THE ROBOCOP SUIT|
There is no "one" RoboSuit. Every film uses a variety of different ones for different purposes, and they were constantly being destroyed and rebuilt in the process of filming.
Most suits were however built from the original molds used for the original film, with small alterations depending on the actor using the suit.
The outer shell of the RoboSuit (the armour) is constructed of fiberglass. The interior segments (the black bits) are a combination of high-impact plastics and foam rubber. The RoboCable shell used in RoboCop:Prime Directives was built from a lighter carbon fiber material.
The suit consists of an underskeleton and an outer shell, both of which are made out of about sixty pieces that have to be individually attached.
Testing construction materials for the suit must have been a process of trial and error. Technicians use construction material testing software to determine the suitability of a particular material for construction.
The suit used in RoboCop:prime Directives weighed anywhere from 55-65 pounds. The original RoboSuit was a bit heavier, but was eventually lightened to its present weight. The RoboCable suit weighed in at about forty pounds.
Altogether, seven complete robosuits were manufactured for the first RoboCop movie. Some had specific functions, such as one required for a scene in which RoboCop walks through an exploding gas station. Special fireproof fiberglass and other safeguards were incorporated into the suit worn by a stunt-man during the potentially hazardous shot. Two additional robosuits termed 'third act' suits were also manufactured.
The third act suits reflects all the damage Robo had suffered in his fight with ED 209 and when the Detroit Police Department shoots him up. Basically they just pulled pieces off the molds for two fresh suits and then spent about a week using drills and all kinds of tools to make it look like bullets had burned their way through the armor. Of course, a lot of thought went into it and the bullet hits and gouges were very
artistically placed. Finally, about thirty tygon tubes were laid inside the suits and hooked up to all of those bullet holes so they could have oil squirting out through the impact craters.
Both RoboCop 2 and 3 feature the same kind of mold for the chest damage; the big whole in the heart with the small holes next to it, even the latest tv show RoboCop:Prime Directives use the same mold for chest damage.
RoboCop The series used a variety of different suit versions, a suit used in the episode "Officer Missing" is unique in that it features a sculpted dent on the chest. This is specific to only this episode where Robocop is hit by a snow plow and his chest armor is dented.
The RoboCop suits was painted in a variety of ways on different films. The first and third suits were very gray, whereas the suit in 2 tended towards a very plasticy blue. The suit in RoboCop:Prime Directives is back to the original gray colour scheme (albeit seriously battle-damaged).
The RoboCop suits are more green than anything when seen in real life - they're painted with a special photoreactive paint that registers metallic on film.
"The first suit had some problems and we didn't get them worked out until the middle of shooting.
The RoboCop2 suit was more mobile. We knew what we were doing, it was more accessible, freer, I think it's better looking."
Putting on and removing the suit takes some time. Peter Weller's initial suit-ups were 9-10 hours long but they eventually got it down to about an hour or so on the first film.
In RoboCop: Prime Directives, Shaun Smith, who was the chief RoboSuit handler and technician, had the suit fitting time down to about half-an-hour.
Both Page and Maurice had to be BOLTED into the suits - once they were on, they were on until three guys showed up with power drills to take them off.
The suit went through various modifications on all the Robo films to increase comfort, ease of movement and fitting time. In PD, adjustments were made to fit the specific contours of Page Fletchers body.
RoboCables suit is lighter, but was struck from the same molds as the original suit. It looks bigger because Maurice is physically quite a bit larger than Page. It's longer at the joints and midsection to account for Maurice's height. The outer shell is painted in various shades of black, with silver highlights, and the visor is silvered, but other than that they're the same.
The vision when wearing the RoboCop helmet is somewhat limited. You keep your peripheral vision, but up/down is obviously compromised, especially up close. All the Robo actors always had somebody on hand to guide them through to the set and make sure they didn't smash into anything or anyone.
The helmet's biggest problem is that it cuts off your hearing, which can be a real problem when the director is shouting instructions across a large studio space.
One of the film's more amusing touches involved the cyborg's mechanical holster which unfolds and pops out of his leg to dispense and receive the Auto-9. Designed and built by Rob Bottin, the tilt compartment was pulled from an original robosuit leg mold and composed of polyurethane. The actual popping in and out was a two-phase, cable-controlled effect that required three operators. First the leg panel would come out and swing toward the back; then the shaft-mounted holster would be pushed out on a linear bearing. Shot as an insert during postproduction, only the leg section itself was involved - there was no full robosuit outside the frame.
The makeup when RoboCop is wearing no helmet is actually much too large to fit
beneath the helmet. You will never, in any of the Robo films, see the
helmet coming off and the makeup underneath in the same shot.
Under the helmet the robo actor wears a spandex
headpiece to protect his ears and forehead, which is part of his black
"Spidey-suit" undergarment that is the first layer of the Robosuit.
Where does the Chin guard go when RoboCop removes his helmet?
In the first movie it was because the helmet did not fit over the Human face makeup. They simply had to "cheat" the scene
and shoot the helmet coming off from the back, realizing there was no
easy way to remove the chin piece it simply disappears. Paul Verhoeven also did not want to reveal the front
of the face right away. He liked to slowly reveal things in the movie, first he
only showed glimpses of RoboCop, then him from behind, inside the cage, then
finally close up. He wanted to do the same for the "Third Act" makeup so he shot
it from behind, then him looking in a mirror, then from the front.
In RoboCop:The series they addressed this in one scene by having the chin guard be attached to the helmet and being removed together. The 2000 Tv show RoboCop: Prime Directives solved this in another way by having the chin guard actually remain on RoboCop when the helmet is removed.
In RoboCop: The series the left leg has a similar leg holster but is used to store additional equipment. In the 2014 remake Robo also uses both legs but here it is to store two different guns.
The 'terminal strip'- a wicked, needlelike probe which snaps out of RoboCops glove and allows him to interface directly with various electronic components. To effect the sight of the probe springing out of RoboCop's clenched fist, a robotic fiberglass hand with jointed knuckles was first cast up from one of the glove molds. This glove, which on the full suit would have been affixed to a ring that joined it to the lower arm, instead terminated at the ring. Above it, an open stainless steel frame was attached and then equipped with stainless steel springs to forcefully drive out the probe. The final construct was about three feet long and could be lifted and manipulated by one person. It was never connected to Weller's body. Instead, an off-camera roboteam member would hold the limb close to the actor and manipulate the device himself whenever the terminal strip needed to appear.
The RoboCop suit was almost overhauled on the second picture. Irvin Kershner and Rob Bottin actually kicked around the idea of making significant changes to it during preproduction. However, it was very quickly decided that it would be unwise to change Robo's look. Bottin apparently remarked, "You can't change the suit. That'd be like changing Superman's suit."