June 4, 2017

MH4U Eldaora's Taus Hunting Horn cosplay prop [part 2]

Hello hunters and cosplay fans!

If you've been following my blog or social media accounts you know that I'm currently working on a big and challenging project, namely my first Monster Hunter cosplay prop! I've been a huge fan of the games for years now and as part of a big school project I'm now making the Eldaora's Taus (aka Rusted Kushala Daora one) Hunting Horn from Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. I will eventually make a full MonHun armor as well, to go with this Hunting Horn, but for now I'm focusing on making the weapon prop first!

And, in case you missed it, I highly recommend that you take a look at part 1 of this cosplay build to know what I did before this post! ;)

Note: this project is split into several parts because otherwise it would turn into a kilometer post; I need to document my progress carefully (many photos etc) since it's a school project. 

Let's get to the prop making!

Above are some additional reference photos of the Hunting Horn in question, seen from different angles. Enjoy my hunter in his undies! These have been my main references while I've been working on this project. I'm not aiming to make it perfectly identical to the in-game version (that would be really hard when it comes to symmetry) seeing how I'm making the whole thing by hand and with materials that I'm new to.

Continuing from where I left off I went to school's art classroom to work with chicken wire. This is a material that I've barely working with before and so my art teacher and supervisor for this project– showed me how to work with the chicken wire. At first it was a bit hard to get the net to do what I wanted but once you got the hang of it it was actually quite easy! Save for accidentally poking yourself with it – use gloves, people. I needed to fill some gaps on one of the ears with steel wire, which basically meant just "sewing" it closed.

Wire base for the ears.
I was supposed to make the ears about 10 cm long but I ended up making them almost the double, oops. When I made these I thought that 10 cm looked ridiculously small, to be honest. Now to hope that the ears aren't too big once I get to the part that I'll attach them to the head. Before starting putting papier-maché around the whole thing I wrapped it in masking tape, for extra sturdiness and to even out any bigger gaps.

Ears left to dry after first two layers.
I returned to the art classroom on several days to add papier-maché layers to the ears. The problem with papier-maché is that once the wet paper dries it sinks in a bit and, unless you have enough layers built up, the hollows left by the chicken wire's hexagonal (or whatever size you have) patterns will show through. I did over 5 layers to get it to be somewhat smooth.

Reference sketch for the horn's general shape.
I sketched some references for the horns but I didn't start building them on the same day. Instead on the weekend I went back to mom's to continue working on the main body of the Hunting Horn in the garage – which mainly meant adding a lot of PU-foam to the back and sides.
The thing is that I had to add PU-foam (aka expanding foam) in layers and move the head around every time I wanted to get to a different area because otherwise gravity would do its job and I'd waste foam. Learn from your mistakes.

Backside unfoamed.
Added some foam to the back.
I kept spraying on some foam, waited for it to expand and dry and then came back, turned the thing around, rinse and repeat. It's time-consuming but it's better than messing up and I'd rather be patient and not take risks.

Once both halves of the backside had gotten their fair amount of foam I started building the shaft. After having worked with the ears I figured that I could try my luck at using chicken wire for building the main body. I must admit that I hesitated but ultimately went with a yolo mindset. Half the time I was not sure what I was doing because yeah, it was a complete trial and error episode. Good thing Sacchan was with me and so she provided a pair of extra hands for holding things in place meanwhile I secured the nets to each other with steel wire etc – it's convenient to have friends around when you're working on large-scale builds.

Base for the main body done.
Same as above but from a different angle.
I'm actually surprised how well it turned out! It took some hours but it was worth the effort. It's satisfying to see things for once in a while turn out well, even though you went at it looking like a big question mark. I just hope that I'm gonna be disaster-safe until the end, lol.

Close-up of the front of the shaft.
Same as above but the backside.
Now the next part was to cover the whole thing with something and my first thought was to use expanding foam as well, but I wasn't sure if it would actually work. I was afraid that while the foam was fresh it would fall through the wire's structure but once I stared applying it onto the chicken wire it actually stayed on top – good! It seemed to stick just fine (then again, my stepdad said that it has some glue in the contents anyway, hence why it's a bitch to get off if you get it on your clothes etc) and I left it to dry for some hours. Once I came back the foam was still on, now expanded and hard.

Started spraying expanding foam on the wire parts.
Knowing that the foam method works I continued to apply PU-foam all over the build. I had to go out and buy some more cans because yeah, my spare can ran out before I knew it. Luck was on my side and Tamperen Säästötex in town had big cans of expanding foam for dirt cheap because the best before date had recently passed. I bought two cans (different brand than the one I used before) and happily went home to continue the project. For anyone interested the cans were 2,50 € each and you got 5 for 10 €!

Almost done foaming. It looks like a sleeping mummy horse... :'D
I'll need to add even more foam later, especially to the back of the head and to the little end knob, but I'll see what it looks (and weights) like once I start carving out the details.

I'll end the second part here and next time I'll continue adding foam to the back, carving the main body of the Hunting Horn, start making the horns and more! Stay tuned for part 3!

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