Friday, February 4, 2011

Fully Built: Predator

predator
 
Continuing the theme of wishing I started this 5 years ago rather than playing catch up now, I present the chronology of my Predator costume from Halloween 2007. This was the first time I saw Halloween as a serious project, so I have a lot more photos of the production process than I did of Ash.


I started, naturally, with the Predator mask. Completely making it up as I went along, I simply took a spool of wire and tried to bend it into appropriate shapes. Quite early on I was happy how it was turning out, and realised just how much potential this project had:

homemade predator mask

Once I finished applying the wire, I used the usual primer of masking tape before the papier mache was applied:

homemade predator mask

homemade predator mask

After applying the papier mache it was really starting to take shape, so the next step was to put the first coat of paint on:

homemade predator mask

It was after applying the first coat of paint that I noticed a problem though; if you look closely at his right cheek, there is a chasm of a gap there. Furthermore, the centre of the mask was aligned poorly; the front-centre element was not straight, nor was it protruding nearly enough. Now this is where it began to get messy, as I tried to fix both problems using a sealant (gah, cannot remember the name of it now). It didn't go terrifically well (though I did add decoration to the top of his head using the same method which I ended up happy with):

homemade predator mask

I worried about the future of the project until a thought struck me - I could pad out both areas with the same insulation foam that I was (simultaneously) composing the dreadlocks from. This instantly drove the excitement back into me, and gave a real belief that this would be good:

homemade predator mask

homemade predator mask

homemade predator mask

homemade predator mask

homemade predator mask

The next order of business was the eye-piece. It took me a while to figure out what I'd make it out of, as nothing I could think of appeared to have the right texture. In the end I found a splatter guard for a frying pan, and did the necessary surgery on it:


homemade predator mask

homemade predator mask
Using some glue on the inside of the mask, I added a couple of these overlapping on each other to the mask:

homemade predator mask

homemade predator mask

With help from a trusty engineer I constructed the tri-beam laser sight that's on his shoulder cannon. At the time I felt it was easier to put this on the mask rather than the shoulder cannon itself (mostly to hide the rig we made for it):


predator laser

predator laser

All that was left was the hair. As I mentioned earlier, I used insulation foam to construct the dreadlocks. I cut out pieces of slightly different sizes, ran them over a blade to give them some shape, and finally added a couple of hose clamps to give the dreads some decoration:

homemade predator dreads

homemade predator dreads

homemade predator dreads

homemade predator dreads
The gauntlets were made using shin pads (which I used as wrist pads, essentially!) upon which I built the frame out of cardboard, before finally making the blades from more cardboard:

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

homemade predator gauntlets

I decided that I needed decoration around the waist to make some pretense of recreating the Predator's utility belt. While I didn't quite have the inclination to do that much work on it (there was still much work to do on the more essential parts) I needed something. I don't know how I'd even label the result, but when added to the overall costume I think it worked:


homemade predator body

homemade predator body

homemade predator body

homemade predator body

Last, but not least (and not really last since all of these were being created simultaneously for the most part!) was the torso. I'm particularly proud at how this came out, because it was (after the mask) the most daunting prospect of the construction. Much like the hip-piece, I decided to cut a corner and simply apply duct tape to the wire instead of masking tape and papier mache, because the duct tape was the right colour and consistency.

The torso would consist of shoulder plates and one big chest piece which would cover my left-hand side, through which I would put my arm to wear it. On top of that was the shoulder cannon (which, due to time constraints, did not turn out spectacularly) and some decorative components attaching the cannon to the chest piece:

homemade predator torso

homemade predator torso

homemade predator torso

homemade predator torso

homemade predator torso

homemade predator torso

homemade predator torso

homemade predator torso

I knew I wanted the costume to have sound effects, so I decided that the torso was the most sensible place to mount the necessary gear. Using my Sony Ericsson phone and speakers, I recorded various sound effects from the different Predator films. When I mounted the speakers (hidden among the electrical tape I somewhat lazily used to decorate the shoulder cannon) I got lucky; the wire that connected the speakers to the phone was exactly the distance from the shoulder cannon to my hip. So essentially I could tuck the phone into my pants at the waist, and press 'select' whenever I wanted to use a sound effect.

The final element of the torso was the Predator's trophy belt, using some rope and a toy skeleton:

predator trophy belt

predator trophy belt

predator trophy belt

predator trophy belt

And so ends (finally) the (heavily edited) details of its construction. From August to October, it was my first major Halloween project having caught the bug the previous year doing a somewhat more last-minute (or last week, rather) Ash. Here it is in its full glory:


homemade predator costume




Myself and Mark (who was Awesom-o that year):

homemade predator costume

 Posing with two random but nice folk (fantastic Carrie costume):

homemade predator costume



homemade predator costume
homemade predator costume

  It was good enough to scoop first prize at Freakscene 2007!












Yes, I know I left out the part about acquiring fishnet tights for my arms, it was deliberate.

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