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Unread 01-23-2013, 02:21 PM   #1
DR4296
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Construction method ideas?: Velociraptor (or large animals in general)

Greetings All !

I think I've already decided on my Halloween Costume Challenge for 2013. Yep, already!

I'd like to make a Velociraptor costume, similar in style to what you can see over on the Stan Winston School's video about making the Jurassic Park Raptors. Here's a related still image:

http://i3.ytimg.com/vi/jAzQr3Ml0UI/mqdefault.jpg

My wife is going to be my "Park Ranger handler", much like in this video here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-Ac6xW0430

I will say up-front that I do NOT want to expose my legs. I think it'd almost be better to enclose them inside the costume and walk on my tip-toes as much as possible... than to let everybody see my legs and just wear black leggings.

Now, I've been googling around, printing off reference photos and some forum threads where people have made such costumes, but I'm not finding very much info about construction materials and methods (other than one youtube video where the lady used cloth a lot... and a guy who used chicken wire to form the basic shape of the raptor).

There is currently a little bit of talk about this going on on the RPF.com site. However, it occurred to me that most of the costumers over there do humans / humanoids. And it seems to me that folks over here at cosplay.com get a lot more wider in variety than that.

I guess I'm thinking I should build this sort of thing by starting with a sort of skeleton first, then whatever layer is going to be immediately over that? And other than chicken wire, with maybe a couple of rods of PVC, I haven't seen people reveal much about how to do that.

The Stan Winston video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAzQr3Ml0UI) shows them using an initial mock-up that appears to be almost entirely made of foam. But then they progress to something that LOOKS sturdier. Not sure what they did there. And I'm thinking once they had foam-built-on-top-of-whatever, then they just covered it with latex for skin. Of course, I discovered that liquid latex is quite expensive, so I'm thinking of going with some sort of... textured pleather-like material. Not sure. Having material that "breathes" will probably be more desirable.

Plus I've gotta figure out how to see out of this thing. Not to mention, I need to lose about 30-40 pounds. (But a costume like this is a FANTASTIC incentive for me to lose weight!)

Thanks!

-= Dave =-
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Unread 01-23-2013, 07:29 PM   #2
Penlowe
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Foam is safe and easy to work with, will pad your fall when you trip, not as expensive as you think it is and most of all LIGHT.

I worked in a shop that built mascot costumes, so not only were they durable, they were washable, a far cry from movie variety costumes. All our body structures, from basic bears & pigs, to very large characters like dragons (nose to tail 12' long) were JUST foam underneath. It's that good.
Now the foam structure of that one you linked is probably cast foam, meaning a mold was made, then foam molded to that shape. That process is quite expensive. Either way the latex skin is an integral part of the foam, once applied they cannot be separated without destroying one or both elements.

You can shave and trim ordinary upholstery foam, then cover it with latex, same as the molded foam.

I wonder if latex house paint would be a suitable base coat?
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Unread 01-23-2013, 10:07 PM   #3
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Have a look at the Predator builders forum if you want to see how to make a latex suit. I've learnt a lot from them for a beast costume I'm working on.

A six foot, muscular Predator can be made with one gallon of mask quality latex, with a very comfortable amount spare.


Latex house paint doesn't actually work well with latex, because it's a different composition.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 01:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penlowe View Post
Foam is safe and easy to work with, will pad your fall when you trip, not as expensive as you think it is and most of all LIGHT.

I worked in a shop that built mascot costumes, so not only were they durable, they were washable, a far cry from movie variety costumes. All our body structures, from basic bears & pigs, to very large characters like dragons (nose to tail 12' long) were JUST foam underneath. It's that good.
Now the foam structure of that one you linked is probably cast foam, meaning a mold was made, then foam molded to that shape. That process is quite expensive. Either way the latex skin is an integral part of the foam, once applied they cannot be separated without destroying one or both elements.

You can shave and trim ordinary upholstery foam, then cover it with latex, same as the molded foam.

I wonder if latex house paint would be a suitable base coat?

So, the foam costumes you've built haven't been built on top of some sort of frame, then? I'm thinking (and seeing other similar costumes is what leads me to believe this) that I'm going to need the chest cavity to be hollowed-out a bit, so that I can perhaps have some controls for moving the head, moving the jaw, playing sound-effects, etc. It just seems to me like foam would be SO flexible, you'd have a hard time getting it to maintain its shape when you've got parts that are hollow.

I was thinking last night, based on my past efforts, I'd be tempted to build this out of posterboard soaked with fiberglass resin, and then build outer layers of foam and "skin" on top of that. But I really would like to go a year without breathing in fiberglass fumes in my costume.

-= Dave =-
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Unread 01-24-2013, 01:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostrum View Post
Have a look at the Predator builders forum if you want to see how to make a latex suit. I've learnt a lot from them for a beast costume I'm working on.

A six foot, muscular Predator can be made with one gallon of mask quality latex, with a very comfortable amount spare.


Latex house paint doesn't actually work well with latex, because it's a different composition.

And where might the Predator builders forum, be? This site: http://www.thehunterslair.com/ ??
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Unread 01-24-2013, 07:07 PM   #6
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2" upholstery foam, carefully cut & fitted, will hold up itself and a lot more.
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Unread 01-26-2013, 04:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penlowe View Post
2" upholstery foam, carefully cut & fitted, will hold up itself and a lot more.
2", eh? Sounds mighty HOT! <grin>

OK, well, looks like I'll be using those 40% off JoAnn's coupons on some upholstery foam, then, thanks!
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Unread 01-26-2013, 09:40 AM   #8
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Oh yes, this kind of costume, no matter what materials you use, will be HOT. I live in south Texas, most of the mascot costumes here have fans built in and interior pockets or space for CamelBack canteens. Can't do south Texas heat at the beginning of football season without precautions against the heat, especially that first game in August, when it's still 100 degrees at 8 PM...
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Unread 01-29-2013, 01:53 PM   #9
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In prior years, I've used Pepakura Designer files / designs from folks over on therpf.com to create Iron Man and War Machine costumes. And I really like the accuracy that comes with those pepakura 3-D designs.

So, I was hunting around for a velociraptor pepakura file. Didn't find any... BUT I found some 3-D velociraptor files built in actual 3-D graphics programs. I converted them to a format that Pepakura Designer can handle. And now I have one really good velociraptor file that I can build physical models out of.:

http://www.davidraasch.com/images/ve...screenshot.jpg

I thought this might be helpful to me in two ways:
1) Building say, a 3-foot-long (or high) model might help me make sure the proportions on my costume are correct.

2) Instead of starting to build my costume by, say, taking a piece of upholstery foam and rolling it to form the first piece for my head... and then attaching pieces to it, cutting it with a knife, and generally trying to size and shape it right.... maybe I could build each pepakura piece separately out of upholstery foam, glue them together, and then add onto that a little bit to "round" the muscles. ??

Of course, the pep file seems to show things as being "all in one piece" and "in a static pose". And my previous pep builds have all been separate pieces of armor forming full suits. So, I'd have to adjust my methods to allow for movement and flexibility.

Gonna read up some more on building-with-foam methods.

Thanks!

-= Dave =-
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Unread 01-29-2013, 11:27 PM   #10
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there is a guy on the RPF attempting the same project right now

http://www.therpf.com/f24/my-walking...90/index3.html

This is basically the same in principle as the animatronics class I took in college. The head, hands, legs, and tail would be best if sculpted, molded, made to fit a core (a representation of the inside area), that core is then replaced with a replica of the space, where any moving parts would need to go. Moving parts included joints for knees, jaw, bone seperations in the tail etc. While the remaining skin could simply be textured latex draped, glued to the foam backing the internal structure or the torso/neck. Seeming all of it together would then follow. If you need any advice on animatronic contruction methods or anything of the like, feel free to PM me, or hit up my facebook.

best of luck
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Unread 01-30-2013, 09:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ViolentEvo View Post
there is a guy on the RPF attempting the same project right now

http://www.therpf.com/f24/my-walking...90/index3.html

This is basically the same in principle as the animatronics class I took in college. The head, hands, legs, and tail would be best if sculpted, molded, made to fit a core (a representation of the inside area), that core is then replaced with a replica of the space, where any moving parts would need to go. Moving parts included joints for knees, jaw, bone seperations in the tail etc. While the remaining skin could simply be textured latex draped, glued to the foam backing the internal structure or the torso/neck. Seeming all of it together would then follow. If you need any advice on animatronic contruction methods or anything of the like, feel free to PM me, or hit up my facebook.

best of luck

Yes, I've seen the thread over there at therpf and I am following it. But I didn't want to throw my own questions and concerns mixed in with his. And they seem to be focused on building and wearing those "mini-stilts" right now. I'm not going to do that, because one of the events I will be attending will be held inside a large bar / night-club. And it will be hard enough to handle not being able to see or hear very well. I don't want to increase my odds of stumbling and falling.

Well, to be honest, I wasn't planning on having any animatronics in it. About the only thing I'm planning on for "special effects" is an Arduino board with a Wave Shield rigged to play different dinosaur sound effects when one of a collection of buttons is pressed. All movement would be me moving some part of the costume.

And since I need to lose 30-40 lbs here before I will realistically be able to wear (and survive) such a costume, it's hard for me to estimate what size and shape the "inner core" that you're talking about would be. I guess I'd have to see some photos of that method being done to better understand.

Before I knew about making "duct tape dummies" for humanoid costume building, I built my Robocop costume by using math and a good set of reference photos. I'd simply measure exposed parts of the costume wearer's body and compare them with my own measurements to develop the correct scale. I was planning on doing something similar with the relociraptor, focusing on the thigh and mid-section measurements to get the scale right.

It seems to me that sculpting and molding the different major parts would take a LOT of whatever material you were using. I mean, sculpting an 8-9 foot dinosaur in my garage seems a little bit... excessive. From what I've seen from other people's raptor projects I have found online, most start with building or maybe even sculpting the head and then just go from there. I could see sculpting the head. But I'd start by carving a piece of foam (styrofoam, maybe?) instead of trying to build something up with modeling clay. Even with cheap clay, I think that'd be a lot more expensive. (I did a clay bust of Davey Jones last year... my first sculpting project... as part of building a mask.)

Thanks!

-= Dave =-
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Unread 01-30-2013, 10:54 AM   #12
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animatronics covers pull cables and skeletal work as well, not specifically servos and motors. I was refering to the pull cable kind.

I was only suggesting sculpting the legs/arms/head and tail. The entire body, and neck are perfectly fine using a negative scale pattern and making sheets of latex with it.

WED clay is a very easy and cheap clay to work with, but its best to find a local supplier. It's about 25$ for 50lbs. It starts very squishy and sticky, allowing your to bulk up an armature (your carved blue foam) very quickly, and slowly hardens letting you get finer details as it dries. If using a properly sized armature 150lbs should be enough to do EVERYTHING, if not 100lbs. It's also very easy to clean out of molds, a pressure washer, or a sprayer at a car wash and the molds are cleaned out in minutes. I'll post more later, but I have to dash
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Unread 01-31-2013, 09:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
. maybe I could build each pepakura piece separately out of upholstery foam, glue them together, and then add onto that a little bit to "round" the muscles. ??
Yes! Once the glue is dry you can use ordinary scissors to clean up and do light trimming to round off the section shapes.
I worked at the place that makes this guy: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...9QEwAQ&dur=623
That head is built essentially like you are saying, sections glued then trimmed up to create round shapes once dry.
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Unread 02-17-2013, 03:00 PM   #14
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minor update

Well, just a minor update on this. I've got a 2 foot pepakura model of a raptor built. I converted it to a pep myself, using a free 3D image I found online.

http://www.davidraasch.com/images/raptor_pep.jpg

I need to reduce the number of faces, if I'm going to actually "pep this out bigger" out of foam. But another thing I have to take into account is that if I scale this up to where the costume's legs are about the right length, well, the width of most of the body is too narrow. I've got 18" shoulders and 17" hips.

So, with that in mind, this pep may just end up being a nice 3D model to reference while I work.

My next steps are to view 3-4 video tutorials over at the Stan Winston School of Character Arts site. But I have submitted a question to them regarding their new pricing scheme and their support is taking several DAYS to get back to me about it, it would seem. So, I'm waiting on that.

Gonna start looking at what foam to use. Wife gave me a Valentine's Day gift card to... JoAnn's (good grief!), but she knows I've been wanting to get over there for this project.

Also trying to figure out how to build the neck in a way that's very much like an animatronic "tentacle". I know how to build them, I'm just not sure what material to use for the "vertebrae disks". Plywood was suggested to me, that that sounds awfully heavy.


Thanks!

-= Dave =-
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Unread 02-18-2013, 07:08 AM   #15
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vertebrae discs:
Masonite
MDF (1/2" thick or thinner, not as easy to find at Home Depot but it IS made)
1/2" foam core (maybe, might be too wimpy)
balsa wood
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