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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

New member here. I constructed a zombie last year that was clothes stuffed with leaves sitting in a chair with an arm raised with a metal pole insterted for support, and then it got me thinking. How cool would it look to have a zombie in mid running stride?

I've been looking for details about doing this, but have only come across instructions for upright zombies. All are good, but I wanted him to look like he was running for you.

I had a piece of particle board that was old, and decided to screw a 2x4 piece with some supports to attach a PVC skeleton. After I got the look and knew it was going to be sturdy, I painted the frame black to detract the fact that it's going to be supported.

Here's what I have so far. Not much yet, just a day's worth of work. I'm working on getting the hands I made dried. Hand palms are chicken wire frames, and then I used some coat hanger wire to make the fingers. Taped up some rolled up newspaper and taped them to the finger frames to add some girth, and then paper mache'd the entire hand. Still drying and will post pictures later. Since it's my first time, I will probably change the hand making process.

the head attached isn't what I'm going to use for the final product, but I will hand paint the head instead using some modeling clay and foam in a can to accent a mannequin model head.

Let me know what you think so far, and if there are any recommendations you would provide. The "body" will be chicken wire to fill out the clothes.


frame built

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then with frame painted and head attached to assess progress


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It is too bad you don't have a motor or flywheel to make the legs move. I will be using your idea for my haunt this year. Thanks!!
 

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Just a suggestion. I find chicken wire to be a pain to work with and only use it when I need the form I am building to add support to the prop. If I am just needing a form filler and support is not an issue, I buy a roll of bubble wrap from home depot. It is very light, doesn't slice up your hands, and once you put the clothes on, if you need to slim down some parts all you have to do is squeeze and pop some of the bubbles in the area that needs slimming. Also, come on its BUBBLEWRAP!!!!! Once you pop you can't stop.

I love the whole form in motion. It is very nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks budeena. That sounds like a really cool idea. I would love to consider this, but seems like it would take some considerable research and engineering to get the legs to move back and forth. Not that I'm not up to the challenge, but it may be something to re-visit with after this Halloween is over and work on throughout the year for the next season.

Ravenfell Manor: You know, I did consider that the other day while shopping around. I found a really large roll for $20, and then go to thinking that I would really need at least 2 rolls of the study to adequately flesh out the extremities in addition to the torso, so I went with the chicken wire. I'm definitely getting to know it very well, in the sense that's it's a bit cumbersome and a pain to work with. I've pinched myself quite a bit making the hands. Not really looking forward to the torso when that time comes.

Just to update, I took Fangoria's instructional and started making my own eyes with ping-pong balls. I'm not really satisfied yet, because I was rushing a bit since the kiddos were sitting around me, which distracted me to a degree.

I finished the modeling clay overlay on one of the hands.

First I needed to attached a stick up the hand to anchor down in the forearm section. I just drilled it through the hand, and then covered this with the modeling clay.

After I was finished with that, I applied some fake nails to the hands, and etched some lines along the knuckle joints and on the palm. Once this dries then I'm going to starting painting the hands.

I also took the mannequin head and started to dig out the sockets in order to recess the eyeballs once they're complete. I'll probably add some clay in to create eyelids after I'm done with that. I think I'm going to do a zipper head with the face. Originally supposed to be a zombie, but the zipperhead is really cool looking so we'll see what happens. I'll keep posting pictures as I make progress.

Attached stick into hand since I didn't think ahead enough with extending the wires from the hands past the wrist so as to anchor into forearm.

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After applying the modeling clay and nails with wrinkles etched in

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Beginning of eyeballs using Fangoria's thread.

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Example of mannequin head with recessed eyeballs. Eyeballs to replaced with those in process of being made.

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LOL, you did the same thing that I did when I looked at the rolls of bubble wrap. When we first went to look at it, I thought WOW, we are gonna need tons of this to flesh out our gravedigger. So we bought 2 of those big rolls of bubble wrap. Turns out I didn't even use half of the roll on our gravedigger and never even got around to touching the second roll.
And we are also very familiar with the chicken wire. We have been building reaper forms out of it to cover with monster mud. It is stubborn and has a nasty bite. My poor hubby's hands have a few slashes from the offending wires.

I love those hands they look really good. it all seems to be coming along nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Really?! I may reconsider. I haven't started, but I didn't want to spend $40 on bubble wrap.

Update on the hands. I don't know if the modeling clay was such a good idea. Since I formed it over paper mache, which was definitely dried when I started applying the clay, the clay seems to be peeling away as it's drying. It's a neat unintended effect, but I'm worried about the durability now.

May just fleck away entirely, and then I'm back to paper mache hands. Any advice on applying some sort of sealant after the clay has fully hardened?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here's what's happening. I should have read the guidelines on the outside of the box, and done more research. It says not to form over rigid structures or frames since it shrinks during the drying process.

Do any of you have any suggestions of anything that I can paint over this to keep the clay in tact even though the retractions are causing it to flake? Perhaps some sort of varnish or outer sealant that will essentially "glue" the flakes to the hand? I kind of like the effect, but right now it's almost unusable since it's so delicate.


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Here's what's happening. I should have read the guidelines on the outside of the box, and done more research. It says not to form over rigid structures or frames since it shrinks during the drying process.

Do any of you have any suggestions of anything that I can paint over this to keep the clay in tact even though the retractions are causing it to flake? Perhaps some sort of varnish or outer sealant that will essentially "glue" the flakes to the hand? I kind of like the effect, but right now it's almost unusable since it's so delicate.


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Liquid latex or 'Sculpt or Coat' or equivalent.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Haven't really had time to sculpt the other hand, or finish sealing and painting the hand that's cracking. I've bought some clear sealant today, and applied the first coat. will apply 3 like the directions say and then start painting.

I decided to buy the bubble wrap to form the general body. also went to goodwill store and bought a suit, shirt and shoes for 18 bucks. Not a bad deal really. I wish I would have tried the jacket on myself though as it's a little small and short in the arms, but oh well. Here's some pictures as I started to put it together. Next will be the hands, and the beginning of the head. It's surprising that the mask looks fairly good with the eyes inlaid. but I really want to make my own face for this project. I'll post pictures as I start the head later.

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Discussion Starter #13
I've been working some more tonight on the details.

I've decided to re-do the eyeballs, because last time I just put too much red yard for the venules of the eyes. They're much better this time around and don't look fuzzy.

I've also started work on the other hand and the head. I've decided to paint the varnish over the clay before it's had a chance to set, so we'll see what happens there. Perhaps it won't crack, but then again it might not dry properly either. Oh, and I accidentally made two left hands. whoops! Perhaps next year this might be fixed.

I painted, lightly with black spray paint the mannequin head. Had to be careful though as too much starts to dissolve the Styrofoam. I also began cutting out room for a mouth and apply the base layer of clay for the head. I'll have to layer this up before I start painting. I'd like to do the zipper head idea with this. I'll keep the pictures coming as I progress.
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Discussion Starter #14
I got the skin and basic structure of the face down now. I figured out to be adding some water to smooth things out as I proceed. This has been pretty satisfying so far. I'm not anywhere near finished yet though. Any suggestions about where to get some teeth? :)

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Discussion Starter #18
I bought some nasty looking teeth at the Halloween store. Meant to be used by people. I had to cut them down a little bit so it looked like they recessed proportionately. I drilled small holes in them, and then stuck nails through the holes into the styrofoam mouth. I painted the inside of the mouth black too. You can see that the skin has chipped significantly during the drying process. I've also painted some coats of dry-lock, matte, to protect the skin from the elements and sun.

I also got the idea to try to make it appear as if his brain were exposed. I referenced a picture online and used Great Stuff to lay out the waves of the brain. Once it sets I'm going to start sanding it down and working on the details of the folds of the brain. Then paint it and dry-lock it.

I've also decided to PVC glue the attachment of the pelvis and spine. I'm also going to glue the femur into the hip, and the medial part of the clavicle into the sternal area so that it doesn't slip out, but this still allows for positioning of the legs are arms in general as I want them.

will post more tomorrow as I make more progress.

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made some progress tonight with shaving down the Great Stuff.

I thought I had the tools to shave down this head some, but realized that clay working tools simply didn't have the "cutting" power. I resorted to using a double edged razor blade and holding it with both hands and carving away sections that "didn't belong." (*wink* thanks Terra) Afterwards I used an abrasive sponge to sand it down to a smoother surface. The cool un-intended effect is that because the Good Stuff is "bubbly" it gives the impression of actual bone anatomy. Next I'm going to draw the lines of the brain folds and then carve away the actual brain folds.

BTW, MAKE SURE TO USE A MASK WHEN SANDING DOWN THE GOOD STUFF. You don't want that particulate getting into your lungs!

Will update with pictures soon!

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I learned a good lesson with the Good Stuff: It doesn't like to be picked and prodded in any 'detail' oriented way. Or even burned. I was going to use a heating element to burn away the wrinkles in the brain, and it just wasn't happening. Plan B.......ummmmmm.....brainstorm.

I had some spider webbing, and liquid latex, so I applied the webbing and painted the latex over. It looked ok, but seemed to be missing something. I decided to use a hot-glue gun and drip hot glue all over the "exposed" portion of the back of the head and neck. Kind of gave it a nice, veiny effect. I painted it black to give a base, and then I'm going to start adding darker reds over it, and then make some blue, or black on the veins.

I'm going into uncharted territory now with deciding how to proceed. Don't really have a plan at this point. We'll see where the painting takes me.

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