The Winter Soldier from Captain America: The Winter Soldier

edited April 2017 in Cosplay Contest
Third and final entry! This is a very long and very photo heavy post with in depth construction photos and details of how each piece was made.

This costume was just recently finalized to be worn on April 7th after working on it since July 30th 2016. In the period of those eight months, 1,364 hours were poured into this build, 730 of those hours happening in just three months. This costume was worked on every day for at least a few hours, sometimes the work days turning into 15 hours or even two sleepless nights so every little detail that I could see on the costume worn in the movie could be replicated. 

This costume really challenged me through the building process, having to problem solve and learn new techniques like resin casting to achieve a clean and smooth finish. 

The idea for this costume started back in 2014 after the Winter Soldier movie came out. I knew I absolutely wanted to do Bucky in the future and had actually planned to do him, but he was put aside to focus on other costumes. Finally after Civil War came out, I knew I really wanted to build this costume and last May, I begun gathering reference photos from all over.

Over 300 reference photos were obtained for this costume- HD photos of the Hot Toy figure, concept art, behind the scenes shots, poster art. I'd rewatch the movie on mute and pause every few seconds, taking screen shots of specific areas of his costume, like the zipper trims on his pants or the weathering on the shoulder of his jacket, as well as watching how all the weapons were removed from their holsters. 

Every piece for this costume was constructed from scratch except the bare minimum bases of the Skorpion SMG, tactical pants (this was a money issue, because buying the fabric for the pants would have been way out of the already massive total for this project), and leather glove. All of those pieces were taken apart and reconstructed to achieve accurate finishes and transform them from their original looks. Pieces like screws were also constructed from scratch from Apoxie Sculpt and resin, as well as the buttons to the jacket and pieces on the back and front of the boots. Grommets were also all hand set. 

(Photo by YGKPhotos at Anime Detour 2017.) 

In addition to the physical components of the costume, the wig was styled to be as accurate as possible. The color and choice of wig was carefully thought out, comparing various photos of Bucky in natural lighting and shadows. I decided on Spanish Brown with a Skylar style wig from Arda. 

Originally the wig was quite wavy, which is another reason why this wig was picked. Bucky's hair is wavy and very messy, but I wanted a controlled mess. I straightened out some of the waves, recurling other pieces and leaving various parts untouched. After cutting the wig accordingly, I spent one morning styling it. Using Got2B wax, I threaded my fingers through the roots, clamping pieces together to create an unwashed look. I parted the bangs and made sure they would be able to move around freely, as his hair is always all over his face. The wig is also worn with wig tape to create realistic hairlines. Once finished, the wig was set with hairspray. The wig has a total of 6 hours to it. 

For Bucky's makeup, I first did basic contouring to achieve more of Sebastian Stan's facial shape. I spent many nights beforehand testing various ways of doing his stubble and the final version was done with water activated makeup and a stippling sponge. I used a brown that complimented the wig and cut an angle into the sponge, lightly dabbing unevenly. Makeup was set with translucent setting powder and setting spray. The eye make up was also done with water activated makeup and various fine tipped and angled brushes. Waterline and lash line were filled in with an eye pencil. 

What is not pictured are the scars that were done around the bionic arm. In case of skin showing under the jacket, scars were created by blending shades of purples, reds, pinks and oranges, making jagged lines and shadows. Originally I was going to create scars with liquid latex but I didn't in fear of them rubbing on the inside of the jacket or against the arm itself.

(Photo by YGKPhotos at Anime Detour 2017.)

Every piece of the costume was weathered once construction was completed. I had found a very HD photograph from the set and as I was studying it, I could see all of the places where the leather was worn, fading, had mud and dirt stains and other various things. I spent weeks sitting out on my patio to the questioning looks of my neighbors to weather all the pieces in natural lighting so I could really make sure nothing was over done or too light and keep it all looking realistic. 

All placement of the weathering was kept in the same areas as the original piece, shades of rusted browns and yellow oranges being mixed accordingly. For extra texture, I stippled Mod Podge on areas and brown fabric puffy paint. Stains were also created by leaving pools of paint water to dry. 

The back piece on the harness was given shadows and highlights by using an airbrush, as were the Yari II Tanto knives. This was my first time using an airbrush and it was very fun finally working with one!

For the hanging thigh holster bit, which was made from EVA foam and shaped directly to my thigh, belt and harness, a textured vinyl used for upholstery was bought. The jacket was constructed from a two way stretch faux leather - I really wanted to use real leathers but I am more than happy with the fabric that was found. Over 8 yards of the faux leather were used, as the jacket is fully lined and pieces were also used on the pants. With the jacket being lined, the belt and harness are also fully lined with the leather to finish the clean look and add extra support. On the side of the jacket, a canvas was used... which I took apart fabric storage boxes for the sake of using that fabric, haha. The silver parts are pieces of .2mm craft foam covered in latex rubber tacked down with contact cement, e6000 and super glues. On that note, hot glue was not used on this costume and instead a combination of industrial strength glues were used instead, mainly Amazing Goop, E6000, Dap Rapid Fuse, and Dap Contact Cement (and Dap Kwik Seal caulk for vinyl pieces). 

The arm has full mobility and fingers are articulated. I made a glove underneath the fingers from a pair of tights so it was form fitting and I'd really be able to use my fingers - I can even write with them! The elbow separation piece is a strip of latex rubber that I form fitted to my arm and then made craft foam pieces to attach on top to fill in the gaps. This method was used so there would still be something filling the elbow area but I could easily bend my arm. 

Speaking of arms, I created a fake muscle for the one human arm so I could better match the Worbla bionic arm's size. I serged thin jersey to make an arm sock and using crafting cushion foam, I sculpted out a muscle shape that would fill out the sleeve and compliment the other arm, but not be too much on my frame that it would become bulky. 

(A more detailed shot of the arm.)

The most identifiable part of the Winter Soldier is, of course, his bionic arm. This piece was the most labor intensive piece of the costume, but it was very straight forward in the building process; his jacket and the SIG gun were the most "difficult" or tedious parts to construct, mainly because the jacket is completely topstitched, which topstitching on leather takes a lot of focus and energy. 

First for the arm, a mannequin was created of my actual arm so that could be used later on to cast the Worbla on top of. With the help of a friend, we wrapped my arm in saran wrap and used an entire roll of heavy duty duct tape plus half of another to build layer upon layer of tape. This also helped keep the shape so the arm didn't have to be stuffed with paper bags or anything else in the future. 

A very basic base was constructed with a thin piece of Worbla. I embedded an elastic strap into the Worbla so the arm would comfortably and snuggly fit against my shoulder and collarbone and move naturally with me. Inside the arm I also created foam padding to make wearing this heavy piece (which just the bicep alone weighs over a pound!) a pleasant experience, which it really is, and doesn't leave any unneeded marks or injuries, for once. This is by far the most comfortable costume I have, with full mobility so combat can be preformed and also can be all put on by myself, since I live alone and needed to be able to try on all the pieces without help. It is also able to be packed with ease and can all fit in one suitcase! 

The main parts to the arm were constructed in three days but dozens of patterns were created beforehand, mapping out where all the strips would go, the shapes and sizes of them, where the rivets laid underneath, etc. I sculpted into the Worbla as it was cooling down to get added details.

Worbla has a very rough texture, similar to sandpaper, and since I had to aggressively scrape off all of Gesso applied beforehand due to time and weather issues, the surface of my Worbla was really beat up and pretty much destroyed. So, I coated all of the strips one by one in Sandable Gesso, applying 15 layers each. I wanted to really get the surface as smooth as I possibly could to achieve a realistic metal surface, which was my goal when starting this costume. I used 80, 100, 150, 220, 320, and 400 grit sandpaper and would put on a movie or show and just sand, sand, sand until my hand pretty much went numb. 

The bits in-between the strips were filled in with Apoxie Sculpt and sculpt was also added to any area on top of the Gesso that I was not fully satisfied with. The arm was then slowly coated with a filler primer, using three cans on just the bicep alone. I'd spray a thin layer, sand it down, repeat and kept doing this until I could move on to the very long painting process.

Using a pure chrome spray, layers were built up until the paint reflected its surroundings. Because of the finicky nature of this particular paint, the bicep, forearm, and finger bits were given a week to cure before I even went near them. This paint is notorious for attracting fingerprints and losing its chrome appearance if its worked with too quickly after being applied. 

All chrome pieces including weapons were sealed with Pledge floor polish to keep the shine. This is the only sealer that I could find that would not diminish any of the paints reflectiveness, which is what Mod Podge really had done and a clear coat would only turn it dark gray. 

I didn't want to completely weather the arm as his is very clean, but with pieces of 220 or 400 sandpaper, I'd create small scratches on various parts of the surface. 

(Close up on the belt, jacket and weapons.)

Six removable weapons were created as well as two nondetachable grenades. The holsters attached to the back of the belt for the Yari ii Tantos are completely removable, as they have two strong metal clasps each. The holster on the thigh for the SIG is also detachable, held on by three metal clasps that were sewn into the vinyl strip on the pants. The Skorpion SMG attaches to the back holster that has an unnoticeable clasp that is sandwiched between foam - the Skorpion has small clasps on either side so it can be reversed and attached any way that I wish. 

The four knives are constructed from bases of craft foam, .2mm and .5mm with the handle of the Gerber being EVA foam, all covered and sandwiched in Worbla. When creating the foam bases, the foam was dremeled and sanded down to create beveled edges and also heat shaped for ridges. The Yari ii Tantos are primed with wood glue as the other weapons are done with Gesso. 

The SIG was made from layering thick craft foam and carving the shape. The seams were covered with Gesso and then later detailing was added with thin craft foam pieces and Apoxie sculpt. There are magnets inside the gun so it can attach to the holster that also has magnets in it. The screws on the SIG were resin casted with molds that I made. The SIG was painted by hand with silver Rub n Buff. The trigger for the SIG was made using Worbla and can move as it fits inside of the gun.

The grenades are made from clay, hollowed inside so they wouldn't be too heavy, and pieces were sewn to directly fit around them to hold the pieces onto the belt. 

Yari ii Tanto covers, Gerber and benchmade holsters are all made from craft foams, all heat shaped and heat sealed. The rivets used on the Gerber holster are Kydex, as well as the chicago screws, which is also screen accurate. A metal piece was made for the Gerber holster using Apoxie Sculpt. All of the holsters were given textured surfaces by using a seam ripper to replicate the look of Kydex, which is a thermoplastic used commonly in making holsters (which is the material used for the SIG holster). 

The Skorpion is an airsoft that I bought. I sanded down all of the seams, filled in screw holes with caulk and Apoxie sculpt, primed the surface various times and then applied even coats of flat black with a rattle can. I also casted pieces for the gun out of Resin. 

Construction notes and pictures:

Since this costume was built over such a long period of time, hundreds of progress pictures were taken. All of these photos are from the portfolio that I created, the collages labeled so it's easier to see what's what. 
I just wanted to share everything here to really show how this was put together, because just looking at the costume, it doesn't seem like much, but I really worked hard on this one! :)


Lining of the inside of the jacket, done with flat felled seams and blind hem, done with a slipstitch by hand. Since the design of the jacket is unusual, I also had to draft out a pattern for the lining. I tried to use pins as little as possible when sewing the jacket to avoid any holes. Wonderclips and painters tape were used instead for the majority of the pinning process. 

(This was before I redid the buttons with resin. Originally the buttons were made from foam and Worbla but I really wanted them all to be the exact same. So, I pulled off my favorite button and made a mold of it.)

I first hand drafted a pattern for the jacket out of muslin and sewed out the base shell for the jacket to make sure it would fit well. Once reaching the more complex parts, I drew and constructed multiple patterns for the straps first on cardstock and then later patterning paper. The jacket was all done in segments, draping bits on my mannequin and myself.
The entire jacket is topstitched so there are virtually no visible seams. I kept the stitching widths and lengths to be screen accurate as well. 

Craft foam was used for an interfacing. All of the straps attach over with clasps as well, so once you're in this jacket, you're stuck in it forever! haha

Open arm trim was slipstitched as were shoulder bits. A good portion of this jacket was handstitched, and the total time from start to finish was 300+ hours! Darts were created in the back, as there are also many darts on the pants.

The ribbed knit collar that is worn under the jacket is also a separate piece that closes with velcro. I decided to make it a collar instead of a shirt with the thought of not wanting to overheat. Layers of leather is already enough, you don't need a knitted sweater underneath that, haha. 

(The final resin buttons and beginning of the weathering process.)


(The wig right out of the package and then the straightning process. Arda wigs are awesome for styling and take heat very well.) 

(Before the bobbypins were removed and wig was set with hairspray.) 


(Kneepad construction.) 

I used EVA foam for the base and detailing was done with craft  foam. I sanded the base of the EVA foam with 100 grit sandpaper to give it a rough fabric like texture. The inside was also lined with a thin cotton to cover the textured side of the EVA and to give added comfort. D-Rings were attached to the foam and elastic was sewn through them. Edges of elastic were sealed with wood glue. 

The knee pads were painted by hand and weathered. I sealed these with Hard Coat Mod Podge so they could act as real knee pads and paint would not be damaged, nor would the base materials. These have survived being pushed into rock and gravel and I could even fall down on them on a hard stage, so I was very happy with the results! The accenting craft foam on the tops was given an extra shine with Gloss Mod Podge. 


(Metal pieces on pouches were later taken off and used to make a mold. Metal pieces were casted in resin instead. The left and right pouches have two different shapes to the pieces as well, one being squares and the other rectangles.) 

Belt was a base of thin craft foam with the vinyl glued over it, leather accents and grommets attached. The belt is lined with the leather. 

Pouches were also made by creating pieces with craft foam and vinyl and attached together with E6000 and a lot of patience, and painters tape. Loops were created on the top of each bag for that small detail. 

Clasps and buckles are Worbla with craft foam. The clasp is hooked to a loop on the back of the belt - this clasp is for the strap that comes from the hanging thigh piece, so it can be attached there. Speaking of that thigh holster, it's also lined with leather! 

(Belt buckle construction.) 

Belt buckle is a base of EVA foam and Worbla. Before getting to the Gessoing part, I took my dremel and sanded down the Worbla to get the actual shape as seamless as possible to make my job later on easier. The belt attaches with velcro through a belt loop also created with the Worbla. The belt was painted by hand by applying thin layers of watered down acrylic to avoid brush strokes and sealed with a semi-gloss clear coat. Later on I created an effect of metal scratches by dipping a piece of stippling sponge in spray paint and dragging it across the surface. 

Continued below. 

Post edited by Hazel-Grey Kenny on


  • edited April 2017

    (Harness with the removable and posable Skorpion attached.) 

    When creating the back to his harness, I wanted to get the same clean design, with shapes underneath the fabric. I made three pieces; two sides and the foam middle. I created a base with .2mm craft foam and then added .5mm craft foam shapes, which were beveled and shaped by hand sanding. Then, very carefully, I started gluing the textured vinyl around the shapes using E6000. I applied a thin strip of the glue and pushed the fabric into the shape with a wooden sculpting tool, holding each spot for a few minutes until I could move on. This technique was also used on the front of the harness. 

    The whole harness has a base of layered up thin craft foam so it is extremely flexible and able to be packed in a suitcase with no problem. The harness also needed to be flexible so it could slide over the bionic arm with no added stiffness or issues. The side straps were heat formed to my shape so it would rest well when worn with all of the layers. 

    Props, weapons and holsters-

    (From start to finish of the Hydra notebook. Not a pretty start but it was quite a feat to get the paint to finally stick to this surface.) 

    I recreated the Hydra notebook to use in a stage performance but also as an interactive prop for photos. I used an old moleskin notebook that was the same size and had rounded corners. I bent the corners and used a plexiglass cutter to rough up the edges. I removed all of the pages so I could line the book with vinyl and then replaced them with blank pieces of paper. Magnets were also inserted into the lining so book would close easier. 

    Using a star stencil, I cut into the journal and added black vinyl with a Kydex backing for strength. Because of the resistant surface, I had to coat the journal in Gesso and lay down layers and layers of extremely watered down paint so it could even start taking to the color and slowly build to get that rich red. I sanded down the whole surface before dry brushing everything to create the weathering. 

    (Yari ii Tantos being built, with foam and Worbla. These are the ones that were airbrushed.) 

    (Gerber holster made from craft foams with Apoxie Sculpt screws. Rivets and chicago screws are Kydex. Knife easily can slide in and out of holster.)

    (Making the weapons.) 

    (Progress of the Skorpion.) 

    (Building the SIG. Originally the handle was done with fabric but it was far too bulky, so it was removed and later covered with textured Apoxie Sculpt.) 

    (SIG starting to look pretty with its base paint.) 

    (Resin casted pieces for Skorpion.) 

    (Benchmade before weathering. This dagger is my personal favorite prop out of all of the six.) 

    Continued below. 
    Post edited by Hazel-Grey Kenny on
  • edited April 2017

    (Grenades. A Worbla piece was added on top after. The picture used for the "original reference", those are actually salt and pepper shakers I believe, haha.)  

    Grenades were sculpted out of clay and then baked. I had to experiment for a bit to get the proper tone of metallic orange for the bottoms. Once the paint was finished, I sealed these with Gloss Mod Podge spray, which gave them a very nice look. 

    Arm, all pieces- 

    (Creating the arm mannequin. Many thanks to the one who sat there and helped me cover my arm in a million layers of tape in the hot summer, haha.) 

    (Progress on the bicep.) 

    (The craziness that was the destroyed Worbla base.) 

    (Close up on the rivets.) 

    (After first coat of sealer.)

    The star was painted on with a rattle can as apposed to airbrushing due to space constraints. A stencil was carefully taped down, plastic bags covering the arm to protect it as well as possible without damaging the base paint. Star was then later outlined with an angled paint pen. 

    (Pattern for arm was created on wax paper first which was then taped to foam pieces, which was then transferred to the Worbla.) 

    (The progress of the forearm.) 

    Forearm had originally been coated with wood glue, but I was not happy with how that had turned out. So, I covered over the wood glue since it just did not want to chip off. 

    (Base paint of forearm.) 

    (Under glove and finger bits.)

    The knuckles are attached directly to the underglove. So, when looking through the cut outs in the leather glove, it gives an appearance that my full hand is metal, and the pieces move directly with my knuckles. 

    (Mobility test.)

    (Altering of the glove.)

    A new strap was later created that fit around the Worbla wrist. 

    Extra things-

    (Shoes, altered from old combat boots.) 

    Shoes were originally very worn down, so I painted them back to black before I went in with different tones of oranges and browns. The metal pieces were created out of Worbla and additionally, that small piece in the back was created as well just for a fun small detail. 

    (Detail shots of the sewing done.) 

    (Zipper trim on the pants.) 

    (The beginning of the weathering process.) 

    And of course, you can't not have Captain America's shield. 

    Sorry this is so incredibly long, but it took as long to build this as it will to read! 

    *Added a full body picture of the costume, un-edited to see the boots, kneepads better and bottom of pants. Not a great picture, but regardless, you can really see the whole costume now. 

    (Arm is bent at a really weird angle here because this was my first time wearing every single piece together with make up and wig and I was still getting used to moving in the costume and no longer having to worry about being extra careful - I was always nervous about the arm because I didn't want to accidentally damage it before debuting the costume in full. But, I never did have to worry about damage later on anyways!) 

    The straps for the boots are 3-5 inch leather strips that were topstitched and then glued on with E6000. The silver bits were created from sandwiched Worbla, primed with Wood Glue and sealed with Mod Podge. The boots were also entirely weathered. The top straps for the boots are detachable and actually slide on top to hide the zipper top and where the shoelaces are knotted. 

    Kneepads are EVA foam and fully functional. There are leather strips sewn onto various parts of the pants, weathered with stippled Mod Podge and paints. There are also darts in the leather. 

    Post edited by Hazel-Grey Kenny on
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