Watch as a raptor becomes a terrifying reality.
For our costumes the most pressing concern is expense, style and of course heat because we're filming in summer, for all those reasons we chose wire-wrapped in plaster over newspaper paper maché or latex casting. Also, What Would Ed Wood Do?
So, I acquired some wrapped 20-gauge galvanized wire, some masking tape and wire cutters, all things available at any hardware store. Then I looked at a picture of a raptor skull:
Once you have a good idea of the shape you can figure out what the skeleton of your headpieces should look like. So, find yourself a base (I used this cheap cowboy hat) and start building a wire-frame.
The wire frame is the guide for the shape of the plaster, using a hat means you need to worry less about comfort. Finally, make sure that you aren't horribly unbalancing your structure by putting too much weight too far forward or backward someone has to wear this.
- Wires poking into someone's head.
- Can the person wearing this breathe?
- Can they see?
- Are you making this too heavy?
- Is your hat going to fit the person wearing this's head?
- Are you listening to classic rock or metal because this is going to be so cool it will rock your face off?
Once you have your frame in place, wrap the joints of the wire with masking tape. If you're feeling really sassy you can also reinforce those joints with hot glue, but that adds weight and the plaster you will apply later will reinforce the structure as well.
make my day.
Once you have the joints wrapped, wrap the entire wire frame so you have more surface area to attach plaster to.
Next, create the connective tissue of your Raptor's face, look at a picture of what those angles are going to look like, and then use tape to create the surface planes you'll want.
Then, you're ready to start plastering. BUT WAIT STOP, first lay down something like trash bags in order to keep the mess at a minimum and so the plaster doesn't stick to surfaces. Plaster wrapping is pretty much like paper maché, which you may remember from preschool.
The big difference is materials, Rigid Wrap or Plaster Gauze Wrap, like the stuff that is used for casts, is available at craft shops, art stores, medical supply stores and amazon. It dries lighter than newspaper and is easier to manipulate. It's not all that expensive either, especially considering that all your expenses so far have been galvanized wire and a hat.
So cut your wrap into small strips, dip it in water and begin wrapping it around the wire frame.
You may want to let it dry in stages so that you can better attach wet plaster in the shape you want.
Once you're done sculpting, let the whole thing dry overnight, at least 8 hours so it's really solid.
While the head is drying you can throw together the rest of the costume (part 2). We used a foam pool noodle for the tail. When putting together the rest of our costume our concerns were heat, the ability to move, and portability. We won't have fancy wardrobe trucks, in fact, I think we'll be lucky if we take taxis to shoot locations, so the ability to fold this and carry it is pretty essential.
Once it's dry, make extra sure that it is dry, then take it off whatever you used to prop it up while it was drying, CAREFULLY. Then, try it on someone's head and get ready to have your mind blown.