased last summer)
3. CooLight ($2 per foot, which is way overpriced.)
4. The wire should cost less than $1.50 US per foot for the thin wire, $1.70 US per foot for the thicker wire.
5. $16 two high-brightness inverters for the above
6. $8 one normal-brightness inverter for the above
7. $2 9v battery snaps
8. $30 9v batteries (many sets)
9. $20 various bits of wire, heat shrink tubing, electrical tape, connectors.
10. $60 Bauer HH 2000 hockey helmet (white)
11. $10 crazy glue (Two brands, in case one didn't work out)
12. $32 two pairs of long underwear (tops and bottoms)
13. $16 two white 175g Wham-O frisbees (an extra in case i screwed up)
14. $16 Adams USA forearm pads.
15. $5 80 grit and 220 grit sandpaper.
16. $3 safety pins
and more stuff..
The first thing that i wanted to work on was the helmet. The helmet in its original state has some black logos painted onto it, so i decided that the best way to remove the logos was to sand them off. I figured that when i glue the elwire to it, and it was painted, there'd be a better chance of the glue just popping off chips of paint. I disassembled the helmet, leaving the inner pads glued into place (they'd be a pain to reglue back in.) but pulling off useless things liek the chin strap and ear guards... no need for them.
Once I started to sand down the parts of the helmet I realized something. It looked really good with a matte finish. I ended up sanding all of the logos off with 80 grit sandpaper, then going over the whole helmet (in two different directions) with the 80 grit to give it a consistant matte finish. It looked really good once i was done with it.
I'm quite pleased with the result. It's not accurate to the film, but I don't really care. (I decided to make a cool looking costume. I do not want it to be accurate... if I was to try to make it accurate, I would go insane sweating the details that no one cares about anyway.) I think it looks very Mobius-esque, which is exactly what I want.
The following pics are of an forearm guard which took about 2 hours to do. Granted, some of that time was putting connectors on the power inverters, and gettng intensely shocked in the process, but still. (Getting shocked by 85v AC, 2000hz very low amperage is enough to stun you, but not enough to do any damage. I had to sit down and rest for a half hour to recover. hehe) Each of these took about 10 feet of wire.
Forearm: These are just Forearm protection thingies with the ELWire woven through them and then sewn on with a running stitch. Nothing fancy. I'd love to do something like the real thing in the movie, but that would be nearly impossible with these materials. (Intricate traces, grid marks, etc. )
Legs: The legs took about 5 hours of work of sewing and figuring out a decent pattern. (and thanks to Therese for helping me by sewing one of them together for me...) Each one uses about 10 feet of wire woven all around it. (Mannequin leg courtesy of a friend. I've been meaning to make it into a table lamp... hehe)
- Scott Jerry Lawrence
For more info and more pics of Jerry's costume visit: http://www.cis.rit.edu/~jerry/Image/TronCostume/
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