My interpretation of Edward Elric’s Automail arm from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

My interpretation of Edward Elric’s Automail arm from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Lumecluster Fullmetal Alchemist Edward Elric automail interpretation

QUICK UPDATE: Video demo of the long awaited Phoenix Gauntlet design is coming early next week, so keep an eye out or be the first to get updates on my free newsletter. I can’t wait to show you what makes it so special

I cosplayed for the first time at New York Comic Con back in October 2018…and I was honestly terrified.

Now, some of you may remember that I’ve only worn my Sovereign Armor in previous NYCCs. In 2016, I wanted to have a chance to wear my design after other people were done doing their photoshoots with the Sovereign Armor. And in 2017, I wore it in my interview with Marvel where I talked about the work I had done for the Hela and Ironheart Marvel Becoming episodes.

Lumecluster Sovereign Armor
PHOTOGRAPHER Anshul Mathur (afleetingimage) — MODEL / MAKEUP ARTIST Brianna Ashley Chin — DRESS by Megan Dellario (Breakers Cosplay) — SOVEREIGN ARMOR by Melissa Ng (Lumecluster)

And while I was nervous wearing my Sovereign Armor in public, my design wasn’t part of any fandom. I didn’t have to worry about people’s preconceived idea of what my armor “should” look like because it was entirely my own design.

Lumecluster Fullmetal Alchemist FMA automail with Megan Dellario
Melissa Ng cosplaying as Edward Elric and Megan Dellario cosplaying as Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Photo by Joseph Chi Lin —

But I didn’t know what to expect with cosplay and how people would react to my own interpretation…especially since I decided to cosplay Edward Elric from the well known anime, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I also didn’t know what I should DO or how I should respond if people recognized the character I was cosplaying.

Thankfully, my friend, Megan Dellario (aka Dellario Design / Breakers Cosplay) was there to teach me the cosplay ways AND design Edward Elric’s coat (also detailed in this blog post). My sister, Fiona Ng was (and is always) there to work late into the night with me and to be my never ending moral support. You can hear more about my first time cosplaying experience and see more of my automail arm in my interview with Tested:

Aside from my anxiety about cosplaying, I had yet another challenge. I needed to create a fully articulated interpretation of Edward Elric’s automail arm in five days.

Not because I wanted to finish it in five days and make myself suffer, but because it was a last minute cosplay decision. I also thought I had more time and mistakenly thought NYCC was on October 11th when it actually started on October 4th… Unfortunately, five days was all the time I could devote to the automail arm because of other deadlines.

A sensible person would have probably skipped the cosplay…but I don’t like backing out once I’ve decided to do something. I’m stubborn like that. So, suffer I did! For art!

Oh, and I had never created a full arm harness before. So, there was that too, haha…

Unlike my previous work, my automail arm drew inspiration from a few different armor styles.

Lumecluster Fullmetal Alchemist FMA Edward Elric automail interpretationFullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Edward Elric

I wanted to make the automail arm look more realistic, so I picked the following images because each of their arm harnesses had some element that made me think of Edward’s arm (or what I’d like to see in it).

Gothic gauntlet references

These authentic custom made recreations of a pair of gothic gauntlets were great references for my own gothic-inspired gauntlets. Click here to see and learn more about gauntlet design.

Armor references

    1. (Top left) Foot-Combat Armor of Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony (reigned 1586–91)
    2. (Bottom left) Elements of a Light-Cavalry Armor
    3. (Right) Armor Garniture, Probably of King Henry VIII of England (reigned 1509–47)

I encourage you to click the links above to The Met if you’re interested in learning more about armor. The videos by Ian LaSpina (aka Knyght Errant) are also a great place to start getting a closer look at some armor components.

With these references, I got straight to work because I didn’t have much time. Here’s a brief breakdown of my process:

I spent a day modeling the automail arm in Blender. I do not recommend this because there are things that will be overlooked in a rushed process.

I didn’t apply my usual aesthetic because it didn’t make sense. I also needed to make it extremely fitted since Edward’s automail arm is actually his arm and not armor. Please keep in mind that I tend to recycle some of my 3D models since I’ve modeled many armor components already.

Lumecluster Fullmetal Alchemist FMA Edward Elric automail interpretation

3D printing the parts on my Taz 6 and Form 2. 

I 3D printed the automail arm entirely in flexible, impact resistant materials. The gauntlet was 3D printed on the Form 2 in durable resin while the rest of it was 3D printed on the Taz 6 using PCTPE filament.

Like my Hela headdress, the thing that helped me efficiently sand the surface of PCTPE and durable resin were large diamond coated rotary burrs.

Lumecluster Fullmetal Alchemist FMA Edward Elric automail interpretation
You can see the untrimmed gauntlet pieces from the Form 2. The rest of the pieces were printed on the Taz 6.

Next was lots of sanding and finishing…=_=

Sanding, sanding, sanding. Heavy build primer and more sanding…and finally airbrushing and clear coating.

Lumecluster Fullmetal Alchemist FMA Edward Elric automail interpretation

Finally, I needed to rivet all the plates together.

This is probably my new favorite part of the process. Before this, it used to be airbrushing.

Click the video below to watch the articulation test.

While I was busy making Edward’s automail arm, my friend, Megan Dellario (Dellario Design / Breakers Cosplay), made Edward Elric’s red coat in 17 hours from concept to completion.

What’s amazing is that Edward Elric was also Megan’s first cosplay…14 years ago when she was a teenager! It was inspiring to learn that it had taken her DAYS to figure out how to make his coat in the past. And now she re-made the coat in under a day? That’s hard earned skill and dedication to her craft right there and I’m so honored that she wanted to make this for my very first cosplay experience.

Megan Dellario Fullmetal Alchemist FMA Edward Elric jacket

It’s important to note that she was under a tight schedule too. On top of making my coat, Megan also put together her Winry Rockbell cosplay. I’m sure both of us would have preferred to spread out the work time :P. Anyway, here’s a brief overview of her process:

  • (6 hours) – Pattern drafting (altered from a pattern block) and muslin test / research time
  • (1 hour) – Stencil drafting in illustrator , sizing, cutting out stencil
  • (6 hours) – Had a failed red dye attempt (and shopping/ driving to multiple stores) on polyester poplin. Needed to find a wool replacement and eventually found the perfect rayon / wool twill at a small local store
  • (4 hours) – Cutting and final construction and painting (not including jacquard paint dry time)
Megan Dellario Fullmetal Alchemist FMA Edward Elric jacket

When we finally went to NYCC, I was amazed by how excited and happy some people were when they spotted my cosplay.

People called out my character’s name, they poked my automail arm in wonder, some dude whisper yelled, “SHE’S LIKE A REAL LIFE CARTOON CHARACTER!” But the best part was seeing the way people smiled. It made me feel like those sleepless nights were worth it.

Needless to say, it was truly an experience that challenged all my expectations. I think I might give this cosplaying thing another shot

Lumecluster Fullmetal Alchemist FMA Edward Elric automail interpretation & Megan Dallrio Winry Rockbell
Melissa Ng cosplaying as Edward Elric and Megan Dellario cosplaying as Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.


Keep an eye out for a major update COMING VERY VERY SOON about my long awaited Phoenix Gauntlet reveal. I can’t wait to show you the demo.

<3 Melissa

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlet preview
Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlet preview

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