Introduction: Puppet - Ugandan Crested Crane
Step 1: Designing, Maquet and Research
Here are a few images of the real bird I based my puppet on and my research model/sculpt, which was made prior to building the full scale puppet. The Model consists of a bull wire frame glued into an MDF board.On top of which the basic shape is bulked out with tin foil to save on material. On top is a layer of 'Sculpy' (Modelling compound) which the detail is sculpted on. The Sculpy is cooked using a heat gun and painted. The based is painted to look like water on top of this is a layer of 'Water Effect' to create, well, a water effect obviously.
Step 2: Building the Frame
An assortment of materials and equipment were used during this project. The following is list of what I can remember off the top of my head. These were gathered mainly from local plumbing and hardware stores. Material and Equipment List PVC Pipe - Lots of it, various thicknesses. Rivet Gun and Rivets Hot Glue Gun Stanley Blades String Weed Block Fibre optic lights Bungee Cord Metal Rods Knee Pads Elastic Spray Paint Vacuum Former and Zote foam Nuts, Bolts, Screws Screw drivers, A Drill, Sand Paper and Hinges A 'Litter Picker' Cable Ties Black clothes and shoes Upholestry Foam CAACpPPP PV Ebb
Step 3: Skinning the Body and Painting
During the Easter Holidays I worked in the garage on the feathers. For these I cut up sheets of Weed Block material and painting them grey with a roller brush. I then Hot glue gunned them to the body of the puppet and sprayed white highlights. I made mechanism for the neck out of a 'Litter Picker' and a washing machine hose, covered in black material. The face is a bent PVC pipe frame with a vacuum formed pipe of Zote Foam over it, and painted. These materials were chosen because they are lighter (to keep the weight of the puppet down) they are also cheap and easy to paint and work with.
Step 4: Details and Movement
For Crested head I stuck the plastic Fibre Optic strands from an old lamp into the head and strapped in a head torch for the Fibre Optics to light up. They work but are difficult to see in day light. The feet were basic upholstery foam (I didn't have a lot of time to make these.)
Step 5: Mindfield Festival and Natural History Museum
This project was organised in association with the Natural History Museum in Dublin. Our deadline coincided with a public walk around for children in the Museum and then to the Merian Park Mindfield Festival. This was great was actually use the puppets and a fun experience. But there were a lot of sore back and warm model makers that day.