Iron Man & Solarbotics at Comic Expo 2016

We often work with people with very interesting projects. This time, it’s an impressive Iron Man MkIII costume build, by Phillip Vatour of Calgary.

Phillip had come into our offices one day and said: “You might be interested in seeing what I’ve been building with the stuff I buy here…”. He pulled out his phone and handed over his photo gallery. Flip…”Nice Iron Man gauntlet” ….flip…”Nice Arc reactor” …flip… “HOLY CRAP – that’s a video of a functional visor-flipping helmet!”

We were so impressed by his build, we invited Phillip and his family to the 2016 Calgary Comic Expo as a keynote display at the Solarbotics booth. He’d spend several hours each day, suiting up and posing for photos, while explaining his build. He’s one of a handful of builders in the world with such a fully-featured Iron Man costume, so we were very happy to work with him at the show. We were very happy to arrange a photo-op with Stan Lee (creator of the “Iron Man” character), as this was to be Mr. Lee’s last Comic Expo appearance. Mr. Lee was apparently quite impressed by the quality of the suit, as were his staff attending the photo op.

What’s particularly notable about Phillip’s efforts is that he doesn’t rent out his time or make paid appearances. He volunteers for the Make-a-Wish foundation and the Calgary Children’s Hospital, making appearances as Iron Man for the kids. We were happy to help out by promoting a donation bucket to help Phillip pay for ongoing costume upgrades and maintenance (apparently Iron Man costume molds aren’t cheap!).

Phillip designed the costume to have quite an array of features, which are fairly independent of each other. A tech-costume of this complexity can often have some failures, so this design allows the majority of the suit to stay functional if a single element is damaged. Of course, this means there’s a multitude of batteries to maintain, and Phillip has a full check-list to cover during suit-up and servicing.ironman

We produced an informational flyer we gave out at the show, available here as a pdf (Ironman Phillip Vautour information sheet).