Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man. Anthony Le, of Thornton, Colo., poses in his custom-made Iron Man suit in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Le)
Anthony Le aims to take cosplay to new levels with Iron Man suits
Local cosplayer pushes boundaries of costuming with elaborate custom-made Iron Man suits
By Joe Nguyen, AsiaXpress.com
April 29, 2010
There is a saying that it's the suit that makes a man and for Anthony Le, of Thornton, his suits certainly draw plenty of attention – especially from women, he said.
"It's a chick magnet, no doubt," he said.
But Le's suits are not made from the finest cuts of wool or cotton. Rather his material of choice is custom-cut high-impact urethane plastic and the pieces are held together by hundreds of rivets.
Simply put, he is Iron Man – or at least he's as close as anyone has come outside of Robert Downey Jr.
Over the past two years, the 25-year-old has built a name for himself in the costuming community for his highly elaborate suits based off of the popular Marvel Comics' character. His efforts have even caught the attention of "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau, who mentioned him on his Twitter account. Le said he started this hobby in 2008, just a week before the release of "Iron Man" in theaters.
"There were no tutorials (to build an Iron Man costume) whatsoever," he said. "So I ran to Wal-Mart and picked up some stuff I could see if I could make it out of and that's when I decided to take cosplay to a new level – by trying and going a little more crazy making something that nobody else has made."
And that lofty goal has encouraged him to try and push the boundaries of costume creation. The self-described comic book nerd has built several suits – each one taking a month to a month and a half to complete – that copy the design of different variations of Iron Man, as well as War Machine and Iron Woman.
"I kind of lost count (of how much I spent)," he laughed. "It's one of those things you pay for what you get. As much money as you put into it is how it looks. The time you put into it as well."
With each subsequent design, Le's suits have become more intricate and accurate. With his War Machine costume, there are lighting effects on the eyes, chest piece and arms. A fake minigun sits atop the right shoulder and simulates gunfire – though it can be modified for paintballs or BBs, he said – while decals adorn the outside of the suit.
"I fully integrated a motorized helmet on the War Machine (suit) so it opens up like the movie (version)," he said.
But beyond trying to reach the next level in cosplaying, Le also volunteers at The Children's Hospital in his Iron Man outfit, visiting with kids who are sick.
"It brings a tear to my eye to see kids like that," he said. "But once they see me walk in, it's a superhero in costume to visit them and help them. ...
"(They ask) me to blow stuff up or fly, but I say I can't – that's too big of a mess."
Le will showcase three of his suits during the "Iron Man 2" opening from 6 to 10 p.m. on May 7 and 8 at the Hollywood Theaters SouthGlenn Stadium 14 in Centennial. He will raffle two helmets with a portion of the proceeds going to the Children's Hospital.
Le said he plans on creating a version of Iron Man's Hulkbuster suit next – an outfit used by the comic book character to battle the Hulk. But he said he wants to try his hand at creating a Mitsuragi costume from the video game "Soulcalibur III" or Heavy Arms Custom from the "Gundam Wing" series.
"There's so many costumes I want to build, but there's so little time," he said. "It's kind of a way to give me a creative outlet. It's building art and showing it to everybody."