Introduction: Santee Werewolf
The Santee Werewolf is a werewolf I designed and created for the Halloween season. The season lasts all October and into November at my house. This ensures all who enjoy Halloween will get an opportunity to see my latest creations and hopefully have as much fun viewing them as I have had making them.
Step 1: Ingredients
Gathering supplies. I used quite a bit more items than shown in this first photo. There is a lot of fur, steel, clay, paint etc. that is used!
Step 2: Welding
The steel is welded together to create the skeleton for strength and a basic shape or shell for the the werewolf to be sculpted onto. The first image is the first piece that I welded together. It is the "spine" of the creature this was my starting point and from here I was able to "understand" how the rest would come together.
Step 3: Foam
Once I felt the welding was complete and the desired strength was acomplished, I cleaned it up and painted it flat black. I wired it up and ran the electrical for the motor,eyes, relays, sound, and outputs.
Once the electrical was complete I began the foaming process. Using regular canned foam from any home improvement store or hardware store. The denser the foam the better, too light or "airy" is not a good foam to sculpt. You want a hard foam but not so hard that it is difficult to sculpt. Foaming has to be done in layers, patience is going to be your friend!! Too much too fast and it will just fall off! Too thick too fast and the foam will not set up properly. This stuff is nasty, if any falls onto any surface, leave it alone and let it set up. Once it sets up it will usually just pop right off, if you try to wipe it up before it sets up you'll have a serious mess on your hands. WD40 is the only thing I know of that dissolves this stuff when it is still in the uncured state.
Foaming started with the feet and legs, then arms and legs and then the head, neck and upper body. There are other steps in between that you will see in steps 4 and 5.
Step 4: Sculpting Hands, Feet, Arms, and Legs
Once the right amount of foam was achieved and the foam was fuly cured I began sculpting out the basic forms. Gradually getting to the point where I felt the desired shape was achieved. I then used a dremmel tool and carved out details, putting in lines, tendons etc. to simulate hands, feet, etc. I wanted to implement some human characteristic, but exagerate them greatly, therefore I kept the basic human form when it came to the hands and feet.
Once the detail is complete I fill in any holes from the foam with an outdoor grade spackling, sand and add detail back in as necessary.
After spackling is complete and I was satisfied with the details I added the nails. The nails are hand made. I mixed up an acrylic solution and gave them a basic shape and then allowed to cure. Once cured I used a dremmel tool to complete the nail size, shape and character detail that I wanted.
Once the nails were complete and afixed I add several layers of industrial grade latex to the entire skin surface. Including areas covered by the faux fur. It is easier to adhere the fur to the latex than the foam.
Step 5: Werewolf Face
The werewolf face is comprised of several parts. The jawset and eyes I acquired from Van Dyk's Taxidermy. The head I started out by sculpting out of clay.
Once the sculpt was complete I created a mold, which then was the inverse of the sculpt. With the mold I poured latex and let it set up. Once cured I had a replica of the original sculpt that I made from clay. The eyes and jawset fit perfectly into the latex. I did a basic paint and then afixed the head to the frame, wired up the eyes, set the eyes, and then foamed the piece into place. I chose to make the lower jaw out of foam as well, which worked out fine.
As you can see in one of the photos, I used craft paper to keep the foam in place. Which worked out perfect cause the kraft paper is easily cut. It is strong enough to keep the foam in place but not so strong that it can't be cut into like cardboard or some other stiff material. Also you need the pliability of the paper to be able to wrap. Plastic does not work with the foam as the foam will not cure properly against any type of plastic, foam best cures against porous or breathable material or as much exposure to air as possible.
Step 6: Sculpting the Head, Neck, and Body.
Once the foam is completely cured on the head, neck, and body. I began sculpting it to achieve the basic form. Essentially this was planned out from the beginning due to the design of the framework that I built. I designed it to have somewhat of a swooping neck, a very powerful and intimidating neck which brings the face sort of to eye level for the average sized person.
A whole lot of detail work was not necessary for this part being that the majority of this area was to be covered in faux fur. The ears required some detail as the inner ear was not furred, but still not completely exposed.
Once the sculpting was complete I began the finished paint on the face, hands, stub, feet, arms, and legs.
Step 7: Fur.
Adding the fur is one of the more difficult parts of the process. The fur comes in lengths or yards just like most material or fabric does. I started out by wrapping the fur around the area to be covered and then cut and created as tight of a seam as possible. One good thing about working with fur that has long hair is the seam is easily covered.
The negative with the fur is that if you want some of the detail of the sculpt to show through this will be lost with long haired fur. To solve this you need to make short fur. I did this the easy way, the way you would if you wanted short hair on your pet. I broke out the electric shears. This worked like a charm and I got the exact effect I wanted for bring out those "boney" areas you would expect to find on a canine type creature. I also gave the fur a trim around the transition areas in order to not have such a drastic edge where "skin" met fur.
In order to blend in the transition I also punched in hair. So the hair you see on the face is punched one by one also giving it the typical canine hair you would expect to see.
From here there are many finishing touches. Retouch on the paint, tooth and nail stain, blood on the mouth, mouth area and the stub that the werewolf is carrying, a satin finish on the face area, and a glossy finish on the nose area and mouth.
Clothes are added. To give an idea of size, the shirt is a men's 4X and the pants are men's 38" x 32". Of course they are no longer 32" but you get the idea. This guy is life sized for impact!
Step 8: Show It Off.
Once complete, it gets revealed. This of course is my favorite part because most do not believe I made this until I tell them so. So it is a feel good moment to get some very positive feedback and comments from people from all walks of life!
The animation portion of the werewolf is controlled by a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) which activates relays in the werewolf. The relays activate the motor, sound, eyes and external lighting. For an animated view please follow this link http://youtu.be/sKtGLBU-9tA
Thanks for viewing my 2012 project the Santee Werewolf!
Paul W. Koester
Artist Perspective - A division of Ballworks Studios
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