Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Butterman Kerrygold Cow

Brief: Build a light weight cow model to be used as a close-up element on an actors shoulders.

Designer: Paki Smith.

This was a challanging job on a few levels. The first issue is weight. Any complex shape needs a structure to maintain its shape (and survive the production!)

But this cow would be on the shoulders of an actor for 2 days so even sculpting in foam would be too heavy. Also, the cow needed articulation in its leg joints to give a bit of realistic movement.

So I decided we should go for a bent ply structure for the rib cage and rope joints for the hips and small hinges for the knee and ankle.

Below is a picture of the ply frame.
We made sold MDF hoofs for a little weight at the end of the legs, hopefully to ad some bounce to the limbs.
After attaching the final shapes to the leg "bones" we  wrapped it all in upolstery foam. With carful application major muscle groups can be roughed out and hints of the anatomy take shape.
The covering: though looking very good, real cow hide was far to ridged to be usable. We went with synthetic fur on a woven backing which allowed a little stretch and play.

After some shaving and painting she was ready for her big scene!

The final advert is below:

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