A few months ago, my 7 year old son decided that he wanted to be a Tusken Raider for Halloween this year. As a huge Star Wars fan, I naturally obliged.
This was a fun costume to build, offering a variety of materials, textures and techniques - and who doesn't love the smell of leather.
The head shell was constructed using 0.5" plastazote foam. The initial form underwent several tweaks before I arrived at a size and shape I was satisfied with.
I started by creating half a sphere comprised of 8 wedges. Once sized and cut, I shaped the wedges using a heat gun. The wedges were glued with spray adhesive. A strip was added down the middle to change the shape from sphere to a more oval skull shape.
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I then added a extension to created the depth of the head.
The front panel was added and tweaks were made to finalize the shape. Openings for eyes were cut along with the mouth and blood spitter. The muzzle was added and later shortened, lengthened and then shortened again.
Once the rough head was constructed, I did a fitting on my son and realized the head was too tall. I removed 0.5" from the overall height in order to shrink the head.
The eye sockets, spikes and blood spitters were formed using 1/8" sintra (PVC foamboard) Initially I placed temporarily placed the pieces as a mock up and later made changes to position.
Considering a 7 year old would be wearing this costume during the night walking up and down stairs of city homes, I modified the eye sockets to try and maximize his vision while still maintaining the look. I shortened the length of the eye stocks and widened the tapering on the end.
The pieces were cleaned, sanded and primed before painting. I sprayed each piece silver then scuffed with sandpaper once dry. Next I spritzed each piece with yellow and blue spray paint to create a tarnished look. The final colour application was diluted acrylic paint (burnt sienna) to finalize the look. The pieces were attached using both E-600 adhesive and hot glue.
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The teeth were carved from plastazote foam and covered with 3 coats of flexbond before painting. The same painting process was used as other silver components.
I then added the soft leather around the inside of the mouth. This was a little tricky until I understood exactly how it was achieved.
I started with a length of leather (remember, its a kids costume so the dimensions are smaller) that was longer than it was wide.Starting at the top of the snout, I glued the edge down and started creating pleats by folding the leather onto itself. Using hot glue, I glued down the pleats, or folds, and continued on around the opening.
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Next I added the leather strips around the snout. I bought a single piece of cowhide that was a uniform length which didn't allow any flexibility with sizing of each strip. Once again, because its a child's costume I was able to vary the size by starting with the fixed size and cutting some off. The leather was wrapped around the mouth using hot glue and layed according to reference photos. Next the piece of leather was added between the eyes followed by the same leather used inside the mouth to fill the small gaps between the blood spitters and eye sockets.
I used a khaki coloured fabric for the head bandages. I tore and washed the strips leaving them to hang dry over night. This gave the strips a natural weathered look.
The strips of fabric were applied using hot glue and were systematically applied in a random type fashion - make sense?
Next the head needed to be weathered and the colour needed to shift towards a darker more olive tone seen in Star Wars Episode 4. I lightly sprayed the finished head with black spray paint before applying chalk pastel. I layered a mix of earth green, charcoal and Terra Cotta. I then smudged the chalk into the fabric grain. I may seal the head with a matte fixative spray but will have to test it first. I don't want any type of sheen on the surface.
Here is the finished product.
I purchased a cheap pair of girl's boots for the costume as I wanted something long and that fit snug around the leg. The boots were then treated and weathered in the same fashion as the head. I hot glued the strips around the boot - leaving the sole bare, and weathered with the same colour combination of chalk pastel.
I used a pair of kids gloves from the dollar store which I then dyed with tea. The colour came out a little strong for my liking so I sprayed them heavily with black after final photos were taken. I hot glued strips of fabric - again using the same technique as the head and boots, to the gloves in order to hide ant skin showing.
Using a photo reference I found which I believe to be a Gaffi used in the movie, I created a paper template of the design. I read that the Gaffi is 34" in length so I scaled the size down a bit to be more suitable for my son.
The head and shaft were carved out of plastazote foam, sanded with a dremel and by hand.