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2002 T'char

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T'char, dragon priestessThis costume was an almost spur-of-the-moment project, that turned into my first real experience wearing a prosthetic of my own creation. The name "T'char" is kind of a role-playing in joke.

The hooded dress she's wearing is a storebought one that I fell in love with when I discovered that I didn't look half bad in it... but I hadn't really gotten a chance to wear it. My friends were discussing our usual trip to the vastly overpriced, but always amusing, Renaissance Festival, and I just decided it'd be fun to try doing a prosthetic. Just to see if I could, basically.

I bought some Sculpey (a type of modeling clay that doesn't dry unless baked) and built the muzzle, bottom jaw, and eyebrow ridges for the dragon prosthetic over a plaster cast of my own face. After some trial and error (and at least one more full re-sculpturing later), I had a mold of my dragon face, which I cast with rubber latex, tinted dark red. (I've only now started messing with foam latex, and it's a lot more difficult to work with!) I built the teeth out of Sculpey, baked them and attached them into the top and bottom jaw.

For the horns, I took a pair of the Woochie brand latex horns that I already had, and made a mold of them. I cast it several times using red-tinted latex, and painted the horns with light gold nail polish.

The claws, like the teeth, are made out of Sculpey and baked. They're painted with black nail polish, which gives them a very nice shine, and stays on very well, too. The hands on this costume were a rather clumsy attempt to leave the underside of my own hands as uncovered as possible. I made scales out of rubber latex that went over the back of each of my fingers, hand, and up my arm nearly to the elbow. I used straps of see-through elastic to hold the hand-pieces on, and used spirit gum to attach the scales that went up my arm. (Not as hard to get off as I was afraid they'd be, though...)

The feet, too, were put together pretty quickly. I started with a pair of slippers, attached some fabric to form "boots" of sorts, with lumps for the three toes in front, and one toe up the side. I then attached the claws and more rubber latex scales. People generally seemed impressed with the final effect.

The makeup I used was just regular greasepaint. I had the so-called "injury stack" made by Cinema Secrets, which had yellow, dark red, purple, and black makeup — the perfect colors for a dragon, I thought. On the portions of my skin covered only by makeup, I just used a finger to dab the makeup on, giving it a mottled, scaly appearance. A mix of the red and purple makeup ended up matching the color of my prosthetics almost perfectly. I set the makeup with several coats of baby powder. Must've worked pretty well... The pictures on this page were taken after a full day in the sun at the Renaissance Festival, and the makeup still looks darned good.

This was a fun costume to wear, very expressive. Scared lots of little kids, and got a lot of compliments. The eyebrows moved in synch with my expressions, as did the cheeks and jaw. I was gathering a crowd when we stopped to eat; though I had to cut my food into fairly small pieces and eat with a fork, people were fascinated to see the dragon eating. (I even chose an appropriate meal: steak on a stake)

The biggest drawback of this costume is getting it all back off again. Getting it all put on just took time... no real problem there... but trying to get all of that makeup off has left stains in my bathroom that I'm not sure will ever go away. It took me longer to wash all of the makeup and spirit gum off of myself than it did to put the whole thing on in the first place! Not sure if I'm gonna brave putting this whole thing on again...

But it was a lot of fun. I'm very pleased with how my first prosthetic turned out! I wasn't expecting it to be a success, especially not as much of one as this one turned out to be.

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