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Halloween 2012 - Viktor Gets A Head

Viktor and his headEach year my son and I create a Halloween costume. In previous years we've gone for a variety of Sci-Fi and Game characters (see below) but this year we thought we'd go for something a bit more scary and so we came up with Viktor (see video below). Viktor has had a tortured and twisted life. Feared and hunted because of his unnatural human experiments, Viktor has been on the run with only one companion; the head of his childhood friend!!!

Son as Boba Fett , and his Storm Trooper friend Adam.

The Build

Viktor is a variant of the 'being carried by' costume. In this style of costume, your upper body is yours but your lower body appears to be that of the person carrying you. Here's a Google search that should yield a few examples.

Google Image Search

In our variant, a tall skeletal Viktor would carry my son's head around in a metal container. To make the effect more 'real' we added some animatronics to Viktor's head so his eyes would move and he would blink. We'd also planned his mouth to open and close but problems with my servo controller board axed that feature.

As usual, our costume has to be dirt cheap since it's only used one day. This year's budget included ...

  • $3 wig from the local Dollar store.
  • $8 black bed sheet from the JYSK store
  • $0 two ping-pong balls
  • $0 left over acrylic and spray paints from last year
  • $0 three micro servos and an existing board from my PolyPod project.

Since the ping-pong balls, servos and controller board were in-hand I'm counting them as $0 added expense.

Dirt Cheap Animatronics

Doing animatronics properly is expensive since robust precision armatures are required. My armatures are made out of bent copper wire from left over house wire. Since the eyes would look only side-to-side I used a double wishbone to support the ping-pong ball eyes.

Double wishbone

Two straight pieces of house wiring became the axes on which the two ping-pong ball eyes would swivel. For the eyelids I bent another piece of wire around the centre and then followed the contour of the eyes.

Eyelid armature and ping-pong ball eyes in place

To start Viktor's head, I cut some cardboard to create a slice through his head at the level of the bottom of the nose. A side-view profile was also cut. When joined, these gave me a good platform around which to build. Another piece of cardboard became the eye sockets. At this point, the copper armature was glued into place. Everything is by eye and no plans exist.

Viktor's head starts to take shape

In the next pictures you can see the mechanism in the rear that swivels both eyes left and right. A Servo was later added to push left-right on the loop in the wire joining the two eyes. On the other side is the blink motor. I soldered a small arm onto the wire that controls the eyelids and the servo (seen to the right) pushes upwards causing the eyes to close.

Left-right and blink mechanisms

At this point I started to hot-glue in more pieces of cardboard trying to build a head-like shape. In the next picture you can see the jaw hinged on a chopstick I had lying about. You can see the jaw motor to the left reaching down to push the jaw. Because of poor design on my servo motor board I had to leave this servo unpowered in the finished costume, sigh.

Viktor's head takes shape but nothing to say

To hold my son's head I built a simple cardboard cylinder with a domed top. A big hinged door using another chopstick (they come in twos) allowed for a dramatic reveal at each house. Viktor was hot glued onto the back with a few butresses for strength.

Viktor climbs to the head of the class

A bit more cardboard was added to shape Viktor's upper shoulders and then it was paint time. Viktor was coloured using acrylic paints. That 'head tank' was done using spray paint. The first attempt to do Viktor's makeup ended up too light so another attempt was made to create Viktor's final, dour paint job.

Too light

And finally adding the wig and the cloak.

So tall

And that's about it. Here's the final video taken during construction and at Halloween. Cheers.

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