Static: Chuck the Dragon
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  1. #1

    Default Chuck the Dragon

    Chuck the Dragon
    Hey everyone, meet Chuck! He's just a WIP right now, but I'll be documenting whatever progress pictures I take as I piece this beast together.

    The story here is a long one...so I'll wrap it in spoiler tags so it doesn't muck up this thread.


    ...and that's how Chuck came to be.

    He's being built in two parts: the upper jaw/head and the lower jaw. I want them to be able to open and close like a mouth would...but that's WAYYY down the line.

    Chuck started as just a pile of cardboard with some china marker scribbles. I drew the rough outline while loosely following ScareFactory's shape, trying to figure out where the eyes would go once he got some dimension. You can only barely make out the straight lines in black pen that would be cut along:


    I knew I was going to be layering sheets of cardboard to build up the "skeleton" of Chuck. The first piece was a double-thick layer of cardboard with hot glue between the sheets for reinforcement. Then I took some thick cardboard tubing and glued them down before adding the next layer.


    Second & third layer before and after joining:






    At this point, he looked more like Charizard But I figured I had a decent enough of a start to begin adding some smaller detail pieces.


    I needed a smaller gap between the detail pieces, so I opted for scraps of cardboard folded over on themselves and glued down instead of the tubing.


    With a couple details added, I re-drew the facial features so I knew what to build up next.




    I was pretty sloppy with the glue here, but that's ok. No one will ever know! ...except for you folks.


    Sorta just going with my gut for most of this project. I have never done anything like it, and certainly not at this size to boot. From "nose" to "horn" (it looks like an ear), he measures 48".


    This dragon is T H I C C.

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  3. #2

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    Awesome start on the dragon! Sorry to hear about the difficulty you had trying to purchase one. Hope this turns out well for you.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
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    Oh cool... I LOVE using scrap stuff like cardboard to build with. This is looking REALLY good and I can see it's going to be epic!
    I'm a Halloween Bride! 10/31/2002

    Where there is no imagination there is no horror.
    ~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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  6. #4

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    Chuck the Dragon
    Quote Originally Posted by DeadSideshow View Post
    Awesome start on the dragon! Sorry to hear about the difficulty you had trying to purchase one. Hope this turns out well for you.
    Thank you so much! Yes, the attempted purchase was just nonsensically ridiculous. Everything you read about ScareFactory on Yelp, the BBB, Haunt Vendor Review...everywhere, it's all true. I said I wouldn't be the guy who would badmouth the company publicly, but it's just that bad.

    Between the last picture and this next one, several hours elapsed and I didn't take any pictures, so....oops! I'll do my best to fill in what the process was.


    I started by taking newspaper and filling in the lower layers of the head and face. I would roll up sheets and then lay in some hot glue and press down. Many burns ensued. I wanted to get the area between the nostrils and what would be the front tip of the jaw shaped, and I realized that it would have a VERY round snout. Another oops...but something I would have to just deal with. It looks rather blunt as opposed to the aggressively pointed look I was going for. I decided to move on and then shape the nose/nostrils with foil, and then moved back and did the eyes and brows. Again, more newspaper rolled up, glued and taped down, and then covered in foil and shaped into...shape?

    Little horns were added along the bridge of the nose up to the eyes as I went along. The masking tape I bought had VERY little adhesion, so I pretty much stopped using it and just used lots and lots and lots and LOTS of hot glue. I have copious amounts of hot glue sticks thankfully, so I'm not too concerned. However, foil acts as a heat conductor, so holding the foil in my hand and slopping hot glue into it pretty much burned my palms into submission. Did I learn? Nope. WEAR GLOVES PEOPLE.


    More foil work to try and reshape the snout.


    Once I had the front of the face in place, it was time to fill in the rest of the pockets with newspaper. That would then get covered with kraft paper, over which paper mache will be applied later on.

    Another big lapse in picture-taking here, so work with me...

    Two of the biggest concerns I had thus far were -
    1: The "horns" I envisioned for the back of the head just kept looking more and more like ears. So I made some additional horns out of newpaper, tape and foil, then creatively glued them down and propped them up. Then more glue. So much glue, good grief (BUY A GOOD GLUE GUN!).


    And 2: First thing my boyfriend said when he looked at it was "aww it's so cute!" So, that was a bit defeating....cute wasn't the goal. Then I realized I was basically making a giant Spyro the Dragon head. Chuck wasn't supposed to be cutesy, so I went in and reshaped the eyes, trying to give it a more menacing appearance.


    He was getting there... I had a couple red LED's laying around, so I ran some wire and a 9v battery to give this fella some glowing eyes.




    Now who's cute?

    At this point, I was pretty happy with how the top half turned out. The lower jaw was the next piece of this puzzle, and I realized I was a damn fool because I didn't think to measure out how big the lower jaw should be! I had already started to shape out some gums, too. Oy. Had to make it up on the fly again. I still had the "negative" template from when I cut out the first piece of cardboard, so I used that as a rough guide to size and made another one just a wee bit smaller.

    Built in the same fashion, just not as tall. Double layer glued together, then tubing, then more layering to get the rough shape.


    There's a short wall of cardboard lining the rim of this jaw, onto which I rolled up more paper and foil to create the shape of gums. Also gave him a chin and some accent horns behind the jawline and at the very back to match the upper jaw horns.


    A very lame picture of the two halves near each other. Also, yes, our place is a mess. The living room has been in a state of transition since....Christmas? I guess that's why the tree is still up - after a couple weeks (and then months) of not taking it down, you just forget it's there


    The great thing about this project so far is, aside from foil, kraft paper, and masking tape, I already had materials or got them for next to nothing! I think I'm only $50 in on this project so far. Not bad for a 4 foot long dragon head.

    Methinks the next step would be paper mache! Or should I make teeth first and then mache over them? Anything I should change before paper mache? Looking to the experts here for input! I will say that I'm probably going to do the shop towel and wood glue mache for this particular piece, though. Need it to be really rugged as it will be used as an actor prop and touched a lot.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    South Ogden, Ut
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    Chuck the Dragon
    I'd strongly suggest looking at Mr Chickens "mache" over the wood glue version.

    www.AnUnorthodoxHalloween.com

    Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Looks great. YouTube has a ton of how-to videos regarding scales, teeth and horns just search "paper mache dragon heads". Also take a look at www.gourmetpapermache.com; there's one artist that specializes just in dragon heads. I recommend making and installing the eyes and teeth first. Then apply the mache around the eye sockets and mouth working outwards. For mache I would recommend using 50/50 Elmers Glueall / water. Make sure to use glueall and not school glue as the school glue will disintegrate when it comes in contact with water. You can use paper towels (shop towels) for most of the mache work and cotton t-shirts or linen for the areas that required a "stretched" skin appearance. After the mache is dry cover the teeth and eyes with painters tape and spray the entire prop with primer. Then you can apply coats of acrylic paint for the final coloring.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    Looking great!

    “Now who’s cute”? LOL

  10. #8

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    Great progress already and thanks for all the photo. Definitely be checking back to see him come to life.

  11. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie's Girl View Post
    Oh cool... I LOVE using scrap stuff like cardboard to build with. This is looking REALLY good and I can see it's going to be epic!
    I always thought cardboard would be such a pain to deal with...but it's quite nice! I ended up buying a "special" cardboard cutter. It's just a serrated ceramic knife, but it slices through the sheets like butter.

    Quote Originally Posted by UnOrthodOx View Post
    I'd strongly suggest looking at Mr Chickens "mache" over the wood glue version.
    Thank you! I'm such a klutz with just about any liquid... at least I can clean up the glue with warm water. Latex paint, yikes! I'm bound to spill and ruin something. I opted NOT to use the wood glue, though, and bought a gallon of traditional Elmer's.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Skeleton Crew View Post
    Looks great. YouTube has a ton of how-to videos regarding scales, teeth and horns just search "paper mache dragon heads". Also take a look at www.gourmetpapermache.com; there's one artist that specializes just in dragon heads. I recommend making and installing the eyes and teeth first. Then apply the mache around the eye sockets and mouth working outwards. For mache I would recommend using 50/50 Elmers Glueall / water. Make sure to use glueall and not school glue as the school glue will disintegrate when it comes in contact with water. You can use paper towels (shop towels) for most of the mache work and cotton t-shirts or linen for the areas that required a "stretched" skin appearance. After the mache is dry cover the teeth and eyes with painters tape and spray the entire prop with primer. Then you can apply coats of acrylic paint for the final coloring.
    I got a lot of my mache ideas from that very man! I think I mentioned him in one of my above posts...his cloth mache idea is great. I bought some clearance fabric from Walmart to tear up and use after the first layer of paper mache dries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost of Spookie View Post
    Great progress already and thanks for all the photo. Definitely be checking back to see him come to life.
    Thank you! I should hopefully have progress pics weekly.

    This evening I began my first layer of paper mache with newspaper, Elmer's glue (the school glue kind - cheap to get a gallon of it!) and warm water. I initially thought I wanted to use shop towels and wood glue, but I was talked out of the latter half of that. I started with the lower half of the jaw, and did one side with newspaper and the other side with shop towels. I'll probably end up going over everything with another layer of shop towels, but I wanted to experiment a bit since this is the first mache project I will have ever done

    Some of you were right about foil being a difficult surface for mache to stick to....I will have to figure something out for the top jaw, which is primarily foil!

    I also started to make some teeth out of white Model Magic. I thought about polymer clay, but I'm going for cost-conscious here. I know about some of the drawbacks to Model Magic, so I'll figure out a way to deal with the eventual cracking and shrinking...probably coat it in something once they're dry to the touch.

    I'll get pictures in the morning.

  12. #10
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    Depends on your surface types, obviously, but I've found paint one of the easiest things to clean. Just let dry and peel off.
    www.AnUnorthodoxHalloween.com

    Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

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