Meet Anthony Le: Designer of Iron Man And War Machine Replicas

In this EXCLUSIVE interview, I sat down with the ultimate cosplay artist, when it comes to Iron Man!

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By DogsOfWar - 5/5/2010
Who is Anthony Le? If you don’t know already, the Colorado resident has created some of the most realistic looking Iron Man and War Machine costume armors ever. Anthony Le is also a man who likes to push himself. Along with cosplay, he is a P90X instructor, a prop maker and a budding filmmaker just to name a few. One of his biggest passions, though, is his charity work. More on that later. I got the opportunity to sit down with Anthony for a one on one interview. Actually it was a two for one, as he brought along his friend and colleague, Nathan Trujillo (www.Myspace.com/Phantom_Prophet). Nathan is his right hand man, pushing Anthony while also helping to design and build the armors and take photos. Anthony created his first armor by himself just a week before the first Iron Man movie came out. He was the first designer to have integrated lights for his eyes. They light up and he can still see out of them from just under the light source. Since then the two have gone on to create two versions of War Machine, the suitcase armor (Mark V) and the Mark VI. The Mark V premiered at Denver’s Starfest last month. Anthony, of course, won first prize at the costume contest displaying his War Machine armor.







Le’s first War Machine (which he calls the War Machine Hybrid) “took costuming to a new level” in his words. He made it before anything from the movie version was leaked out. It is a mixture of designs from Mark I, Mark III and the concept art of War Machine by Phil Saunders. This was the first armor that caught director Jon Favreau’s attention when he tweeted about it. One of the most unique things about Le’s armors started with the faceplate. It comes down and into position when he poses in a ready position using a pressurized system. It goes up by using a manual motorized mechanism. Very few cosplay artists have been able to perfect this.

DogsOfWar-After seeing Iron Man and War Machine in comics and the movies how did you figure out the designs and all the moving parts?

Anthony Le- “I love to look at things and reverse engineer it and figure out how to do it. Since I was six years old, I like to figure things out myself. I don’t like to ask.”

DOW -What’s the hardest part of creating armor?

Le- “Doing all the electronics and wiring-it’s tiring!”






DOW -What are you working on now?

Le- “I am building the Pepper Potts armor from Invincible Iron Man comic. Just finished painting it, the jet pack lights up. I’m building it for a friend in California”

DOW -Since that’s close to being done, what’s after that and what drives you to keep going further with these designs?

Le- “I am making a HulkBuster armor with Nathan. Then Mark II, maybe Mark I and a hall of armor [like in the movie]. I’ve received a lot of requests for builds.”

“I decided to advance the way I use and make materials. I went from foam board, bondo and fiberglass from past experiences. I use other stuff too, like vacuum forming. It’s all cool and all but it doesn’t last as long. I started researching into better materials. I found high impact urethane. Most of the biggest challenges is finding what you need. Home Depot is always a good source. I go up and down every aisle.”



The armor heads are built using a silicone resin in a negative sculpt mold which helps to hold detail and fine lines. The original molds typically weigh around 13 pounds. I was lucky enough to try on his Iron Man mask and found it fairly comfortable and lightweight. The body armor is a high impact urethane plastic, much like with today’s cars. The metallic finish comes with painting. It is very flexible. Tony modified his WM once for a zombie theme party and was able to fully dance in it. He has vents built throughout and only gets sweaty when he is standing still.




DOW-What were the challenge in creating the suitcase armor?

Le- “The only thing I had to go on was the first trailer and a four inch toy. I didn’t have any back shot of the armor or anything of the lower body. When the second trailer came out, I had guessed pretty close to it.”











Anthony donates a great deal of time to charity. Last October, he visited the Denver Children’s Hospital. Watching the kids see and recognize Iron Man was very fulfilling. He will be doing a charity event and appearance at Hollywood Theater in Centennial this Friday and Saturday from 6-10 PM promoting Iron Man 2. Grand prize for the raffle drawings will be one of his War Machine or Iron Man helmets, winner’s choice. His sponsors have also helped kick in toys and posters. He even got Jon Favreau’s backing for doing such work.

Anthony has been able to take his costuming skill and turn it into something special. He gets the biggest kick out of doing it for charity but he also does promo work for Paramount and just recently did an ad for Guess Jeans and Iron Man 2. He will always continue to build. "I love costuming; I can make a lot of other things if I had unlimited funds like the movie does.” Some of the other things on his “wish list” are Star Wars Mandalorian armor and Gundam Wing armor.

Anthony Le follows a simple code everyday: “Live life with a passion and no regrets”



To see more of Anthony’s work check out his sites:
http://www.masterle.org/
http://www.myspace.com/anthonyqle
http://www.youtube.com/user/anthonyle247



This got me thinking (a rare occasion for me). What type of armor or for that matter, any superhero costume would you make for yourself? Me, I’d have to go Colossus for armor and Beast would be an interesting challenge as well.

Many thanks to Anthony Le for sitting down with me.
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22 Comments
DogsOfWar - 5/5/2010, 9:20 PM
Grand Prize winning War Machine Armor at StarFest.

baldbix33 - 5/5/2010, 9:33 PM
No Doubt about it...this guy is the shizznit!
spiderman1985 - 5/5/2010, 11:29 PM
wow.. this guy is BOSS
WOLVERINEDECADE - 5/5/2010, 11:52 PM
i envy him... if only i have resources... i need a benefactor... (sounds like what Hammer offered Ivan, right?)
CBK - 5/6/2010, 12:59 AM
@DogsOfWar I saw this guy, and probably you at ComicFest this year. Were you wearing a red CBM shirt on one of the days?
Scarface - 5/6/2010, 5:20 AM
Tea just post some boobs for the dude, he has earned them.
Glorious Boobies ehehehehheheheheh
THEMRTERRIFIC - 5/6/2010, 5:57 AM
MasterLe is AWESOME!!
A7 - 5/6/2010, 7:20 AM
something..something..something..boobies.
LEEE777 - 5/6/2010, 7:31 AM
DOGS @ Holy sh1T, thats cool stuff!!!

This is my costume! =



: D
LEEE777 - 5/6/2010, 7:32 AM
TEABAG @ Lmao off, I've just noticed the TEABAG MARK! ; D
superdog - 5/6/2010, 7:51 AM
yeah and they cover all the good stuff. bullshit.!!!!!

great interview dogs. the guy seems really dedicated.
DogsOfWar - 5/6/2010, 8:17 AM
@CBK-Yeah, that was me there. Good to see another Coloradoan on here.

Thanks guys. He is pretty dedicated but he's down to earth as well. He's pretty funny too. He joked about playing RDJ's character from Tropic Thunder and then putting on WM. "I'm the Asian thats playin the dude playin the dude"

answer - 5/6/2010, 9:15 AM
This guy is awesome! I follow his stuff on thereplica prop forum!
llinformerll - 5/6/2010, 8:01 PM
This guy is such a liar. He is the most shady guy Ive ever met. If your in any costuming community you should know him as a thief and a liar. He just takes and takes. He never gives.

The only helmet he actually made himself is the one to the far right. This is the pepakura file he used and claims to have sculpted it himself.

http://405th.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=19600&st=0&p=312107&fromsearch=1&#entry312107

His username is MasterLe or something. Just check the link, his name will pop up. He has deleted his post but others quoted him which is evidence that he was there.

The War Machine is a sculpt that wasnt even from him.

He tries to pop up in every single forum cause hes an attention whore.
masterle247 - 5/7/2010, 4:46 AM
llinformerll @ lol the helmet to the far right?.... sorry i don't paper glue. That helmet/armor was made wayyy before any tutorial and any so called pepakure.. all my stuff/art are free hand. If you really knew who i am, and what i live for. you wouldn't say things like that "liar/thief". I don't know what your problem is but. Ever heard the saying? "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all?" The War Machine sculpt, was created by me and a friend. Who helps me from time to time since i have a lot of things in life like everyone else have to take care of.

Also watch the language there little kids that read these.

again Live life with a passion, and no regrets.

llinformerll - 5/9/2010, 9:50 PM
@ masterle247: Oh really? So then why go through all the trouble to delete all your posts on Dungbettle's thread?
xsuperx - 7/5/2010, 3:06 AM
ur no fake masterle ive seen ur vids there awesome
xsuperx - 7/5/2010, 3:07 AM
;D
masterlewannabe - 11/6/2010, 8:54 AM
Correct is no fake as to being a THIEF..... straight up liar cheater, ask him how he sell stuff then keeps your money.steals your idea says its his own your correct no fake just a thief... most is public knowlage but has to lie sad man.. is banned from most forums
dacegraves - 1/1/2011, 6:31 PM
Wow its like looking at a trash can that a midget was pop riveted into...oh wait.
helenyvonne - 9/4/2013, 12:57 PM
This is presented as a CUSTOMER PRODUCT REVIEW and is accurate to the best of my ability and knowledge.



I see that this is an older post, but I am posting my experience with Mr Le and his product anywhere and every where I can. Two words - BUYER BEWARE!



My boyfriend purchased a Mark 3 IronMan suit less than a year ago - actually we received product in Feb 2013. We paid $3800 and when the product was ready to ship we then were notified of a $700+ shipping cost, after questioning this cost we were told that he could ship with a different company for $400+. Even with that shipping issue, what seemed to me to be a bit shady) my boyfriend was 110% interested in the mask being made electronically functional (lifting and lowering), but Mr Le refused to add this on at the time he made the suit saying there was other customers waiting for that feature and we would have to re-ship the helmet back to him to complete at a later time for an additional cost which was a range up to an additional $1200.00 and additional shipping charges both ways. We opted out of that choice - thank goodness.



My boyfriend's suit was not perfect by any means. He fitted into the suit three times, all three times he had an issue. Paint was bubbling up and chipping off, the original paint job was not even and showed a lot of flaws (which Mr. Le added a typed up piece of paper explaining that elevation levels can effect the paint),his left leg knee piece stuck out a lot further (very noticeable) from the other. His left leg piece at the floor was longer than the right leg piece, so he could not properly walk without dragging the plastic on the left leg across the ground or it would bend under (near the ankle area) - we had to trim this as it was a walking hazard and we did not want the suit to be damaged. The helmet did not proper fit my boyfriends head even though measurements were provided and the helmet did not properly line up for easy open and close, which impeded the lights coming on and off properly in the eye area. The most devastating flaw was the iron man arc reactor had pulled away from the chest piece. My boyfriend kept the suit stored exactly as instructed by Mr Le. My boyfriend had to make major adjustments to fix this low quality craftsmanship work (again more money out of our pockets. He re-removed the suit from the original boxes shipped and stored in and wore the suit ONCE since purchase to the June Philadelphia Comiccon/Wizard World for a period of 6 hours.



What we have today, as we prepare for the Baltimore comiccon this weekend - well, paint continues to chip off of various areas of the suit, seams are now opening up in the thigh areas where the gold pieces are bonded to the upper thigh areas on both legs (as the bond used is evidently not working properly or was not applied properly or was not even the correct bond in the first place), the helmet is cracking in the back (nap of neck) where two pieces where molded together (visually noticeable).



This is absolutely NOT top quality and not worth the money or frustration we have lost in this Ironman suit. We have to find other experts willing and able to now help with painting repairs, seam repairs, helmet repairs and proper fitting.



I am not happy with this purchase - I hope that my experience with Mr Le and his "product" will help other decide if this is the best option for them when considering a purchase of such cost and delow average quality.



I am more than willing to provide anyone with proof with pictures of the suit, receipts through paypal and email correspondence between my boyfriend and Mr Le.



This is presented as a CUSTOMER PRODUCT REVIEW and is accurate to the best of my ability and knowledge.

Kamp878 - 10/1/2013, 10:19 PM
Im in the process of making my own war machine armor. Mine is made completely out of garbage cans lol I got no shame. (They're all new cans) but I'm terrible at sculpting. So I have to buy a helmet from someone else. But I always give the credit for the helmets to the sellers. When I'm done with this armor, I will be selling it with out the helmet just to avoid any confusion of plagiarism.

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