Ame-Comi Wonder Woman commissioned by Jenn Wenger for SDCC 2011
Jenn was referred to me by a friend in 2010. She is a HUGE Wonder Woman fan and had been wanting a quality costume for quite some time. We met up one day to talk about what she was looking for, what her time frame was and budget. We decided to go with a non traditional look for her outfit and DC Direct had come out with two figures from their Ame-Comi line of toys that fit the bill. During the costume budgeting process, they released photos of a third figure that was not due to premier until Summer of 2011. We decided to go with this third variation of Wonder Woman since no one had as yet made the costume.
I was able to get a hold of the sculptor and get some great reference and detail photos of the toy from him to work from.
With a much better visual of the front of the outfit and details of everything else, we started in January of 2011.
This version of Wonder Woman had a very Jack Kirby style of influence right up to her headgear. In order to get the correct look for this it was decided that Jenn would have her head cast. She was a trooper considering that it is a process that requires your entire head being covered with goo and then wrapped in plaster bandages that you can’t see or hear out of for a good hour and your breathing out of straws. Once the bandages and alginate mould of her face were removed, we had to quickly pour plaster to make sure we didn’t loose the detail of the alginate. Once her head cast was cleaned up, a sculptor was brought in to start sculpting the headgear. From there several test pieces were made using a flexible rubber and armature wire. Several paint tests were also made to decide which color of yellow would work the best. The inside touching her face is lined in a soft moleskin. The headgear is kept in place with a mini comb and elastic. Once a final paint was decided upon the next three parts of the costume requiring sculpting were started.
The first item were her bracers which were a simple design. These were quickly sculpted in clay and were then vaccuformed in ABS plastic. A coat of primer and silver paint and they were done. The insides were lined with a soft moleskin, so she could easily remove them.
The small star discs that covered her gloved hands were also a simple design and came together quickly. These were also vaccuformed, but in a clear plastic, so that they could be painted from the inside to keep the edges sharp. They are attached to the gloves with Velcro, so they can be removed when the gloves need washing.
The shoulder guards were done in two pieces. These were a bit harder to figure out because on the figure they are a bit flatter. Jenn’s were shrunk down a bit to fit the rest of the proportions of her gear. They are also made to move up and down with her arms as she changes positions. Once the basic shapes were worked out, test pieces were made. The two parts are connected to each other with Chicago screws on the inside. They are held onto the costume with elastic that slips under the sleeve and connects back again to the back part of the piece. Everything is removable to allow for washing. Tubing was slit and attached to the edge of the bottom half and coated with a special mix of paint, so it would adhere to the tubing without flaking off. The yellow “dots” along the bottom edge started life as folder fasteners. Small holes were melted to allow the feet of the fasteners to be pushed through to the back leaving the nice rounded heads on the front. The feet were then opened and adhered to the piece with dental acrylic. Once dry, the insides of both pieces were lined in felt so you wouldn’t see any of the workings. The tops of the fasteners that faced the outside of the shoulder piece were than capped with round craft pieces found at Michael’s which had been painted with the matching yellow. The red that was used was actually a red enamel nail polish that was sprayed from an airbrush.
The under piece for the main body started life as a swimsuit. We decided to go with something that covered her a bit more and would still be easy to get in and out of to use the bathroom. The rest of the red, blue and yellow portions of the bodysuit are made with: sparkle vinyl, satin, glove leather and Volara. Volara is flexible closed-cell polyethylene foam similar to L200, but a bit less expensive. It vaccuforms really well.
The bodysuit slips on over her head and closes with a hidden zipper and a snap in the back under the detail pieces. Their are two built in bras to get the right amount of lift and to keep her from falling out. All this is attached to the blue vinyl and leather parts. The yellow front is made from the Volara. A quick clay sculpt was made over a bodyform and then the Volara was vaccuformed right over the clay. Once that was done, paint had to be applied that would be able to withstand twisting and bending while being worn. A secret mixture was developed for this part. Cotton was partially applied to the inside of the Volara front piece, so it could be sewn to the bra pieces for stability. The front was sculpted to incorporated a belt piece that hooked into a side piece that joined the back parts. The eagle in the front is cut from leather and painted with the same flexible paint. Red glove leather was hand cut and sewn in for the skirting on the back.
The sleeves were made to snap into the top of the vinyl shoulders, so they could come out to be washed. The stars were a pain to find in the right size. Each one of them is sewn on one at a time. The gloves were the easiest to make since they were made from a stretch velour.
Stockings were made from the glove leather. They are all hand cut and then sewn together. They slip between the boots.
Boots; the boots on the figure are wedge shaped. Not easy to find unless it’s winter. So what we ended up with were actually rain boots that we covered in the Volara. The patterns were then heat burnished into the foam. The same flexible paint mixture was also applied to the boots since they would have a lot of wear stress. Stocking were worn to help get in and out of the boots faster. And LOTS of menthol powder to keep her feet cool.
The last piece was her necklace; the necklace was made up of armature wire covered with tubing and covered with the blue vinyl. The bird head was sculpted in Magic Sculpt and painted with the flexible paint.
On the day Jenn wore her outfit I had made the suggestion that she get her hair and make-up done by a professional since we knew there would be pictures. She came out looking great! The DC Direct creative team and the sculptor were amazed that we pulled it off.
Photos from Kevin Green. Thanks Kevin!
Andrea did an amazing job on my costume for Comic Con. Not only was there fantastic attention to detail it was actually comfortable to wear, which is saying something when it’s 85 degrees and you’re clad in vinyl! Thanks so much!- Verona as PANDORA from Guitar Hero
Andrea’s designs added enormous visual appeal to my last film, and were a powerful tool for revealing character. But beyond that, her attention to the details of how the costumes would be used –how the actors would need to move in them and in what environments– proved critical when we got around to filming fight scenes in hot weather. I can’t recommend her highly enough.- Keith Hartman, Director of REAL HEROES
When we needed period costumes for our choir’s Renaissance Christmas pageant, Andrea was our go-to person. We were pleased with the quality and the quick turn-around time. Her attention to detail made the costumes pop, and added that “something extra” for our performances.
- Dennis Schamp, Bass Section Leader San Diego Mesa College Chorus