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Cosplayer furtech > Prop of Torahime (Muramasa: The Demon Blade)

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Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Item Name
Ghost Horse
Year Completed:
Construction Difficulty:
Very Difficult
Testmarket Evolution Industry Award
Costume worn at:
Comic-Con / San Diego Comic Con International 2010
Permanent Link:
About this Prop
Construction Details:
The challenge was to create a life-size horse that someone could ride and could be carried by two people. Shipping/transporting was also a factor. Amazing-fantasy-illusion was the icing on the cake (hopefully). I used styrofoam (styrene) because it is light and cheap. I bought a horse-skeleton model (the Visible Horse) and gathered dozens of pictures of horse skeletons. From these I scaled up the proportions to a five-foot tall (at the shoulders) horse. I used primarily a drywall saw and a sanding block to carve the pieces. What a mess. Originally I was going to use a papiér maché variation using cloth instead of glue-and-water, but due to time and incredibly high temperatures and humidity, went to plan "B": a rigid coating specifically made for styrene foam. The whole piece will be covered with an irridescent film, giving the skeleton an otherworldly appearance when the lights hit it. For the performance, I looked to Japanese puppetry ("Bunraku") techniques for inspiration. The horse would be tied together with medium Bungee cord for tension and the feet tied to the feet of the porters/puppeteers. As we walk, the hooves should also move. The head will be tied to my own head (as lead porter) to stabilize it and for movement. Springs and Delrin rods will be used to give motion and bounce to the creature. The biggest challenge was to be able to have someone ride on this horse. They also needed to be lifted by to not-so-burly-guys. I looked at a lot of pictures and designs of palanquins I hit upon the idea of using a light bar chair for this: it was high enough off the ground that we could get under it and we could rest it whenever necessary. Bamboo poles turn out to be both strong and light for carrying.
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