Introduction: How to Make an X-force: "Cable" Costume
Like big guns? Like robotic metal looking arms? Like cybernetic EYES?!??! Well, Cable is your man! ..er.. Wo-"man" in this case. Nathaniel Dayspring is the time-traveling former leader of X-force who shoots first and asks questions later.
For 2015 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, I wanted to make my girlfriend a costume that would kick some serious tail.. So when I asked her to sort through different characters, she decided on Cable. I've seen a few takes on the costume, but not a female version yet. So why not try a gender bend? Let's get started!
-yellow Craft foam
- Black Craft Foam
- knee high boots
- acrylic paint
-Blue lycra suit
- brown canvas straps (from shopping bag)
-airbrush and airbrush paint
-plastic buckles in various sizes
-black parachute chord
- headset piece (thrift store find)
- reflective eyeglass lens
- make up
Optional (Gun Construction)
- Nerf Gun (Thrift store find)
-different size bottle caps
-clear plastic sheet
- comic cardboard
Step 1: Design
First things first, you need to grab reference photos and create a design.
When i begin a costume design, i look at as many pictures as i can find and see what aspects of the rendition do i like. I often look for common themes that make the character, THAT character. So for example, however you want to portray wolverine, he has standard things about him : 6 Claws, mutton chops, and muscles.
Well, when i looked at Cable, the staples are that he has the following: White hair, cybernetic arm, cybernetic eye, facial scars, tons of pockets, and some type of gun. With that being said, I wanted to make a female version of cable so i wanted to make the design somewhat sleek, but still incorporating the previous mentioned traits.
I make a sketch which will guide the costume build.
In order to help me with this build, i created a duct tape mannequin. It helped so much. the tutorial for the mannequin build is located here.
Step 2: Body Suit and Muscles
1. Grab your zentai suit and make the adjustments to it. Cable's metallic arm is his left arm. I originally had thought to have a bare skin right arm, but i later decided against it. so i eventually resewed it back.
2. For the left arm, cut off the sleeve. Cut off the hand from that sleeve as you will be using it as a glove.
3. Start looking at the female muscle anatomy.. It would be helpful to have a good physical base for the character, but even if you work out, airbrushing adds so much detail to the suit.
4. Spray your muscles on your suit. you can think about shadows and highlights for the muscles. I suggest practicing on a scrap piece of fabric first. I have not had much luck with trying to paint on muscles with acrylic paint.. airbrush for the win.
5. Remember to airbrush everything on the suit that will be seen. This includes the gloves, and the muscles on the thighs. Most comic people are ripped beyond belief EVERYWHERE.
Step 3: Chest Plate
1. Bein by taking some scrap piece of paper and cutting out templates. From my sketch, there is a waist piece, a breast plate, and shoulder pads.
2. Cut the waist template out from your EVA Foam. I made the decision that the sides would be open and held together with straps and buckles. So this means i would have a front and a back piece for the chest armor. (pic 1)
3. For the breast plates, cut out circles and grab a deep bowl that is relatively the size of the person's bust. While hot, press the foam disc into the bowl after it has been heated by your heating gun. Hold it there as the disc cools, which will allow it to retain it's shape. Once you have two, glue them together (pic 2)
4. Glue them onto the front waist piece.
5. From there, place the paper shoulder templates underneath the breast plate. Mark where the shoulder piece will begin and end. (pic 3)
6. From there, cut out the shoulder templates from the EVA foam, and glue it onto the suit. (pic 4)
7. From there, start adding in your details. When i was thinking about my costume design, i wanted the chest to form an "X" (for Xforce based on one of the action figures). so that is why i added a few straps. (pic 5).
8. I added shoulder detains and front chest details using different thicknesses of craft foam. (Pic 6 + pic 7)
9. i used big buckles on each side of the chest to secure the chest piece. This is not from the same build, but the concept is the same. (pic 8)
Step 4: Collar and Wrist Straps
1. i wanted to make some type of emblem with an "X" so i cut a circle out of EVA foam.
2. Then i cut an "X" within a circle out of craft foam.
3. I took a strip and cut it to the length of the neckline and put a buckle in the back to keep it closed.
4. I took more eva strips and glued the emblem in place.
5. to add structural support, i glued twine on the pack of the EVA strips so it would prevent tearing from usage.
1. Take some EVA Foam and cut it to the length of the wrists. I added details to it by partially cutting the foam with an exacto knife (NOT all the way through) and then expanding the cut with a heating gun.(pic 3)
2. Glue on buckles (pic 4)
* keep in mind that the left wrist wrap will be slightly larger to compensate for the cybernetic arm.
Step 5: Shoulder Ammo, Arm Bullets, and Pockets
1. In my design, i wanted my Cable to have a ton of bullets all over him. After all, he is a soldier continuously fighting in war. I took my PVC pipe and cut it down to size. (pic 1)
2. measure out how many you will need and start cutting them out. (pic 2)
3. create "caps" for the shells by hot gluing cardboard onto the PVC pipe shell, cutting off the excess, and then "sealing" them by filling in the grooves/holes of the cardboard with hot glue. (pic 3)
4. Once they are painted with gold spray paint, i took some black acrylic paint and dirtied them up (pic 4)
5. I cut off some brown canvas bag straps and glued them around EACH shell. (pic 4). do NOT glue the strip of shells onto the shoulders yet
1. I had some fake plastic bullets laying around so i took them apart and spray painted them gold and dirtied them up with black paint. This went around the right bicep in the design. (pic 6)
1. My Cable design has a TON of pockets. In order to do so, start by cutting out a small rectangle (labeled A). then the pocket needs a "lip"(Labeled B), the lip will be as wide as piece "A", but shorter than the height. Wrap pieces A and B in the yellow fabric (Labeled C + D) (pic 7)
2. Glue the base and the lip together now (pic 8)
3. cut a thin piece of black craft foam and start adding trim to it. I used a hole punch to punch out the "button" portion of the pocket (pic 9 and pic 10)
4. You will be making a TON of these. but the awesomeness is in the details.
I put my pockets on the chest piece, the belt, and the thighs. that is a WHOLE lot of pockets
You can see all these three components in pic 11..
**DO NOT glue any of the pockets on until that specific piece is already painted. Pockets should be glued only after everything is painted.
Step 6: Underwear
1. Start by taking some EVA foam and making a "belt". the opening of your belt with actually be somewhere around the back of your hip, rather than near your crotch. Use a plastic buckle to keep it locked in place
2. Once you have the length of your waist, you will need a crotch piece and a butt piece. These pieces look like a pizza slice for your crotch, and a rectangle with the two bottom corner chopped off (Pic 1)
3. To make your buckle, use EVA foam and make a rectangle. use a ruler and draw out your "X" stencil from craft foam (pic 2)
4. Glue the buckle on the belt. In order to keep this more like undies, you will glue a piece of elastic from the bottom corner of the crotch to the butt pad. this way, it will encourage the form to be undies.
5. I suggest you paint the belt at this point. Make sure that the color of the undies matches the yellow of the pockets. You need to plastidip all the foam in prior to painting.. I then use gesso to act as a primer, and then paint your yellow. i used a silver marker to give it a more scratched look. Cable is constantly fighting.. i don't anticipate him to be clean.
6. once the foam is painted, you can start gluing in your pockets (pic 5, pic 6, pic 7)
Step 7: Boots + Thigh Pockets
1. Get your knee high boots and put them on. It is easier to have two people for this step.
2. Heat your yellow craft foam and slowly start gluing it onto the boot. (pic 1 + pic 2). it is likely that the foam will not cover the entire boot with one full sheet. I typically cut the foam at the seams of the boot.
3. I make sure to not cover the zipper of the boot with foam (pic 3).
4. Then i add a thin strip to cover the seams. (pic 4)
5. For your knee covers, take your EVA foam and create your base shape.. I usually make paper templates for almost everything. it allows for consistency when you have to make 2 copies. then take craft foam and glue on your details (pic 5)
6. Your boots should be done. I airbrushed mine with some black to make them dirty.. Cable come from a pretty run down future. (pic 6 and pic 7)
Another of my projects where i cover foam shoes is illustrated here
You should now be at pic 8
1. Take your elastic and sew it around the thighs of the zentai suit. This is a difficult process so i suggest some help
2. I took the elastic and pinned it around the thighs while the person was wearing it.
3. Take it off and now sew it directly onto the suit
4. Glue in the thigh pieces (pic 9 + 10)
Step 8: Cybernetic Arm
1. you will need your scrap paper, craft foam, and worbla
2. Measure a bicep piece and a forearm piece. cut it out of foam and cut out a piece of worbla a bit larger. (pic 1)
3.heat the worbla with your heating gun and mold the two pieces into a tube shapes. You can even shape it directly on your body once it has cooled off a bit. (pic 2) I added a hole in the worbla on either side of bicep piece so that the elbow piece could attach to it.
4. The shoulder will consisted of 2 pieces. those should be relatively 2 circular shapes. By doing it this way, you get more range of motion. Attach the 2 shoulder pieces and the bicep together with elastic. (pic 3)
5. For the elbow, i cut a few strips not a base shape. there are the two holes on the side as well to eventually attache it to the bicep piece. (pic 4)
6. Once you have all your pieces created, you can start adding the details. Cable's arm is somewhat segmented.. so we heated the worbla and pushed in grooves.. then we added some "worms" of indented worbla all over the arm. (pic 5, pic 8)
7. Once these pieces are completed, line up the elbow piece to the bicep piece. i kept them together with a gold paper split pin. (pic 5)
8. then i connected the elbow piece to the forearm portion with a piece of elastic. this now means that the pieces now spring back to where they should when your arm is at rest.
9. pic 6 and 7 illustrate the arm on the person.
10. I added an elastic strap to the shoulder piece to wrap across the chest of the person. this allows the arm to now slip down and not jiggle around. (pic 8)
Step 9: Face Pieces, Details, and Wig
Robot eye + face pieces
For the face you can choose several options. We did not have a clear contact, which is one way of portraying the robotic eye.. so we went in a way that showed the techno-virus taking over Cable's body
1. We created a face piece, a jaw piece, and a neck piece to of craft foam.
2. we put in grooves but cutting into the foam (not through the foam) and then heating it with a heating gun.
3. We then took a dremel and shaved down a reflective sunglass lens to suggest robotic eye. glue it in place only AFTER that piece is plastidiped, gessoed, and painted.
4. we had silver make up paint and used it in-between the face pieces.
On Cable's right eye, he has 6 scars in the shape of a an "X" and a "I" down the middle.
1. Grab your liquid collodion and put that on the area that you want to look scarred. be VERY careful about getting the stuff too close to your eye.
here is a youtube tutorial on how to use it.
Eyebrow and Hair
1. we took some white make up and applied it to the right eyebrow with our finger. This should give your eyebrow a grayish/ whitish look.
2. for the hair, we got a grey long wig.. We were originally thinking of trying to braid the wig like Katnis from hunger games, but that didn't work when we actually put it on. we just went with it down. Just wear a stocking or a wig cap beforehand (which we unfortunately did not do)
1. I found a cheap headset at a thrift store. primer it and paint it the desired color.
Step 10: Plastidip, Gesso, and Painting
1. Anything that is made of foam should be plastidiped.. this means your foam armor, face pieces, your undies, straps, etc.
2. Once dry, paint your foam armor, face pieces, straps etc with gesso. you should gesso your worbla arm too. IF you do want the gesso to be less rough feeling, you can paint it first with wood glue, then gesso, and then paint.
3. Paint your desired colors with acrylic paint
4. use a airbrush and silver paint pen to scar up your armor.
5. use a clear coat to seal everything.
If you want to just buy some guns, then you are done at this point. However, I custom-made a GIANT gun, so continue on for that.
Step 11: Optional: Giant Gun- Design and Prep
For Cable, I had this idea that the character would have one big gun to carry and a smaller one attached to the back.
1. First start off with a design (pic 1).. The design guides your creation! your gun may change a lot when you are actually in the process of creating it though. just keep that in mind.
2. Then, sketch the full size side profile on a piece of paper. (pic 2)
3. cut out the template. (pic 3)
4. Cut off the unessentials. You are going to be constructing the body.. anything that is just considered "accessories" and are not necessary to be made right now can be cut off for the time being. For this, i cut off the barrels (pic 4)
5. i bought two guns at a thrift store. They were fairly large as one was a Nerf gun. (pic 5)
6. Since i knew the big gun was going to be heavy, i opened up the nerf gun and removed any access weight. pull out any springs, latches etc.. anything that is unessential can be removed.
Step 12: Assembling the Body
1. Use your template and cut it out of cardboard. remember you will need to do this twice for both sides of the gun Start building up the width of the gun. (pic 1)
2. Glue your nerf gun into the body of the gun (pic 2)
3. start building up. and create the entire body of the gun (pic 3)
4. Once the body is completed, I usually chop up my big template and i use these to create my smaller templates. (pic 4)
5. From these little details, start adding them to the body. I cover everything with comic cardboard so the gun looks fairly nice. (pic 5, pic 6, pic 7)
* If you want to make the gun light up, you could probably add some type of LED flashlight into the body somehow.
6. i took an old transparent purple screen and chopped it up so it would be the "cap" to the front of the gun. (pic 8)
7. i added miscellaneous bottle caps in various places on the gun to give it some knobs and such.
Step 13: Paint
1. Once the gun is assembled, primer the whole thing.
2) Spray the entire gun silver (pic 1)
3) Dirty the gun with some black acrylic paint. Simply take some wet black acrylic paint, apply it to the whole gun, and while it off within a few seconds (pic 2)
4) paint however you want the gun to look. I added a few black pieces and a few red.
Step 14: Backgun + Holster
I also found this smaller gun at a thrift store.
1. I took apart the gun and removed any unnecessary portions to it.
2. Primer and paint the gun silver and black
3. Clear spray the entire gun once it is completed.
4. I created a holster from cardboard.
* The gun pictured is not the gun for the build, but the premise is the same.
1. You are essentially creating a box to cover the gun. doesn't have to be anything fancy in my opinion. Just needs to work. You can add different angles and such to give it a little personality. (pic 2 + pic 3)
1. i took some clips, attached it to the holster itself, and then attached the other connectors to the back of the chest piece.(pic 4)