Intro: Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max Fury Road)
When it became apparent, that due to some surgery last November, I had to shave off my hair, I decided to adapt my costume for carnival 2017 accordingly. Until then, I had been working on a Buzz Lightyear suit, but with the “stubble” that would remain on my head, I thought I could - for once - go without a wig or a hat or a cap, as I usually do. If you are interested, take a look at my “Maleficent Headpiece” Instructable or my Mad Hatter pics (at the end of this Instructable - I didn't write an Instructable on that one, because I was so engrossed in the “hat making” that I forgot to take pictures of the early stages).
I did not really have to think hard about women in movies with very short hair – as almost immediately Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max Fury Road came to mind and would prove to be an excellent way to try out a new material I had wanted to test for some time now: WORBLA. I decided to go for it and to use black WORBLA.
First I searched for as many reference images as I could find on the net and in addition to stills from the movie I found some great Furisosa cosplays > so first of all a big shoutout to everyone who did this before! I have seen some fantastic work with all kinds of materials!
Step 1: Immortan Joe Belt-buckle
As I said before, I decided to use Worbla… Plus a lot of leather belts, modelling clay, hot glue, latex (for the “branding”) and even an old bicycle tube and a rusted wrench!
I started with the Immortan Joe belt-buckle, using a special white and very light modelling clay which you can even dry in the microwave, if you are in a hurry. I printed out a picture of the belt-buckle in the exact size I wanted and started sculpting. When the clay was dry, I covered it in black Worbla. For those of you who do not really know what Worbla is and how to use it, here is a very brief description: Worbla is a non-toxic thermoplastic, which comes in sheets of different sizes and which you have to heat up before use. As long as it is hot/warm you can sculpt und layer it as you like, it is extremely durable and if you do something wrong, just reheat it and start again... Check out Kamui Cosplay for tutorials – this is where I went to learn and she creates the most amazing costumes.
After covering the clay with hot Worbla and sculpting it into all the little crevices of the pattern, I had to wait for it to cool off (it gets really hard, when it cools off), because only then you can start the priming by sanding the surface and covering it with at least one layer of wood glue or another primer. After the primer is completely dry, you can paint it any colour you want. I used Ponal Classic woodglue which works really well and is easy to get and not as expensive as for example Flexbond. To get the right color and the weathered look I used acrylic paint in black, dark brown, silver and copper and worked away, adding layer after layer of paint…. I tried different brands and settled on Reeves because I really like the colours they offer, which are bright and brilliant, but any acrylic paint should work just fine.
I then took an old leather dice cup and cut out a round piece in the size I needed, as it already had the weathered look and most of all was thick and stiff enough to hold the belt buckle. However it proved a lot more difficult to affix the sculpted Worbla to the leather than I thought... no amount of glue worked, so I ended up using my Dremel to put two holes into the Worbla covered clay and through the leather as well and used screws with a flat end and two nuts and just screwed the belt buckle onto the leather... Afterwards I drilled all the little holes into the leather, which I would need to affix the various chains to the belt buckle. I bought those online in 5m coils, 4 different colours, cut them into the length I wanted with a wire cutter and attached them with eyelets in the same colour. This was tricky work, as the chains are very thin… I attached the finished belt-buckle to a thin, brown leather belt I still had and which had the right length for the belt to hang loosely around my hips.
Step 2: The Shoulder Pad
Then I started on the shoulder pad, also made of Worbla and painted with acrylic paint. I used an old motocross shoulder pad from my husband as a base, covered it in aluminium foil and then built the form I wanted on top of this with the same white modelling clay I used for the belt buckle. When the clay had dried I separated it carefully from the shoulder pad and covered it in Worbla. (Sorry forgot to take a picture of that stage) After the Worbla was cold and stiff again, I took away the clay and „padded“ the inside with EVA foam. The rounded ridge on top is also Worbla, which proved difficult later, as with every necessary reheating (and there were quite a few) the Worbla lost it’s form, but fortunately I was always able to get it into the right form again… But I would probably use something else for the „ridge part“ next time... The little gear wheel at the back of the shoulder pad is an old Lego one from my son, covered in Worbla and also painted. Same goes for the pull switch at the front, this I took from one of his old Yugioh whirligigs …
Step 3: Mechanical Arm Part 1 and 2
The small, transparent tube attached to the shoulder pad is filled with rapeseed oil, which I happened to have in my cupboard and didn’t really like to use for cooking, so this was better than just tossing it in the trash ;-)
You can use any oil or fluid you like – at first I wanted to use coloured water, but I thought an oily substance would be more accurate. I sealed the ends of the tube with the heat gun and flat nose pliers. I also attached a small leather belt and an old bicycle tube to the underside of the shoulder pad and when I was sure that everything was where it should be to fit afterwards, I sealed the underside with another layer of Worbla. I then connected the shoulder pad with the upper arm loop for which I used part of an old belt with the belt buckle still attached, to be able to adjust the hold. To make it more comfortable I put a layer of brown textile belt strap under the leather!
To decorate the bicycle tube (and later the “gauntlet”) I used copper coloured “fusible” rivets/studs, but instead of using the iron to fuse them to the tube, I just used superglue.
I tried to use as many “old” things as possible for the underarm loop and the connection to the gauntlet. A rusted wrench I had lying around, an old pressure gauge and many more.
Instead of using metal rods to connect the “gauntlet” and the under arm loop, I took an old aerial cable and painted it silver, as I wanted a bit more flexibility. The leather for the under arm loop is from a cheap bracelet I bought online, because I liked the pattern. Onto this I superglued the pressure gauge and then again, I “aged” everything using copper and silver acrylic paint. Same as with the upper arm loop, to make everything bit more comfortable, I glued the bracelet onto a strip of brown textile belt strap.
Voilà, first part of the “mechanical arm” was ready. Next: the “gauntlet”!
Step 4: The "gauntlet"
I started out with an old motocross glove from my husband and cut off the cuff, to make sure, only the hand was covered. To disguise the cut and to have something to affix the rest of the mechanical arm to, I hot glued a piece of an old, sturdy leather belt to the end of the glove, just wide enough that I could still get my hand into it easily. I then cut out various pieces of Worbla to fit the back of the hand and the fingers in the style of an old gauntlet used by knights in the middle ages. I used superglue to glue the first two fingers of the glove together as the mechanical hand in the movie has only three fingers. I used the Dremel to put the holes into the Worbla, covered the glove in these sheets, adding more Worbla to it until I was satisfied with the look and then I sanded, primed and painted it, making sure it looked really old and rusty. The sanding is really important, because otherwise the primer (and later the paint) will not stay on! Use different sanding papers - going from "rough" to fine" until the surface is really smooth.
Step 5: Connecting the "gauntlet" to the Rest of the Mechanical Arm
Finally I threaded the tube from the shoulder pad part through the upper and under arm loop and attached it to the fingers of the gauntlet. I used tiny scraps of Worbla to make them look like clamps which hold the tube in place.
Step 6: The "branding"
The branding at the back of my neck is made of liquid latex. I used the finished Immortan Joe belt buckle to make a mold out of modelling clay, pressing the buckle into a disc of the clay, let it dry completely and than poured the latex into the hardened mold. I used an old concealer to get the colour right and attached it with good old Mastix to my neck.
Haven't got a good picture of this - just the one I took when I tried if the colour fits - but it wasn't affixed with Mastix at that point.
Step 7: Trousers and Shirt
To complete the look I bought a pair of fake leather pregnancy pants. The part which normally covers the belly was a bit like the brown „corset“ which Charlize wears under all those belts and as it was attached to the top part of the trousers already, I did not have to worry about how to make sure, that this part would not slip out of the trouser every time I moved... So win-win all around, as it is super comfy! The top was made out of a long sleeve linen "tunic style" shirt. I cut off the sleeves and covered an old shoulder pad with this part and used the sewing machine to get the "spiral part" on the shoulder pad right. I than took stripes from the lower part of the shirt and sewed them on to the top part (crossing them in the middle) and aged everything with brown acrylic paint diluted with a lot of water.
I also bought some welding goggles, weathered them and fashioned a more comfy stap from some black textile scraps I had lying around (a bit like a “Scrunchie”), not sure how long I will wear them on top of my head, but to make the costume as authentic and complete as possible, I just had to have them. (Edit: I ended up wearing them the whole evening and they proved to be lightweight and comfy)
Step 8: Assembly of the Full Costume Including Make Up
Attention to details is important... :) So here comes a picture of the belt buckle (my favorite part of the costume) and the lower part of the arm, to show all those details!
Make up is simple black eyeshadow and loads of black mascara and eyeliner... The eyeshadow was applied generously and smudged with baby oil to give it that greasy appearance...
It took some time to assemble everything and I definitely needed some help to get in (and out) of it (with all the straps and belt buckles), but it was worth it. I had a really good time wearing it and (except for the contact lenses) it was a lot more comfortable than it looks... :D
I hope you enjoyed reading this Instructable as much as I have enjoyed writing it and that it will give you a few good starting points for your own work on the Imperator Furiosa costume...
Step 9: Mad Hatter Pics for Those Who Are Interested :)
I didn't write an Instructable of that one, because I forgot to take pics of all the stages of the hat - partly because it was way more complicated than I thought it might be and partly because I just didn't have the time, as I started rather late and had to get ready for carnival 2016.
But this is the result! :)