This is the basic workflow of the first zombie/corpse I've every tried to build. I used methods found here and around the web, but not any single one of them as I tried to combine the best aspects of all the methods I had seen. And as always, you follow this at your own risk! I'm not responsible for injury or death from following my steps, its for demonstration only. I hope you guys enjoy and find it helpful.
Ok, Then goal. What I wanted out of this was a corpse/zombie that could be posed mainly for use in photography (think Pumpkinrot's Freak Show Zombies from Last year) and a static Halloween prop second. I wanted to look creepy and realistic without being cheesy, have a good degree of movement for a static prop, and most important, be every cheap to make!
To begin, as I have done nothing of this sort before, I felt it wise to test the waters so to speak and start small. So I decided to start with a half corpse, being only torso, arms, and head. If that didn't fail epically, then I'd go for a full body corpse.
So lets get to it. I began with the spine. Since this guy is a crawler, and not needing to hold his weight, I went with a wire spine for flexibility. Having a much of scrap materials around, I used some second - hand 12/2 electrical wire. I cut three pieces about 3 feet long, taped the ends together, placed it in a vice, and braided the three together. I took this wire braid, and slipped a 3/4 inch pvc cross fitting over it to about to where the shoulders should be. I left enough for the neck to stick a skull on, always making things longer so it could be trimmed off if needed. I added two pieces of 3/4 pvc pipe for the shoulder-arm joints to the cross piece.
I used this method here at that point Here and have to say it works really well. I found however that I could simply heat the pipe with my heat gun in no time, makes no smoke/fumes, and can easily be shaped. No need for torches, heated rods, or any of that! Heat gun allowed me to make all the ends quickly and safely.
Next, the rib cage. Which I can tell you know after the fact was total overkill. IF I do this again, I'm not going to all the trouble, as you don't really see it in the final result. For the second zombie, I used a much similar method. That being said, this is what I did the first round.
I took a few close hangers (a buck or two from a dollar store) and cut them and straightened them. I laid them out on a table and arranged them into a frontal ribcage fashion. I duck taped them together where the sternum would be so I could keep everything in place as I picked it up and attached the floppy mess onto the spine. I bent the close hanger wires to shape and ran them through the braids of the spine to fasten.
At this point i made the collar bones and scapula (shoulder blades). Collar bones are more 12/2 wire, and the scapula were pieces of 1 inch foam insulation board crudely cut to shape, then warped with the heat gun. These were then taped on with oh-so trusty duck tape.
After that I crudely wrapped them all with cheap duck tape to give them volume. This took time and I wouldn't do this for a zombie again, but I think the results would be great for a scratch built skeleton where you'd see the effort.
Next, the arms! and a slight departure from the 'Spawn of Articulation' method. I wanted my guy to have working hands. what I did here, was take another scrap of 12/2 wire, folded it over and twisted it together, and slipped 1/2 inch pvc over it.
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