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Giant Mutant Window-Busting Animated Rat Prop

rat build 00.jpg

Made this guy for Halloween in 2013. No glue gun sticks were harmed on the making of this prop.
Higher rez pictures are on a
Flickr “Phlog”


MATERIALS
Head and Body: 4 mil plastic sheet. Michael’s Pumpkins, pipe insulation, 9-gauge wire, costume fur.
Arms: Tomato stands, chicken wire.
Hands: 9-gauge wire, Pipe insulation, lawn sprinkler hose, roofing paper.
Eyes: – Plastic Christmas bulbs.
Armature/Support and teeth: 3/4 and One inch PVC.
Whiskers: 9-gauge wire.
Window rig: 3/4 “Plywood, scrap wood trim, heavy wire mesh.
Motor Assembly: Fright props low speed motor, mini pic-a-boo controller, threaded rod, socket joints, aluminum 3-sided ½” stock.
Fasteners: ¼” and ½” screws, dry wall plastic anchor screws and zip ties. Long bolts/washers/wingnuts for window sections and armature.
Black, white and red spray Paint.


UNDER THE SKIN AND FUR
4 mil plastic sheeting was just the right combo of being lightweight, waterproof, workable and affordable (about $11-$12 per 4ftx8ft sheet).
I just winged it in making shapes for the head and body.
I cut slots in the 4 mil sheet and overlapped the flaps until it created a curved surface that might work.
The large threads on those white drywall screw anchors worked great for securing the 4 mil sheet.
One Michael’s pumpkin for the nose shape and brows, another for the nose.
Rat Build 01.jpg



The PVC head armature and body support assembly.
Rat Build 02.jpg


I was planning to have a simple single pivot armature, but that would have required a wide range of motion that exceeded the window opening.
Two pivot points were needed.
To deal with the change in in arm length between the pivot points, I used a length of ¾” pvc which luckily fit perfect in the 1” pvc to create a kind of piston action. I needed the inside arm as long as possible to reduce lateral friction so a slot was cut to straddle the pivot point.
Rat Build 02a.jpg



Fitting the upper body section around the PVC assembly.
Flaps on the body are screwed into blocks, which mount to the plywood.
Rat Build 03.jpg



With the body halves mounted tomato stand are bent to for the rough shape of the arms.
Rat Build 04.jpg



Another angle.
1” pvc is mounted in the head which slides onto the ¾” armature pvc.

Rat Build 05.jpg



DRESSING THE HEAD AND ARMS
Pipe insulation under laid for snarl and brow muscles.
¼ screws and zip ties to mount the fur.
Pipe insulation screwed in for the gums, and PVC inserted into the gums for the teeth.
Rat Build 06.jpg



Sorry, I forgot to photograph finishing the arms or making the hands.
Chicken wire went around the tomato stands, and the fur is zip tied on.

For the hands, one length of 9-gauge wire is shaped in the outline of the hand shape – kind of like outlining a crime scene figure.
Extra length was kept to intertwine with the arm structure.
Roofing paper for the main hand covering.
Pipe insulation for the fingers.
Sprinkler hose for the nails.

Rat Build 0.jpg



FINISHING THE MOUNT FRAME.
Broken ½” wood strips painted white to simulate the window frame.
Heavy metal mesh flaps marry the strips to the plywood in the corners.
These flaps serve as flexible joints that allow any kind of positioning for the strips.

Rat Build 07.jpg



MOUNTING THE BEAST (shame on you - stop what you’re thinking!)
The front assembly minus the head is propped against the window.
Padding is added to the inside window frame.
Rat Build 08.jpg



The rear board is fastened with wingnuts on long bolts from coming the front board, and everything is well secured. The tail is made of – yep – 9-gauge wire and pipe insulation.
Rat Build 09.jpg



It wasn’t until I mounted the rear board, that I could figure how to mount the motor.
I had to measure out the final length and range of the inside arm to know the position of the motor.
Scraps of plywood, 1x1 wood and aluminum stock were improvised to put things in place.
Rat Build 10.jpg



The final motor rig.
Not exactly elegant but it works!
The pic-a-boo controller is mounted on the box.
Rat Build 11.jpg



The head slid on fine with a little W-2.
Secured with one ½” screw.
Rat Build 12.jpg



I used a remote to trigger the motor.
The head motion worked 1st try!
One cool thing about using pvc for the armature:
It creaks like an old ship in a storm, or - like a window frame being stressed by a giant rat!

Rat Build 13.jpg



FINAL THOUGHTS:
So far the rat has worked through three Halloweens without a hitch.
Had I done even a little research I might have realized that rats do not have chins, but hey it’s a giant mutant, right?
As is typical, knowing what I know now, I see a sorts of room for refinement – but I’m lazy!
rat build final 1.jpg rat build final 2.jpg


Any criticism or questions are welcome.
 

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Oh my God - did you watch the Incredible Shrinking Man as a child?

If you did it obviously had a long lasting effect on your psyche - your stuff is just so BIG!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Funny!
I did enjoy that movie.
Going big started with with my 1st prop, the roof spider:
I just seeded a new lawn, so I didn't want anything in the yard.
I figured it had to be pretty big to have any visual impact from 30 -40 ft.
Things "mutated" from there.
At least I haven't (openly) been accused of "compensating" - - - yet!

Oh my God - did you watch the Incredible Shrinking Man as a child?

If you did it obviously had a long lasting effect on your psyche - your stuff is just so BIG!!
 

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Again, OMG fantastic concept and follow thru. I had no idea how you did the rat. The praying mantis and snake easier to see the basics. I really enjoyed slowly scrolling through your photos to see that big, ugly, super looking rat emerge from your supplies! And animated to boot! You make it look so easy too. Biggy Rat really is the most menacing of the group. So creative of you.

Criticisms? That you haven't offered to travel to our homes to personally oversee a rat/critter invasion! Thanks so much for the photos. :D
 

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Thanks GoS!
In regards to making it look easy:
It's kind of like seeing a project on HGTV - you just don't see the many,many screw-ups and re-works..
:rolleyes:

Again, OMG fantastic concept and follow thru. I had no idea how you did the rat. The praying mantis and snake easier to see the basics. I really enjoyed slowly scrolling through your photos to see that big, ugly, super looking rat emerge from your supplies! And animated to boot! You make it look so easy too. Biggy Rat really is the most menacing of the group. So creative of you.

Criticisms? That you haven't offered to travel to our homes to personally oversee a rat/critter invasion! Thanks so much for the photos. :D
 
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