Wolverine cosplayer John Wigner of Squall410Cosplay is no stranger to Hugh Jackman’s version of Wolverine after cosplaying as the gruff fan favorite since 2006, but taking inspiration from the comic version of ol’ Wolvie was charting into unknown territory.
Wigner says that while most of the Hugh Jackman roles of Wolverine have been pretty easy to piece together (he’s done four different versions so far), he hadn’t considered a comic version until Marvel’s recent return of the famous character.
Return of Wolverine—an explanatory miniseries following Death of Wolverine (2014) and Hunt for Wolverine (2018)—had a whole new character look unlike anything ever seen before, and not one easily replicated by purchasing on the internet. For Wigner, this meant learning to use a sewing machine to recreate the character’s new “costume”, as well as making a brand new superpower courtesy of Wolvie’s latest nemesis, Soteira, come to life: the hot claws.
Wolverine is known for his shiny metal claws, cigar-smoking, and bad temper, but in this version of Wolverine, when he’s angry, it shows in more than just his face, with red-hot glowing claws that burn as they slice and dice. To recreate the hot claws, Wigner made molds of a pair of toy claws and braces from a former cosplay of Wolverine using a mixture of Sculpey and Mold Star 30 inside a form he made with plexiglass. (The braces go on the top of each hand to hold the claws in place. He wears two pairs of gloves at once; a pair of gloves under and over each brace for protection of his hands and further stability of the claws.)
After fully drying, he removed the old claws and braces from the molds with Ease Release 200. He mixed EpoxAcast 690 with a red dye and poured the mixture into the molds, repeating the process for the braces but instead swapping the red dye for a black dye. To create the red-hot glowing look of the claws, he used a series of 5mm red LED lights that were attached to the base of the claws and controlled by a hand-held controller ran on two 3v batteries that made the lights glow brighter and dimmer depending on his “mood”.
He ran into a few complications along the way, like the resin not drying as expected, but learned it was because his basement was a little too humid and cold for it to cure properly, so he moved them to a more temperate location. Additionally, he says the EpoxAcast 690 he used for the braces may have not been the right product for the thickness of the braces after one cracked and broke apart. Luckily, Worbla came to the rescue and he was able to repair it in time for the con he was attending the next weekend, C2E2, but he says on future builds he’ll likely try out EpoxAcast 655 which might be better for thicker pieces. Also, since that product is an aluminum-filled resin, he said he wants to try it out next time for a more metal-looking set of claws.
After spending about 40-50 hours on the project, he offers a piece of advice:
“Always make multiples of your project so that you have a backup or two when needed, Bub.”