Greetings Oh Juggers who dare to look upon this tutorial and those who stumbled upon this page by accident and are now both intrigued and slightly confused!
Background: What is Jugger?
Jugger is a game based on a game created for post-apocalyptic cult 80's film called "The Blood of Heroes" ( or also "Salute to the Jugger" which has a different ending- also yes that is the guy from Blade Runner and the chick from Twin Peaks). It developed from the films bloody medieval feeling combat game to a well touch football/ gridiron with padded sparse such as the longsword, the short sword and shield, the "stab" and the ball and chain. Its played with 2 teams of 5 people a side on the field (often most teams have up to 8- its pretty exhausting!).
Four of these players are "enforcers and play with spars (or pomfen as they are called in some places) whose role is to protect the Qwik, the 5th player and help them get to the other side of the field by tagging the other teams players. When tagged, players have to go down for a count or "stones" depending on what spar got them.
One of these players is the Qwik and has the role of getting the "dog skull" ( in the film it was a dog skull- it was never really explained why- post- apocalyptic- why the hell not!) into the other teams mound. There are a lot more rules to the game that change depending on the country you play it in, but those you can google for yourself ( definitely youtube!).
The Dog Skull
The dog skull, is essentially some foam or soft material masterpiece that can look like anything from your basice physio roll or an actual skull ( usually with some form of latex).
The most significant things you will need to consider when making a skull are:
1. Durability (they will often be TORN APART by battling Qwiks, particularly in Australia where we have the contested circle start!!);
2. Softness (it is BOUND to be thrown multiple times within one game);
3. Affordability (a lot of Juggers are students or just poor hehe and also due to the need to replace them often, cheapness helps!!);
4. How cool it looks ( ok, not actually important but its so much more fun- but is hard to balance with durability and affordability).
This tutorial tries to balance most of these things.
It doesn't make a realistic looking skull, but basically the product is super durable.
Its very simple and by no means perfect but it can at least give you some guidance on how to create your own skull.
Feel free to comment and give feedback and/ or suggestions for altering the tutorial or making it better/ more efficient.
I must credit Ambi Designs (who is awesome btw google her if you don't know her!) for their tutorial, from which I based my tutorial off.
I have altered it so that it does not involve the need for glue, I have changed the type of foam and reduced (I believe) the fragility of the skull.
For the meantime- enjoy the guide! ^^
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Step 1: What You'll Need
SO, I sourced my materials from Ebay predominantly (very cheaply) but they should be available locally at a hardware store if you are pressed for time or just hate the internet (why are you here then...).
Anyway for this tutorial you will need:
- A yoga block of EVA foam ( preferably at least 7 cm high, 12cm wide and and 22cm + in length- so you have room to muck around with)
- Some white matte plasti-dip (use gloves etc if you can and spray always outside- its stinky)
- Some type of sealant (optional but useful in protecting paint)
- A serrated knife, scissors or preferably box cutters
- Some sandpaper (optional)
- A chopping board/ good space for carving
- A pen ( I used Sharpie)
- A photo or something to base your carving off
- Some paints- acrylic or whatever you want to play around with, make sure to test it one some scraps first!(optional: only if you wish to paint it!)
When you have these ..its time to begin!
Step 2: Planning
First, plan generally the shape you are going to carve out- you can do this in many way- I had a mold I previously had made which I use to draw an outline on both side of the EVA foam block.
Then, using a photo of a skull as a guide, draw the areas you plan to carve out on the surface- the negative spaces. It is important to note that if you are using a thicker foam it may be better to carve away a layer first before you draw this on, otherwise you'll lose your guide pretty quickly in the process of frenzied chipping.
Step 3: Carving
Yepp- now the messy fun.
Get on that board with those knives and just cut away. Be careful not to cut towards yourself and watch your fingers! EVA foam can be tough and you can't play Jugger without working hands!
(Basically employ caution common sense here folks!!)
It can take ages to complete so try watching tv or something if you like (maybe the "Blood of Heroes" is appropriate) while you chip away. Make sure you constantly refer to your reference. keep feeling the foam to make sure that it is the thickness you were going for.
Remember, that the skull will have to be thin enough to fit in your mounds, but if it is too thin it become fragile and is more likely to break.
Also remember if possible keep the detail relatively simple if you can and try to remember that you should avoid sharp edges or edges that stick our too much in case you have strict safety officers or people whom you play with who actually care about their eyeballs ( who are these crazy people?). Some detail in the teeth is fine, but be wary that it could make the skull more fragile. Its something you should assess as you go.
If you find that your cuts are not neat enough (you may find this if you have been using a serrated knife as I did), you have the option of sanding down the cut areas. Be careful to do this gently- if you are too rough you may make dents you didn't want in the foam.
Step 4: Plasti- Dip
Go outside and rest the skull on newspapers or cardboard that you don't care about.
Hold the plasti-dip spray about 20-30cm away from the skull and spray. Make sure you protect your face with ANYTHING that helps it avoid fumes and avoid touching the Plasti-dip unless wearing gloves. Leave it to dry for a while and repeat. I recommend covering the skull 3-4 times.
There is a lot of waiting game in this step, so maybe watch Blood of Heroes again while you play it.
Technically you can stop here. The plasti-dip and paint will give greater protection but painting is an optional addition, and it makes this tutorial seem pretty small and way too easy to end it here, so I have extended it to include painting ideas to spice up your skull.
Step 5: PAINTING
YAY and now its painting time!
Do your own thing basically- preferably use acrylic paints, but if you want to use another paint test it first on a piece of scrap foam (you will probably have heaps left over to do so).
You can go realistic, go for team colours, cover it in glitter- whatever really. I made 2 tema themed skulls- one with two silver flames and a blood spatter and one for the Australian Redbacks ( with a spider web in one eye- IT IS NOT SPIDERMAN THEMED!).
For the skull I made during this tutorial I did a dark base coat and then went for a greyish kinda colour scheme.
I recommend whatever you do, don't get too attached to your skull/artwork- it is likely to fade, have paint flake off, get very dirty and also break or be torn apart.
To help delay this substantially I would recommend also applying some kind of sealant- such as mod podge to the outside over the paint.
You can also make you skull glow in the dark by painting it with glow in the dark paints or by using a glow in the dark sealant on lighter coloured paint. i.e white/ yellow.
Well that's it I'm afraid- its been a fun journey!
Hopefully this helps other Juggers somewhere somehow.
If you have any feedback/ ideas don't hesitate to comment!
NOW GO PLAY JUGGER.