Combat Evolved Grunt Puppet Cosplay

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
After finishing my CE Marine armour last year, something inside of me thought "I want to do a grunt cosplay next". But of course I'm way to tall to dress myself up as one of these adorable kneecap biters... so I'm hoping to make a puppet instead.

Here's the 'lil cutie I'm hoping to create:
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My thinking is that I'll be able to walk as one with the grunt, as in my shoes will be connected to his feet. For the arms, I'll connect black rods to the "wrists" so that I can control them from a distance,
sort of like a Muppet
. And because "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing", I'm hoping to add lights and sound effects as well.

In terms of materials, I'm planning to make the limbs from fabric and stuffed, plush toy style (the huggability factor is VERY important), hopefully my friend can help with that. For the armour/methane tank, that'll likely be made from EVA foam and if it's not too heavy, coated with an epoxy sealant and filled with expanding foam. The head can be made from expanding foam/polystyrene, covered with foam clay and then textured to look like the skin.

I'm still working out the armatures of the limbs but I think I might have it. There will be three ball and socket joints in the legs and two in the arms. The "bones" will likely be from PVC pipes and I'll have to figure out what material will make for a good ball/socket joint.

I've downloaded the CE grunt model from Models Resource and opened it up in Blender, as shown below.

405GruntBlender.JPG


I've also modified the file so I could print it twice - the first one small and low quality, the second much bigger, and I'm hoping to make the limbs posable (somehow).

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Another thing that concerned me is probably the elephant in the room - the methane tank. How can I stand behind it and still be close enough to the body to control it? I'm skinny, but even that was a bit of a tricky problem to solve, and hopefully I'll come up with some better suggestions soon. Right now I'm thinking that when the grunt is walking, they lean forward with there left hand on the ground, and tank pointing up in the air, as shown below. When he's standing, I may be able to stand just to the side of him.
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Wish me luck, comrades!
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
I'm not working too much on this yet because I've got some other projects to wrap up before starting a new big one, but I'm designing and planning in my free time. Which is actually good, because I never spend enough time planning!
I have assembled the larger grunt (sadly without moving limbs)...
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...and started sketching the armatures and attachments (for feet, hands and shoulders for support). This hasn't been drawn to scale.
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Quick question, where would you guys get ball and socket joints from? I've had a look online at Bunnings, Jaycar and Amazon and I can't find anything suitable.
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
Started making the structure out of alfoil and ductape (as can be seen on my Instagram stories highlight) but I've sinced ditched that idea, as it means I would STILL have to join all the parts, cover them with a layer of glad wrap then again with ductape to make patterns from. No thanks.

So yesterday I purchased Armorsmith and got to splitting the pattern pieces. I will print/cut/assemble these, make fabric patterns then give them to my friend to sew together.

The body here I took from the original model, cut off the armour, head and spikes/toes, then split him in half. I readjusted portions of the body (mainly around the bust) so it would fit under the armour.

GruntUnfold.JPG


GruntArmorsmithBody.JPG
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
so are you going eva foam route?
From this paper pattern, I'll make a sewing pattern for a friend to make from some sort of fabric (I found a good one in Spotlight but I can't find it online), to then be stuffed. The armor, nails/spikes and parts of the head will be EVA foam.

This is one of the patterns I found instore but it's not the best one I saw:
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
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Happy 405th day everyone! Spent the day watching the mauler stream, working on a couple of projects and mainly trying to put this together. Hopefully the tape will give it enough strength and flexibility to make into patterns to sew.

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And look! You're all a part of it too. You're the arms that hold this thing together.
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
Right, so patterns are (mostly) done, I forgot to do the seam allowance on the body before taking the pictures. Also there are some edges on the body that are missing edge ID's, SOMEHOW, so I'll have to figure that out when I print it. Those blue grid lines represent A4 pages.

Body:
PatternCapture1.PNG

Arms:
PatternCapture3.PNG

Legs:
PatternCapture2.PNG


So, this may be the last update for a while. The next step is to buy fabric and work with my seamstress to do a mockup of the body (moral support, mostly) before working on the final version. However, with the lockdown I can't go and work with her, so who knows when I'll be able to continue on this. Luckily it's not due for a con at the end of the year!
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
Looks great dude! Are you planning on making a weapon for the little guy? Keep it up!
Thank you good sir! I have thought about it, and while I haven't completely rejected the notion, I'm thinking of maybe having him unarmed. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to figure out a mechanism that will allow him to open and close his fists, giving him some more animation. Although if I do that, I may not be able to make his head rotate. Just thinking out loud.
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
Finally, this project resumes! I've just dropped off the arm and leg patterns to my seamstress, who will be making a mockup before commiting to the final form. It'll still be a while before I have anything to share, however. I'm not wanting to construct any parts in fear of getting the scale wrong.
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
Sweet Mother, Sweet Mother, send your - oops, sorry, wrong dark chant. I'm bringing this thread back to life because I wanna get it done!

What's changed over the last 1.5 years? Well, I've remade the body at least twice since then. The last time worked really well (in theory - it didn't get sewn). But I restarted it again because this time, I'm actually gonna split the limbs into segments. This should be easier to sew, and put less stress on the seams. Haven't made the pattern so far, I've only started UV unwrapping it which I'll then trace in Inkscape.

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There hopefully won't be this much distance between parts, this is just so I can work on it.

Oh, it also seems I've forgotten to mention I'm going to make pouches to hold all the stuffing. These pouches, made from Poplin, will be removable from the plush parts (another reason why splitting it was important). The stuffing will be made of actual stuffing, foam scraps, and fabric scraps my friend will be "donating". Because I want this puppet to be huggable (after Pandemic times, something that obviously wasn't anticipated when the puppet idea was conceived two years ago), I want the outside to be washable. This means that I won't be painting the texture on, and have sourced the closest fabric I could find at Spotlight.
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I've also started detailing the armour for the grunt! I've taken the game rip and using its four pixel texture as guidance, I've raised/lowered surfaces, added grooves, greeblies, etc (lots of creative liberties). I'd love to go all out with greeblies on this in the modelling stage but gotta keep it as simple as possible for when it gets unfolded.
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I've done a bit more work on it since this.

I'm also re-considering the system that attaches the grunt to me. The feet and arms will work pretty much the same, but I'm changing how the upper body is strapped to me. Some of my family recently saw the Frozen musical, and after seeing the Olaf puppet, bought the musical programme (partly for me) so I could have a look at how he worked. There's a rod that comes from Olaf's back, goes between the puppeteer's legs and up his back, with straps around the chest (as seen below). It's gonna be a bit awkward because of the grunt's tank, and my height, but I'm hoping I can make it work. I'll probably also scale the grunt's tank down a bit so I can stand closer to it.
DSC08467.JPG


My friend who I was originally planning to sew this for me is now instead gonna teach/reteach me how to sew, so that I'll be able to do it myself.
And for now... that's all folks!
 

GMer56

Sr Member
You can use bike cables (aka bowden cables) to make the hands open/close and do other small movements. Working with cables is quite fun, but you need some nice sharp cable cutters.

Can always have the main support pole go into the back of the grunt's methane tank.

I look forward to seeing how the little guy turns out.
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
You can use bike cables (aka bowden cables) to make the hands open/close and do other small movements. Working with cables is quite fun, but you need some nice sharp cable cutters.

Can always have the main support pole go into the back of the grunt's methane tank.

I look forward to seeing how the little guy turns out.
Heh heh, one step ahead of ya (sort of)! I plan to use wire cables and nylon/rubber housing to do the hands, just gotta figure out where to install the ends on the fingers. I used bike brake cables for a recent build I did of an orc skull to make the jaw move (I also made the mechanisms to make the head move but it turns out the head was too heavy and the support structure too narrow so it just wobbled around but that was a good learning experience). Learnt that I needed cable cutters the hard way, but I can see they're a good investment.

For the support pole, I'm planning on sticking it up the back of the grunt as you said, like a spine, hopefully with a way for the tank to be able to grab onto it for stability (since the armour will be coming off too.)
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
at first i thought this was going to be a small plushie but the scale on this plan is very cool. i will keep an eye on how this progresses ;)
Oh I'd still love a little grunt plushie. I'm sure you can get them, but I think even a commissioned hand made one would be extra special! Plus I don't know if they made CE/2 grunts, which are my favourite.

Now this gives me a big grunty thirst!
Maybe I'll have to duck into a baby store and grab a food nipple for him...

Finished the patterns for the body! These were traced in Inkscape, using the UV maps/3D model as references for edge ID's. This time I found the handy "outset" feature, which allowed me to very easily expand the pattern outlines by 1cm for seam allowance - MUCH quicker than the last time I did it, retracing each shape and constantly checking the distance between pattern and allowance.
The height of the body (including legs) without the head/tank is 106cm.

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