- Hi all, I'm starting on making a dragon costume for my local theater
group. I have seen the stuff on Fossflex, which I think is a great
idea for the exterior, but I was wondering if anyone could point me to
a resource for making the armiture. any assistance would be great.
- we made one, covering it with the big bubble wrap. makes great
scales...spunge painted with 3 or 4 different colours. and it's nicely
--- enmblake <enmblake@...> wrote:
> Hi all, I'm starting on making a dragon costume for my local theater"THE TIME HAS COME", THE WALRUS SAID,"TO TALK OF MANY THINGS.
> group. I have seen the stuff on Fossflex, which I think is a great
> idea for the exterior, but I was wondering if anyone could point me
> a resource for making the armiture. any assistance would be great.
OF SHOES, AND SHIPS AND SEALING WAX, OF CABBAGES AND KINGS.
AND WHY THE SEA IS BOILING HOT, AND WHETHER PIGS HAVE WINGS."
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- I avoid thermoplastics whenever possible.
Most of the time, I base large body re-shaping projects on hoop or coil "technology" (or
lack thereof...). Think; hoop-skirt, dryer-duct, or one of those crawl-through tunnels for
(Re-shaping one of those tunnels, by making a new cover in the profile you want might be
your easiest solution.)
The image in my Yahoo profile has me wearing just such a contraption...it was the base of
a demon tail for, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", with the actor running around
backwards with that on his head, and a mask on his butt.....it was marvelous!
The cover is a cone of muslin, with a coil of trimmer-line zigged on it....there is a spring (a
stretched-out door spring), under compression, in a muslin sleeve, that runs down the
center of the cone, and is held in place by swing-tacks. The spring pushes the tip
upwards, and when it is jiggled, the movement is transferred to the cover. I've done this
on large-scale pieces for dragons and mermaids, too, but with upholstery springs.
Pretty light-weight, really cheap and durable, and not uncomfortable for the actor to wear!
Hope this is useful...
- --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, "bearhedded"
>coil "technology" (or
> I avoid thermoplastics whenever possible.
> Most of the time, I base large body re-shaping projects on hoop or
> lack thereof...). Think; hoop-skirt, dryer-duct, or one of thosecrawl-through tunnels for
> toddlers.There is a lot to be said for that...Thermoplastics may be relatively
easy to work with and form, but they have some definite drawbacks for
projects like this. First, they don't breathe, so the poor actor
inside the costume is slowly sweltering in his own juices, which tends
to create a ripe atmosphere for everyone else on stage. Second, WHEN
the plastic breaks (because under normal wear and tear, it inevitably
will), it can be rather tricky to repair.
Fosshape, however, isn't a plastic, from what I understand of the
descriptions...but I'm not altogether certain it would be that easy to
work with, either, if you don't have a form to shape it over. I like
the idea of fabric over hoops...or even scrim foam over hoops, because
that will hide the hoop structure a little better, yet still provide
an effective sewing surface.
However, having never worked on anything on that scale, I really don't
know what your best bet would be. My only foray into that kind of
thing was making a creature head for a haunted house...NOT a head that
would be worn, but something along the lines of animatronics (only
hand-operated, since we didn't have the budget to automate things). I
used fiberglass over chicken-wire for that, on a 1x2 frame. Very
durable...but very inconvenient to put together (I had roommates
complaining about fiberglass fumes for a week, and that was working in
the back yard...)
- Just a follow-up on Thermoplastics and the like. Like everything else....there are pros and cons...... and you have a lot of variables to consider when choosing which construction materials are best for YOU to use as well as for the SPECIFIC application. Such things as budget, time constraints, wearability, weight, longevity, breathability, safety, availability etc. and of course experience in working with particular materials all come into play. All thermoplastics or what we sometimes refer to as thermoplastics are not the same. Some folks still even have some of that nasty Celastic product around that you activated with solvent in order to form/mold. Not the safest stuff to be working with, but I have seen props made with it that are close to 20 yrs old and still in good shape.
A thermoplastic can be reheated several times over, should you require reforming or repositioning and that's great when you want to get your shape exactly the way you want it....you get to keep trying until its right. But on the downside, don't leave that costume or prop item in the trunk of you car in the pouring sun of a hot summer day. The end structure is still case specific as I know Disney theme park in FL has used Wonderflex on outdoor figures.
Fosshape (also sold as Fuzzform) is not a thermoplastic and a whole different ballgame as it is actually a nonwoven fabric composed of a low melt polyester fiber. Unfortunately you can't re-heat or reform Fosshape like the thermoplastics (such as Wonderflex, Ultraform etc.). There is no going back to the original felt like state once you have applied heat and pressure to Fosshape. Again personal preference, experience and what does the job call for, all must be considered, but I think the Fosshape is a little more difficult to work with and not as forgiving as Wonderflex etc. Practice and practice always helps so you get a good feel for what the product can and can't do. My favorite analogy for FS is it's like learning to ride a bike when you were a kid.....you fall off a few times at first, but then you just get the hang of it and off ya go.
I most often get asked..... when do I use Fosshape vs. a thermoplastic? That would be a lengthy discussion, but in reality, just stop and consider all those variables.
And sorry to have rambled here, but products like Fosshape and Wonderflex are my passion. I came out of the development and mfg side of these materials for industrial applications, but then found costumers and the like were fun people. I wish I had a good "how-to" video, web site or at least some photos posted on these materials, but all you really need to do is master a few fundamentals and then let your creativity rule. Email me offline if anyone wants some small swatches to play with.
And finally back to that Dragon costume....I've seen large wearable Chinese Dragon type mascots made with Fosshape as formed over a wire armature and wish I could locate some pics, but I did find the this link to a photo of sizable puppet like dragon that was FS based as made over wire armature as well.
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