Halloween Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

8,377 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Note: This is a repost of an old tutorial whose links to pictures were broken with the software update at HF.

Have finally discovered the best use of pneumatic props - as a distraction! Yes, it is counter-intuitive to spend all that time and money making a pneumatic prop just to use as a distraction but today's ToTs are more sophisticated. They look for all the signs of a pneumatic prop so use that to your advantage. All you need here is a ToT taking a second or two hesitation deciding if that pneumatic prop is a real actor. They are set-up to be scared silly with the live actor hiding in the same scene.

This werewolf in the tutorial was the pneumatic distraction for a black light ghillie suit scare that was described in the previous tutorial found here: https://www.halloweenforum.com/threads/blacklight-ghillie-suit-scare.205313/

Please watch the video tutorial for a great overview of how the werewolf was created:

Materials Needed:
Chained rig (custom made by DC Props): http://dcprops.com/
Flow controls (Fright Props Flow Control Union): https://www.frightprops.com/flow-control-union.html
Speed control (Fright Props Speed Control Muffler): https://www.frightprops.com/speed-control-muffler.html
Spider joints (Spider Hill Propworks): http://www.spiderhillpropworks.com/Spider-Joint_p_13.html
Mounting bases (Spider Hill Propworks): http://www.spiderhillpropworks.com/Universal-Mounting-Base-_p_47.html
1" PVC pipe
Self-tapping screws
Zip ties
Duct tape
Chicken wire
2x4 pieces
Wig head
Fake eyes
Thick wire
Costume (Zagone Studios Lone Wolf Costume Kit): https://zagonestudios.com/products/...-gloves-shirt-and-feet?variant=19981901660214

Test Rig Performance (picture 1): Even custom-made rigs may not perform as you were thinking right out of the box. You may have to adjust a myriad of things from the amount of psi needed for the prop all the way to which starting position you want it.

The werewolf's basic design is what is used for a hanging man kicker prop. But, instead of the legs kicking - the arms are convulsing. Out of the box the starting position of the prop was contracted - like the victim was pulling their arms in and therefore raising the body. But, the prop need to look like, in it's resting state, that it was passed out and when the ToTs come in - it wakens and strains against it's chains. So, the air going into double-acting cylinder had to be reversed so when the solenoid was unpowered the air was naturally flowing into the bottom of the air cylinders. When the solenoid was powered - the air was put into the top of the cylinder - then the arms contracted.

Adjust Movement (picture 2): With mechanical devices - you make one change and it will affect another. Throw gravity in and you've got a puzzler. Here was the new problem: when the power was off to the solenoid - the werewolf dropped back down to its resting state like a 2 ton truck - BAM! Way too violent. To fix - the air going into the bottom of the cylinders had to be adjusted so the air was added more slowly to keep the prop from slamming down so fast. You use flow control valves for that. A flow control valve will allow you to turn a little dial to adjust the airflow down to a mere trickle if needed. Here the flow control was dialed down as low as possible. It was better but still needed some adjustments...

Continue to Tweak (picture 3): The battle between gravity and the weight of the rigging was massive so you have one more trick up your sleeve. You can also turn down the amount of escaping air from the top of the cylinders to assist in controlling the drop of the prop. You can use a speed control valve which is similar to a flow control valve but this is used right at a solenoid's ports or a cylinder’s. The combo of flow controls and speed controls help you greatly in controlling your pneumatic rig so you get that realistic movement.

Dress Torso: LIGHTWEIGHT is the key here. The more weight you add to your rigging - the more psi you will need and you don't want that if you can help it. Dress your prop to be realistic but use chicken wire to create form to the chest and also a 'cage' to protect your cylinders. If you need additional bulking you can use batting you get at a fabric store. It's the same stuff you use to add fluff to blankets. Use needle and thread to stitch together.

Add Legs (picture 1): 1" PVC pipe is good for legs and so are Spider Joints for the knees and ankles. The Spider Joints allow a free movement just like real joint. Attach the top of the legs to the rig by drilling a hole in the PVC and then zip-tying them to the rig. Overlap the joint with duct tape to make the connection more secure but still a bit flexible.

Attach a wire spring to the back of each knee so it doesn't hyper extend - looks funny when it does that... heh.

Mounting Bases were used to attach the legs to a piece of 2x4. That way you have a 'foot' that the costume feet can be put on.

Bulk up (picture 2): As you did with the arms - bulk up the legs.

Special Touches: Use a foam wig head spiked onto the neck of the rig and a costume mask for a head. It'll need eyes though so get some fake eyes - poke some wire into the back of them and poke into the holes where the eyes would be in the mask.

Well, there you have it. All this work for a distraction scare. But, it's soooo worth it.

Here’s some additional close-up shots of the rig:

1 - 3 of 3 Posts