Puppet - Ugandan Crested Crane




Introduction: Puppet - Ugandan Crested Crane

About: Currently in my final year in IADT Dun Laoghaire, studying Modelmaking, Design and Digital Effects. Hope to work in Miniature film modeling and Architectural Modeling.
For my college Street Theatre Performance project I decided to make a large bird puppet, of a Ugandan Crested Crane. I was to be the puppeteer, so I designing based around my body shape and movement ability. (That is to say I made a small harness and it was quite physically demanding to wear, to put it lightly =P ).                                                                                                                

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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.

Step 6: Performance

Our assessment also included a public 'performance' inside the college. As we are makers, rather then performers, this was a rather rough college show, but still a lot of organisation and 'rehersing' went into it.                                                                                                      Myself and two others (A flamingo and Elephant) worked together on a short comical scene to the track 'Shake and Feel It' from the movie Swing Kids. The story was about 2 birds going about their own business by a pond, then they spot elephant. They are curios and vi for the attention of the elephant, and poke and sniff it to see what it is. The Elephent in turn is curious about the birds, and naively try to mimic their movements. The amused birds then try the get it to dance along with them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         =D  We have a pretty fun time in college!                                                                                                                                                                                               Here is a link to a video of one of our rehersals.                                                                                                          https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=2035495203938&set=vb.1140951773&type=2&theater                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Thanks for taking the time to look a this instructable. If you have any questions just comment below and don't forget to follow me =D                               AND VOTE PLEASE   =D
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    6 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    WOW. That is art and engineering at its best. I loved the video! That elephant was crazy awesome too.
    You get my vote.

    Kathy Lisa
    Kathy Lisa

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a million! My friend Judith made the elephant, she's very talented alright! It was fun getting to use the puppets at the end, that song got suck in my head for about a month. Glad you liked it :D