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Play, your own way

By Eric Jou  (China Daily)

09:26, December 20, 2012

Wang Xiaokang with his Iron Man project, inspired by the superhero action movie. (Photos/China Daily)

Want a toy or replica that can't be found on the store shelf? That's no problem for a generation of Do-It-Yourself wizards, Eric Jou reports.

Sitting at his living room table in a small 76-square-meter loft outside of central Beijing, Wang Xiaokang pores over the Internet. Wang isn't absorbing mindless knowledge as it comes. He's seeking valuable information to help him finish his pet project, a fully mechanized Iron Man suit.

Ever since he saw the 2008 superhero action movie, Iron Man, the 27-year-old has dreamed of owning his own Iron Man suit.

Unfortunately every replica was either a partial, only the helmet, too expensive or unwearable. So the former media designer set out to make his own suit.

After spending more than two years and countless yuan, Wang recently finished the mechanized helmet made of plastic, fiberglass and metal.

When a trigger is touched, the faceplate lifts, falls into place and the eyes light up just like the Iron Man helmet does in the movie.

Wang's dedication to creating something for himself is one that isn't uniquely his own. Countless other Chinese are working on fulfilling their own dreams and wishes through the Do-It-Yourself movement.

"By no means was this completely and wholly my work. I did a lot of research and reached out to various other DIY prop makers to learn techniques and ideas on how to make my armor," Wang says.

"In one of my videos I say that I spent 500 hours learning techniques. It's a lot of learning and the community is very helpful: Someone would know programming, another knows metal work and we all share knowledge."

Through his endeavors on his Iron Man replica, Wang is now trying to create his own series of prop costumes for himself.

Ma Che-hung, 45, has been following and cultivating the DIY movement for quite a while now.

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