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I picked up a skeleton from Spririt the other day, but it is way too cute for my yard. I am looking into converting him into a groundbreaker and would like him to have a greyish corpse look to him similar to the below pictures. I've seen some posts about using plastic wrap and a heat gun to get the corpse like look, but it seems the examples below may have been done with paper mache? I am going for a more dried up look rather than zombie flesh.



any input is appreciated.
 

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The skin is definitely started with shrunken plastic. You can either get painter's drop cloths and wrap em, or figure out which local grocery stores' bags work. But there's a lot of textures added here. And you can get that when adding your base coat of paint. Add sand and sawdust to that base coat. Just like Monster Mud adds texture to fabrics.

Also, don't underestimate your other materials. Hot glue for veins or striations, Great Stuff for filling volume and distorted surfaces, and rubber cement for stretchy effects.

Also, you can really get nasty if you put a wire wheel brush in your drill, and rip up foams of different kinds. Put your base coat of paint on, and while it is still wet, shave foam all over it. Maybe rub it into the paint as well. If you use packaging foam that looks like acoustic or filter foam you can get really cool textures.

And the heat gun can shrink your plastics, but a Harbor Freight soldering tool can be bought for cheap, to melt through your plastic. That can create tears and cracks and injuries to the "flesh" on them. If you want to simulate a broken bone, grab a few branches of the right diameters, break them, then glue them inside the cut bones. Paint em corpse-y!

The big box stores have mistint paints on clearance. Go check to see if they have earth tone and flesh-bone tone paints. The more variations of color, the better the details. Also, get a basic flat black, add some to a squirt bottle, water it down, and spray your corpse to get that antique-ing effect in all the nooks and crannies. Also, shoe polish and old dark wood stains can help pop the details.

Go forth. Create your nitemares! Make good evil!
 

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The second photo is one of Pumpkin Rots ground breakers from a few years back. The first is a knock-off copy. Rot uses simple, inexpensive materials. He typically makes his skeleton frames using rolled newspaper but has switched to tree branches in recent years. The head is formed from cardboard and mache. He originally used a glue/water mixture for his mache but the one shown used paper towels soaked in latex paint and then touched it up with acrylics. Then he uses a urethane sealer to waterproof it. Since you already have a skeleton you can use that as a frame and just mache over it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the pointers. I got started on him last night by first removing the legs as I won't be needing them. Then worked on the pose by using a heat gun and bending his spine a bit.

After that I shrunk a bunch of plastic all over him and followed it up with some latex and paper towel shreds for texture. I think I have him ready for paint now and picked up some earthy green's and tans. I might try mixing it with grey to de-saturate the color a bit as well.
 

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looking great! If I may make a suggestion, do more with the eyes. If you notice in the two pictures you are using as reference, they treated the eyes much like the rest of the body. Paper towel and glue mache' (or TP if you want finer texture) will add a lot to the eye sockets. The eyes are pretty much the first thing people are going to look at, use that knowledge to enhance that feature.
 

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yeah, you are right. I will build up more around the eyes. There is plastic on it, but it still looks too much like a regular skull.
 

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That looks really good. Paint will help bring out all the detail.

I think the foam Bryan316 was talking about is just the white crumbly foam that comes in all sorts of boxes as padding, not the cushiony stuff like in that link.
 
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