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Discussion Starter #1
I started this thread over on the HauntForum a while back to chronicle my progress on this project and figured you all might like it as well, so I'm copying my posts of the progress. Some of the comments might be a little out of context, but I will be updating as I continue building, so bear with me!

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My overly-ambitious idea for my haunt this year is to make two life-size weeping angel statues, like from the Doctor Who episode "Blink". I plan on having one in a "passive" posture, the other in "attack" posture.



 

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Discussion Starter #2
Firstly, I coated a mannequin with a light spray of silicone to make the demolding process go easier.



The first layer of paper mache was put on with a simple glue + water mixture, again to make demolding work easier. I found the combination of silicone on the form and this lighter first pasting worked fairly well when I did this with skulls.



Note: I hate working inside on this, my table is a lot lower than my usual workbench and it's murder on my back. :eek:

Second layer is applied using a more regular paste, as defined by Stolloween.



Something about applying the paper mache on such a realistic female figure makes me want to not have the kids in the room...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I figured three layers was enough for my skulls, it should be enough for my body. Not quite. Not only was it too floppy, but I didn't put enough silicone on the fiberglass form to act as a release. A lot of the paper stuck, leaving void areas... :eek:


Coming off in chunks...


Ready to assemble


Mostly finished assembling. Need more tape...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Fallen Angel, statue. A prop barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild her. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the haunts's first weeping angel statue. She will be that statue. Better than she was before. Better, taller, scarier.
After purchasing new making tape, Angel1 has been put back together. Humpty Dumpty has risen anew!



Now to reinforce what I've done, first layer will be mache'd with the paper from grocery bags. This will add the desired stiffness.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
After getting 5 layers on, I realized that to get the internal structure I want to support everything, I need to so major surgery.

So, I am starting a new body shell, with the first layer being Aluminum foil to avoid the whole sticking problem.



The first shell I made is going to be used to find the measurements I need, by slicing it apart into sections and measuring the inside diameter and shape (torso, hips, shoulders, etc). Once I got the structure put together, when I pull the new one off the mannequin, I will have something for it to wrap around.

The original one, I figure, I can put back together and use for a different project, maybe another witch, or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Taking a break from mache. I got foam insulation to start on the wing template. Turns out the lady I spoke with at Lowe's was also a Haunter, so I recommended the site to her! She was very helpful when I explained what I was doing...

They cut the 4'x8' foam into 4 - 2'x4' chunks for me to fit in my van. Very nice of them.

Drew on the rough outline of the wing on one block after gluing 2 pieces together (styrofoam glue, must read directions next time!). There is no real good pattern for the wing that I could find. Had to find stills from that Doctor Who episode to guide me...



I did a rough cutout with a hand saw with the idea to make my own foam cutter to do the rest. Didn't end well, the wall wart kept over-heating. Ended up using my band-saw, which worked well.



Here is my daughter trying them on for size. Pay no attention to the man behind the Angel!



My son and I worked at hallowing out the front part of one of the wings. The idea being to make the shaped curved, being about the thickness of one panel when alls said and done.



And here it is, curved fairly nicely. All I need now is to get the attach-point to match the curve of the shoulder blade and to detail in the feathers. Have to make that detail fairly bold to be visible when done in paper-mache.



The dog-deshedder works very well shaping the foam, BTW.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Moving forward on the wings, I covered one of the wings with Aluminum foil last night.





This took about 2 hours and a sore back. The foil is the act as a barrier between the wing templates and the paper mache, but I'm thinking there has to be a better way. Before falling asleep last night, I thought about simply covering the foam with a good coat of furnature wax. Anything try anything like this? This wax is a paste you buff into wood to give a nice finish without having to shellac or varnish. It might work to prevent the paper mache paste from sticking to the template.

Note: Furniture wax doesn't work...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was able to finish papering one of the wings earlier in the week, and demolded it. Adding the foil to the inside made the job of seperating the paper from the form trivial. I tried to tape it together, but it was still too moist and the tape wouldn't hold. I'll let it dry out more before trying again.

Some of the detail on the wing kinda got lost from the papering, but I figure I will re-emphasize the "feathers" with some paper-mache clay later on.

Note: At this point, I should have put the shell back on the form to dry. Drying by itself encouraged warping which became a hassle later...



Finally demolded the body form from earlier. Again, the foil made this job easier. I cut it off in a way that I didn't have to cut inside the "crotch", and as a result, I was able to get it off in one piece. The paper was still moist after all these weeks, due to the moisture being trapped inside next to the foil. This, too, will need to dry before I can tape it together.



First step after demolding was peeling off the foil. On the body form, since I used some heavy-duty aluminium, I was able to reuse some of it when I re-foiled the mannequin to start the 2nd angel body.

Note of caution: Don't leave any paper-mache wings outside of the garage when rain is due... :p
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Still working on getting the base layers of paper mache on all the wings. I have a half a wing and a full wing yet to go.

After putting on a coat of mache on a wing, I had time, so I put together the torso's with tape, then covering them with paper-mache. Masking tape is not the stickiest in the world, so I had to work quickly...



I also figured out how to get a uniform cut line so that I can seperate the top halves of the torso from the bottoms. I'm using scrap foam to hold a marker even. I tried it out on the original mannequin and it seemed to work just fine.



 

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Discussion Starter #12
Started the assembly of the wings. I'm lining the edges of one side with cardboard, using regular office staples to attach strips to the wing. This adds rigidity and helps guild the two halves together. Then I am adding cardboard zigzags to help support the sides inside and stuffing the top part with newspaper.





I had the idea of using heavy foam board at the spot that will attach the wing to the body, but now I'm thinking of replacing that with wood and securing that with expanding foam insulation. Also, I want to run aluminum strips from that wooden block to the far edges of the wings, rather like bones, and using pop rivets to secure the metal to washers on the outside of the paper. I need to build up the wing's outsides to add details anyhow, so I can use that to hide the washers and rivets.

Note: I later aborted using the foam block and switched to wood. Wood was a MUCH better anchor for the peg system I devised later in the process...


My daughter's hand, not mine...
 

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Assembled all the wing halves into whole wings. An interesting challenge as the humidity didn't want to let the tape stick. I inserted and glued down a chunk of wood at the point the wings will be attaching to the bodies, then pumped in expanding foam insulation around the wood and at different spots to help give it rigidity.







 

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I finished up the interior infrastructure of the Angel bodies. I had sliced each body form at the hip using a laser level as a guide. I had to mark where the laser was the brightest, since these bodies curved in unusal ways. If I had tried to follow the line of the level, when I rotated the body for a new area to mark, the line would shift due to the curve. Only marking the center, brightest spot along the line actually made a useful mark. In this case, a simple laser pointer might have been more efficient...





After slicing the bodies, I used 1" boards to seal up the various openings, such as the bottom of the legs, the arm holes, neck hole and at the cut locations on both sides of the waists. Before totalling enclosing, I added vertical boards to the legs to take up the weight and distribute it between the top and bottom boards. I kinda did the same for the torso, using a 2x4 board that went from the neck to the bottom board. I also added horizontal 1" boards across the back, so that there would be something solid for the wings to attach to.



 

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Discussion Starter #15
And the final step before closing up was to pump expanding foam insulation into both halves. The foam would help reinforce the sides and also help the glue make the boards immobile. I made sure that the foam had cured before completely sealing the forms, so that there wouldn't be any shrinkage, like what had happened to my skull last year.





The boards I used to secure the holes are held in position with wood glue and staples. I want to reinforce this with more layers of paper mache later, and possibly using fibreglass cloth and resin.



 

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Discussion Starter #16
On the two halves of each body, I added pegs and slots, so that the halves will "lock" together without sliding off. Overall it went well, but I might have to secure them more later on.




Insert Tab A...

Note: In retrospect, I should have used a MUCH thicker dowel for these pegs.


Into Slot B...

If you notice on the middle picture, it's apparent that I did not escape the contraction of expanding foam on this leg. I might have added too much foam too quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Now that all the rough papering of the wings are done, next step is to make paper-mache mud, in order to build up some detail on the feathers. The recipe calls for paper fiber, and I have the bat of cellulose insulation from previous years. This year I made a mesh to break up the clumps of cellulose into a fine dust. Works rather well.

The resulting mud looks like a gray oatmeal. Doesn't smell much better either. I used a marker (and tempora paint) to mark the "valley" part of the feathers to help me visualize them as I add the mud. This helps a lot, especially where I've had to cut into the wings to shore it up.

With the hot weather we've been having this week, this stuff doesn't take all that long to dry. A couple of days for the thicker areas.



 

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Discussion Starter #19
One of the next steps will be arms. I need a way to detach the arms for storage, but not have them loose when in use. I devised a template for spacing out socket holes that I used to cut into both the torsos and into 1" lumber. The lumber is used to hold the pegs, and the arm "bones" will later be attached to them as well.





 

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Discussion Starter #20
Begun the process of constructing the heads for the Angels. I am starting with a paper-mache skull base, then will build the "flesh" over top like I did with my witch last year.

Here I am taking a Bucky skull on a stand I build, getting its paper mache layers. Once this is dry, I cut off the paper and reassemble the pieces.





 
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