Gimbled 'Stormfly' and 'Astrid' from How to Train Your Dragon 2
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Step 1: PVC Skeleton
The dragon's skeleton is PVC piping, balsa wood, for the gimbal, and dry wall stilts for the legs and to give me height.
Step 2: Paper Mache
I made the general shape of the head and horns (minus the jaw) using paper mache. I then took blue craft foam to make the scales.
Step 3: Warbla
I learned of this material called Warbla that melts and sticks to material, forming a hard shell. It's best to wear a mask when doing this.
I created an eye shape with clay and melted the Warbla over it using a heat gun. I then melted the Warbla over the paper mache and craft foam it to create a scaley surface. You need to use a tool to push the warbla around the scales, the material wont melt completely and reharden, it's still relatively solid and needs to be pushed down and around the details.
I reheated the edges of the Warbla to attach the eyes with ease.
Step 4: Attaching the Head
The head was then attached to the gimble and pvc pipe by drilling screws into the sides of the heads.
Step 5: Wings
The wings were also created using Warbla, I made the shape using clay and wire which are both embedded into the wings. I then painted them using spray paint and a couple stencils that I made and finished it off by covering the paint with glossy modge podge.
Step 6: Paint
The head and horns are done similarly to the wings- spray paint, modge podge, and stencils.
Step 7: Skin and Trying on the Costume
I covered the pvc body and legs with fabric and used backpack straps to carry the load of the head and body. I had to put small weights in the tale in order to keep in balanced. That was the hardest part of the costume, trying to keep everything balanced while minimizing the weight on my shoulders.
Step 8: Paint and Finishing Touches
I created the dragon's jaw by using the same process as the head, paper mache base covered in warbla. The teeth are made of poster board and the tongue is heat shaped craft foam.
The legs are old jeans stuffed with newspaper and the shoes are made from warbla- I covered rain boots in the material to get the right shape.
Step 9: Finished Costume
The gimble made all the difference, it allowed me to move the head enough to give it life. I don't have the info on how to make the gimble here as it was my partner who made it not me. He used youtube video reference to make a marionette with high weight fishing wire.