Adventures in Dragon Making, Part 3

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My first two experiences with these three-dimensional dragons was so much fun that I wanted to take the process another step forward. I was inspired while wandering a convention and seeing all of the wonderful costumes and props that were all around me, and since my experiences with Worbla began as specifically cosplay-related material it was only logical that I should combine those two ideas into a dragon that was wearable and worked with my existing costumes. I also wanted to add some element of movement to the character and I loved the idea of making him some sort of bobblehead.

I began once again with a coat hanger wire armature, though less of that than I’d used before. In this case I coiled some thinner wire into springs and used that for the structure of the neck and also the tail.

© Herb Leonhard

© Herb Leonhard

To strengthen the spine a bit I ran a thin strip of Worbla along the back side. If I wrapped everything Worbla I would lose all of the “bounce” in those areas so I used cloth to wrap those for the most part, and also for the wing membranes. In this case I just cut up and old t-shirt and hot glued it onto the skeleton. The cost of adding the Worbla “spine” however was that I lost some of that bounce so I ended up putting a small stone inside of the head to give it some extra weight.

© Herb Leonhard

From that point on it was just a matter of painting him. I started with an overall coat of gold spray paint, then added the details. Some of this was done with a paintbrush and some with an airbrush.

© Herb Leonhard

The last thing I added was a coat of thick clear paint with glitter in it. One of the nice pragmatic things about that was that in addition to looking cool it also helped to hide a lot of the transitions between the parts that were Worbla and those that were cloth.

© Herb Leonhard

So here is my little friend Hugo, all finished. I also built into the basic structure a fairly strong wire clip that would attach to the armor on the costume, or alternately to a collar.

© Herb Leonhard

© Herb Leonhard

And in full regalia:

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