I am planning to dress up as Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy Seven. I'm working on his Advent Children costume for Anime Festival Orlando 2010. I did a bit of research and the consensus appears to be that the cape and claw are the hardest parts. So I chose to start there.
Since I've never made armor before, fake or otherwise, I decided to start with a paper mock up. If you read along you'll see how I managed my claw, and possibly be able to make your own.
Be sure to wear work gloves and eye protection while cutting, or hammering, so as to avoid injury. I didn't wear gloves and now I have several cuts that could have been easily avoided. Don't do it!
Step 1: Materials
If you do everything I did chances are you will wind up with articulated gauntlets of some sort. I will not be providing my pattern in 1:1 scale at all (There will be pictures of parts of it), but I will tell you how I made it so you can make your own. Before you start, find a glove! One that fits well (all the way down to the webbing). If you intend to make Vincent's claw like I did, or any sort of forearm protection, you may want the glove to continue past your wrist a couple of inches.
Ok, for this you will need the paper materials and the metal materials
- Some Rockin' Tunes (I like Metal or Techno for this)
- Poster Board
- Straight Edge (A ruler works)
- Razor Knife (optional, I only used it when I lost the scissors to be honest)
- Flat Thumbtacks OR Paper Fasteners (Not Pushpins!)
- Patience and lots of it
- The glove (I forgot at this point so mine fits my hand well without a glove, I need to tinker now! Don't make my mistake)
For the metal work you will need:
- More music (Metal is great when cutting it XD)
- The Sharpie still
- The pattern you just made (So the final piece fits you!)
- Tin Snips
- A File
- Whitney Punch
- Two Piece Rivets (My home depot didn't even know what they were I get them from Tandy)
- Your Metal (I used 26 gauge steel with a zinc plating like this one at home depot I had lots left over, since I needed more for more armor, but if you only want the gauntlet, get less)
- Ball Peen Hammer
- Anvil (A hard rock will probably work, everything in this project is fairly malleable)
- A piece of scrap and some magnets for cleanup
At this point in purchasing, I has still under thirty dollars, which was what I hoped to spend on the gauntlet and boots.
Step 2: Mockup Part 1!
Ok, To start with I made the wrist
Pick a width and go a bit over that. Then make a slightly wedged shape as tall as your chosen width and as wide as the width of your wrist (Like a trapezoid) and put them side by side on the paper. Cut it out and wrap it around your wrist loose enough to come off, but not too loose. Tape it in place and take it off. Mark an overlap of about three quarters of an inch (or more) and cut off the excess.
Next I did the hand plate. I started by laying my hand palm down on the paper and plotting a few points where my hand's edge was and where I wanted the thumb to go. I then added a half an inch of length to each part so it could curl down. I later added a strap going between the thumb and forefinger ending by the pinky. I decided to do this to keep it on my hand easier, I could have simply attached it to the wrist, but I decided to keep it separate. I cut out the piece and balanced it in place to see if it looked good, then I curled it and taped it (where the band will be).
Next I moved on to the fingers. The fingers were the hardest part of the entire build...
Step 3: Paper Fingers...
For the fingers, I made them overlap each other by enough for a rivet. Then I put them together as best I could. I taped the pieces to my fingers and then when I trimmed them to fit, I decided to put bars (like a ring) under the finger. I put one in at the first segment to hold the finger on (This is your ring size on that finger) and then I put one under the fingertip in the third segment. When your finger bends it pushes down on that one, and when it unbends it pushes the segments straight again. Once I had the right pieces I put the tacks in where I wanted it to articulate. Put them in point out, and be careful, they ARE sharp.
Ok, that's one finger now make three more!
The ring and forefingers should be close to identical.
Next up is the thumb (Sorry no pictures, the camera died and I wanted to finish)
The thumb is only three pieces, and it's the same sort of setup, however, unlike the fingers, the thumb doesn't NEED to articulate, since this design doesn't cover the opposed joint. It does all it's bending outside of the metal (or paper for now). I put the ring like parts on the thumb anyway, one at the base to hold it on, and one at the tip of the thumb to help bend it in. I did the one at the tip so the thumb wouldn't bend out of the piece. leaving it unbent and the thumb exposed.
Step 4: The Arm
Think of your arm as a block, kind of like the forearms of old video game characters. Ok, so I tried to make the pieces like the sides of one of those primitive shapes. I started with three, but eventually needed a fourth. I cut out another segment then taped it to the rest. Once I had the piece going all the way around, I trimmed it like the wrist before. I made it so that there was about an inch of overlap and cut off the excess. I think put the wrist piece on the end of the arm piece. I taped it together and did another test fit. It still looked good so I continued.
Using a piece similar to the wrist, I made my elbow part. Once I got the elbow to wrap around I taped it. I trimmed the elbow with a bit of rivet clearance, and taped it to my arm piece.
Once this was all worked out, I cut out a half moon shape from the elbow to allow my arm some room to move. Once I cut out the half moon, I tested the clearance for my elbow, and then cut a bit more. Once I was happy I moved on to the next step, as will you...
Step 5: The Pattern
Mark the edges of the overlapping paper on all of your pattern pieces. Then cut the tape keeping them wrapped around your arm. Lay the pieces out flat and take a look. That is your pattern. You can use it to make several of the same piece of armor, out of any material you can transfer it to. (Ok, maybe not anything, but definitely sheet metal)
Take your piece of metal, and lay the pattern out over it to save as much space as possible, but remember you will likely use more than you think with the tin snips. leave some space for turning. The easiest way I found to turn sharply with the tin snips is to cut past the turn, and the turn it at the point where the piece continues. If it's an inverted corner (Where the corner is a gap, like the inside of a t, not like a square) cut to the corner from both ends then twist the scrap out and file it down.
Anyway, once the pattern is laid out as best as you can, trace it with the sharpie (Newer ones work better). Once everything is traced out remove the paper and continue on. If you got the size sheet I did you will have ALOT left over, maybe enough for two more of this same piece. I got extra because I also needed to do the boots for Vincent. 1 foot by two feet will likely be enough for just the claw, or a two foot square if you want to make a gauntlet for each hand. Less if you don't want the metal vambrace.
Step 6: Rivets, and How They Work.
Two piece rivets are very simple. Punch the holes for them with the Whitney Punch. It works just like a hole punch for paper. Slide the pieces onto the post part of the rivet, then once everything that will be held is on the rivets, put the cap piece on. Holding the piece you are working on, put the rivet against the anvil. Either side of the rivet will work, but I like to put the Cap against it if I can (It makes more sense to me.) Then hit the river with the peening side of the hammer (Not the round side) until it is flat. To allow a rivet to be a point of articulation, put a spacer in (instead of a hole it's a slot so once riveted flat it can be removed) Once you peen the rivet, remove the spacer and the pieces will rotate there.
How it works: basically the rod gets squished into the cap part filling up the space to the point where it doesn't come apart. The final result is wider than the initial rod was.
Always wear gloves while peening rivets, and wear eye protection to avoid having things fly into your eyes while hammering.
Step 7: Metal Time! the Fingers First.
I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of the process of making the metal parts, I couldn't hold a camera, and a hammer, and the piece at the same time. I will, however, try my hardest to explain what I did in good enough detail for you to follow along.
I started with the middle finger, the largest finger, and therefore, I thought, the easiest to work with. I laid out the pattern for the finger and cut out the four pieces. I then curled them around my finger (I should have had the costume glove on) until they were U shaped. In order for the piece to articulate, the points of articulation must be fairly close to in line with each other. once I made the U shapes, I punched holes with the Whitney Punch near the edge, but not too close. I actually laid the paper pattern over the metal and punched the holes where the tack went through. Once I had my holes punched, I placed the rivet and spacer on. I jammed the finger onto the anvil and peened the rivet quickly. Once peened, I removed the spacer, and repeated the step for the other side, and the rest of the finger. After riveting, I bent down the tabs for the ring part. A test fit left me very happy.
It's the same procedure for the other three fingers and the thumb. Beware, when you cut out the pieces, there may be burrs. Burrs are sharp slivers of metal on the edge of the metal. It it best to quickly file these away.
Step 8: Elbow, and Wrist
The elbow and wrist were very simple pieces, just lay out the pattern and cut. Then wind it to the overlap points, punch holes and rivet. Remember to remove the half moon part of the elbow. And later remember to line it up so it is on the inside of your arm when you attach it to your arm piece. They will each be attached with four rivets, so prepunch four equally spaced (or there-abouts) holes in the inner part, the arm will fold to match the shape of the pieces.
Step 9: Hand Plate, Then the Arm
The hand plate was simple, cut it out, curl the band around, punch holes and rivet in place.
The arm was a pain though. Once I had cut out the piece, and curled it around, I realized two rivets wouldn't be enough. I intended to just put one at the wrist and one at the elbow, doubling as attachment points for those pieces. I punched a third attachment point in and riveted that one to hold the shape. Once I had the arm holding I snipped the ends where the wrist and elbow covered I cut them into four sections, almost as deep as the pieces themselves. I slid the pieces over and marked through the holes then removed the pieces and used the Whitney Punch to make the holes match up. I slid the pieces back over and riveted them onto the cut segments. This allowed for the arm to "curve" out to the wider wrist and elbow without really being curved. I used around four rivets each to hold on the wrist and elbow.
Step 10: Filing Everything Down, and More!
File away every single burr left, and then soften all the sharp edges and points. I rounded down the points at the end of the fingers, and on the hand plate. I also rounded off where the fingers touched the webbing of my hands.
If you think there are too many dents in the arm, find a pole and slide the arm over it. Bang them out with a hammer over the curve of the pole. It will still be dented, but not as badly as before.
Ok, to put on the claw without damaging the glove, just do it in this order:
And to remove:
Keep an eye out, the boots may appear on here, and I do intend to paint these.
zork the destroyer made it!