Tutorial: Deathwing- Human Form

Update!

This is an older tutorial and I have since learned new and better tecniques. I am leaving this up, just in case someone finds it useful.

 

Today I begin my quest to make a new costume for my boyfriend- Deathwing in Human form! And all you lucky viewers get to watch the progress. I hope you find inspiration in my fails and triumphs as well as ideas for your own costumes.

I couldn’t get my own screenshot of him, since I don’t think Deathwing would really want to pose with a silly undead warlock. So here’s an image stolen from a google search (http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/requests-341/deathwing-human-form-188420/) :

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Bracers:

For some reason I usually start out my costumes with the bracers. I guess it sort of gives me a feel for what sort of theme and look I want to see in the final costume.

As usual it begins with foam. Such a forgiving, cheap, and lovely material. It all starts with a shape like this cut from 6mm craft foam. Little pieces can be glued to the side if one sheet isn’t big enough. When rolled up it should fit easily on your arm, not too tight, not too loose. The shape needs to be duplicated on wonderflex though slightly larger so the edges can cover the foam.

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The wonderflex can be heated with a simple hairdryer (though it gets pretty loud) and then draped over the foam, folded over the edges, and then rolled into shape. You can see it’s got a little ripple in it, but since I am covering it with fabric, I decided not to smooth it out. No worries, if you make a mistake with wonderflex all you have to do is reheat it and reshape. Easy!

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Too keep it nicely in shape I held it together with rubberbands while the wonderflex cooled.

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The bracers were covered with a nice leather-like fabric i found in the remnants pile at my local Jo-anns fabric store. I didn’t know it at the time, but this fabric HATES hot glue (or any glue). But I’ll cover that later. The back side of the fabric took the glue just fine and it was simple to cover the bracers with it. Using some fabric 3D raised paint I added some details over the fabric

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To give the bracers some stretch I glued a small piece of elaastic to the inside, making sure that it was relatively taut but with room to still stretch. The elastic edges were glued down to make sure it didn’t come undone. (Something I get paranoid about).

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Using the usual fabric over foam technique I made a small insert for the top of the bracers as seen below. I also painted the fabric with cheap acrylic and added a few cut paces of shiny red paper. I like the effect it gives. It shines in the light and looks sort of molten. Gluing the straps was where I encountered my first issue. The glue didn’t want to stick to the fabric! It peeled right off. I was worried that I’d have to redo the bracers with a more glue friendly fabric. But then I solved my problem with… MORE GLUE. That’s right. When at first you don’t succeed try again. And this time use more glue. But be sure it doesn’t drip!

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Lastly, its time for the spikes. I was recommended model magic. I liked the stuff when I was little. Its very light and very clean. No mess what so ever. Not even greasy residue that some clays leave behind on your hands. But it takes forever to dry, it can’t be smoothed out like most clays, and it’s prone to cracking. Still, it’s what I used as a base for the spines.

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I hope you all appreciate the wonders of hot glue. I used a massive amount to glue down the spikes, then coated the edges with more glue. And finnally, just for giggles, I smeared glue all over the spines.

Okay, so I coated the spines with glue for more than just fun. It gives them a really cool texture and also strengthens them against breaking.

Once they are painted all nice and pretty the bracers are done!!

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Gloves:

Here’s what I did last night while waiting for some other stuff to dry. May I present… THE GLOVES!

They are probably one of the easiest pieces to make. I used some old gloves for the base. The claws are made from wonder flex cut into little triangles, heated (I just dipped them into a mug of warm water to make the plastic bendable) then folded into shape. The ends are pressed together to create a nice point. Wonderflex, when warm, sticks to itself with just a little pressure.

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If I was smart I would have painted the inside and outside before sticking them to the gloves. But I’m not so I didn’t!! The claws are glued on with hotglue.

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After this I wore the gloves and painted them with simple acrylic paint and some 3D puffy paint for the raised design. I also painted the claws and made some tiny armor pieces with squares of wonderflex for the knuckles.

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Once it was dry I glued the little squares onto the gloves and the end result is this…

That’s a bad picture… so here’s another bad picture to make up for the first!

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During my research I found a really coll program called WoW Viewer that allows you to import models from WoW and spin them around or pose them. It’s very helpful to see the details of a character up close. Here’s a screenshot of the program:

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I don’t know what else the program can do since I only played around with it a little but I highly reccomend this to anyone making a World of Warcraft based costume. It helps so much when trying to find reference for a specific character.

 

Shoulder Armor:

At long last the shoulders I have been working on are done!! Almost! I still have to figure out how to attach them securely but I have a pretty good idea how I’ll do that. Anyways, onto the progress pictures and long, boring explaination on how it was done.

First off, the base. I made it out of 2mm foam since foam is tons cheaper than wonderflex. Its a pretty basic shape, just an oval with little triangles cut on the side. The edges of those triangles are then glued together to give it a curved shape.

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Once the shape looks good you cut the same general shape from wonderflex, just a little bigger so it can curve over the foam. I like to keep the foam lining since wonderflex can get a bit scratchy. To help give it more of a curve I left it to cool on a cylindrical jar and used heavier jars to keep the sides down.

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It doesn’t matter if the wonderflex gets lumpy or anything it’s gonna be covered with a whole mess of foam. I covered the wonderflex with a few scribbles of hot glue becasue it seems like it’ll hold the explanding foam on there better than the smooth surface fo wonderflex alone. The foam I use is called Great Stuff Expanding Foam. Cover the top of the shoulders with a generous layer of it, then let it dry for atleast 8 hours. And if you are really good at mess making you’ll end up with something like this:

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Once the foam is dry it’s time to carve it. I use a serrated knife for this and just sorta… saw away at the top layer to make a nearly smooth surface. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or really even close to it.  Next step is carving out the details. The left one is the finished result of the carving, the right is the smoothed out foam.

Next comes the paper mache pulp. This stuff is nasty and powdery and gets everywhere. My basic technique is to get a small disposable dish, pour some of the dry paper mache in there, then slowly add water. It’s complete guess work. After that I smash it all together. Too dry? Add more water. Too wet? More powdery mess. I covered all the foam with it and used it to fill in any air pockets. You don’t want the layer to be too thick because even though it doesn’t seem like it weighs much, it adds up pretty quick. I see a lot of cosplayers talk about sanding. Sanding bondo, sanding paper mache, sanding modge podge, and even sanding model magic. It’s like some weird cosplayer obsession. Well there is no sanding here. NONE. The paper mache pulp gives the perfect rock texture.

After the paper mache is done drying (two days at least) its time for the spines. The base is made of cardboard glued to the shoulder pad, a peice of model magic wedged underneath to prop them up.

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I didn’t wait for the model magic to dry, instead I covered the spines with expanding foam.

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That gets carved into shape and covered with paper mache pulp, same as before.

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All that it needs after that is a nice coat of paint and some wonderflex bits for the armor pieces! Here’s three pictures taken with three different lightings, none do it justice:

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Chest Armor:

Alright, at long last it’s done!! The breastplate of unholy complications. And here, my lovely readers, is how it was made.

I searched countless websites on armor making but no matter how hard I tried or how many rolls of test foam I wasted, I wasn’t able to replicate their results. So I came up with my own messy method. The very first step was to wrangle in Alex with bribes and trickery. Once he was captured I proceeded to wrap his torso in plastic saran wrap. I couldn’t take pictures of the process lest he run away and escape. Once he was covered in the plastic stuff I wrapped him in a second layer of duct tape. There are many tutorials online for making a body double or dress form using this method. It’s pretty fun. After cutting it off him, taping up the sides and arm holes, it was stuffed and fluffed, and the final neck hole was taped up. Now I had a pretty good replica of his torso.

Click here for a duct tape dummy tutorial!

From the front:

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From the side:

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Once the dummy was made I heated up a large sheet of wonderflex with my new and improved heat gun! Then I laid the wonderflex over the form and continued to shape and heat it when needed until I had a shape something like this…

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Then I did the same to the back and attached the two pieces at the shoudlers, reinforing the shoulder straps with an extra layer of wonderflex. The sides are left open so they can be laced up and fitted. Now the wonderflex is sort of bumpy so to remedy this and give the breastplate more durability I covered it with a few layers of papermache. The papermache is just newspaper dipped in water and flour.

The front:

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Side:

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Now that the main wrinkles are gone it was time to smooth it out even more with three layers of modge podge. Modge Podge is clear glue used for keeping puzzles and stuff together. After that the whole thing is spray painted to a nice orange color achieved with a layer of orange paint and a fine mist of yellow and red:

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It’s starting to look halfway decent, right? Okay so the next thing to do is plan where the armor plates go. I marked those down with a vanishing ink marker. I used this stuff that’s sort of a premade paper mache pulp, just add water! I don’t have any progress pictures of this step so up next comes the paint. The papermache stuff is painted black, then with a dry brush with a little bit of grey paint on it I brushed a light coat over the black to give it dimension. Here is the end result:

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The last thing I did was punch some holes up the sides to tie the two halves together:

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Ta-Da! All done. This was the hardest part of the armor to make by far.

 

Boots:

Now I wish I could show all my lovely readers the progress of these boots but sadly the pictures I took while making them disappeared into the void of who knows where. But the techniques used were all things I have covered. The boots were spray painted with a textured paint, then repainted with black acrylic and dabbed with a grey paint soaked brush. The armor bits are wonderflex with hot glue and puffy paint details painted with silver textured spray paint. The horns are made with a cardboard base glued to the boot, covered with expanding foam, carved into shape, covered with papermache pulp, then painted. Definitely one of the easier pieces to make.

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Here you can see the papermache cracked and revealed the foam underneath. No worries, a bit of paint covered that up fine and it suits the character.
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And the armor details:

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