Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon halloween prop!

There’s a mechanism inside the bird that moves the head left/right, up/down by pulling on some lines that come out through the bottom. Sort of like an inverted marionette.

The mechanism was loosely based on methods I worked out from the plinko board, which is basically a system made up of fishing line threaded through drip irrigation tubes, anchored to pieces of wood. In the case of this peregrine falcon prop, the wood pieces are bamboo skewers (and temporarily held together with super glue).

Generally, I’ve found those materials seem to work well for things like this where I’m trying to get a basic idea of how things should move.

The body was created with paper and masking tape which I’ve just gotten used to using for making quick, basic forms.

After putting together the basic form, I covered the outside with pieces of masking tape that were cut in the shape of feathers. There really should be an easier, faster way of doing this, but I didn’t really want to go out and buy more stuff 🙂

Starting at the tail and working up is the best way to get the layers of feathers in place, which I learned from laying out the scales of the pangolin costume.

After laying out all the feathers, I painted the bird using gouache, with a broad brush. I actually kind of liked the look of the gouache as opposed to acrylic which I’ve used in the past. It’s not as opaque as acrylic, but also not as transparent as watercolor, so it’s a mix of the two.

If you want to make something similar, one thing to note is that when the paint dries, it tends to curl the masking tape feathers outward. I wasn’t really expecting this, but it created a little more separation between the feathers which was actually kind of a nice look. However, the curled feathers ended up getting in the way of each other when the head rotated, so it took more pulling than I would have liked to get the head to move.

Some photos from the process, below.


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