You may have noticed by now that many gamers and graphic novel enthusiasts, not surprisingly, have taken to the art of 3D design and 3D printing enthusiastically as it allows them the chance to make not only gaming accouterments but also to make characters more realistic and tangible — from figurines to cosplay to actually creating gaming systems and cases.
We often cover stories regarding their creations, as many gamers also have an affinity for technology, embracing the latest, greatest, and fastest innovations like 3D printing. They aren’t afraid to take on big projects — and in Hugh Holder’s case, he took on quite the challenge in creating ‘Gabriel’ from Last Man Standing: Killbook of a Bounty Hunter, a graphic novel series by Daniel LuVisi.
With a background in digital modeling, prop-building, set design, and painting, Holder definitely had a good foundation for taking on a project like the total 3D printing of Gabriel. The idea came about when his girlfriend, a couple of years ago, became inspired by the art of Dan LuVisi, a digital artist and painter.
While she worked on a concept from his ‘Alice’ character with LuVisi’s permission, Holder wanted to work on Gabriel, which was inspired by both LuVisi’s character and work by Darnell Isom at Legacy Effects.
In taking on the project, Holder became involved in an extremely fulfilling learning experience that mixed media and used 3D printing to help in the crafting of some spectacular work. While Holder understood the general rule was never to start at the top when doing costume work, he couldn’t resist beginning with Gabriel’s helmet, which turned out to be the most intricate and stunning piece. Holder wanted to make sure he could pull off 3D printing the helmet in style.
“I figured if I couldn’t get this to look right there wasn’t much of a point in finishing the rest of the outfit,” said Holder.
The helmet was a complicated piece of work as Holder embarked on what was some level of tedium to figure out how to lay out all the different pieces and then consider what challenges and issues could arise during 3D printing of all the complexities. Considering how detailed it was, it seems to make sense that one would want to get that part of the project out of the way initially.
Once printed, the helmet parts required gluing and sanding, and then primer. Once Holder reached that stage, he was able to begin test fitting the helmet. Upon the application of the carbon fiber vinyl trim with the help of stencils, he used several different colors of paint to finish the helmet — quite impressively, too.
For the overall design of Gabriel, Holder played around with several ideas and concepts in 3D and had to rework the dimensions of the trunk and shoulders before settling on a final, asymmetrical look.
“I created a properly scaled model of myself and my very non-super hero height/proportions. At this point it was time to separate the armor parts from my draft model and rescale them to my size,” said Holder in his project summary.
Scale was absolutely crucial in his project, so he used his ‘proportions and silhouette turnaround’ as his model and guide to steer him throughout the design and 3D printing process. Using stencils created from the 3D model, Holder was able to reduce the weight of the costume in places like the shoulder pads and upper torso, with use of material from foam floor mats.
Holder 3D printed the guns, also known as ‘The Twins,’ as well as the gun baton. He used his artistic creativity for items like the Skittles sealed with resin around the belt area and the use of props for the gas canisters. Holder and his girlfriend were then able to show off their costumes at events like Dragon Con, and he hopes to build some new characters soon.
Are you interested in taking on a project similar to this, bringing a game character to life with 3D printing? Tell us your thoughts in the 3D Printed Gabriel Costume forum over at 3DPB.com.