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When Alexis Banas won a $2000 prize for his sevens costume last year, he copped some flak for buying it, rather than making it himself.
He took the feedback on board and now, after more than 300 hours of toil, he is the proud owner of a home-made bright red Iron Man suit.
He worked on the creation in his garage in the evenings after childcare duties were completed for the day.
"It's taken almost 12 months, so it's been a lot of work," the Aucklander said. "My wife's been very accommodating."
The suit doesn't quite fly, but it does have all the bells and whistles, including a flashing red light.
It was made of more than 400 individual pieces of foam, cut using a 3D modelling programme, and lacquered to within an inch of their life.
Last year, dressed as a giant bumblebee Transformer, Mr Banas won $2000 for best male costume in the Museum Art Hotel Costume Catwalk.
He hopes to go one better this year, when there will be five costume categories at the Hertz Wellington Sevens - best male, best female, best group, best couple and best creative Wellington, plus an overall winner who receives a grand prize of $10,000.
Last year's supreme winner was a group from Palmerston North, who were all dressed as Lego.
On Thursday, Mr Banas and nine mates will start driving down to Wellington on a "roadie".
"It's all part of it really," he said.
The Museum Art Hotel Costume Catwalk will be on the stadium concourse from 1pm to 2.30pm on Friday and Saturday. The winners will be announced on the field on Saturday night.
"The competition was a huge success last year, with more than 600 people strutting their stuff on the catwalk over the two days and I feel it's important to bring it back for the fans again," Museum Art Hotel owner Chris Parkin said.
- The Dominion Post