Leonardo WIP (Custom design)

FuzzyDrawings

Active Member
Hello! Thought I'd start sharing progress on a custom TMNT build. This involves a TON of stuff that I'm learning as I go. There's been a ton of misteps, but a lot of new knowledge and has been a blast. I subscribed to stanwinstonschool.com and that's been a pretty big help. The design of Leo will be inspired by various things I like about both the original 90's film and the new films; not necessarily exact details, but concepts and ideas. I've got a LONG way to go, but here's where I'm at now. Any suggestions and critiques are 110% welcome!

The Body Suit
I originally considered doing a full body sculpt and casting in foam rubber, but quickly decided that the cost (and my apartment) wouldn't make that feasible. So, I decided to take a cue from the costumers over at predatorium.com and make a muscle suit covered in latex. Using a duct tape dummy, I created a mannequin out of polyfoam. Muscles are being carved out of upholstry foam, covered in spandex, and then stitched to a spandex body suit. Once the muscle suit is completed, that will be covered in another layer of spandex to act as "skin". This skin layer will be covered in thin latex where I'll add textures and paint. The boundary between this muscle suit and latex gloves will be covered by leather wraps and accessories, so I'm not concerned about the differences (yet, haha!)

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Hands and Feet
My foam and spandex method won't work for the hands and feet, so I'm casting them in (foam?) latex. I initially planned on simple latex rubber, but really don't like the way the gloves "bend", so I'll likely cast them in foam latex (which means learning how to cast in foam latex!). I haven't sculpting anything in over a decade, and was never very good, but I've been watching a lot of videos from the Stan Winston School, and that's helped a lot. I've gone through a few sculpts of the hands, and made a few test pulls of latex to figure out the process. The hands are sculpted in Monster Clay on top of a life cast of my hands. I wasn't sure what position of my hands would be best, so I did two kinds. I prefer the slightly cupped position (for the latex rubber casting at least).

As for the feet, I'm considering taking a cue from the Bay films and making "shoes/sandals". This would cut down on time and cost for sculpting feet, and will also hold up better for conventions.

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Mask
The mask will be a simple latex mask and is sculpted in WED clay. I'm doing something different, however, by making the eyes my eyes, so the head has to be sculpted to accommodate that - a more recognizable 90s era design won't work here. With that in mind, I opted to lean in the Bay films' direction. But I had some major issues with creating a mold (I'm pretty terrible at making molds), so I'll be taking another stab at it since the sculpt was destroyed. The first scuplt is a pretty neutral expression, so I think I'll try for something a little more dynamic next (this was actually the very first thing I tried sculpting for this project, so I guess I was afraid to do anything dynamic). I feel more comfertable now, however, and am thinking about sculpting an expression that pays tribute to the O.G. toy line.

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Shell
I haven't done any work on the shells yet aside from some concept designs below (I'm thinking something between E and F). I'm likely going to carve the front shell out of eva foam. I'm thinking of using the last of my polyfoam to create the back shell, but I'm still mulling over how the back shell will be attached both to my body and to the "side" pieces that wrap around to the front shell. Anyone have any ideas?

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Weapons
I found some really nice polypropylene katanas online. I painted them with acrylics and liquid leaf. The blade shown below was covered in aluminum tape, the look of which I loved, but there was an unforeseen problem: since the blade can be warped, this causes very ugly wrinkles in the tape that can't be fixed. This is unacceptable, so I will be experimenting with paints that will give me a similar look instead.

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Painting
The costume will be painted with an airbrush (thinned rubber cement and oil paints), so I have to learn how to airbrush! I picked up some simple equipment and with the help of some tutorials, started playing around. Below is one of my test gloves, which I'm using to experiment with. This is by no means the final paint style I'll be going with; I was just getting used to the airbrush and playing with colors and techniques, but I was pleased with how it came out.

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Welp, that's all I got for now. Thanks for taking a peek!
 

George

Sr Member
Hi Fuzz,

great work so far ! Big fan of the 90's Turtles,so I will be following this build.
With regard to the shield and chest: I remember seeing patterns on Pepakura.eu and Onekura.com
I hope that helps.Good luck !
 

FuzzyDrawings

Active Member
A small update. I was getting tired of carving foam, so I decided to do a quick test to see how the spandex "skin" would look. Even though I just quickly tossed it on a single arm, I'm surprised with how well I like it. I'll be sewing it down in a few spots to give the muscles some definition, but it doesn't look too bad. Seeing the skin on top of the muscles also helps me see where I want to adjust the shape of a few things, but it's nothing to bad. For those who may wonder, I chose red in case the final painted latex rips anywhere, it'll look like more like a battle wound than a costume malfunction.

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FuzzyDrawings

Active Member
Another testing update while I wait for some supplies to be shipped.

I still have the original mold mold for my first mask attempt. I figured it'd be a good idea to do a test pull so I can sculpt smarter for the next version. A few notes:

1) The sculpt is too big. The chin goes nearly to the base of my neck, even after shrinkage.
2) I ventured too close to the Michael Bay version. The next sculpt will be closer to the original (but still trying to get a "realistic" look.
3) The latex mask is far too flimsy. I didn't expect it to be as bad as it is. I imagine that I can try dwelling the latex longer, but I don't think that'll be enough. Does anyone have any tips for making latex masks sturdier?

I also decided to practice some more with airbrushing. I thought about painting scales, but I think I like the more human-like skin look more. Since I'm new to airbrushing/latex mask painting, I have have a few points I'd appreciate any thoughts on:

1) I have a dual action airbrush, but am having a hard time getting fine-line control. Any tips?
2) For a top coat, I used Liquidtex Matte Medium, but it is still far too glossy for my liking. Are there any other variants I could try? I want the skin to be pretty flat like real skin, with only a few spots of gloss to give a "sweaty" look here and there.

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logan74k

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Cool project. For the mask maybe you can use a helmet inside to give some structure to the top of the head. Alternatively, have you considered casting the masks in a Urethane rubber? Something like https://www.smooth-on.com/products/pmc-121-30-dry/. You can choose the durometer or build up the thickness to whatever you want to increase rigidity.
 

FuzzyDrawings

Active Member
Cool project. For the mask maybe you can use a helmet inside to give some structure to the top of the head. Alternatively, have you considered casting the masks in a Urethane rubber? Something like https://www.smooth-on.com/products/pmc-121-30-dry/. You can choose the durometer or build up the thickness to whatever you want to increase rigidity.
I'm not very familiar with urethane (this is my first attempt with latex), but I'll certainly check it out!
 

PropReplicator2

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You have done an absolute BEAUTIFUL job with this so far!!! I'm loving the mash-ups between designs an concepts of this build. Keep it up!
 

FuzzyDrawings

Active Member
You have done an absolute BEAUTIFUL job with this so far!!! I'm loving the mash-ups between designs an concepts of this build. Keep it up!
Thank you so much! I haven't been able to work on it too much, but I'm currently off work for two weeks while I recoup from surgery; I'm hoping I can (slowly and carefully) work some more.
 

FuzzyDrawings

Active Member
So surgery recovery has been rougher than I expected and I haven't been able to do much of anything, but I've been thinking about this costume a lot. One thing in particular is the possibility of making the mouth open and close (with my jaw). Is this something I could do with th latex? Does anyone have any tips or ideas for how I could do this simply?
 

George

Sr Member
All I can think of is make a(n aluminum?) framework/brace that connects and responds to your jaw.
A speedy recovery !
 

FuzzyDrawings

Active Member
An update! Finally!

After being out for surgery, I finally felt good enough to work on this again. I've got the muscle suit pretty much complete and started work on the front shell. Here's a quick shot of me in everything so far. The glove and mask are still the prototypes and the belt is just a regular one off my floor, but seeing things start to come together is really cool! I might actually have this done for Awesome Con.

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- - - Updated - - -

All I can think of is make a(n aluminum?) framework/brace that connects and responds to your jaw.
A speedy recovery !
Thanks! I'm feeling much better now. Yeah, I've been thinking about doing something like that. I plan on playing around with some ideas here soon.
 
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