This took too long.
So, it’s done. After almost 10 months of slow progress, trial and error, unforeseen difficulties and university getting in the way, I bring you the fruit of a grand total of about 5-7 weeks of actual work. (…)
So, the main event here is obviously the big gold-plated spike-riddled piston-powered dambe-inspired hand-me-down of a supervillain signature weapon. This would be Akande “The Successor” Ogundimu’s Doomfist gauntlet from the team based first person shooter Overwatch.
Credit where it’s due, I think the character designers really went the extra mile with this one, making sure that every moving part of the 3D model had the hinges and pistons required to make it actually work, much like with the character Bastion’s transformation into his Configuration: Sentry.
If this gets noticed in any way by Blizzard, I have one request I would like to make on behalf of all cosplayers: bring back the reference kits for the new heroes, they were super useful for the little marks and details of the original roster. I understand that they take time to make and not many people use them, but it helps us, the cosplay community, build interest in the game through our work.
In this case, I found the high poly model of the character on the ArtStation page of Overwatch lead character designer Renaud Galand, which served for most of the angles but was missing a couple of features, like the DF engraving on the forearm.
As I am wont to do, almost all the movements of an actual
hand arm ‘can’ be replicated on this thing, though I should note that, due to the weight of it and the materials used, some such motions are not recommendable.
After studying some other people’s versions of the gauntlet, most notably the fully mechanised one by Zibartas Cosplay and the official one, commissioned by Blizzard for the character’s reveal and built by Henchmen Studios, I decided the elements I wanted to put the most care into were the mechanisms (I wanted it to be controlled mechanically, not electrically) and the scale of the different parts.
The mechanisms worked out OK, but no more than that. Like I stated before, the weight of the materials really hampered the effectiveness of the joints, and even forced me to freeze the one that had given me far and away the most trouble, this being the “hinge” movement of the wrist. I should note that this did not inhibit the rotating movement of the wrist.
One that I am somewhat proud of is the elbow joint. It works almost like the one from the character model, and it just being there did a good job of keeping the scale of the gauntlet and my actual arm separate, the lack of which I thought was rather jarring on the Henchmen version.
The other failing in the mechanisms department was in the “tendons” of the fingers. Originally I had nylon wires running down the underside of each finger, with an elastic cord running down the top, to keep the hand open whenever I wasn’t actively closing it. The problem was, whilst the PVC pipe I used wasn’t too heavy for me to manage, for the elastic to do it’s job properly it had to be pulling back with force equal to or greater than the weight of each finger, effectively doubling the load each of my own had to bear. I left one of these cords on the thumb, partly out of necessity (I had to stop it getting in the way of closing the fist) and partly because my buff thumb could take it.
Each finger on my hand, once inserted into the control glove, more or less translates its movements onto the prop. The exception here is the pinky, which is moved by my ring finger.
The two large golden plates on the forearm attach and remove via the jigsaw puzzle edges that came on the foam. This allows me to see the glove when I’m putting the thing on. The glove itself is a leather archery glove, to which my mum attached an extra slot for the thumb.
The three horns on the shoulder are carved with a penknife out of polystyrene cones. They look fine, the material having a similar enough look to bone, but i would need to do something about them if I were to wear this to a convention, because these ones will (and have) snap at the slightest bump.
As for the scale, I was primarily trying to avoid the over-sizing of the fist that the official prop had (I should note that this was not oversized relative to the in-game model, only relative to the model who had to wear it) because I think it made the actually jacked cosplayer look puny. In my case, the fist is a good size that I think works on me, though the original is bigger; and the rest of the forearm is a bit longer than it ought to look. However, because of the way I engineered the controls, I don’t think I could have worked around that last bit.
[Video footage of building the fingers should come soon]