Sunday, September 12, 2010

Under Pressure

I've worked on a few projects I have going on simultaneously, though nothing's really come to completion. My Wall Crawler got his "blackwash" yesterday and while it does mute the bright color of his "Nehru" jacket, there are areas of blotchiness I wasn't completely happy with. Overall, however, I think he looks much better. I also blackwashed the face and I'm happier with that too as a result.

My phallic symbols
I had picked up a pair of wooden columns that someone was preparing to throw away and figured they would look good as either part of another display prop or just on their own, lending an air of neglect and decay. They each sported a wooden hub at the top over which a capital could have been placed. I cut that off, and since they're hollow, cut out a circular plug that fit in the space. Glued and caulked in place, I painted it in two coats of Dry-Lok to both give it a stone appearance and protect it from further decay in the elements. I may (or may not) attempt "veining" the exterior to give it a marble appearance. It will depend on if I have enough time.

Christmas Dogs?
Earlier this year I picked up two motorized Christmas reindeer to convert into rabid dogs. Actually I just wanted one moving one; the other I planned to keep static as I figured I'd harvest the motor for another prop. However, while building my Flying Crank Ghost I ordered five "reindeer-type" motors so I don't need that one anymore. Now I'll have two dogs that I'd like to have growl and move their heads when trick-or-treaters approach.

Only I think I'll probably only get to one of the dogs this year. I paper mached the head assembly on one to see if it would tax the motor too much and there doesn't seem to be a problem as yet, though long-term I can't say. It certainly doesn't sound like it's bogging down and the head movement actually seems smoother with the added weight. I gave it three coats of mache and am debating whether to use paint or a faux fur I acquired. There should be plenty of fur for one dog and just draping the entire piece of fabric of the head of the prop while it was running didn't seem to interfere with the motor either. Again, I don't want to put too much strain on the gear motor. I am leaning in favor of the fur though, but next year may just paint the other dog. Since the rest of the body is static on the prop, I'm not too worried about weight and think that if it's heavier than normal it will actually be better as it will stabilize it and help it stand.

I'd also like to add two yellow or red LED eyes to the prop when it's activated. Typcially I'm not big on red eyes as they're not natural. Of course, we're talking about a Halloween display, but I think red eyes have been overdone by Hollywood so I'm leaning towards yellow. We'll see what LEDs I have left though. Right now, looking at that picture, it looks like a coelacanth raised from the ocean depths. I trust that with perky ears, a slobbering jaw, and a longer tail it will actually look like a dog when completed.

Getting some more head
Watching a movie the other night one of the throw-away characters had her lips sewn shut with big ugly sutures. My wife though that would be a cool look for a prop so I fashioned another paper mache head, though again, finding the time to complete it will be a challenge.

An eye for an eye
One last prop I'll probably start (and complete!) will be a moving eyeball for my front window. I saw this last year on Dave Lowe's blog Dave Lowe Design. It's an optical illusion using the concave nature of a bowl to give the appearance that an eye is following you as you walk by. He has a video of the effect on his site:

Look like a quick and easy project to do and will satisfy my wife who wanted me to make one last year. With less than 50 days to go -- and a Halloween party to plan and decorate for -- I'm limited in the number of new projects I can take on. Pleasing my better half is always a wise choice, however!


  1. Cool man. Good luck with all the projects and here's to a kick-ass 2010 haunt!

  2. Thanks JT. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all, but I keep coming back to the words of wisdom on Hauntcast (imagine that) reminding me that no one knows what my plans are and no matter what I actually put out it's probably more than any of my neighbors are doing.



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