Okay, on to the next piece… the gauntlets. I have been hunting and collecting as many photos and templates as I could find, but none of the templates seem to be accurate, or really anything like the real TDK gauntlets. So I started my own template from scratch. I started with a lot of trial and error making paper versions, until I finally got what I think looks accurate, then I scanned them, turned them in to clean photoshop images and printed card templates that I can use as sculpting patterns.

Just a note that the photos above show the first attempt, but I went back and remade my template and totally remade the Gauntlets because this template was off. So some of the photos here are from the first one and some are from the final gauntlets.

I decided to sculpt the riser part, which I will mould and sand, then I will replicate so that I can make a left and right, without having to sculpt the riser twice. 

Now with my trusty scalpel I started to carve in the indents

I have also finished my riser sculpt. I have left it a bit rougher than I usually would, as I am transferring it a fibreglass copy to sand and smooth, so there was not much point in overdoing this clay sculpt. So it is boxed up for moulding in silicone.

Then I did a thin silicone pour to cover the detail

Well, it has been gauntlet city round here for the past week. I have decided to finish the gauntlets completely before starting the final pieces.

Silicone dry, I applied a plaster backing to support this mould. 

First layer of fibreglass resin in the silicone mould (layered about 10mm at a time to prevent overheating as the fibreglass dries)

Final layer of fibreglass, plus a nice backing of glass cloth for support of the thinner backing.

Fibreglass pulled from the mould.

Bit of a sand to clean it up. 

Several rounds with builders filler and primer.

So I put some strips of masking tape on some 5mm thick acrylic that I had, then cut out my template blades and using a thick black marker, I traced over the blades leaving a thick line, with a sharp inside which is where the actual blade will be.

So with a hacksaw I cut them in to separate pieces, staying clear of the lines.

Then clamped in to the vice, I cut them closer to the lines.

Then I clamped them in to the vice along the line I wanted to keep…

… and using a power file (the best tool ever invented!) I filed them down to the surface of the vice. This is not great news for the vice, but it allows for a perfect square, true edge that won’t overshoot the line. 

So with the blade blanks made, I marked out on the masking tape the bevel lines.

Then using a power file, I carved in the bevels (this photo is faked to show you what I was talking about, hence the reason I have my fingers on the blade).

Then after some fine filing with a standard metal file, the shape is complete. I am not going to put too much time in the finishing of them at this stage, as I still need to cut the slots in them. If they are going to crack, I would rather they cracked before I spend ages working on them to make them look as smooth as glass. 

I laid the blades over my template and used a pencil to draw on the location of the slots (advantage of using clear acrylic). Then using a cut-off wheel in a Dremel, I cut a slot in the middle of each blade hole location.

Then using a series of small needle files of different shapes and sizes, I carved out the slots with more precision. This was made easier by clamping them in the vice rather than holding them.

And here is a finished slot, and none of them broke!

And with all the slots cut, my next step is to file and sand them down smooth. But for now, here is a… what is the collective noun for blades? I will go for… “a stab” of blades.

After much sanding, filing and polishing, I glued the blades down to a piece of acrylic sheet. 

Then after a bit of primer/sand/primer/sand I have my blades assembly, ready to mould in silicone. I gotta say, I am pretty proud of this piece

I removed the silicone mould from my primed acrylic positive – Nice! 

Then I applied a coat of mould release (petroleum jelly) and poured more silicone over this one.

Then a plaster jacket to support it 

And a plaster jacket to support the gauntlet riser

And there is the acrylic positive, the silicone negative and the silicone positive…but there is still one more to come – sheesh! 

A Plaster negative 

The plaster negative is done, so all that work was to get this bad boy. Now I can make my latex pieces. 

So the latex goes in 

And the latex comes out! First pull from the blades and they are perfect! the photo does not do them justice, they are smooth and straight. Again, smiles all around (from me anyway).

Trimmed out with some very nice scissors and the slots trimmed with a scalpal, and there you have it, some blades ready to be stuck on a gauntlet and plasti-dipped. 

I made two fibreglass risers from my silicone mould, then I will make the body of the gauntlets out of MDF and I changed the shape somewhat too. I have made the flat body much longer, so that it can be cut to size before plasti-dipping, so they will be the perfect fit. 

I used electrical wire superglued on to simulate the round ridge where the riser meets the base.

A coat of primer.

The Boxing assembled, ready to pour the silicone.

The Silicone in.

The silicone negative (actually from my first version of gauntlets, but the concept is the same).

A little cost saving tip, I keep all my scraps of silicone, chop them up in to little bits and use them as filler for large thick areas of silicone pours to save some money on silicone and to do my bit for the environment. Special effects can be a wasteful business, so if you can reuse something, you should! 

This is the new silicone pour in the silicone mould. Note that I have used some of my old chopped silicone to bulk out the riser area

Now to pour a plaster negatives

Fill it up with black latex… 

My raw latex piece out of the mould 

Using thickened liquid latex as a glue, I stuck the blades on.

With a coat of black Plasti-Dip spray.

Now to glue the Velcro on, there is a bit of a trick. Velcro is very plastic, so it’s hard to glue on to the back of the latex as it will pull off once there is pressure from wearing them. So anywhere that the velcro makes contact with the gauntlet, sew a patch of denim or heavy fabric (an old pear of jeans makes a good donor of denim) to the velcro first, then use a little thickend latex as a glue and spread it over the denim patches then attach the velcro to the gauntlets. The latex soaks in to the denim and bonds on one side and latex always bonds to latex on the other side.

One thing that bugged me was the elbow pads on my gauntlets used to flap around, so I used some snap domes, slightly modified.

So I got a set of these snaps from a local fabric store, then I cut some disks of denim from some old jeans and used a snap base and the male side of the snap and punched it down on to the denim as such: 

Then using latex, I glued this on to the gauntlet.

Now for the mesh suit side, I went away from the manufacturers instructions a little and used another snap base, rather than the smooth dome that you would usually use with the female part of the snap, and put it through another denim disk to act as a washer, then inserted it through a hole in the mesh. This way if you mess it up and have to reposition it, you can just get some pliers and pull the old one off, then put in a new one where you want it.   This side of the snaps does fail after about every 10-15 wears, so I do occasionally have to replace them.