Last Updated: 07-11-2011
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After going to Ren Faire last year, I sketched out a design for a centaur costume with moving legs. So when one of my friends told me he was going to AX as a Bleach character I was all over making Nel.
This was another 3 week costume. I try to keep material cost and labor time down, which means that I cut corners and parts of my costumes are pretty lame. But I have a lot of fun with them. :)
The skull is pipe foam covers held together with masking tape and covered in Claycrete. I really liked the Claycrete, made it really lightweight, but I should have constructed the front part out of heavier material to balance out the large horns. Even a little bit of weight in the wrong direction is too much when you're trying to get something to stay on your head.
The horse is a PVC pipe skeleton covered with chicken wire, then fuzzy blankets. There are hinges at the hip. The back legs are then tied to my front legs by a string: left back leg to front right leg and vice versa for an accurate walking animation. I have a heavy leather belt around my waist that the skeleton is anchored to. There is also parachute chord that goes from the middle of the horse back up to a harness on my back. At about 10 lbs it's pretty light, but still a lot to be carrying around cantilevering off my back, especially when I'm wearing 5" heel-stilt things with the heel cut off. >.> It was tiring, but worth it! But be warned if you want to use this design, it requires strength, balance, and endurance.
I almost gave up on the moving legs because I wasn't sure if they would work and I had no time, but then I saw that someone had already executed a similar design and it gave me hope: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF1TAr12rEY&feature=channel_video_title
This guy's design definitely helped me finalize mine. Originally I had planned springs, when the weight of the legs themselves actually pull them back straight. And I thought I'd need more than one joint for each leg. I also planned to support some weight on a wheel hidden in the tail, but it kept listing to the side similar to this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hFpdBNSO5c&feature=related
It was my first time working with chicken wire and I really liked it. It was easy to sculpt into what I wanted.
The fur is blankets rather than fur fabric that you'd buy at the fabric store. They are microfiber blankets that are super soft. Fluffie brand seems to be the fluffiest and is what I used for the body of the horse. I prefer the blankets for a number of reasons:
-shorter pile (horses and goats usually have fairly short fur)
-lower price ($23 for a yrd of fur-yikes! $20 for a king sized blanket - yes please)
-stretch (traditional fur fabric does not stretch, the blankets do)
-no fabric backing (fur fabric has a synthetic fabric backing that is itchy. The blankets do not so they are super soft on both sides and lighter in weight. There's nothing I'd rather put against my skin)
For construction of my front hooves, see my hoof construction gallery. The pair for this costume had a wider base than my draenei ones to help with balancing the weight of the costume. The wood bases went back further toward my heels.
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