Greetings All !
I thought I'd start a thread that does two things:
1) shows progress on my Halloween 2012 costume.... AND....
2) allows me to ask folks for help and advice on various "sticking points" or problems with my design.
So almost immediately after last Halloween (for which I built an Iron Man Mk IV costume... see pics here: DavidRaasch.com: Gallery: Iron Man (2011) )... my wife caught me watching the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie (which she had never seen).
She gave a wrinkled look of disgust and an "ewwwww" when they showed Davey Jones' face...and then turned to me and said "I think you should do that one for next Halloween!"
I thought about this a while, and then decided I'd do it, but my challenge would be: How can I make a handful of the tentacles actually MOVE ?
More on this in a few sentences. But suffice it to say, that is the key challenge that is making the whole thing interesting for me.
And so, I decided to build Davey Jones for myself, but I told my wife that she would just HAVE to dress up as Jack Sparrow too!
So, that's how we're going to go this year!
For her costume, I will admit that I am completely cheating. I want to spend as little time on her costume as possible. We spent $200 and ordered the almost-complete costume from an Ebay seller based in Singapore. I still have to buy boots, facial hair, rings, and maybe a hat for her. I have a modded pistol coming in the mail this week for her as well.
But, on to Davey Jones!:
After throwing away the idea of servos ( figured they'd be expensive, noisy, and potentially complicated)... I turned to the world of Hollywood animatronics. I watched the complete DVD on tentacle making offered by the Stan Winston school.
My current tentacle design consists of:
a) semi-rigid vinyl tubing (which you can purchase at Lowe's)... I think the size is something like 1 and 1/8th inch outer diameter
b) Two hack saw blades, held together with a small screw and nut to make one longer blade. This provides the semi-rigid central core of the tentacle.
For the central wire of the tentacle, which allows me to curl and uncurl the tentacle in one direction, I was originally working with 1/16th inch wire rope. And then I thought I'd just order some cable housing online.
However, on a whim, I purchased a bicycle brake repair kit from Walmart (for $5). This included three cables that are plenty long enough for me to use and one too-small cable that I can discard. All of the cables appear to be about 1/16th inch in diameter, but perhaps a little smaller. The wire seems to be coated with something that makes it smoother to the touch, however. And of course, these braked cables already come with housing, so this seemed to be a more economical solution to me.
Here are two photos of an example tentacle. One photo is at the "at rest" position...and you can see how gravity has it more-or-less "leaning" downward. The second photo is from when I've pulled tight on the brake wire.
I discovered that if I put a central "core" of narrower-diameter tubing into the opened end of the tentacle, that it seems to take less effort and provide more reliability in the pulling action.
However, I also found that the presence of cable housing, even if it's nicely-lined brake cable housing, adds a bit to how much force I need to apply to pull the cable.
What I'm hoping to do is have four tentacles rigged like this. Then, I run the cables from them down my neck, down my left arm to my left hand... and then use straps and loops to allow my four fingers to each be able to pull one cable. Well, that was the original dream, anyways.
But I'm finding that with this current tentacle prototype, it takes a good amount of force to pull that wire so as to get that hack saw blade to bend. I'm probably going to find an actual pull-scale of some sort on Ebay and order it so I can measure that amount of force... and try to figure out how to reduce it.
Now, I'm sure you're wondering: How would you rig these up to a mask? Well, two of these tentacles would make up the "mustache tentacles" of Davey... and two would be the "beard tentacles". (See photo below.)
I'm thinking if I can rivet each set of two tentacles to a leather strap...and then rivet the straps together (but allow some movement with that connection), perhaps I can form a sort of "mask-harness"...which I can then build part of the latex mask over.
I elected to buy a costume pirate coat pattern and then hire a local seamstress to build the coat for me. The only major change from the pattern is that I wanted the coat to go all the way to just below my ankles.
The idea is that I'm going to then add some sort of "false front piece" to go in front of my actual right leg... and then rig up a fake "Davey's crab leg" to go in front of that false front piece.
Davey's hat is very unique. There's one person/company out there apparently selling a hat that they SAY is Davey's hat, but when I compare it to reference photos, it doesn't look right to me in the front.
So, I purchased a "generic pirate's hat" from a party store. Now this is NOT like the standard folded tricorn that everybody thinks of. Well, it sort of is, but if you imagine the tricorn's sides unfolded. It's basically a hat with a very wide circular brim.
I folded this to my liking... and then, to try to match Davey's, I cut out some thick cardboard and stapled it into place. I then cut the wire in the hat's brim at the sides and cut off some material there.
The plan is to take some left-over material from the coat... and COVER this hat with that material:
I purchased two standard Disney toy Pirates of the Caribbean swords and then modded them as per recommendations found over at http://jacksparrowcostuming.wikispaces.com/
Note that Captain Jack gets the copper one, I get the more-brassy one (had a hard time finding a metallic brass paint).:
THE CRAB HAND
I asked around in the Pepakura request thread on these forums..to see if anybody had a Pepakura design for a crab-hand on file. Someone did. I built it, but I didn't quite like the design. The top portion was smaller than the bottom portion, which wasn't quite what I envisioned.
Remember, I'm hoping to run four bicycle cables into a harness that slips onto my hand and into this thing. The upper half of the claw should be big enough to allow me some range-of-motion with my fingers.
So, here's the adjusted cardstock pep of the claw:
I have NOT started building the actual mask yet... but I hope to get started in the next 48 hours on that. I have a basic foam head here that I intend to apply clay to. I will sculpt Davey's face and then, eventually, apply layers of latex to it so as to build the mask.
I will confess to being a little intimidated by the sculpting process, but the clock is ticking so I'm going to kick myself into gear soon on that.
I know some folks post here and they seem to have everything figured out from day one. I will confess that in many ways I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. But then again, I know that this is part of the process. (I felt the same way when I said I'd start building suits of armor out of cardboard, fiberglass, and bondo. I owe many thanks to the good folks of this site who helped me along on those projects!)
Right now, I think I'd feel better about all of this if it took less pulling force to flex my test-tentacles. Plus I'm having trouble drilling holes through the hack saw blades. I only recently learned that I should NOT try to drill at faster speeds when doing that, but should in fact slow down instead. Went through several drill bits already. Bought a couple new ones the other day. Will hopefully try them out tomorrow.
Thanks for reading all of this!
Gonna point some of my curious friends to this thread / these forums when they ask me how things are going on the costume!
-= Dave =-