I think I might be getting some tendinitis in my elbows from all of this typing as of late. I will be relieved once all these Halloween tutorials are out the way and I can get back to my wildlife posts. Suspect some of you are getting a bit upset with all the build projects. Bear with me, just a few more and we’ll be set to close it out with the actual trail itself. Let’s not get out in front of our headlights. Today I would like to introduce the latest Posey line – the Plunging Neck Line. Pretty clever there eh, I’ll explain the pun in a bit (and I meant it to be two words).
Went with two versions on the trail this year. High Priest Demon.
And Druid Demon.
Last year I brought you the Westworld Line (link here). This line doesn’t have the animation element (well, at least not yet), but it did fix an ongoing issue I’ve struggled with since the early Posey lines. What to do about the neck. It always seem like they stuck out too far and it just didn’t look the way I wanted it to (link here). Finally got a solution to that problem in my updated line. Might as well take you through the whole process for my two new Demons. It all started with two masks I fond on Amazon. Full over the head masks and fairly decent price point. All I needed to add was a pipe to use as a neck bone and some tubing.
Hit the jump to see how these two Demons progressed on their trek to make it onto the Haunted Trail!
There were a lot of tight spaces in these masks like the horns in the High Priest Demon. I wasn’t sure how to make sure all those voids were filled with the expanding foam nor how well they would hold up. To address this, bought a couple bags of cotton balls and shoved them up one by one into the gaps. Once full, hit it with some hot glue to keep them in place. Also glued down black duct tape (black facing the outside of the mask) to cover up those holes, otherwise it would allow the foam to leak out. Oh, and also inserted tubes into the eye holes – tubes must extend out of the bottom of the masks.
Think I: mentioned this before, the cheapest expanding foam you can get is at Home Depot in their post hole quick cement area. It is called Sika Pro Select Fence Post Mix ~$10 and you can fill two large masks. Since the ratio isn’t 1:1, just cut each side in half and mix the halves together. Wear gloves and do it outside. Also had the help of Linda on these. She held the neck pipe and tubes in place while I poured in the mixed chemicals. Make sure you keep the neck pipe in the right angle to the mask. Here they are waiting to firm up.
Perfect! No need to waste money getting pre-built foam heads – make your own with full latex masks.
Okay, the heads were done, time to make a Posey frame. Hips and legs were the latest model configuration. Full couplers and joints all the way down to the shoes allowing any position and more importantly, easy storage when the big event is over. Using a cross connector, I inserted it deeper on the spine than in the past. Did a double elbow connector off the side to put the shoulders at the proper height to the neck (note, put the elbows together first to figure out how far to put the cross connector down the spine). To allow the neck to tilt, put the chain link fence post cap on the neck bone in the mask to another fence post on top of the spine.
Here it is standing up so you get a better feel for the shoulder and neck structure. Notice how much more normal that configuration looks. This Druid is ready for a job.
You will notice the frame was being duplicated for the High Priest Demon. Per my other Posey related tutorials this year, these models were also given new foam breast plates. With the spine pushed to the back of the hips frame, I was able to keep the full thickness of the chest – wanted them to look strong and mean.
Here they are both standing up (chests removed for the moment). I think I am going to wait to describe how the arms went onto the shoulders – that was a bit tricky. If I kept the standard coupler approach it would have extended too far out. Opted for a modified connector to keep the width right and still allow for full mobility. Rest of the arms were standard Posey design.
Okay, now dress up time to see how they will look. Hard to tell from the pictures, but the Druid on the right has the foam chest in, the High Priest is missing his and you can tell they look better with some thickness.
Next up the hands! I bought 2 pairs of Harry Potter monster hands off the web. They had a fancy name for what they were modeled after – sorry, not a Harry Potter fan so not able to recollect the characters. These hands are actually pretty big. Way too big for my hands and mine are fairly large. Thanks to thinking about how to prep these hands during a long run, figured out a cheap and easy way to make them poseable and attachable to the Posey frame. Basically took Christmas snow material (the white cottonish material for putting down under Dept 56 houses) cut them into 3 inch wide strips about a foot long. The strip was bent over a 1/2″ PVC pipe and shoved up into all the fingers. All the tails were then tucked up inside the palm. Now the secret touch. Took armature wire and looped it in the shape of a hand – imagine just tracing an outline of your hand drawn flat on a piece of paper. Simply ran those loops of wire between the latex and cotton along the back of the hand. Stuck 1/2″ pipe in each palm and filled the end with Great Stuff. Note, the blue tape was meant to help hold the wrist shape and keep the foam off the latex should it spill over.
Once dried, the foam was cut at the end of the wrist and a fence post cap (with adapter) was screwed to the support post. Ladies and gentlemen, we now have four awesomely creepy Demon hands
All I needed to do was attach them to the arm posts which also had a fence cap on them. This is why I do not cut the arms to fit early in the build phase, I could lay out the hands so they fit perfectly with the costume sleeve and then cut the pipe so they fell at the right spot. Standard noodles added to give a bit more flesh.
So now, whatever pose I put the hand in, it stayed thanks to the wire bone structure. Kept my gesture kid friendly hehehe. Can also see the sleeve falls perfectly covering the linkage.
Both hands added to the Druid now. See how big those hands are – would look odd in a standard setting, but their exaggerated size makes them look creepier.
Now time to see the full structure. Hands on. Noodles on, Head on and … yes, running shoes on. Should also point out now the reason for the tubes in the mask. Using my standard 2 LEDs in parallel connected to 4 AA batteries, these demons have light up eyes. Simply fed the LED wires down through the tubes and set the lights themselves flush with the mask. Be sure and trim the tubes before you do this. You want one end of the tube flush with the eye socket and the other flush with the bottom of the head.
A quick flip of the torso and you have a better view of the plunged neck – as in Plunged Neck Line – I crack myself up. Some quick words about the shoulder connectors. I took the elbow connector and made a cut near the end halfway through the connector (easiest is to use a chop saw). I then sanded a pipe until it moved freely in the connector. Add in a washered self tapping screw in the cut slot and into the pipe. This gives nearly 180 degrees of freedom just by loosening the screw. If you need to go further, just pull the screw out, place the pipe in the position you need and then put the screw back in the middle of the slot to hold it.
Here’s the High Priest ready to head to the Trail.
Of course, it looks even scarier in the dark – try not to wet yourself.
Here is the High Priest proudly displaying his evil sacrifice to the Prince of Darkness.
The scene above was conceived on the spot during the build phase of the trail. Just seemed like the logical thing to do. Had built a limbless corpse for a scene last year and needed a new place for it. Hmmm, what to do, what to do. Then something dark popped into my head – the rest is Haunted Trail history. Keeping with the theme, the Druid got into the act as well.
I swear I am perfectly NORMAL! Probably needless to say, these two creatures were in the adult portion of the Trail. The best part about all of this, the Posey design allows for an easy full collapse into a standard tote (one per tote).
That’s a wrap for my new Posey line. Hope you enjoyed seeing and reading on how this came together for Halloween 2017.