Building a Better Batman
Building a Better Batman
Fabric Cape Tutorial | Dark Knight Movie Masters
I have been asked several times over the years to provide a tutorial on how I do my "Pull Through" fabric capes for DCU and Dark Knight figures… I don't think the description of the process has ever really made it absolutely clear so I think this in depth visual guide should do nicely. I may be blowing my cover a little bit in doing this but last night I sat down to make one and I had my phone handy so I figured "What the hell... Let's do this."
For an added feature with a wired fabric cape, click the video above!!
First I start with prepping my fabric. You can use about any kind of fabric to do these but I find the thinner weightier polyesters work best. The thicker the fabric the more likely it will have a bulky appearance. This is a nice stretchy material and when handled with care it can look quite nice.
For symmetry I take the selected cloth and fold it in half for sizing and cutting.
For dramatic presence I make the cape 1.5 body lengths wide and just over an inch taller than the figure. It will draw up a little after final placement so you'll want that extra length. I use a Fiskars rotary cutter to make swooping circular cuts for the scallops then I terminate the top in an arch just so there are no straight lines. within 30 seconds you have your cape produced.
To make way for the fabric cape to attach I take a dremmel with the small threaded cylinder to grind out my entry points into the points where the original cape ends. Right there at the clavicle/collar bone. I aim my bit at the center of the shoulder blades right in the mid back. This dodges any articulation points on the inside. You can broaden this hole in the back for more working space if you like. Once you've completed this step you should be able to see clean through from the collar bone to the back.
I also notch out the back of the neck for better posability of the head (i.e. Batpod Posing/Gliding/General Action Posing) This time I also did the front of the neck after I had taken these pictures. this is done using the same dremmel bit.
You will be pulling a lot of fabric through some tiny holes so it is important to reinforce the fabric with some sort of "gasket" if you will to prevent the fabric from ripping. I use a hi bond double sided tape. You could probably find something like it at a fabric store as a hemming tape. You don't need much as you see which is nice.
I make 2 squares and place them symmetrically at a width of the shoulders. That gives you slack to go around the neck (removing the head really makes this easier). I fold the fabric over onto the tape and voila!! your cape has every hem it will ever need. This is a reinforcement as you will use a thin wire to guide the fabric into the body. I use a dental pick to punch a hole through the fabric and tape and loop my wire through the tiny hole.
I take 2 lengths of wire (one for each entry point) and needle it through the hole and then bend it perfectly in half. I then twist the wire as tightly as possible to make for a clean feed through the hole.Once both wires have been fed through I then twist THOSE together making ONE braid of wires.
You do have the option in this step to use the still hot glue to "pin" the cape to the figure's back. This can help keep the cape from lurching up on the figure and looking weightless. It can also help you define the direction and tightness of the cape over the shoulders. A little Matte Finish in a can and this Dark Knight is a lot less conspicuous and a lot more awesome!!! (Matte Finish used in Picture #1)
So there we have it. A nice FULL low profile cape for our Movie Masters Dark Knight Batman. This trick can be used on any character needing a replacement for those awkward vinyl capes. I think it adds a lot of posability and balance to these figures that just deserve SO much better when it comes to their presentation. Be sure and check back in the future as I plan to take these capes a few steps further in the future... I'm thinking "Memory Cloth"...