(COMPLETE) Life-size Watcher, Horizon Zero Dawn — Image Heavy

amuelb

Active Member
Hello everyone,

It's been about a year since I last posted on here back when I was building my CHAPPiE cosplay! Thanks to all the help and support I received the costume was a great success — so I thought it would be worth while to post about my latest build the Watcher from Horizon Zero Dawn.

What is a watcher? Basically it's like a giant robot raptor with a large eye. It's job is to watch over and guard other robots in Horizon Zero Dawn. Here is an image:
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Of course, like my last build it all started with planning. I used my PS4 to take reference photos of the Watcher from all angles, and then brought them into Adobe Illustrator to create my reference patterns. These were scaled accordingly to my body size (5'7" and 115lbs) then printed and taped together. From here I could begin!

Starting with the head, I made a template from the Side and the Top.
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Once I had my templates printed out to size, I started to put it together... Here is a photo montage of the head progress so far! This project was started in late December so I have most of the head complete already... it weighs 4lbs currently and thats without any of my LEDs, electronics, sound, batteries, the eye, etc.

(Cosplay Foam by TrueNorthCosplay)
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So thats the head constructed, and ready to be painted. I purchased a 11.5" Hamster Ball for the eye and some LEDs to make it light up, this will be added after the head got a base coat of primer and after details have been added to the eye.
Now that I was as far as I could get with the head, it was time to move onto the body... which is MUCH bigger!
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More Updates soon!
 
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amuelb

Active Member
Building the body of the watcher is very similar to the head. First I started off by drawing up my patterns in Adobe Illustrator from the top and the side. I then printed these at full scale and began building out the pattern on my foam:
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My body was made entirely out of EVA foam from True North Cosplay in Montreal, Canada. I apologize for any writing on the photos, most of my progress was tracked on my instagram amuelb.
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Building foam domes for the first time:
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Building the spine of the watcher first helps give me a better idea of how things will fit together once they're built.
This way it's more like an oversized puzzle.
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After attaching the trim to the butt this is the result! It's not complete by any means, but day by day it gets a little closer. For the body I still need to build out the frame to support the shape, the front, the side vent and the area where my legs will attach to the body. I decided to move onto the legs before proceeding with the rest of the body that way I would know where I need to make room to accommodate the legs and what areas will need less detail since they'll be covered.
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Attachments

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amuelb

Active Member
Sorry it's been a while since I posted updates, but the costume is actually finished now! Let's see if I can get everyone up to speed... So, I built the body and the head... next was the legs, tail and neck!

The legs were drawn in the same way as the body and head, I gathered images from multiple angles and began to build the leg from pieces of Styrofoam, 2mm, 5mm and 10mm EVA and some foam insulation tubing. The muscles were made out of sandwiched Styrofoam (do not glue them with contact cement, it dissolves the foam!) which were carved into a rounded muscular shape. over 80ft of insulation foam tubing was then weaved and glued onto the styrofoam base to give the look of cables. These were then mounted with hot glue and popsicle sticks to the rest of the leg.
The legs have to move with my own legs and be removable for transit, so I mounted them on PVC pipe to feed into the body and held them in place with PVC pipe caps.

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There are more detailed step by steps of these on my Instagram story (amuelb)
 

collinlueb

New Member
in some of your pictures like the last big one i see you put like a white paste in some of the seams to cover them up. what is that?
 

amuelb

Active Member
in some of your pictures like the last big one i see you put like a white paste in some of the seams to cover them up. what is that?
Hey! Sorry for the late reply, the white paste is KwikSeal, a white caulking that is flexible! It's great for filling gaps and smoothing seams and it's only about $4 CAN. It cannot be sanded back, but you can smooth it with a wet finger and it will dry really smooth! If ever I have something that does not bend (like a helmet) I sometimes use drywall putty as filler instead.
 

amuelb

Active Member
I'm slow at this, I know... so moving on from the legs I started work on the tail.

The completed tail was to be approximately 6'8" (203cm) long but because of how far it had to come out of the body the tail had to be extremely light weight and come in pieces for transport. Based on the patterns I drew for the tail, I was able to easily break the tail into 4 parts. Each piece was made entirely out of hollow styrofoam that was then wrapped in 2mm kids craft foam sheets. The seams are filled and smoothed with KwikSeal. (excuse the type on my photos... they're from my instagram story)

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Each "gear tred" on the top of the tail was made by layering, gluing, and dremeling different weights of foam, each one contains 10mm, 5mm, and 2mm eva foam. In total there are 13 gear treds on the tail and 10 on the neck, they each take about 5-10 mins to make! The "electrical hookups" look complicated but are actually quite easy... first I cut a 5mm strip of foam for my base and drew on the wiggly line where I wanted to add the internal wire. I then glued in a thinly cut 2mm strip of foam along my wiggly line. In order to make the strip look round, I then traced over the top of the glued down strip with hot glue letting it cool raised on the foam. Once everything was cooled, I covered the entire strip with contact cement, and a sheet of 2mm foam with contact cement and then I sandwiched them together smoothing the foam into all the crevices. Once the 2mm was trimmed to size, it appeared as though the wire was inside the electrical strip, woohoo!

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The final tail measured up to approximately 6'2" - 6'4" (188-195cm) and weighed about 4lbs total. Thats one way to save weight!
 

amuelb

Active Member
Once the head and body were built, I pulled them into a parking garage to give them a quick coat of primer and paint.

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The head took the paint well and was ready for some of the darker metal pieces to be painted, the body on the other hand still needed some work so I waited to do any further paint work on it. The inside of the watchers eye hole was masked off and given a black base coat of paint then a gunmetal silver was airbrushed overtop. The eye ball (a 30" hamster ball) was sanded smooth, detailed, painted black, and then airbrushed with a gun metal silver as well. Extra details and scratches were added with a regular silver paint with a brush. The watchers face fins (built from 10mm eva) were also painted in the same way.

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amuelb

Active Member
Once I had most things built, I took advantage of a road trip out of the city to do some painting... We loaded all the costume pieces into our Prius and ventured out in the snow covered country side to paint in Canada's great outdoors!

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As some of you might know... painting in Canada isn't ideal in the winter. For one, it's freezing and everything is wet so it can be hard to find somewhere safe to paint, a gust of wind can also drop a ton of unexpected snow on your paint job from a nearby tree or rooftop. Paint also does not cure properly in the cold or come out of the can properly in the cold. In order to get an even spray I had to first warm all my cans in warm water before bringing them outside... as for the curing, after waiting for most of the paint to dry I brought them into the garage where they sat near a hot wood fire, they were left overnight and STILL didn't fully dry by morning!

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Funky

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I don't know what this is or who you are.

What I DO you is you're incredibly talented.

And ambitious!
 

amuelb

Active Member
I don't know what this is or who you are.

What I DO you is you're incredibly talented.

And ambitious!
THANK YOU SO MUCH! It's a watcher from the Sony video game Horizon Zero Dawn! It's a common enemy in the game, uses it's large eye to watch over and guard other robots. And it fires lasers, who doesnt like lasers?
The costume is complete now and was a huge success in Montreal, Canada. I will be bringing it to Toronto next weekend (Aug 25th). The full size of the watcher is appoximately the length of a car and it weighs about 30-35lbs, so I cant attend too many cons due to its size (I have to rent a minivan everytime!) If you find yourself at Torontos Fan Expo let me know!
 

amuelb

Active Member
So once the base coat was down, I brought all the pieces back to the city for the detailing/airbrushing and weathering.
(CALF MUSCLE- left black and gun metal - right black, gun metal, black wash, and silver edging)
(LOWER LEG - left black, gun metal, black wash, and silver edging - right black, gun metal, and silver)
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Here I am adding the same off green to the thigh that was sprayed on the head of the watcher while out in the country side.
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Here is the progression of the leg! So after weathering the lower leg, i added the green to the thigh, then painted the remainder of the muscles black, added the gunmetal and silver to the rest of the metal on the thigh, and the accent yellow (which I later made more orange which you'll see later).
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amuelb

Active Member
Once the legs were fully painted and the orange accents updated and I hand cut some vinyl decals to add to the thigh.
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When I was happy with the legs, I moved onto the head. The head was given some warm grey paint to the side of the head and all the accent orange was added. I then fully wired the eye with 50+ leds (half red and half blue) and wired them to a double throw switch so I could alternate between the colours while in the suit.
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amuelb

Active Member
Okay, at this point its going to feel like I'm skipping steps. I was into con crunch time and didn't take the time to get any good photos of the neck build... but basically it was constructed in the exact same way as the tail only on an aluminum parallelogram so enable it to move up and down. For more detailed progress shots/video check my instagram highlight "HZD: Limbs" here.

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Once the neck was mounted on the frame, I could work on the final touches of the body. By this point I only had a few days before my local con.... which did not go as planned, but we will get to that later. Onto the body... starting with the masking, green accent painting, hand cut vinyl decals, and the mounting of the body on the frame.
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amuelb

Active Member
The tail was the next big part to paint.

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Once the body, neck, tail, head and legs were all painted, I was finally able to put it all together. Now, by this point it was the DAY OF THE CON, and I had yet to do a test fitting...

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amuelb

Active Member
So, I went to the convention... and the ENTIRE COSTUME FELL APART within two hours of walking into the convention... But don't worry, it was a good learning experience and I was able to see what I needed to fix before heading to a much larger convention in Montreal.

Back to the drawing board, I made a ton of adjustments to the body, the mounts and the frame to help balance the weight better... I then decided to finish the paint job... We all know a watcher would never be this clean in the wild, and I always planned to weather it but just never had the time.
I used a mix of black, orange, and brown acrylics to add dirt, mud and rust to the nooks and crannies in the suit and then added highlights of silver paint to mimic scratches and chipped paint.

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My cat loved sleeping inside the watcher body while I worked.
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