Thursday, February 16, 2017

Clone Wars Mandalorian Costumes Part 7: the Gauntlets and Knees

This is the seventh article in the series detailing the building of a whole bunch of Death Watch and Night Owl Mandalorians from the Clone Wars animated series in preparation for Star Wars Celebration: Anaheim a couple of years back.  I've been really slow to write these, and for that I am ashamed.

You can read the previous articles here:

Part1: the Death Watch Helmets
Part 2: the Night Owl Helmets
Part 3: the Armor
Part 4: the Soft Parts
Part 5: the Blaster Pistols
Part 6: the Nite Owl Armor 

So with all of those pieces put together, it was time to work out the making of the gauntlet and knee pieces.  Both came with their own unique challenges, but in the end we still made quite a lot of them:

For details and additional photos of how they were made, read on...

The Gauntlets:

These were kinda easy.  A few years back, they may have actually required a bit of skill on my part, but nowadays anything this popular has been modeled and posted somewhere to use for free.  In this case, there's a fairly screen-accurate set of models for the Clone Wars style Mandalorian gauntlets that have been put together by Thingiverse user April Storm.  In fact, you can download the files and print a pair for yourself by clicking this LINK.

So we 3D printed the pieces in a couple of different sizes.  Here's the first pair of prototypes:
DW Gauntlet Prototypes Printed

Once the parts were printed, they were glued together.  Then it was time for a bit of filling and sanding to get rid of the build lines from the 3D printer:
Smoothing Gauntlets

Once they were smoothed out, they were given my usual coat of gloss paint:
DW Gauntlet Prototypes

Then I prepped them for molding:
Gauntlet Prepped for Molding

Here they are with the initial coat of silicone rubber:
Gauntlet Mold Print Coat

At that point we were very nearly done with the larger pair of gauntlet prototypes:
Larger Gauntlets Smoothing

Since the plainness of the design was starting to bother me, we made the decision to depart from the on-screen look by adding a step to the inside of the wrist:
Reshaped Gauntlets

This made for a better fit and made them a bit more interesting to look at:
Rehsaped Left Gauntlet

Here's Matt trying them on for size:
Gauntlet Mod Test Fit

And test fitting with a pistol:
Gauntlet Mod Test Fit with Pistol

Once we'd finished smoothing them out, they were primed and prepped for molding:
Left Gauntlet Prototype Primed

Then it was gauntlet molding time.  Here's the bigger pair with their first silicone coats (including the one from the Shae Vizla project):
Gauntlets under Rubber

After building up the rubber to adequate thickness, the mothermolds were built.  Here's the clay parting wall:

Here's Trevor laying up the first half of the mothermolds:

Then the clay wall was removed and he made the second half of the mothermolds:

Once all of the edges were trimmed, they were drilled and fitted with bolts:
Completed Gauntlet Molds

Then we started rotocasting copies:
First Round of Gauntlet Casts

And more copies:
Six and a Half Pairs of Gauntlets

Eventually I just set Dani and Daniella up in the corner and asked them to just keep rotocasting until they couldn't:

I should have paid a bit more attention though.  Before anybody knew it, they'd made all of the gauntlets we needed and a few extras as well.

With all of the casting done, it was time to set me up in the dusty corner of the shop and trim all of the parts:
Splitting Gauntlets

There were a lot of them:
Pile of Split Gauntlets

That kind of mess is always a good time:
Dusty Me

Once all the cast parts were trimmed, cleaned, and basecoated, it was just a matter of picking out some of the details in red (since we didn't have time to actually install little blinky lights).  Then we chained Trevor to the table and had him blackwash the whole stack:
Trevor Painting Gauntlet Details

The Knees:

The knees took a little more thought and labor.  For that, I leaned on my friend Matt to pull up the Wizard of Flight templates from and create a rough shape: Kneepads in Progress

These were cobbled together from foamed PVC sheet (commonly known by the brand name "Sintra") which was cut and bent and heated and shaped to get the beginning of what we needed.  Again, Matt did most of this work:
Matt Shaping Knees

I did a quick test fitting and was satisfied that we were on the right track:
Kneepad Test Fit

With the rough shape established, they were filled and sanded and shaped even further with Bondo: Kneepads in Progress

After a few rounds of filling, they were given a test coat of gray primer: Kneepad Prototypes in Progress

Eventually they got to looking about right: Knee Prototypes in Primer

At this point, we drilled some holes on the fat sides of each knee and I 3D printed the dart launchers that would be added to the final cast parts:
DW Knee Dart Details

The mold ended up being a large block mold because we were running out of time for anything smarter or more economical.  

The parts themselves were cast in a semi-rigid resin that would flex on impact instead of cracking.  Here's the first pair out of the mold:
New Knee Castings

They came out okay:

Then we cast more:
Four Pairs of Knees

And more:
Big Box of Mando Knees

After a few seconds of cleanup on the belt sander, the whole stack was primed: Trevor Priming Knees

And painted:
Knee Prototypes Finished

Here's Daniella showing off the huge pile of painted dart launcher castings: Daniella Painting Knee Dart Launcher

Finally, with all of the parts painted, it was time to add some weathering:

Here's a closeup showing some of the knees weathered with a heavy blackwash: Knee Armor Weathering

With all of the knees and gauntlets painted up, it was only a matter of time until the entire squad was assembled:
Deathwatch at the Endor Bunker
NEXT UP: Jetpacks!!!
Jetpack Lineup in the Shop

Stay tuned...

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