Introduction: How to Make a Dragon Head

About: Final year Medical Student at the University of Newcastle Writer/director/producer/prop designer for the Medical Revue, just for fun. Grew up working with my hands so it tends to express itself where it can!

This is the process of the Making of a 1.9m Long Dragon Head which I made for a musical I am running

Step 1: The Concept

This is the sketch which I based my model on, it is loosely based on Smaug from Peter Jackson's Hobbit Movies. The idea is for the head to be worn by someone who will see out the mouth.

The final dimensions ended up being closer to 1.9m x 1.4m

Step 2: The Frame

The wire frame Was constructed from fine mesh wire, with high tensile steel wire used to shape the contours for the head neck and Jaw. This was reinforced with aluminium channel for structural support.

Step 3: The First Layer

The First covering on the wire is of bakers paper simply taped on

Step 4: The Features

The Spikes, teeth, eyes and Nostrils are all carved out of low density foam, then attached with a strong adhesive.

Step 5: The Papier Mache

After the features have been added, the whole head is covered in paper Mache. it is coated with three layers, two using cel-mix as an adhesive, and two using Araldite/PVA as adhesive to add hardness.

Step 6: The Final Layer of Mache

The final layer of Papier Mache is of baking paper and uses PVA, this protects the shell from water damage.

Step 7: The Texture

The Head is then textured by hand using a special technique and expanding foam. This is then coated with Pond liner, which further hardens the body, and makes it impervious to destruction by mites or moisture. the inside is also coated.

Step 8: Experimenting With Paint

The first areas of the body are painted to experiment with textures colours and shapes. the final decision is to combine black, red, orange and gold on the body, with the addition of platinum silver on the spines to represent skeletal breakthrough, as the spines would continue to grow as the dragon ages.

Step 9: The Left Side

The left side fully painted and Textured

Step 10: Fully Painted

The Whole Head fully painted. note that at this stage, the teeth were aged using gold and brown paints and fire.

Step 11: The Eye

This is the left eye of Asos. it is a two part structure made from resin combined, an outer clear "lens" with a painted inner surface, and an opaque "vitreous" to give the eye depth, coloured with gold flakes and acetone based paints.

Step 12: The Glow

LED's on a flicker circuit are mounted behind the eye to give the appearance of an inner fire.

Step 13: The Smoke

This is the Final Product

A Pressure chamber is constructed and dry ice placed inside with water to create mist. this is then piped to the nostrils via a hose. the output is sealed with putty to prevent moisture damage.

And there you Have it. A Wearable dragon!

Now, on with the show!