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Thread: CAPES: To Wire, Or NOT to Wire. THAT Is The Question!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 27, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY

    CAPES: To Wire, Or NOT to Wire. THAT Is The Question!

    Ive been working on some substantial upgrades to my 9Art LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY custom figures for a big art exhibit that I will participating in next month here in NYC. I will be posing my figures in dioramas for the show and I decided that I wanted to add excitement and dynamism to my displays.

    It occurred to me that for characters who wear CAPES , having the ability to actually pose the garment as if it were windblown would be an exciting solution.

    Of course, like any other toy collector / customizer, I've long been familiar with production toys employing this technique on cloth capes. However, truth be told, it was never a feature that appealed to me. Frankly, I never saw it particularly well-executed in production figures. The armature wire inside the capes always seemed bulky and overly obvious to me, resulting in over-sized, unattractive pocket seams that compromised the final look of the garment.

    Here in the world of MEGO (1:9 scale) customizing, wired capes are not something that is seen very often. Therefore, when deciding to try this as an upgrade to the capes of my own custom figures, it was with a bit of ambivalence since I could not think of very many customizers that I could turn to for advice or reference.

    I finally crossed my fingers and dove into the unknown. For three days, I experimented with different wires of different thicknesses, to correspond with different fabrics of different weights. I employed a generous amount of trial and error... although at times, it seemed like a lot more "error" than trial. The fabrication time on some of these custom characters certainly increased dramatically during this learning curve, but in the end, I produced capes that were FAR more expressive and dramatic than I imagined.

    Here are some images of my UNFINISHED Custom ROBIN THE BOY WONDER action figure undergoing a head to toe upgrade for the exhibit... including the fabrication of a NEW CAPE WITH WIRE ARMATURE.

    One of the interesting things I have discovered about adding armature to Robin's cape is the way it improves the DRAPE of the garment upon the figure... even at rest. The armature allows the cape to be form-fitted over the anatomy of the figure (shoulders and chest) giving the impression of a heavier more substantial garment.

    The simplest pose gesture by the figure now has dramatic accent movement added to it that it did not have before.

    Even with the custom figure standing neutrally at ease, dramatic peripheral factors (like a heavy blowing wind) can be suggested by the inclusion of a wire armature cape.
    Last edited by darklord1967; Sep 17, '19 at 7:19 PM.
    I... am an action figure customizer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 18, 2003
    O'Fallon, Illinois
    Those look fantastic. Nice upgrade. I’ve only done 1 wired cape and was very happy with the results.
    Fresh, not from concentrate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 26, 2009
    Richmond, VA
    The wired cape certainly makes for some dramatic pictures.

  4. #4
    Wire posed capes rule!

  5. #5
    Charlee Flatt has been wiring up capes for a long time. I love the way it looks. Just like in your figure, there is no noticeable bulking up where the wire is. Is the art exhibit open to the public? I'd take the train trip into NYC to see it.

    WANTED: Boxed TEX WILLER, RM ROBIN Kresge, loose, or boxed, CIRCLE SUIT SPIDERMAN loose

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 18, 2005
    Skull Island
    It's a must for me. I have been putting wire in my capes, certain hats and even satchel straps for the last 15 years.
    Action Figure Design & Prototypes
    For Samples See Home -Type 3 Body & Spiderman
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 18, 2015
    Blog Entries
    Nicely done, the wire isn't noticeable at all.
    The hands that grip.

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