A costume-engineering problem for you?

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DR4296

Active Member
Greetings All!

So, it was only days after last Halloween that people were asking me what I'm doing for 2012. ( I did War Machine two years ago and Iron Man last year.)

I ended up deciding that I would build Davey Jones (the Pirates of the Carribean one)...and my wife would then play Jack Sparrow. (This should be quite a change of pace for me, as I'll be moving away from armor and more into working with clothing / material and latex (for the mask).)

The technical "icing on the cake" that I'd like to do is to actually have a couple of moving tentacles.

There are several videos online / on Youtube where people have made various sized mechanical tentacles... but this one comes closest to what I want to achieve:

M2U00287 - YouTube


There are some obvious problems with using that design in a Davey Jones costume. The most obvious one being: I sure don't want to have a hockey puck INSIDE my mouth all day. I certainly would like to be able to talk with Davey's accent (and make that puckering sound he made frequently).

Also, the tentacles there seem to "fly out", whereas, with most Davey Jones costume photos I've found, the tentacles are pointing downward when "at rest".... (and then they'd "fly outward" when I'd pull the strings... in my vision).

So, with that in mind, what I'm thinking is... I would build four "working" tentacles: the two that act as a "mustache" for Davey, plus two that hang down from his chin like a beard.

The actual tentacle "tubes", then, would have to be attached vertically to the face (instead of perpendicular to it, as in that video). And then, the latex mask I'd build would go over the face and those tubes.

But.... how exactly would I strap these tentacles to my face? It almost seems like I could build some sort of "chin strap" with two tentacles attached and then a sort of "mustache strap" to hold the other two, with both straps going around my head and clasping at the back. (I can't help but think of Bane's mask from the upcoming Batman movie... except hey, I'd like my lips exposed, thank you.)

So, that's my question for the group here: Any thoughts how one could attach / wear such things on their face like that?

Note that I'm not sure what outer material the tentacle mechanisms would consist of yet. Possibly plastic tubing.

I'm sure some will ask if I intend to use servos to move the tentacles. The answer is no. I worry that the motion would seem too "orderly" and would therefore look fake. Not to mention the fact that any sound the servos would make might spoil the illusion. I'm thinking some sort of metal wires running down my neck and arm... leading to rings on my fore-fingers (which will be hidden from view inside a fake claw anyways). Yeah, I know, sounds like a problematic way to attempt it, but that's what I'm thinking at this time.

Thanks!

-= Dave =-
 

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Capn_Jack_Savvy

Sr Member
Nice job. Looking forward to the finished product.

Can you build some sort of chin strap or neck device that is attached to your body in those areas. The tentacle mechanisms would be curved and fed through that device and serve as the base. As you pull the each calbe the tentacles will still move around.

My only concern is that too much movement may prove to be damaging to the latex or the latex tentacles will get twisted up or event mangled. I would think you would do a test first.

But I am not much of a latex guy so not too sure how strong the stuff would be....

Hazzah!
 

DR4296

Active Member
Nice job. Looking forward to the finished product.

Can you build some sort of chin strap or neck device that is attached to your body in those areas. The tentacle mechanisms would be curved and fed through that device and serve as the base. As you pull the each calbe the tentacles will still move around.

My only concern is that too much movement may prove to be damaging to the latex or the latex tentacles will get twisted up or event mangled. I would think you would do a test first.

But I am not much of a latex guy so not too sure how strong the stuff would be....

Hazzah!

Oh, that video is not mine / not of me! It was simply the best video I found online that showed roughly what I'd like to accomplish. Yes, I'm sure I'd have to make the latex rather THICK to put up with the motion.

I found myself at Walmart this morning, on my way in to work, looking through the sporting goods section at face masks and straps and such. I'm thinking some sort of rubber straps that you can tighten with a belt or by sliding through tabs (like a pair of swim goggles or a swim mask) would be best... that would provide enough strength, plus, it would press it tightly enough against my face to stand up to the motion forces that would be pressing on it.

Was looking also at nerf toys, briefly, because a couple of "ammo cartridge holders" like you'd see on a cowboy's belt may be usable as "holders" for the tentacle-tubes.

I'm seriously thinking of shelling out $70 to get this DVD:
https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/videos/animatronic-tentacle-mechanism-basics

That may be a bit of overkill. But I just got a $50 bonus from my employer so maybe I'll buy that in a few days. I'm seriously wondering what I'm going to use for the "circles" within the "tubes"... wood ? metal ? plastic ?... and how I'm going to get such circles to "stay in place" when I thread a cable through them.

Stuck thinking about this all in my head while I work my 12-hour shifts over the past few days. Looking forward to using my time-off to scrounge hardware aisles and toy aisles for ideas!

Thanks!

-= Dave =-
 

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