Harry Potter: COS Tubby Mandrake Root : WIP

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Sr Member
Hello RPF!

I've been teasing this prop for a while in my Skele-Gro run thread, and I'm finally ready to show my work!
I've loved this prop foe a long time, and always had it at the top of my list to recreate! It came in handy too, as I've working to add to my sculpting portfolio, and get away from hardware work for a while.

Ron plucking the hero prop, note the cables running through his sleeve, as the fabric is obviously being tugged downward


As far as I've been able to tell, there are two hero varieties of this prop, a skinny and a fat version. and they appear to be either rod puppets, mechanical puppets, or both. They're yucky looking, gigantic, and freaking awesome! I laughed out loud pretty hard the first time I saw them on screen, and have always thought they were one of the better practical effects in the series. Here's a few great shots I scrounged from the internet, including a great photo of the hero chub.

Ron holding what I believe is a stunt version? Different root placements, leaves, and I can't seem to find a cable

Hero Mandrake on display at a show, see the rod/cable running up the back into the head, concealed with standard craft store mosses. Too bad that amazing three-four color paint job is on screen

Skinny hero with exposed mechanics. Looks like they ran on servos!! wigglewigglewiggle!

I wanted to knock this sculpt out fairly quickly, and since the shapes are so odd, I wanted to do it in stages. I started with the main body and head, with the main 'roots' of the arms mated into the torso. I choose to use basic water based clay, for two reasons; it forces you into sculpting quickly, and I'm cheap. Over a relaxing weekend in March at HorrorHound Cincy I sat at our Ghostbusters booth and cranked out the main sculpt. Most folks thought it was Slimer! Kane Hodder of Friday the 13th fame was next to us, and kept dogging me for being weird (we had a blast trading barbs, cool dude). By Sunday, the sculpt was losing moisture, and the top roots cracked and broke, but they were incorrectly sculpted anyway, so no loss.

One lump

Two lumps

It's a . . .potato?

Once the body was completed, and the other appendage choices were made and set, I made a quick jacket mold of the little guy so I could have a light resin body to add the rest of the arms, legs, and top roots.

Not really trying to hard on the top and legs, just sizing them up

No more screams!

He came out great on the first try, and with some light hot water plastic, I was able to make great twisty arms and legs and top roots. Once those were set, I was able to finish the sculpt, adding various warts, bumps, veins, knots, and more to the final sculpt.

Brown resin on the head under the primer coat, WED clay over the plastic frame on roots, arms, and legs

I like root butts, I can not lie . . .

Made the big mold, and got on really nice casting out in resin so I can trouble shoot everything before moving to the more expensive rubbers and foams!

He's huge, check out the 14" Skele-Gro behind him!!

Love all the great textures going on!!


Finding the correct leaves to cut down was a minor challenge, and took a few trips to the craft stores, and once found, I scored a nice big batch online. You'll notice in the film photos that the leaves are cut down from larger leaves (you can follow the creasing in the leaves pattern) and repainted. Not a challenge.
More to come on that!

Roots on the arms and legs will be made from heated and stretched plastic, no big trick there. I'll use a little floral tape, filler, and flocking to blend the attachment points.

More to come as I finish him up today!! And yessss, we'll be selling this cutey!

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Sr Member
Added the roots, and was astonished to discover the plastic is translucent!! YESSSSS!

Gave him a light base coat of yellow brown, a dry brushing of light brown, then a fun drop coat (sprayed from above about 3 feet) of dark green, then I accented with light green, and washed in burnt umber. Final touches of light orange and dark orange!!

I'll be trimming and painting the leaves here shortly, but I won't add them or the flocking until I can get up to the craft store to get the right dirt color. Once he's flocked, the top leaves are on and he's done!

I'll be creating a small base with a looping pushbutton switch for the squeal!!! Get 'em while they're hot!


Sr Member
Nice! Can you advice me about sculpting? I'm new to clay modelling. What clay to use in different kind of props and what's difference in clays. What's better - fimo or polymer clay? Wet clay or kaolin clay etc. Thank you.

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Sr Member
I really can't, as it's something you just have to dive into. All those clays are used for different things, and each takes years to learn. For myself, I'm a cheap ass, so I stick with wet clays, and personal wax/sulfur free clay mixes for my own stuff.
Start small, and get bigger!
The more stuff you screw up, the better!
Post, ask, repeat!!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Sr Member
that's so true.
you never know what will work for you until you try it and see if you like it.
you end up burning up some money trying to learn all this stuff but i think of it as "tuition".
there really isn't any short cuts i can think of for creating things.
all you can do is go for it and master one thing at a time, then move on to the next until you know how to do many things.
it is good however to ask people who are good at the stuff you're trying to learn....this way they can tell you "what not to do"...this will save you a ton of time learning it the hard way .


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