My name is Matt Ficner. I’ve worked in film and TV for over 20 years. Primarily, I’m a puppet builder and puppeteer. I’ve been involved with many projects. If any of that is of interest to you, feel free to visit my website www.mfproductions.ca to see more “stuff”
Okay, so here is the intro to my first ever Instrucables entry: Building “the Blood Hero” a Steampunk Superhero Puppet
Even before it was in fashion, I was always a fan of what is now referred to as “Steam Punk”. The mixture of Victorian aesthetics and science fiction elements. I am also a big fan of superheroes. I won’t go into the long and epic story I have invented for this character, but what I will do is show you all how I put him together!
This was a labour of love. I plied all my puppet & prop making skills into this particular puppet creation.
Step 1: Bloody Hero : the Idea for the Character
Step 2: Every Steampunk Hero Needs GOGGLES!!!
I used some 1 ½ inch copper pipe as the base of the structure for the goggles. The lenses are plastic magnifying lenses that I picked up at a dollar store. I used red “stained glass” acrylic paint on the back of them to give them their “bloody” colour.
I finished them with scraps of leather for the strapping. I also used some rubber washers and fittings to add some detail to them.
Before I had anything of the puppet completed, I wanted to put out a “teaser” poster to my fans of “The Creepy Puppet Project” to let them know I was working on something new.
Step 3: Putting Puppet Parts Together
I will, at some point, post an “Instructables” on the process I use for sculpting and casting latex puppet heads. It’s a pretty involved procedure that warrants it’s own full walkthrough.
For now, I wanted to show you the overall process of putting the Bloody Hero together.
I had sculpted the head first out of clay, cast it in plaster and then cast the final head in latex. The latex head is what you see here.
I started assembling the upper torso of the body. I used high density foam to pattern out the “barrel” of the puppet’s chest. I then used heavy nylon stockings over the core of the body to even out it’s surface.
The arms were assembled in a similar manner. They are carved high density foam with heavy nylon stockings stretched over them. This allows them to bend and flex but still maintain their overall shape.
Step 4: Give Him a Hand! or Two...
With the gloves being the final “skin” on the hands, I was able to get away with using high density foam covering a sculpture wire frame. The foam was carved and shaped into fingers . Yes, I admit there is a bit of duct tape holding some of the foam together, but it was never going to be seen in the finished product.
The “rod” hands can clip on and off and I can insert a matching pair of leather gloves with my own hands for certain camera shot options.
Step 5: Putting Puppet Parts Together Ii
The majority of the time the puppet is actually going to be puppeteered on screen, the lower half of the puppet wouldn’t be used as much. So, the puppet can come apart at his waist.
The legs were finished in the same way as the arms, with a heavy nylon covering.
Step 6: The Hero Uniform
I already had a bit of an “undergarment” base with the nylon stockings I used as part of the construction of the puppet’s limbs.
I stuck with a colour palette of maroons, browns and deep reds. The colours of clotted and dried blood. There is more to the reasoning behind that in the back-story I created for this character.
His pants and vest were tailored to look “utilitarian” but still stylish.
Step 7: For the Love of Leather!
I had a heck of a lot of fun stitching and crafting ¼ scale utility belts, holsters and gadgets for the hero.
Step 8: Paint 'em Up!
For some of the detail I used permanent ink through an airbrush. I also use the old recipe with oil paint, rubber cement and naphtha.