Several years ago, I saw the X-Men movie with Archangel in it. I remember thinking, "Wow, now there are some epic wings." Then recently I wanted to make some Steampunk'ish wings for Erica as a costume. I started searching the internet to see what was available, and I came to the conclusion it was all pathetic. You'd almost think wings are mechanically impossible to make or something, because the selection of wings that you can find online are all ridiculously small, usually with 2-3' wingspans.
Anyone that knows me should find it obvious that I wasn't going to stand for little 3' wide sissy wings... so I remembered those Archangel wings I saw. I took a still image from the movie, overlayed a grid, and calculated that for Erica's height the wings should be roughly 15' wide. Now those will be wings! They may not actually fly, but they will look like they can.
I also remembered seeing some of Leonardo DaVinci's sketches of a flying contraption he called an "ornithopter". So now I was getting somewhere.
My basic requirements were something like this...
- The wings need to be large enough to look like they could fly. Think "hang glider size".
- The wings should have a Victorian era "Steampunk" feel. This probably means using gears, for looks, too.
- The wings should feel epic when open.
- The wings should open automatically.
- The wings should incorporate ideas from DaVinci's ornithopter.
- The wings shouldn't exceed 30lb, because Erica has to wear them.
- The construction needs to be quick and inexpensive. This was a last minute idea before BlizzCon, and I didn't have a lot of money to spend on it.
After about a week of work, this is what I made. They came in at 25lb. in weight, and have a 14'6' wingspan tip-to-tip. They open automatically using two heavy-duty screen door closers, in about 1.5 sec. This set took some troubleshooting to get the placement of the cables, and openers, correct, but I could easily replicate it again now that it's been figured out.