Gauntlets or vambraces are the Mandalorian weapon systems that are worn on the forearms. They contain various weapons, jetpack controls, or gauntlet electronics like digital screens. Gauntlets can also have rockets, dart launchers, wrist blades, wrist lasers, flamethrowers, fiber cord whip & grappling devices, or the whistling bird projectile.
Custom gauntlets can be a challenging part of the Mandalorian costume, but they can also allow you to showcase your imagination and creativity. When making Mandalorian gauntlets I recommend buying them as a 3D print kit or vac-formed kit. Etsy has Mandalorian gauntlets for sale, and some even offer 3D prints that can be scaled down for children’s sizes. Nowadays you can even find free gauntlet 3D prints if you prefer to have them printed by someone locally. Most kits don’t come with instructions, but most are assembled the same way and videos are available (see below).
If you enjoy DIY projects or scratch building props, then gauntlets can be built with Sintra sheets or PVC pipes from the plumbing dept. Gauntlets have also been made using round toilet brush holders, plastic vases, or large plastic tumbler cups. These might be good alternatives for a cheap children’s Mandalorian costume. For help building Mandalorian gauntlets from scratch, find tutorials and member’s WIP “work in progress” posts at the Mandalorian Mercs forum.
Just like your Mandalorian armor, you’ll need to sand and paint your gauntlets. If you’re using 3D prints, sanding is especially important to get rid of the notorious visible print lines. I suggest starting with 220 sandpaper, using a filler primer, and Bondo spot putty for this chore. A good filler primer (like Duplicolor deep scratch filler) can be applied in multiple heavier coats to help get rid of print lines. Needle files can also be handy for getting into tight spots.
Painting is commonly done similar to the armor plates with a silver base coat, masking fluid if desired, and a color topcoat. Stencils, Aurebesh, or Mando’a are also nice details to add on. You can read about painting armor and making your own stencils here. Don’t forget about weathering your gauntlets also. A final topcoat or sealer is optional. Some people like to protect their paint job, while others like their gauntlets to be exposed to additional natural weathering. Note that most topcoats will dull metallic spray paint finishes.
Gauntlets should cover about ⅔ of your forearm from the wrist to the elbow. When sizing the circumference, remember that they are worn over top of the flight suit and gloves, so you want them a bit larger than your forearm size. If the gauntlet is too large, you can always add some foam to the inside so that it sits snugly and doesn’t slide around or swing upside down.
Most Mandalorian gauntlet hinges are constructed with either a piano hinge glued on or 3D printed hinge system. Common methods to secure them shut include using a locking wire pin, velcro, metal clasps/latches, or neodymium magnets. See video below on how to insert a wire into a 3D print hinged gauntlet.
When designing your gauntlets you can make them as complicated or as simple as you like. This is another Mandalorian armor part where you can really show your individual creativity. Start collecting “greebles” or “greeblies” that you can add to your gauntlets to give them a customized one-of-a-kind look. Greebles are unrecognizable pieces that add detail and visual interest to an object. Anything can be a greeble if it looks like it could fit into the Star Wars universe. Greebles can be metal bits, or plastic bits that you spray paint over.
I’m sure you’ll find things you can use or take apart for the internal pieces if you look around your house. Try decluttering your home or doing home cleaning chores with an eye looking out for greebles. Greeble examples sometimes seen on gauntlets include: parts from a pen, old tv remote control keypad, metal washers, air hose fittings, cable attachments, switches, knobs and led lights. For gauntlet darts, a nice alternative is soldering iron tips. I have even seen flashlights mounted on a gauntlet that looked well done.
Where to find greebles
- junk drawer at home
- garage or inside your car
- Hardware store, plumbing or electrical dept
- Auto stores
- model kits
- insides of old electronics, printers, or old camera equipment
- children or pet toys
- thrift store small appliances, electronics, or other items
- antique stores or auctions, old electronics for parts
- disassemble broken stuff
- lego bits
- old computer internal parts
- jewelry items like earrings or earring backs
- clothing buttons
- etc, etc, they’re everywhere!
Another common item seen on many custom gauntlets are hoses. These can be either repurposed fuel line hoses, aquarium airline tubing, audio/video cables, or computer cables. Dowels can be used to help secure the hoses to holes drilled in the gauntlet. And the other end of the hose or cable can be secured to the underside of the vest sleeve cap with a safety pin or a pull-apart keyring.
Mandalorian gauntlets also look great with digital displays. If you don’t have skills in making an electronic display an easy alternative is to add a digital photo keychain. These are usually about 1.5-inch size screens. You’ll just need to use a Dremel tool to cut the appropriate size hole in the gauntlet. (Remember to make the display removable so that you can recharge as needed.)
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