Saturday, October 1, 2011

Body Double Part 2: Pelvis and Legs

This is where we left off.  No, I still have not added arm #2.


Now my creation needs legs and a pelvis.  The challenge here is making a curved flat piece.  Curved round bones are easy, but how do you get newspaper to get a 3D shape when the part you want is flat?  I thought about how to manage it for 2 whole days before coming up with what I did.

I managed to kill two birds with one stone on this one.  I've been getting a surplus of the half sheets they use in newspapers.  I can't use them for long tubes and they're annoying to cut for the mache strips.  I stacked 4 of them and started folding similarly to what I did for the sternum.  Forgive the following description, I was never very good at origami instructions and this was the best I could come up with.

I secured each fold as I made it.  Folding the bottom sides in gave me the start of hip joints.  Then I took the upper corner and folded it to meet the point of the previous fold.  Next I folded the top edge down.  It looks rather like a diaper at this point, which is actually good.  It means it has the right shape.  I made a second piece with the same folds as the first but I folded them in slightly more so that the second piece would be smaller.  The other difference was an extra fold on the upper sides.







Now, it needs to be three dimensional.  With the folds to the inside I taped the upper side edges together which made the back portion bend out. Then I taped the very bottom edges together.  As you can see, I now have something that really looks like a diaper.  However, it also has a place for the leg bones to go AND space for me to get in and tape them.  Plus it will give me enough shaping for when I cover it to make a convincing body. Remember, I'm making a corpse, not a skeleton.  Everything I've done is going to be covered over in the end.


On to the legs.  The legs are made up of 3 main bones the femur, tibia and fibula.  So, we need three tubes.  For 2 of the three bones I used 4 full open sheets of paper.  One, the tibia, I rolled tighter than the other.  For the third bone, the fibula, I used two full sheets that were folded in half on their natural bend.  Same number of layers, smaller tube.  The femur gets to sit out for a minute while the lower two bones are connected.  The reason for the amount of paper in the legs is that this body will be hung upside down.  That means most of the weight will be supported by the legs.  They have to be strong.  Hopefully they will be strong enough.
Left to right: fibula, tibia, femur

Issue number one: the tibia and femur are not supposed to be the same length.  I measured 4 inches up from the bottom of the tibia tube and marked it.  This will be the ankle joint eventually.  I left the excess on on purpose so that it could be used to form the tarsals. I put the tibia and fibula next to each other and taped them together at the top.  The fibula has to bend away from the tibia so I squeezed it to make it bend and then lined the bottom edges of both bones up.  I slid the fibula up about half an inch more and then taped the bones at that 4 inch mark.




To join the femur to the lower bones and make the patella (knee cap)  I set the lower bones on top of the lower end of the femur and taped it.  It left a very satisfactory bump to be the patella.


When you slide the top of the femur into the hip opening you can see the body really taking shape.  I have not yet attached the legs because the body is going to be as tall as a real person and it is going to be hard to manage once it's been put together.  For now I need to be able to move it about.

It looks like I'm going to need to trim down the rib cage again though.  The hips are a lot smaller than the rib cage and I'm afraid it might look awkward.  For reference, from the ankle joint to where the uppermost piece of tape is on the spine is about 5 feet 6 inches.  Once I adjust the neck portion of the spine and attach the head I expect the body to be about 5' 9" maybe a bit more.

The feet were pretty easy.  I made them basically the same way I made the hand only I didn't bend any joints.



 Just as with the hands and arm bones, I settled the feet over the piece of leg bone that protruded below the ankle and secured them in place.

 After joining the feet to the lower leg bones, my corpse legs were complete!  They look a little funny, but they aren't the main attraction so I'm sure any oddity won't be noticed.
Next up, beginning the paper mache!

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