DRG's 2015 Halloween Costume Contest Entry - Groot (Completed + Build Photos!)

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DRG

Active Member
I'll put the finished pics up here for the contest entry:

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I'm working on a Groot build (based on the Guardians of the Galaxy film) for Halloween this year and figured I'd start a build thread to share my progress.

I've been working on minor elements of the costume for a few months while now. I'm an over-planner and I really wanted to make as much as this as movie accurate as my skill level will allow, so I've amassed and studied an insane amount of reference photos to the point I probably know what Groot looks like more than James Gunn does! (Okay maybe that's pushing it...) I'm finally to the point where I something to show for all my planning and testing.

I'm making the Groot head out of EVA foam. I decided on a sort of helmet approach. In my early attempts I stuck to the one-piece wraparound face style that alot of the Groot builds seem to use. I drew up a template and made a few test builds, but I just didn't like the way they turned out. Either the head was too cylindrical or the jaw came out too fat. I just wasn't seeing the Groot facial shape in my attempts.

So I scrapped the template I had been working on and had to rethink the head. I bought a cheap action figure and studied the head from multiple angles. The issue seemed to be that Groot's chin and muzzle area has a defined shape and curve, different than his forehead. So I made up a new approach to my template.

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I split out the muzzle so it would reduce the size of the chin and also help naturally create some of the additional 'cheekbone' and brow shapes Groot has (see this effect 2 photos down).

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I made a separate back piece to bridge the front.

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This is how it looked initially put together. I added in shaper pieces behind the brow and chin to help the form along (I can show these if anyone is interested.) Those pieces also help in fitting it to my head... I can address that later. As you can see, I wanted a slightly smiley Groot... he often looks a bit depressing and my favorite moments of him in the film are when he's smiling. :) I also started weathering work on the 'wood' with a dremel sanding head and a hobby knife.

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I decided to make the 'eye pits' separate pieces versus carving/sanding them from the main face. I felt this not only improved the facial structure of the area around the eyes, but also allowed me to better control the depth of the eye pits in comparison to the face.

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Here's how they look from inside the head. Also, you can sort of see the chin piece here.

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Here's how that turned out. I also should note I cut out the bridge area between the eyes and layered it a bit to define the brow ridge.

I've done a bit more inside the head and added a 'top', but those pics aren't ready yet so I'll save them for my next update.

I also had some feet/stilts that were 80% completed, but I decided they were too big and cumbersome (and didn't stay on the feet properly), so I'm starting over on those. Here's what I have done so far on those:

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I'm stacking 2" pink insulation foam and standing out the shape I want. I only got partially done with one and had to stop because the mouse sander made my hand numb! I have plans for what I'll do with my feet and will explain more when I get to that point. I'm only going 8" higher for now because I'll mainly be wearing this inside people's homes and don't want to be taking out light fixtures all night. Plus I'm gaining about 6" up top if you count the highest peak on the head piece. This should get me just under 7 feet in height. The good thing is if I decide I want to add more height I can just cut out a few more layers and tack them on the bottom.
 
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Caydon

New Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

Loving this, keep up the great work, cant wait to see it finished!

-Chris
 
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DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

Thanks Caydon!

So here's another update... the 'skullcap' part of Groot's head. It was been pretty hard to figure out exactly what's going on with the top of Groot's head... clearly there are branches up there, but what else?

Knowing I needed a place for the top of my own head to rest inside the head AND needed something to stick branches in later, I needed a design. The Hot Toys figure just shows it as a jagged branchy mess, but from a few screencaps from the film, I determined there's sort of a brain-like thing in those branches:
brain.jpg

So I used that as my inspiration. Rather than try to design the shape myself, I borrowed the top layer from a Robocop helmet pepakura file (laellee's V1, foam template by gaiatron).

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It was the exact shape and size I needed for my head to rest in. I used the darts in the pattern and tried to disguise them to look like natural tree cracks, then added a bit more 'woody brain' details.

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Here it is mounted in the head. This is also a good shot of my brow shaping piece (EVA with foamboard backing so it holds its shape). This piece does double duty as it also is a forehead rest to better keep my own head in place inside the costume. Last year my Iron Man helmet floated on my head and wasn't secured to my actual head, so I was constantly turning my head inside the helmet and losing alignment with the eye holes. I want to avoid repeating that mistake with this one.

Working on my hand/forearm concept currently, as well as my feet/stilts. I plan on having separate forearm pieces with larger foam hands extending a bit from my own hands (a creature reacher sort of effect) but want my own hands free to grab things. My own hands will be disguised as part of the palm/wrist. I picked up this trick from BobbyFromBUF's Groot build... I used a 'cedar' colored caulk on a brown opera glove and made the wood grainy pattern with a comb.

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I hope to paint these gloves and design the forearm pieces so it looks like my fingers are continuations of the roots that appear in his arm.

I also plan on starting the paint process on the head soon, but want to do a few more tweaks in a few places first.
 

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DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

Update time... I'm working on my concept for my eyes. I found some translucent amber spoons at Party City. You can see through them... it's not perfect vision, but it's something.

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Chopping off the relevant piece.

I did a few tests with the spoons in place. Here they are just duck taped in.

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I love the effect and potentially want to add a pupil with a small circle of window tint, maybe.

The eventual plan is I want to make a removable eyepiece section inside the face... probably have it click in place with magnets. The idea is I can pop it in for pictures and whatnot, but take it out and just have the normal open eyeholes when I have to have better visibility. I also will be wearing eyeglasses inside the head, so whatever plan has to leave me room to allow for that.

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Since I didn't add it before, here is a picture of the chin piece that helps shape the face. The bonus to this piece is when I squeeze my head into place, this chin piece actually helps 'pin' my own head into the mask to enhance the fit.

Got some more work done on my feet, as well.

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Sanding down the second foot. I used the Hot Toys figure as a rough example of the look of the root patterns, but took many liberties to make them practical for walking on.

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Here are the two feet assembled. I used Glidden Gripper paint to attach the layers together (a tip I got from haunters). I've actually did a bit more sanding in a few places since taking this pic.

I built the top layers as three piece sections so I could sand out paths for elastic bands. These bands will go around the top of my shoes.

I'm planning on adding additional foot support to these. I want to add a wraparound ankle straps somehow, as well as add some additional pieces around the toes to sort of keep my feet from doing any side-to-side movement.
 
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mikid

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

I recommand putting some kind of vents holes etv.
In the top otherwise you will sweet badly and burn up..I did in my Thor helmet with Wig and it was not fun afterwords..

- - - Updated - - -

By the way..great work!!!!

- - - Updated - - -

By the way great work!....
 

DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

I recommand putting some kind of vents holes etv.
In the top otherwise you will sweet badly and burn up..I did in my Thor helmet with Wig and it was not fun afterwords..
Oh yeah, I've learned that lesson as well! I only had small eye openings in my Iron Man helmet last year and my head was burning up. So this year where the top 'dome' meets the main head 'loop' is only connected on the sides and rests on the front piece, so there are actually pretty large openings near the back that air can get in. Also the area around my neck is pretty open, although once I do the shirt part I'm not sure if that will stay the same.

I'm actually more concerned about my body since I'll be using a lot of foam insulation. I'm considering using some of those refreezable ice packs inside my costume. Like the flexible sheets you line coolers with?
 

IMIM2

Sr Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

I love this build. Thank you for sharing it

Sent from my HM NOTE 1LTEW using Tapatalk
 

Cormac

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

you might be able to work in a pair of laptop fans into the head if you wanted to add a little air-flow. you'd be able too hide quite a bit up on top of your head since you'll be taller than everyone.
 

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DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

Finally, an update...

Been working on the feet/stilts a bit more. First, I began the color process. Since spray paint eats away at pink foam, I painted the outside with more Glidden Gripper paint, which acts as a primer to the pink foam and allows me to spray paint them without disintegrating the foam.

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I'm using a combination of spray paints plus some cheap acrylics to achieve a sort of natural imbalance of colors. I need to retouch up the black 'shade' lines... they turned out a bit more severe than I wanted.

I need to secure my feet in a bit better, so the first thing I wanted was a heel cup.

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I took an empty cardboard duck tape roll and cut it in half. These rolls are fairly sturdy but still flexible enough for me to maneuver the way I want.

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I traced the edge where I wanted to insert the heel (I spread it out a bit so my actual shoe heel would fit in... it was a bit too narrow at first. Then I dremeled out a notch for the half roll. I used Gorilla Glue to lock them into place.

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Once the Gorilla Glue set, I coated the whole heel in Glidden Gripper paint to add an extra layer of durability, fill any gaps, and seal the cardboard tube from any potential moisture damage. I've also started an ankle wrap system, but I haven't finished that yet.

On to the chest! For my body, I am going a different route than most builds. Instead of a bodysuit, I found a pair of Realtree overalls on clearance and also a Realtree lightweight shirt. The idea is the overalls will have the leg detail, then the shirt with go over the overalls. I plan on adding a zipper to the front of the shirt, and then adding foam and pipe insulation to the back, shoulders, and forearms of the shirt, but not the chest. For the chest I'm doing a removable chestplate of sorts. Think of a baseball umpire's protective chest guard. I want it to attach to the shoulders and sides of the shirt, but be easily removable. The idea is so I can dress myself. It will make more sense when I have it done, hopefully.

The shirt I haven't started, but I got some work done on the chestplate.

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I drew up some patterns on paper and tested them on my torso to make sure the fit is right. Then I cut them out of EVA foam and detailed them with a combination of a Dremel sanding drum, Exacto knife, soldering iron, and a steel brush.

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I then connected them together with a complex system of webbing, mapped out to hopefully achieve the layout of Groot's chest plates. The strap connectors you see on the edges will hopefully connect to straps on the shirt. This way I can take off this chestplate as one big piece and then have easy access to a front zipper to remove the shirt like you would a jacket.

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Some detail of the plates. I hope to add a bit more shading variation on these before I start adding moss.

I've also started sealing the head for painting, and have some back pieces cut. Hope to be done before October starts, but that never seems to work out for me! :0
 

DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

A small update...

Finished the foot bindings on my foam stilt-feet.

First I took some screw eyes and screwed them into the foam. I dipped the screw eyes in Glidden paint first, so they will be anchored in a hardened layer when the paint dries. And yes, the screw eyes are actually very secure in this higher density foam. Even without the paint, they would not pull out of the foam when I screwed them in, but they did shift side to side a bit... but the Glidden paint locks them in. For additional support, I put dollops of hot glue around them.

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Then I cut a length of bungee cord and looped a small buckle piece around each. These tiny buckles are designed for paracord, but work great on this bungee cord. I then ran an end through each screw eye and secured them together with a ziptie.

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I then stretch each side up and clip them together with the buckle. I measured out the bungee cord the perfect length so it holds my foot in but isn't impossible to stretch and clip.

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The process is I put my toe through the elastic loop, slide my foot back until it rests on the heel cup, then clip the ankle bungees together. It actually secures my foot very well.

My next step with the feet is to put EVA 'soles' on the bottoms. I'll be moving on to my legs soon.

I'm in the process of painting the head, adding moss to the chest plates, and working on my forearm concept. More pics soon when I get more done on those elements.
 

DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

Okay, so got some work done on my legs and torso.

I showed the chestplate earlier. So here is the shirt it will attach to.

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Had some help sewing a zipper on the front and a collar added to the neck, then we added the corresponding straps to the chestplate.

So here it is with the chest clipped on:
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It only takes a few seconds to attach, and I will have easy access to the zipper to remove the shirt.

Tonight I will hopefully start attaching the foam 'roots' and other pieces to the shirt itself. I'll also be adding some backing pieces to the chestplate to close up some of the gaps and add some stability to help it flop around a bit less at the bottom. I also need to better conceal the straps and buckles.

I built my lower leg pieces last week. Here they are, in need of a bit more painting:

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I had originally intended to permanently attach these to my pants, but I decided to make them removable so I can 1) better access my feet to put on/remove my stilt feet and 2) have more maneuverability to get in and out of cars with the main suit on. There is a plastic buckle in the back that I hope to connect onto the pant legs with a belt loop, plus I will add another connection by the knees. I will also end up trimming some of this away at the top... I'm waiting to do this until I've done the upper leg portion on the pants so I can line it up a bit.

Also, these legs are designed to sort of correspond with the pattern on the feet stilts. It's not perfect, but it will hopefully be close enough to sell the illusion. The nice thing is these leg pieces will still have a good 'groot leg' look even without the feet, I'll just be a bit shorter. :)
 
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DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

Late September update (just over a month away from the pre-Halloween party I want to have this done by): Finally did some more work on the head.

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I added moss to the peaks and some random areas on the face. I glossed over the process in my last update... I ended up going with a scenery turf... I believe its coarse turf. I had originally purchased clump foliage, but I found it too, well, clumpy and hard to use so I switched to the turf. I used spray mount to stick it on... it seems to be staying on so far.

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I collected some branches and sticks and stuck some of them into the top of my head. I hot glued them in place and dusted the hot glue spots with the 'moss' to try and conceal the hot glue clumps. I also covered some of this top with the moss to hide some of the joints.

I also realized I showed the early work with the pipe insulation in my last post, but hadn't said anything about my process.

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Instead of doing the tissue paper/glue route (messy and loses some of the foam's natural flexibility), I treated the foam tubes themselves by first by making lots of long grain 'scratches' lengthwise along the surface with a hobby knife... preferably not too deep or too clean (a slightly used but not TOO dull blade is perfect for this). I tried to make it random, and occasionally added a few deeper cuts and holes.

Afterwards, I ran over the whole thing with a heat gun. This makes the 'grain' cuts pop, and expands out the crevices and holes in a cool natural way. I also held the heat on certain spots a bit longer to warp the shape to make it less of a perfect cylinder. Just make sure you don't hold it on a spot for so long that the foam melts away into nothing!

Finally, I spray painted the foam tubes directly. I picked a medium brown and tried to get a good coverage that allowed some of the dark grey to still peek through in spots. Then I lightly sprayed some darker brown and khaki paints on top to give it some random bark shading. Keep in mind... the paints I used (mostly Krylon Cover Maxx) did not damage this foam in any way, but I can't vouch for all paints. I've been pre-painting these tubes just so I don't get stuck in a spot where I'm delayed when we have a week of lousy weather.

I've also started gluing tubing on to the shirt itself, but this stuff is tough to work with and this is made tougher by gluing it onto fabric I have it on a duct tape dummy, but the shirt is still baggy and I have to adjust for that. As others have dealt with, hot glue gun in High will melt the foam tubing away, but I'm finding the Low setting isn't giving me enough time to deal with moving, flowing fabric. I think I'm going to adjust my approach and build these foam attachments in sections (sort of like my lower leg pieces, but not detachable like those) mounted on pieces of pliable craft foam (like 3mm), then just gluing those full pieces onto the clothing itself.
 

Jmen

Well-Known Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

:thumbsup
especially painting:thumbsup
 

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DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, it took me quite a few tests to get a paint 'look' I was happy with. The toughest part has been getting it consistent between the different materials, some dark, some light.

New stuff to share... hands! I shared the underglove earlier, but the basic idea is I wanted my actual hands to be free behind the giant Groot hands so I can handle things, open doors, remove costume parts myself, etc.

I had originally planned on making a creature reacher sort of thing, where I had an arm bracer type thing on my forearm, with a giant Groot hand connected to that. I built one this week and -- while the idea kind of worked -- it just didn't look right and it was a pain to actually connect to my arm. Once I realize I was struggling to put ONE on while wearing no other costume parts, I realized the idea wasn't workable. The good news is the build gave me a better idea.

I had actually made the fingers for the first hand attempt, but was able to salvage them to reuse for the second attempt. I wanted them to be bendy so I can pose them as I wish.

steps.jpg

1. I cut some bamboo skewers down to variable finger joint lengths, 3 for each finger, 2 for each thumb.
2. The skewers were duck taped to some craft wire, leaving bending space between each piece.
3. I took some backing rod, sliced an opening along the length, stuck the wire pieces in and 4. hot glued them shut.
5. I took to them with a hobby knife and a little heat gun (not too much as the foam backing rod has a low melting point).
6. I covered them with brown caulk.

The hand itself was made with some EVA foam.

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I cut out the basic shape, then cut a bunch of angled darts to make it curve a bit... especially at the thumb area. I also embedded the fingers into the foam and glued them in.

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I had some toy Iron Man light up bracelet things I picked up on clearance last year to potentially use in my Iron Man build, but they didn't work out. But they were perfect for holding the foam hand onto my wrist.

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I covered the outside with thinner craft foam that I weathered with a wood grain pattern. I glued some jute in places to make the vines. Then I added more caulk everywhere to smooth edges and add some more texture.

Here they are painted.

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Combined with the underglove:

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This sort of conceals my palm, but my hands are still accessible. I have some extra jute there to give me some additional grip, but the thing stays on my wrist with just the Iron Man bracelets even when I'm using my hand outside the jute.

For anyone following, I'm hoping to have some more of the body work done soon. I have about 3 weeks at this point!
 

Jmen

Well-Known Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, it took me quite a few tests to get a paint 'look' I was happy with. The toughest part has been getting it consistent between the different materials, some dark, some light.

New stuff to share... hands! I shared the underglove earlier, but the basic idea is I wanted my actual hands to be free behind the giant Groot hands so I can handle things, open doors, remove costume parts myself, etc.

I had originally planned on making a creature reacher sort of thing, where I had an arm bracer type thing on my forearm, with a giant Groot hand connected to that. I built one this week and -- while the idea kind of worked -- it just didn't look right and it was a pain to actually connect to my arm. Once I realize I was struggling to put ONE on while wearing no other costume parts, I realized the idea wasn't workable. The good news is the build gave me a better idea.

I had actually made the fingers for the first hand attempt, but was able to salvage them to reuse for the second attempt. I wanted them to be bendy so I can pose them as I wish.

View attachment 534869

1. I cut some bamboo skewers down to variable finger joint lengths, 3 for each finger, 2 for each thumb.
2. The skewers were duck taped to some craft wire, leaving bending space between each piece.
3. I took some backing rod, sliced an opening along the length, stuck the wire pieces in and 4. hot glued them shut.
5. I took to them with a hobby knife and a little heat gun (not too much as the foam backing rod has a low melting point).
6. I covered them with brown caulk.

The hand itself was made with some EVA foam.

View attachment 534870 View attachment 534871

I cut out the basic shape, then cut a bunch of angled darts to make it curve a bit... especially at the thumb area. I also embedded the fingers into the foam and glued them in.

View attachment 534872

I had some toy Iron Man light up bracelet things I picked up on clearance last year to potentially use in my Iron Man build, but they didn't work out. But they were perfect for holding the foam hand onto my wrist.

View attachment 534874View attachment 534875View attachment 534876

I covered the outside with thinner craft foam that I weathered with a wood grain pattern. I glued some jute in places to make the vines. Then I added more caulk everywhere to smooth edges and add some more texture.

Here they are painted.

View attachment 534878View attachment 534879

Combined with the underglove:

View attachment 534880View attachment 534881

This sort of conceals my palm, but my hands are still accessible. I have some extra jute there to give me some additional grip, but the thing stays on my wrist with just the Iron Man bracelets even when I'm using my hand outside the jute.

For anyone following, I'm hoping to have some more of the body work done soon. I have about 3 weeks at this point!
I like your project. Really impressive work. Best regards:thumbsup
 

DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

With just one week to go, finally an update!

The shirt ended up be trickier to deal with than expected. I showed the short earlier, but the fabric just didn't take well to pieces being hot glued onto it. So I devised a new approach.

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I bought some burlap 'ribbon' and went to work on the arms first. I wrapped them onto the sleeves with rubber bands just to get the rough form to work with.

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I began gluing pieces onto this ribbon but tried to avoid it actually sticking to the shirt itself for now.

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Forearm detail. What I did afterward is I attached the burlap-backed arm pieces onto the shirt with zipties. This allowed me to make adjustments with fit and helped the shirt retain its 'movement. I had to separate the upper arm from the forearm because burlap has no give, so I'm now in the process of covering the gap between the two with a twine 'skirt, which you'll see later. Thankfully I used a Realtree camo shirt so it still mostly works.

I also used the burlap technique for the back and shoulders.

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A quick shot of one of the shoulders. You can see some stuff glued to the neck... this didn't stay. I didn't account for the fact I'm not a giraffe so had to scrap the foam collar I had planned. Plan B solution is in the works.

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Here is the progression of the work on the back. I went through quite a few hot glue sticks to get this all done! It looks a little long because this is supposed to actually drape over the butt area, so I can leave the back of my overalls open to keep pockets usable.

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And here are the overalls. The only permanently affixed pieces will be the thigh pieces. I put these on first and the shirt pieces

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The lower leg pieces I showed earlier attach to the pant legs with carbiners and clips. This still needs some adjustment as it doesn't sit quite right around the feet (my toes aren't supposed to be sticking out) and there's a bit too much 'collision' between the thighs and lower legs when I walk.

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Some detail on the right thigh. I saw a cool knot detail in the Groot movie reference pics and wanted to emulate that here.

So to explain the process here... the overalls go on first, then I attach the stilt feet while I still have flexibility. Next I attach the lower leg pieces to the pants. Then I put on the undergloves, put on the shirt/jacket, zip it up, and click on the chestplate with the buckles. I put on the head, then slip my hands into the Groot hands. At least this is how I *hope* it will work. :)

I still need to detail out a lot of pieces, and hopefully I can figure out my eye lens situation. All in turn it has turned out more or less how I hoped... it's a bit more 'stocky' than I wanted and some of the proportions are way off, but since I'm not build like an NBA center there's only so much I can do about that. ;)
 

DRG

Active Member
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

Getting closer... the shirt/torso piece is pretty much done now, aside from a some last minute cleanup/detailing.

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Here is the front, with the chestplate buckled on. You can see the twine fringe I added to give something of a transition between the upper arm and forearm parts. It's not quite movie accurate, but after Iron Man last year I wanted more mobility this year.

You may notice the hands dangling from the sleeves like kid's mittens clipped onto a winter jacket. Previously I had the hands clip onto my wrists, which worked okay by themselves. But when I tried them on with the thicker sleeve I ran into problems. The foam on the forearms kept knocking the hands off my wrists, unless I had the forearms riding up higher on my arms, which limited my mobility. So I doctored the hands by taking out the wrist clips, cutting about 2 inches off the wrist side (so it's just hand), and adding in small plastic buckles to make them detachable from my arms if needed.

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Here is a closeup of the back right shoulder. You'll see a little elastic band thing.

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I decided to have a plush Rocket ride along on my shoulder. I had originally considered making my own more realistic Rocket, but I just ran out of time and wanted to prioritize the actual costume. Still, I think it works as a detail.

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I also added more moss detail to the shoulders and other areas.

I'm almost done now. I'm cutting up the lower leg pieces I created earlier to make them more 'walking friendly'. I'm omitting the inner leg parts, and possibly the back, then separating the fronts/shins from the outside legs, Not sure if this makes sense, but I'll put up pics later of what I'm talking about.
 

mikid

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: Groot - 2015 Halloween Build Progress Thread (with Photos!)

nice progress...
 

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