How It Was Made: Red Skull
July 2, 2017

This post will cover a Red Skull redesign costume made as a companion piece for my armored Captain America. For this version of the classic Cap nemesis, I wanted to go with a brand new concept and modern update to counter and complement the design of the Cap costume.

The first thing to tackle was how to address the skull itself. I didn’t want it to be prosthetic and applied as make up to the face/neck/head and I wanted to make sure it didn’t look like a Halloween mask. So, I decided to go in a new direction. This version of Red Skull is meant to be a high-tech costume villain. Perhaps not Johan himself, but carrying on the mantle. A cross between Darth Vader and Red Hood with some of the tech style of Starlord.

I reached out to one of my most frequent collaborators, Jordan’s Ironic Armory, and got him on board. He then put his 3D skills to work on drafting the base helmet. I took his initial shapes and marked up some decorative seam lines and details.

He then went back to the model and began interpreting my ideas.

While we were discussing the helmet, I began working on the neck piece that will go with it. I created a template by making a tape mock up on my trusty Ed Head and drew out some preliminary details.

This tape was cut apart and I made a base pattern for the piece out of Swedish tracing paper. I built up the base in red cordura and then made a working mock up in the tracing paper to design the details.

I decided I wanted the neck to have a somewhat organic feel but also look mechanical. So, I began to work up a design that would incorporate some very structured elements that followed the anatomy of the neck. I then began playing with creating these elements in my usual style of covering 2mm craft foam with materials and layering them onto the base.

After reviewing the neck, I decided to make a few changes to the design in the front. The “Adams apple” section seemed too large and odd, so I took it down a notch and am much happier with the new version.

With the base neck complete, I began working on the chest and torso. This costume is being made as a companion piece to my most recent Cap project, so I want to design it go align with the Cap but not be a copy.

I worked up a muslin chest pattern that would fit the neck and then began sketching out the details. Once I had the design figured out, I began building up the details using craft foam covered in cordura. I also wanted to have the harness for this costume integrate directly into the chest, so I included the buckles as well as some red piping into the chest ‘armor’.

The next step was to develop the harness that would fit onto the back of the chest piece. The harness was drafted on the form to match the shapes of the vest and an additional layer was traced out to form the ‘backplate’ that’s still in development.

The harness base was cut from black faux leather, backed with headliner foam and the edges bound with twill bias tape. The upper straps were then added using the template for the backplate that will be the outer layer of the harness.

Here are images of the chest and neck with the harness as it is now.

In the meantime, the helmet has been progressing very well and I’m very happy with it.

Next up – the rest of the torso, arms, and the helmet arrives. Stay tuned!