July 16, 2017

MH4U Eldaora's Taus Hunting Horn cosplay prop [part 4]

Hello all cosplay and MonHun fans! 

What you're now reading is the fourth part of my big Monster Hunter cosplay project – I'm making a Hunting Horn called Eldaora's Taus from Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. I've been a huge fan of the game series since Freedom Unite and now I'm finally slowly making one of my cosplay dreams a reality – a MonHun costume!  
I decided to start with the weapon prop and I will do the armor separately, later. I'm fairly certain on what armor I'll do but I'll keep it a secret for now, hehe. It's gonna be from 4U too, of course.
For the previous parts of this project you can find them here: 1, 2, 3

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 it!

Reference of the end knob's shape. Enjoy my hunter's manbutt.
I left off last time with shaping the end knob and yeah, it was rage-inducing because of all the angles. xD The next day when I went back to my working space I noticed that I hadn't carved it in the right shape, bummer! I had done it from memory the last time (didn't have references at that time) and I thought that it was shaped like a rhombus but no, not quite. So yeah, I corrected it a little and then shifted my focus elsewhere – namely to those protruding parts on the shaft of the Hunting Horn. I'm not sure what their purpose is but I'd assume that in the games its either the sound pipes or some kind of buttons that the hunter presses to create the different notes. I might be horribly wrong on both though, but whatever they are supposed to be I had to add them to my creation!

Notice the protruding parts on the lower half of the shaft.
A slightly better angle to view them from.
They are placed so that the outermost ones still show when
viewed from the other side.
To create these, err, let's just call them pipes, I had to sacrifice my stepdad's old broom. Good thing he planned to replace the shaft of it anyway and so I didn't have to feel bad about it. The wood itself had seen better days (it had cracked on top) and so I had to use the middle of it because it was the most healthy part.

Rest in pieces, broom. ;_;
Three pieces, each of 10 cm, were cut out. I left the handling of those for later (filing, sanding) and I started to think of what to use to cover the Hunting Horn with. As far as I know the most common material that cosplayers use for covering is a combination of masking tape and papier-maché. It was an instant no to me because I don't even want to imagine how hard it would be to tape around a prop of this size! Not to mention how many rolls it would take. So yeah, had to come up with something else – and then I remembered that back when I made Harada's spear a couple years ago I coated the spearhead with filler/putty/whatever-you-call-it and it worked amazingly. Sure that the Hunting Horn is on a completely different size scale but at least it seemed like a better option than the tape and papier-maché.

Test-run of the filler, to see if it can also
cover up the bigger holes.
Stepdad showed up, fetched the bucket of filler and we test applied it to some particularly hole-filled/uneven parts of the Hunting Horn. He said that, because of the depth of the horns, the filler might sink in when it attempts to dry and, if that happens, another layer will be needed. No big deal I thought and, besides, it seemed to apply effortlessly and neatly – looked really promising, in other words! Now I just needed to wait a full day for it to dry.

The next day dawned and I headed out to check what the filler had done over the night. I noticed that where the deeper holes had been covered (aka where there was a big amount of filler) the filler had cracked a bit. Nothing that can't be hidden underneath a second layer though! I also noticed that it wasn't completely dry yet.
Being quite pleased with the filler result I took some more of the gray stuff and started patching up the Hunting Horn, focusing on covering the bigger holes (air bubbles left by the foam, mainly) and such first. I made sure to not accidentally put a second layer over a spot that hadn't completely dried yet, because otherwise the drying time would get slowed down a lot more.

Patching up the worst holes with filler.
I didn't cover it up properly because I still need to carve out holes for the pipes so that I can sink them into the shaft. Speaking of the pipes, I rounded and sanded them down a bit before I left to go back home to my apartment. I left the other end untouched since it won't matter because it will be embedded into the shaft anyway.

Sanded pipe things for the shaft.
After almost a month, in mid-July, I returned to work on this project (I got a summer job! I mainly continued with covering the whole shebang in filler, which is quite a time-consuming project because of the shape and size. I also carved out the holes for the pipes (with a knife) and attached them. I had marked out the position and instead of using glue I just sprayed a click of PU-foam onto the bottom of each hole and then just planted the non-sanded end of the pipe in there. It stuck very well.

Pipe placement test (not attached) and filler progress.
After "gluing" on the pipes I used the remainder of the foam can (maybe 1/4 left) to fill in holes in the foam to make my filler life easier. I also added some foam to a couple of the back mane's spiky ends because there were huge and/or missing gaps. 

Foam, what are you doing? Foam, stop.
Above is one of the back mane spikes that I wanted to thicken, since it was super flat at the end. The problem was that I couldn't rotate the thing so that this particular area was facing straight up (because there were other newly foamed areas on other places), straight up is of course the ideal curing position because of avoiding gravity screwing things up. The consistency of the foam was a bit funny as well (this was the very end of the can so yeah, extra runny) and so it slowly just started gliding downwards and all I could do was watch, since I had already tilted it as much as I could (without fucking up other areas) and turning it any more would end up with some other foamed areas hitting the ground and/or falling off, including the pipes.
Oh well, luck in misfortune was that the area that the spike foam ended up covering by accident was actually a spot that needed some fixing anyway – there was a visible carving mistake there that I didn't notice until after I had put filler on it, which made it more obvious. *shrugs*

Foam added to cover holes, pipes attached
and continued to put filler on head area.
My empty foam can wanted to be artsy til its dying breath. xD
I had put some quite thick layers of filler to cover up the unevenness of the foam, which means that it'll take some days for it to dry completely. I also covered up some of the earlier cracked spots with a second layer.
I also realized that I shouldn't attacht the horns and ears until I've completed the filler episode because yeah, once the horns and ears are set I won't be able to rotate the Hunting Horn as freely as I can now without risk of breaking off the protruding parts.

The next day I came back to tidy up the foamed areas, which mainly meant cutting off the excess foam wherever needed and then (re)shaping and improving the back; a couple of the back mane bananas had huge gaps in them, especially close to the tips (because of the foam randomly leaving big holes when it cures). I had also used foam to thicken the handle a bit.
After the foam episode was done I continued to apply filler.

A lot of filler later.
And then I ran out of filler. :'D So. Much. Filler. You might notice that on the photo above I left one of the middle mane's without filler, that was simply so that I had somewhere to hold the damn thing to keep it from moving while I put filler everywhere else. Stepdad brought a new tube on the day after and so I used it to cover that bare spot and some other stuff. 

I still have to put more filler on this thing, before I can start sanding, but I feel like this post is getting a bit long and so I'll end it for this time. ^^; Part 5 coming up later so keep checking back in, yo!

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