"Irresistible challenge" leads Iron Man to Royal Armouries

By Culture24 Reporter | 23 July 2012
A photo of a man crouching in front of two statues of superheroes in red and yellow
© Mark Pearson
Mark Pearson, a car body repairer from Bradford, cherished creating his original supersized version of Iron Man for the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

“The first replica attracted a huge amount of interest,” he says. “But the high spot came when the Royal Armouries got in touch and commissioned me to create another one.”

A photo of a woman standing next to a statue of a superhero in red and yellow
The replica is built from 400 sheets of cardboard, which Pearson turned into a three-dimensional structure and then fibre-glassed© Mark Pearson
A 12-inch toy model of Robert Downey Jr has perhaps never inspired such devotion. Pearson originally set out to recreate Iron Man's helmet, but was ultimately compelled to fashion a full-size replica of the figure's famous red and gold suit.

“This all started out with a quick browse on a movie replica prop-makers’ website, but it quickly spiralled into a challenge that I couldn’t resist,” he confesses.

“It will be one of the first things that visitors see when they enter the museum.”

Karen Whitting, of the Armouries – the country’s oldest public museum – has given the towering statue “pride of place” in the Steel Hall, linked to the ongoing Sport and Gaming show at the venue.

“We are delighted to be kicking off a packed summer event programme with the display of this stunning exhibit,” she says.

“The replica suit makes a great centrepiece for our robot themed weekend and an interesting counterpoint to the Royal Armouries own permanent armour displays.”

Pearson turned 400 sheets of cardboard into fibre-glassed 3D figure, complete with eyes, hands and a chest fitted with flashing lights.

“I am a huge fan of the film,” he adds, perhaps seeing something of himself in the story of an engineer who saves his life by creating a powerful suit of armour. “It’s just a shame that I am too short to wear the original suit.

“My friends have worn it. The only thing it can’t do is fly.”

  • The suit will be on display at The Royal Armouries until at least September 2 2012.
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