Introduction: Gargoyle Costume - Goliath Reimagined
Hi my name is Richard Baccari and I love Halloween, cosplay, special effects make up and all things related to building costumed characters. In addition to my Borg and Hellboy, I've always wanted to do a gargoyle. So I thought I'll do a reimagining of Goliath from Gargoyles. As though he is an otherworldly warrior!
So here's what I did. I don't have pics of everything but you should still be able to get the idea.
This is not an easy costume to put on and it has it's challenges. Takes about 2-3 hours to glue down prosthetics, do make up, put on suit, wings, stilts and accessories. The muscle suit is very warm! The stilts are challenging to walk in and you have sore feet after being in them for a while. The prosthetics and wig make you sweat quite a bit. The wings are big and get caught on things and people! Is it fun to wear then? Absolutely, the crowd reaction, the kids fascination, the gasps of fright from some people, the posing for pictures make this costume a thrill to wear! Thanks for checking it out!
Step 1: The Muscle Suit
A muscle suit makes a big impact on almost any costume so I decided to make one for my Goliath reimagining! If you do not have a mannequin, you can make a duct tape dummy of your own body. Get a friend to help you with this. Put on some very form fitting clothing that you can cut up. Have your helper wrap you from wrists to ankles in duct tape getting it as form fitting to your body as possible. Then have your helper cut you out of the duct tape from behind. Fill the cavity snuggly with news paper or other material to fill out the dummy then retape the cut seams closed and there is your custom sized dummy.
You will need a bodysuit of some kind(dance, morph, hockey underwear).Do not use thermal underwear as it will be far to hot. Some 1.5" upholstery foam, some 1/8" upholstery sheet foam, some spandex, acrylic paint and liquid latex.
Use paper to make templates of the muscles that you will trace onto the foam then cut out of the 1.5" foam. use reference material to get the muscle formation correct. Use spray foam adhesive to glue the muscles to the body suit after shaving down the edges of the muscles so they are rounded smooth on top. Use the spray foam to glue the 1/8" foam sheet over the foam muscles making sure it goes right into the crevices so the thick foam muscles look like they are pushing through skin. I used silicone on the thick foam muscles before the thin foam sheet to simulate veins. Use the same glue down method with the spandex over the foam muscles covering the entire body suit making sure it gets glued well in the crevices.
This allows you to protect the thin foam and give a stretchy paintable surface. Mix liquid latex and paint and spray the muscle suit with an HVLP sprayer. You can also hand brush the suit with latex then paint by hand after latex dries. Make sure you add shadowing between the muscles for contrast to make them pop!
On my suit it zips up from the back so I was able to put my plate for my wings under the suit so that 4 long bolts came through the muscle suit and the wings bolted onto the long bolts and the wing nuts get covered by a back plate that emulates the spine of the wings. This makes it look like my wings come right out of the skin.
Step 2: The Wings
Gargoyles must have wings! A big part of why I wanted to do this costume is the wings. They add so much to a costume especially if you are going for that epic look! If you can make them open up even better. That is what I did for this costume. You can get pretty elaborate with motors and such but I like the simple approach.
I used a method of creating a plate to wear under my muscle suit that has four bolts to protrude through the suit that you bolt each wing to with two wing nuts(no pun intended). I made a little spine plate from EVA foam that attaches with Velcro tape to cover the wing nuts.
Two PVC pipes go up the spine of the back plate and each one has long pipe notched so that both pipes fit into each other. You will want about 4-5" of the long pipe(which is the outer arm of the wing) protruding above the pivot point. Bolt them together with a lock nut that allows the two pipes to pivot like the joint in your finger.
I ran some 1/4" cable up through the bottom of the pipe that bolts to my plate and through a hole about 5" from the pivot point. I attached the end of the cable to the long pipe end that protrudes past the pivot point. When you pull down on the cable it pulls up on the long pipe end thus extending the outer arm of the wing. I added 2 more pieces of pipe to finish the look of the "fingers" of the wings. They all meet at the pivot point.
Then get some material of choice for the skin of the wings. I used a cheap grey bed sheet, cut some holes in it and painted it to look like gargoyle skin adding shadowing for contrast. I used some EVA foam to create an area for the pipe protruding past the pivot point to swing up and down without being able to see the wire/cable and pipe.
Step 3: The Face
I now make my own face prosthetics but I built this costume before I was into that part of costume making so I purchased a pre made prosthetic. I repainted it to add more contrast and glued on some elastic straps to help hold the appliance in place. I used pros-aid adhesive to glue down the appliance. I added intimidating contact lenses and a set of custom fit fangs as well as a bunch of dollar store earrings and a cheap wig purchased for couple of bucks at a yard sale. All put together gives you a great Gargoyle face!
Step 4: The Claws
I found a set of red devil hands at a yard sale($2) and repainted them in grey tones and black for shadowing with a bit of silver for highlights. I also added some 1/8" sheet foam to the palms so I could paint the palms to match the top of the hands instead of the black mesh palms. The palms have yet to be painted in the pics.
Step 5: The Tail
You'll notice that I repurpose a lot of stuff. I'm not great at sewing so I like to use pre made objects that can be easily modified. I bought a weightlifting belt and a stuffed toy snake from Value Village for $7 to make a tail.
I cut off the snake head and sewed it to the belt. This part is not seen so it did not matter that my sewing job was terrible. I had some black material and some aged burlap that I cut up into a tunic that covers the belt. I decorated it with bone necklaces and skull necklaces and pieces of grey gauze strips. This makes a nice easy to put on waist tunic that helps to hold the muscle suit in place at the waist and places the tail perfectly on the lower back,
Step 6: The Feet/stilts
Gargoyles have that hitched dog leg style that you see on a lot of demonic creatures. To create this affect I built a set of digitigrade stilts. They created the dog leg effect and gave me about 8-10" of extra height adding to the scary factor.
There are many videos online and perhaps in Instructables with step by step instructions on building these stilts as well as the wings I built.
These are basically a flat board with a 2x4 mounted at an angle with a shoe bolted on the sloped angle. Then you bolt some metal straps to each side of the 2x4 that go up along you lower leg just under your knee to a curved plastic shin support. There are two bungies that run from just under the knee at the side of the shin support to the back of the 2x4 right behind the heel of you foot to add resistance to help prevent you from falling forward.
I wrapped all of the mechanical elements and the foot and walking plate with foam and painted it to look like clawed feet. I then crafted some armour pieces from EVA foam to compliment the store bought armour pieces I had to help cover the bungies and create that warrior look I was going for.
Hope this inspires you to create one of your own!