Design Diaries – Gambit

Yesterday I talked a bit about how very ridiculous the original costume for Gambit was. Today I will talk about recreating the train wreck of a thing.

There is a reason that the Gambit that showed up in the Wolverine movie looked nothing like the original. The original costume would look ludicrous on screen. It does not translate to the physical world very well at all. Why they chose to replace that with a boring douche in a Fedora is beyond me, though.

Top: classic comic gambit. Bottom: Gambit from X-men Origins: Wolverine (property of Marvel)
Top: classic comic gambit. Bottom: Gambit from X-men Origins: Wolverine (property of Marvel)

I started my costume with the boots. Gambit wears metal sabatons that go all the way up to his knee. They are apparently articulated the whole way up and have no seams at all. That… is impossible. I don’t feel like welding myself in, but I did make myself some nice metal boots. I made them from 20 gauge mild steel sheet and articulated them with solid steel rivets with a truss head. Instead of articulating all the way up, which is silly, I chased lines into the steel to give the texture of the illustrations. The pair that I have completed are made to go over a pair of Chucks. I am making a second which will have their own sole and padding.

The knees are made from the same material. They were dished out and then the pattern was added using punches and pitch. They are backed with floor foam, the stuff that comes in puzzle piece shapes for babies and garages.

After much debate, I decided to make the chest out of steel as well. I considered neoprene and spandex, but I don’t know those materials well, and I don’t exactly have a comic book physique, anyway. So I hammered out some artificial abs for myself and painted them fuchsia.


The coat was my biggest challenge. I can sew, but a full coat that moves well that I have to modify a pattern for is a challenge. I ended up making it with a medium weight twill. It’s a bit light for a real coat, but much cooler and it flows well.


The quilting was a bit new to me. I don’t know why he has a quilted collar and lapels, but he does, so I needed to make them. I put some interfacing on the hidden sides to help keep the shape, then a fairly thin layer of quilt batting and stitched the lines in. There was more math involved in the collar than I expected, but geometry is fun.


I added some embelishments: pockets, epaulets, and cuff straps, which I think make it look more complete and realistic, and lined it with my practice version, which was made of broadcloth.


The face hat took a couple of tries. I had some stretchy green stuff lying around that I could make the prototypes with, before I went to the 3mm neoprene that the final was made from. Unfortunately, masks like this don’t really stay up when made of lighter material, and I thought that neoprene was a better choice than glue and wire. It’s really warm, but I stand by the decision.



For a bit of flair, I decided to make a card that legitimately lit up. I used two red el panels and cut some vinyl for the Ace markings.


Sew some pink pleather rectangles to some thrift store leather pants, chop some fingers off a pair of leather gloves, and add some red contacts and it is complete.


Photo by Adam Isaac
Photo by Adam Isaac
Photo by Jamie Bernstein
Photo by Jamie Bernstein
Ryan "Gambit" Consell with Rebecca "Jubilee" Watson. Photo by Jamie Bernstein
Ryan “Gambit” Consell with Rebecca “Jubilee” Watson. Photo by Jamie Bernstein


Ryan is a professional nerd, teaching engineering in the frozen north. Somewhat less professionally, he is a costumer, author, blacksmith, juggler, gamer, serial enthusiast, and supporter of the Oxford comma. He can be found on twitter and instagram @studentofwhim. If you like what I do here, feel free to leave a tip in my tipjar.

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One Comment

  1. That looks like an amazing amount of work, and the results are just as impressive.

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