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Author Topic: I Need Help making my Hiram McDaniels (Literal Five Headed Dragon) Cosplay  (Read 1775 times)

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TrashdomCosplay Haiden

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Hiram McDaniels is a Literal Five Headed Dragon!
...and for a while I have been planning out a cosplay for him. Now, I know what attire I will wear, I know what I want the heads to do...
Question is, how do I make 5 dragon mascot head with preferably moving mouths and each their own expression?
I have found some good mascot head tutorials, and most of them are at my level of cosplay expertise (which is saying a lot since I'm only decent with making costumes themselves but great with props, which this falls under fairly well) and I can make quickly seeing as how I am quick with prop designing and construction. The only thing I am really worried about: If I make 5 large mascot heads all approx. the same size, how will I put them all their heads together (unintentional pun), how will I be able to make it look as if the heads are coming out of the suit naturally, and most importantly, how do I make them strong enough to not fall everywhere but light enough to carry basically on my head, neck, and shoulders?
I should note that I am 5'1", and when it comes to my strength, well... https://youtu.be/c2CNsQpp-38
Okay, you caught me, I was overexagerating there. But still, if the heads altogether are moderately lightweight and I were to practice walking around with them on beforehand (I'll figure out the door situateon later) I'm sure I will be able to handle it.
But back to the aforementioned topic, I do need tips, advice, or ideas on how to make this. So whether you make mascot heads, are good at props, make fur suits or are just pretty damn creative, any help whatsoever is highly appreciated. I look forward to seeing different responses. Thanks in advance for any and all help given.
Also, if you do not have the slightest clue of who Hiram McDaniels is, I'm adding a reply to this with pictures of my headcanon for him and also some brave and clever enough to come up with their own cosplay so you can get some kind of gist. Thanks!
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Fanime 2018 Lineup:
Friday: Buggs or Coraline
Saturday: Richie (IT) or Beast Boy
Sunday: Lars of the Stars
Monday: Buggs or Beast Boy
For my list of cosplays see this link: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php?topic=20921.msg491524;topicseen#msg

TrashdomCosplay Haiden

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Fanime 2018 Lineup:
Friday: Buggs or Coraline
Saturday: Richie (IT) or Beast Boy
Sunday: Lars of the Stars
Monday: Buggs or Beast Boy
For my list of cosplays see this link: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php?topic=20921.msg491524;topicseen#msg

SquishyK

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I would fall under the category of "just pretty damn creative". I think the way I would probably approach this is with high density foam and/or EVA foam and armature wire. The foam is going to be an ultra light option and believe me that is really going to make a difference. It will also be durable because it will just absorb any abuse it might take. putting armature wire in it will make it posable and can be used to give it more structure. You might even consider building it off of a bike helmet to help you wear it securely. But at the same time I would be really cautious with that because if you accidentally hit a door way or something and it makes your head jerk you might really hurt yourself (Fanime recommends/requires having a handler present for any costume that impedes mobility). I would suggest making it so that all of the neck stocks actually semi-join at the base. So they technically become a single opening that you fit over your head but they would still be semicircles to imply the shape of the separate necks. I hope that helps or even makes sense. lol.
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SquishyK

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When you say "moving mouths" do you just mean statically posable? or do you actually want to try to puppet them while you are in the costume?
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I sell cute and geeky polymer clay jewelry!

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http://squishykreations.tumblr.com

Tested/MythBusters:
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"Try again, fail again, fail better"
"Art is never finished, only abandoned"

TrashdomCosplay Haiden

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I would fall under the category of "just pretty damn creative". I think the way I would probably approach this is with high density foam and/or EVA foam and armature wire. The foam is going to be an ultra light option and believe me that is really going to make a difference. It will also be durable because it will just absorb any abuse it might take. putting armature wire in it will make it posable and can be used to give it more structure. You might even consider building it off of a bike helmet to help you wear it securely. But at the same time I would be really cautious with that because if you accidentally hit a door way or something and it makes your head jerk you might really hurt yourself (Fanime recommends/requires having a handler present for any costume that impedes mobility). I would suggest making it so that all of the neck stocks actually semi-join at the base. So they technically become a single opening that you fit over your head but they would still be semicircles to imply the shape of the separate necks. I hope that helps or even makes sense. lol.
When you say "moving mouths" do you just mean statically posable? or do you actually want to try to puppet them while you are in the costume?
To respond to both of these, the second one first, by moving mouths I mean trying to figure out a way to puppeteer them. Like I said, it's only preferred, just because I am most likely doing a panel in this. I know how to make the one on my head move, I would just need to figure out the others. But this is only if I figure out a way, not mandatory.
As for the main reply, thank you, this actually helps a lot. Just a question though, where do you buy the foam and armature? I'm sure when I get them I can figure out how to work it all out. Also, what do you mean by semi joined at the base?
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Fanime 2018 Lineup:
Friday: Buggs or Coraline
Saturday: Richie (IT) or Beast Boy
Sunday: Lars of the Stars
Monday: Buggs or Beast Boy
For my list of cosplays see this link: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php?topic=20921.msg491524;topicseen#msg

SquishyK

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When I say semi-joined think of a trefoil shape (you might have to google that) so when you look at the bottom cross section it would look like the outline of a flower or clover. Then as you go up the form from the base of the neck the separate necks will pull farther and farther apart until they are their own separate stocks with heads on them.

Mouths that you can puppet are simple concept but tricky in execution. Basically you need to make the upper and the lower jaws either as separate forms only attached by a hinge system or very lightly attached in a way that still allows for lower jaw movement. If they are separate forms you hide the gap with overhang from the upper form. The hinge can be something as simple as a door hinge and can be hidden by covering the inside of the mouth in a black or red material. Then use a wire or string that runs from the bottom of the hinge to the top part of the hinge but is tied in a way that only allows the mouth to open to a natural open position for talking. Then when you pull the string it should pull the lower jaw up to the top jaw closing the mouth. This means that when the heads aren't talking you will have to be pulling the string for that head(s) to keep the mouth closed. The real tricky part is running the strings so that they aren't seen and can be easily accessed to puppet the heads. And doing so in a way that looks natural. The best I could figure is running the string down inside the neck of each dragon, then through the neck of your suit, down your back to your pants, then have a false pocket in your pants and a band around your leg that holds the strings at a potion lower then where your hand falls in your pocket, then back up to your hand. The problem with this is that you will always have to have one hand in your pants pocket. The strings might also have different slack in them when your standing vs when your sitting.
A second way of doing it would be to use a mechanism that puts spring tension in the jaw to keep the mouth closed and then rigging it so that instead of pulling the lower jaw up to close the mouth you pull the lower jaw down to open the mouth. It has the pay off of allowing you to puppet the heads in a more natural way. You could run the strings into the front inside of your suit instead of all the way to your pants and only pull the strings when you need one of them to talk. But balancing spring tension and where to anchor the strings could be even more tricky.

You can find high density foam at joanns, some EVA foam at craft stores and Walmart. Not sure about the armature wire maybe craft store or hobby shop, maybe hardware store. But none of those supplies are difficult to find if you look around.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2016, 11:28:08 AM by pitin »
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I sell cute and geeky polymer clay jewelry!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SquishyKreations
http://squishykreations.tumblr.com

Tested/MythBusters:
"Failure is always an option"
"Try again, fail again, fail better"
"Art is never finished, only abandoned"

TrashdomCosplay Haiden

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When I say semi-joined think of a trefoil shape (you might have to google that) so when you look at the bottom cross section it would look like the outline of a flower or clover. Then as you go up the form from the base of the neck the separate necks will pull farther and farther apart until they are their own separate stocks with heads on them.

Mouths that you can puppet are simple concept but tricky in execution. Basically you need to make the upper and the lower jaws either as separate forms only attached by a hinge system or very lightly attached in a way that still allows for lower jaw movement. If they are separate forms you hide the gap with overhang from the upper form. The hinge can be something as simple as a door hinge and can be hidden by covering the inside of the mouth in a black or red material. Then use a wire or string that runs from the bottom of the hinge to the top part of the hinge but is tied in a way that only allows the mouth to open to a natural open position for talking. Then when you pull the string it should pull the lower jaw up to the top jaw closing the mouth. This means that when the heads aren't talking you will have to be pulling the string for that head(s) to keep the mouth closed. The real tricky part is running the strings so that they aren't seen and can be easily accessed to puppet the heads. And doing so in a way that looks natural. The best I could figure is running the string down inside the neck of each dragon, then through the neck of your suit, down your back to your pants, then have a false pocket in your pants and a band around your leg that holds the strings at a potion lower then where your hand falls in your pocket, then back up to your hand. The problem with this is that you will always have to have one hand in your pants pocket. The strings might also have different slack in them when your standing vs when your sitting.
A second way of doing it would be to use a mechanism that puts spring tension in the jaw to keep the mouth closed and then rigging it so that instead of pulling the lower jaw up to close the mouth you pull the lower jaw down to open the mouth. It has the pay off of allowing you to puppet the heads in a more natural way. You could run the strings into the front inside of your suit instead of all the way to your pants and only pull the strings when you need one of them to talk. But balancing spring tension and where to anchor the strings could be even more tricky.

You can find high density foam at joanns, some EVA foam at craft stores and Walmart. Not sure about the armature wire maybe craft store or hobby shop, maybe hardware store. But none of those supplies are difficult to find if you look around.

Thanks, I really appreciate the help. If when it all starts getting put together I get somehow stuck somewhere, I'll send you a PM, but only if I really need it. Again, I appreciate it a lot, you have no idea.
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Fanime 2018 Lineup:
Friday: Buggs or Coraline
Saturday: Richie (IT) or Beast Boy
Sunday: Lars of the Stars
Monday: Buggs or Beast Boy
For my list of cosplays see this link: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php?topic=20921.msg491524;topicseen#msg

SquishyK

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Glad I could help. To be honest the suggestions for puppeteering the heads is just a rough idea of how I would probably approach it to start. Then half way through most likely find that it's not going to work exactly as I imagined and have to alter my plans. There is never one best way to approach a costume.

Also, I was wondering what other props you have worked on?
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TrashdomCosplay Haiden

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Well, keep in mind that I count most costume accessories such as helmets, jewelry, etc as props since the design and crafting process uses the same kind of techniques.
With that said, I have made several things with the basis as clay with some other touches, such as troll horns, hair accessories for a friend's cosplay, my cookie cat prop since clay with certain texture techniques makes it seem like an actual ice cream sandwich, and others. But I also have made other things without or with little use of clay. For example, my cat finger (puppet :P), my belly button gem, Steven's shield (yes, I know, lots of Steven stuff, it's my biggest prop cosplay). Let's not mention my awful attempt at making my Karkat sickle, which, although I have a picture I refuse to attatch it, was my first ever prop made, and although it had an awesome paintjob for just a white and black object was literally a flimsy peice of cardboard that my bf at the time bent accidentally when I said "this is DEFINATELY the best prop ever" and he jokingly went to smack it bending it. But enough about that. I had made a Death Note with an amazing cover which the Homestucks on Fanime 2015's Saturday used to enact several character deaths resulting in the best Hussie doesn't die joke. I made a box decored with several inside jokes on it for when I cosplayed as Gamzee and literally, I sh*t you not, walked around the con and whenever asked why I was wearing a box replied "I'm a box troll" (not one of my higher moments). I made a wand for my Calliope/Caliborn cosplay and a pin (also out of clay) which I ran out of time to add the support system to before the con which resulted in the tragic shattering of it when falling on the ground moments before the costume contest. I have made many props that never got to be premired. I think my greatest achievement in propping history had to be my Crona sword because although the blade and the handle were two seperate parts they held together perfectly and it had a great design considering it was like my third prop.
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Fanime 2018 Lineup:
Friday: Buggs or Coraline
Saturday: Richie (IT) or Beast Boy
Sunday: Lars of the Stars
Monday: Buggs or Beast Boy
For my list of cosplays see this link: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php?topic=20921.msg491524;topicseen#msg

SquishyK

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Cool. Seems like quite the repertoire. But since some of these materials will be new to you I would suggest making sure you look up lots of tutorials. And test, test, test! The worst thing I ever had happen to me when prop building is have foam core (which is a stiff foam as opposed to the soft foams I recommended) semi-melt on me. I tried to spray paint it and while one brand/color of spray paint had worked just fine on another part of the project apparently not all pray paint is created equal.
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I sell cute and geeky polymer clay jewelry!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SquishyKreations
http://squishykreations.tumblr.com

Tested/MythBusters:
"Failure is always an option"
"Try again, fail again, fail better"
"Art is never finished, only abandoned"

SquishyK

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OK, so it always amazes me what tutorials I can find online! Here is a tutorial for a rough design of a mouth mechanism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6pCzY-N-HE

It's not super refined but looks pretty functional. Which is the important part.

(old fogey moment) "back in my day" (when I first started cosplaying) you couldn't find super strait forward tutorials like this. Or they were deviantart tutorials with pictures that were confusing and write ups that were crazy long, difficult to follow, and often less helpful then the pictures. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to all the cosplayers who put time and effort into making those tutorial. It was making the best of the technology we had at the time. But "kids these days don't know how good they got it". lol.
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I sell cute and geeky polymer clay jewelry!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SquishyKreations
http://squishykreations.tumblr.com

Tested/MythBusters:
"Failure is always an option"
"Try again, fail again, fail better"
"Art is never finished, only abandoned"

TrashdomCosplay Haiden

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OK, so it always amazes me what tutorials I can find online! Here is a tutorial for a rough design of a mouth mechanism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6pCzY-N-HE

It's not super refined but looks pretty functional. Which is the important part.

(old fogey moment) "back in my day" (when I first started cosplaying) you couldn't find super strait forward tutorials like this. Or they were deviantart tutorials with pictures that were confusing and write ups that were crazy long, difficult to follow, and often less helpful then the pictures. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to all the cosplayers who put time and effort into making those tutorial. It was making the best of the technology we had at the time. But "kids these days don't know how good they got it". lol.
Heh, thanks for the video link! I think that's gonna really help a lot!
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Fanime 2018 Lineup:
Friday: Buggs or Coraline
Saturday: Richie (IT) or Beast Boy
Sunday: Lars of the Stars
Monday: Buggs or Beast Boy
For my list of cosplays see this link: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php?topic=20921.msg491524;topicseen#msg
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