|Awards :||London Film and Comic Con Winter 2014 Winner|
|Time Taken :||11 months|
|Tooth Fairy from 'Rise of the Guardians'.|
I've never made a costume before so this was my first attempt!
Other costumes I have seen of Tooth use the actor's own head, however like most animated movie characters Tooth's head is oversize and she has beautiful big eyes, so I wanted to try to replicate that. But I didn't want a static head, I wanted it all to work and move naturally. I wanted her to be able to look at you and blink and so on, I wanted her crest to stand up when she gets excited- to make her as real as I possibly could.
I also wanted to get her wings right. I love the way she flaps them and then folds them down her back in the movie, so of course I wanted all of that to work too, and I wanted them the right size and shape.
Also in the movie she flicks her tail, so that had to work as well.
The costume also had to be durable enough for quite a lot of use. I wasn't going to put all this effort in for just one appearance! Considering I'd never done anything like this before it was the biggest challenge I have ever attempted and many nights sleep were lost over it.
Anyway here she is.
Her head features fully working eyes, eyelids, mouth, crest feathers.
All her facial features operate autonomously off sensors which track the facial movements of the person inside.
A friend who is a sculptor made me a clay model of the head. I replicated it with alginate and plaster of paris. The head is made from vacuum-formed plastic formed over the plaster form and covered with hundreds of real feathers. Her face is cast in silicone reinforced with powermesh.
Inside there are six servomotors and two battery packs. I designed and made four bespoke electronic circuits including two microcontrollers and associated software which control six servomotors which operate her crest, eyes, eyelids and mouth. It was fun trying to get all the animatronics to work around someone's head, and the actor's eyelashes are just 1mm from the inside of Tooth's eyes.
Her irises are printed onto plastic film. I made hundreds of tiny pinholes in it with a CNC laser. The pinholes enable the actor to see out.
Her eyeballs are vacuum formed over a wastepipe elbow. Her eyelids are pink lycra stretched over a hinged brass frame, and her eyelashes were designed on the PC and laser cut from smoke grey plastic.
The shape of the head was a problem because Tooth's eyes are set back a long way from her mouth, and her eyes are very far apart. All sorts of tweaks and compromises were made to fit it all around a real human head.
She has ten working wings made of hand-laid carbon fibre which can be opened up, flapped quite quickly and folded down. When folded her wings stack on top of each other in two stacks of five. When open she has a two-metre wingspan. The carbon fibre was laid over a print of the official DreamWorks image of Tooth, so they are an exact replica.
The wings are flapped by a 450W DC motor. A second motor operates the open/close function. The mechanism is fully purpose built, and the backpack also contains two rechargeable batteries. The wings are radio-controlled and the degree of opening and the speed of flapping are all controlled.
Her tail feathers are also motorised and flick occasionally when standing, because they do in the movie. They are servo-driven and operated by a bespoke electronic circuit that also stops them from moving when she sits down.
The tail feathers are weighted with curtain wire, whilst the four 'flag' feathers use GRP plastic rod, both materials giving the desired movement but are durable enough to be sat on.
Her body is custom-printed lycra with padding in certain areas. An artist friend painted me dozens of feathers and I laid them up into a full body artwork on the PC.
The costume is worn by a good family friend as I'm too big and the wrong sex! We've had loads of fun and Tooth delights children and adults alike. The reactions of the adults when she flaps her wings or looks at them and blinks is absolutely super, and for me- it's an real joy to create something which brings so much pleasure to others and was well worth the effort.
I've got no plans to make another costume- this one was enough for me!
We're going to MCM London May 24! (Posted 18th April 2015)
Yup Tooth and I are coming to MCM London Sunday 24 May. Very excited! See you there!
Accessories Progress (Posted 29th October 2014)
I finished the Tooth Box and Oscar and I finished Baby Tooth in time for MCM London. The tooth box works pretty much as in the movie. When Tooth holds it, brilliant light shines out of it for a moment, then it fades away and the decorated table flips over revealing the teeth. Only Tooth can open it- it has no levers or buttons on the outside.
New plumage! (Posted 20th October 2014)
After an incredible effort we got Tooth's new bodysuit made in time for London Film and Comic Con 2014. The colour, intensity and feather placement is so much better and I'm utterly thrilled with it.
Body Print (Posted 18th August 2014)
Latest printed sample of the body fabric from Citrus Rain is stunning. The colours are much closer, the contrast and intensity is much improved and the yellow part wraps properly around the neck. Hope we can remake the body in time for MCM ComicCon London.
Baby Tooth (Posted 10th August 2014)
We've got a Baby Tooth that actually flies by flapping her wings. There are however two problems- 1 She doesn't yet quite look like Baby Tooth, so she needs some work doing, and 2 she's a bit uncontrollable and usually ends up stuck in a tree or disappearing over the neighbour's fence!
Tooth's wing mechanism and tooth box (Posted 1st August 2014)
Having loads of fun trying to make a proper cover for her wing mechanism. The cover is such a strange shape. Current idea is to bash it out of thin aluminium and the vacuum form over it, then probably cover it in feather fabric.
Tooth's head has a pair of ventilation fans but they are quite noisy inside, so I've added a speed control so I can slow them down a bit.
Now working on a tooth box. As usual I want it to work, thus as usual letting myself in for more work and lack of sleep. Anyway it's mostly drawn up on the CAD and looking good in theory. It will contain two motor/gear sets- one to open the outer doors and one to flip the internal table to reveal the teeth.