Vincent Valentine's Claw. It's been almost a year in the making. And now I finally have the photos to show it off muahahahahaha
btw, the file is fricken' huge. If you want to see it full-size, hit "download."
Everything was made out of brass sheet. Sawn out. Hand-hammered. Soldered. Sanded. Buffed. Polished. Riveted. Flaunted. XD
It was made to look like Vincent's claw in FF7AC and DOC. Of course, there were real-life physical limitations that resulted in a different look, but I still like the way it came out. Changes that had to be made included:
-expansion of the wrist-end of the armpiece. Vincent's fits him snugly all the way down to the wrist, but such a snug-fitting one would never fit over a person's hand. Therefore, the wrist end was widened so it could be taken on and off. It was either that or hinges, and I refused the hinges for both mechanical and cosmetic reasons -_-
-a band across the palm and rings around the finger bases. In the game and movie, the entire claw seems to sit on a black background/glove, with no visible attachments. It's possible his is supposed to be riveted to the "glove." Or it's possible Squeenix didn't really think about practicality when designing Vincent (I think his shoes are quite indicative of the latter!). Anyway, rather than try to rivet the pieces to a little black evening glove, I made a band across the palm to hold it on and the base of each finger gauntlet is a ring.
-fixed end joints. When the human finger bends, it also shortens. This was causing the finger gauntlets to fall off every time my buyer flexed his fingers. So, I shortened the finger guantlets (so the rings fit about 1/4" away from the base of each of his fingers) and that allowed him to flex the finger normally for the most part. However, the last joint -- the pointy one -- was still falling off. Rather than shorten the finger gauntlets any more, I soldered the two end joints together. This kinda defeats the point of having four finger joints for battle purposes, but this is for cosplaying anyway, so it doesn't matter. This way I was able to keep an apparent four finger joints, for the sake of canoninity
-straight spiculums. The taper on the spiculums was too steep to make the claws curve without collapsing the spiculums.
Compound curves were used on the "upswing" of the finger joints and the two cuffs (at the elbow and wrist) of the arm piece. I'm not going to divulge the secrets of how these are made. All I'll tell you is that I used wood and two types of hammers.
The cone of the arm piece was simply hammered around a large conical forming stake and soldered down the middle, with two large acetylene torches and easy solder.
The hand piece was sawn out and hammered mostly with a ring mandrel.
The fingers were made individually. For one finger gauntlet, four pieces (only three for the thumb though) were sawn out and formed individually, polished, and riveted together on the sides so they could move -- with the exception of the last two joints which were soldered together for the aforementioned mobility purposes.
As for the spiculum forms at the end of each finger gauntlet, I'm not going to tell you how I made that either. However, I will tell you that they were cut out of sheet metal, formed, and soldered, and that they were filed down at the tips to be very very sharp.
All the metal used was brass -- 24 guage for the fingers and 20 guage for the hand and arm pieces. The whole thing is sturdy enough for cosplay purposes but is actually very light-weight.
arm piece - 562.3g - 1.24lb - 19.8oz
hand piece - 64.1g - 2.26oz
pinky - 15.8g - 0.557oz
ring - 21.6g - 0.762oz
middle - 26.4g - 0.931oz
index - 21.8g - 0.769oz
thumb - 19.7g - 0.695oz
....And that's all I can think of to say about that right now.
OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't believe this got a DD!!! Thanks so much to Phyrbyrd and Kitten-of-Woe!!! *cries again* you just made my year!!!!!!!!
I apologize for not responding more to the comments... I tried to keep up, but after the DD, I just couldn't do it. To make matters worse- when I moved in with my Grandparents on Feb. 2, 2009 (just a few weeks after the DD), I no longer had regular access to the internet. I had to drive several blocks and sit outside in 110-degree southwestern heat to get internet, and my laptop battery lasts about 45 min. at most. If I wanted to sit indoors, I had to drive more like 20 minutes to get there. As a result, I lost touch with deviantart and all my social networks. And e-mail... until I finally got e-mail on my phone a couple months ago. I am still without internet at home, and deviantart tells me that I have 10,666 messages at the time of me posting this. I've sorta been able to keep up with the notes because they are much less common - though there is a significant lag because of my infrequent logins. If you have something to ask me about, please send it to me in a personal note and I will answer as soon as I login. But I am unable to keep up with every comment.
However, I've been skimming some of the comments and think that this post will help answer some of the more common questions.
The claw shown in the picture wasn't paid for by the guy who commissioned it, and I had my then-interest (now husband) model it for me at a con. However, it wasn't designed to fit his hands, and the pinky fell off. We checked lost and found, searched the entire hotel (con area) high and low, checked lost and found again, and never found it. We were very thorough, so I'm pretty sure someone just took it. So, since it probably won't fit anyone besides who it was designed for, and it's missing a piece, it's been discounted to $250 plus shipping (note me if you're interested).
How much for a custom claw? $600 plus shipping costs.
The problem -- and part of the reason I haven't given much attention to my deviantart -- is that since around Dec. 2008/Jan. 2009, I haven't had any access to a proper metalsmithing lab (acetylene torch, flexshaft, anvil, table clamp, pickle pot, buffing wheels... the works), and therefore have not been able to do any serious metalwork. I MAY have access to one in a little more than a month because I'm going back to school again, but it will require talking my graduate advisor into allowing me to have extracurricular activities, and bribing/trading with the art department for the privilege of using their gas and torches. I would very much like to get back into metalsmithing, but it may take some time to work things out. I'll try to keep you all apprised of the situation. Again, note me if you're interested in a custom claw. If there's enough interest, that will help make sure I have enough practical$$reasons to justify paying the art department; I have a feeling it's going to be upwards of $350 per semester of usage (that's how much it was at my last school, and that was only because they charged me for 1 credit hour -- which was lucky because they usually charge 3 credits and make you take a class). I'm still hoping I can TA for them or show them some techniques in exchange for free usage though. Won't know until I try.
As for teaching other people how to do this... well, I did it the best way I could think of. It wasn't what I would consider safe. There's fire, explosive gases, and toxic/carcinogenic chemicals involved. Also, the buffing wheel that makes it so shiny also tends to throw the pointy end of Vincent's finger back at your face, which can make people lose an eye. Doing what I did requires expensive, heavy machinery, metalsmith/jewelrysmith training, and good safety gear. I can't teach you how to do that without being there in person. You'll need to talk to schools or people in your community about it. Go into some custom/art jewelry shops -- or google for metalsmiths in your area and message them -- and ask if they know anyone you could apprentice with.
As for making one cheaply or quickly, again, I can't help. I used metal, and it took alot of time and required the use of expensive tools and machinery. I have zero experience with craft plastics or foams or fiberglass or any of that stuff. However, I've seen some videos on youtube of people putting together some decent claws using those materials. Those would be the people to ask
If you want to use it as a reference or print it out and hang it up on your wall or post it up elsewhere, that's perfectly fine. As long as you don't take credit for making the original, I don't mind helping other artists or getting a little free advertising ^_^