moving mandibles for elite


Wolfgang117

New Member
So, I'm looking to make an elite costume as my first real costume and I was trying to wrap my head around how I could make a good set of moving mandibles for an elite and I think I have the mechanics down maybe after looking at some predator mask functions, but I'm wondering if it would be worth it to make considering how little my jaw would move. Would it effect the mandibles enough to seem realistic? I was planning on putting a speaker in the throat or at the roof of the mouth with a voice changer so that I won't be limited to a set of buttons. I would really like to implement it if possible even if it is a pain in the rear(not really sure if swearing is allowed lmao), I just don't see a lot of elite costumes and I wanna try some things out. OH and I'm trying to avoid over extending my jaw for saying lines since it would most likely make me fumble it over or keep me from articulating.
 

PlanetAlexander

Well-Known Member
G'day Wolfgang, welcome to the 405th! There's a couple of people here who have made/are making some elites, he4thbar and Yelsanick0117 being the two I know of, who would be able to help you with your build. But you're right, there ain't enough covenant around here. (Don't tell UNSC I said that)

My first thought for the mandibles is to replicate how they make puppet tails. Have a look at this video from the Stan Winston School that shows a demo:
That's at a professional-film level, for the mandibles you could easily get away with a straw and fishing wire embedded in some foam. As simple as the process is, I can't seem to find any tutorials on it, though that course does cover it well.

I will be honest; making an elite is a difficult task, it requires taking on a character of different proportions, and an understanding of in-costume ergodynamics (ie how parts of a costume move, and how it fits on you). As such it's not exactly something I'd recommend as a first cosplay project, as you may find it very complex and frustrating. Don't let them be words of discouragement though, if you are committed to making it, we'll be here to help!
 

Wolfgang117

New Member
Ah yeah, I've been looking at their stuff for a bit and I think I know how to make it mechanically with the digitgrades and articulated hands its just actually sculpting the pieces I'm iffy on however, I would love to take on the challenge to make a stunning elite costume if I can pull it off properly(even if I end up bald from tearing all my hair out), and I really appreciate the help! I'm just preplanning everything out as of right now and I'm doing all the research I can.
 

Wolfgang117

New Member
Ah yeah, I've been looking at their stuff for a bit and I think I know how to make it mechanically with the digitgrades and articulated hands its just actually sculpting the pieces I'm iffy on however, I would love to take on the challenge to make a stunning elite costume if I can pull it off properly(even if I end up bald from tearing all my hair out), and I really appreciate the help! I'm just preplanning everything out as of right now and I'm doing all the research I can.
I guess for this aspect I'm more so worried about the functionality being too weak to give off a proper effect with just talking and end up hurting the build rather than adding on...
 

PlanetAlexander

Well-Known Member
That's understandable - perhaps then, try putting off the mouth/face until you have experience with the material you will use, and until you've made a decision. I'd say just prototype test it, and see what you think.

Do you know what material you'll be making the bulk of it out of?
 

Wolfgang117

New Member
That's understandable - perhaps then, try putting off the mouth/face until you have experience with the material you will use, and until you've made a decision. I'd say just prototype test it, and see what you think.

Do you know what material you'll be making the bulk of it out of?
well I'm thinking making the bulk of it out of eva foam in terms of armor and sculpting, and I want to use fake alligator skin for the exposed skin(or maybe just worn dark leather) I want to see if I can make haka from legends since the outfit looks really cool yet simple due to the not so complex nature of the animation's art so it'll end up mostly being sharp and simple angles and creative liberties for what I can't see or what I have to determine was the intention. I found a really good pic of some concept art so it really helps out for anything like legs or finer details I couldn't see in the final cut. I thought it would give the coolest and most unique results while giving me the easiest time.
 

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Yelsanick0117

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
Wolfgang117 welcome to the 405th! Im excited to see another person building an Elite, this is gonna be great! Do you know which variant of Elite you'll do? I'm curious lol.
As for the moving mandibles, PlanetAlexander has the right idea. To get more of an idea of how it could work, check out @willowcreative on Instagram. She has made some similar mechanisms for when you open your mouth then the creature or whatevers mouth will open. The only issue with that type of mechanism is that it would be difficult to pull off if you're wanting to also talk and have a voice changer, because you have to open your jaw pretty wide in order for the mechanism to work. I used the button system connected to an MP4 player and was able to load 4 phrases at a time. I kept seceral other phrases loaded onto my computer tho so i could go and switch out phrases when i wanted to at a moments notice. It worked pretty well at HOD Anaheim. But im excited to see your progress, if you need any help with anything definitely let me know and I'll be more than happy to do what i can. Happy building!
 

Wolfgang117

New Member
Wolfgang117 welcome to the 405th! Im excited to see another person building an Elite, this is gonna be great! Do you know which variant of Elite you'll do? I'm curious lol.
As for the moving mandibles, PlanetAlexander has the right idea. To get more of an idea of how it could work, check out @willowcreative on Instagram. She has made some similar mechanisms for when you open your mouth then the creature or whatevers mouth will open. The only issue with that type of mechanism is that it would be difficult to pull off if you're wanting to also talk and have a voice changer, because you have to open your jaw pretty wide in order for the mechanism to work. I used the button system connected to an MP4 player and was able to load 4 phrases at a time. I kept seceral other phrases loaded onto my computer tho so i could go and switch out phrases when i wanted to at a moments notice. It worked pretty well at HOD Anaheim. But im excited to see your progress, if you need any help with anything definitely let me know and I'll be more than happy to do what i can. Happy building!
I'm thinking either 2A or 3 seeing as that is what the elite looks like in the legends material, but I think I'm gonna pass on fusing the jaws together like they did since it looks really strange haha. Thankfully it looks like I really only have to worry about the inside of the mouth and the lower jaws for most of the biological looking material. I was thinking the voice changer would be difficult as well since I need to find a proper way to mask my own and give it a real time output, I was thinking I could pull off a more exaggerated talking motion if I were able to extend the the strap or pad connected to my jaw further down with a thick extension, but I think it would still give a great effect regardless if I end up just using a method like yours and just puppeting the mouth. Thanks for the tips btw I've been really eyeing your elite and it really made me believe it was possible to pull off well. c:
 

Wolfgang117

New Member
I'm thinking either 2A or 3 seeing as that is what the elite looks like in the legends material, but I think I'm gonna pass on fusing the jaws together like they did since it looks really strange haha. Thankfully it looks like I really only have to worry about the inside of the mouth and the lower jaws for most of the biological looking material. I was thinking the voice changer would be difficult as well since I need to find a proper way to mask my own and give it a real time output, I was thinking I could pull off a more exaggerated talking motion if I were able to extend the the strap or pad connected to my jaw further down with a thick extension, but I think it would still give a great effect regardless if I end up just using a method like yours and just puppeting the mouth. Thanks for the tips btw I've been really eyeing your elite and it really made me believe it was possible to pull off well. c:
You know I just realized I have an extra finger if I want to avoid using the jaw all together and puppeteer the mouth with my hand instead it wouldn't be the most accurate, but it would give me a wide range that my mouth would be limited to I just would have to worry about all wire that could cause a problem or get caught and how I can keep the costume manageable if I want to be able to take it off or vice versa easily.
 

Yelsanick0117

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
You know I just realized I have an extra finger if I want to avoid using the jaw all together and puppeteer the mouth with my hand instead it wouldn't be the most accurate, but it would give me a wide range that my mouth would be limited to I just would have to worry about all wire that could cause a problem or get caught and how I can keep the costume manageable if I want to be able to take it off or vice versa easily.
Thats actually not a bad idea, and you could definitely get a wider range of motion. Have you seen that Demagorgon cosplayer on Youtube that did something similar? He used bike cables that were attached from the Demagorgon mouth things, down thru his suit, and to his hands. When he pulled his hands downward, the mouth would open super wide
 

Wolfgang117

New Member
well I have now haha, I was thinking something like that except attached to my thumb so that I can keep proper and steady control of the mouth but still be able to control the hands with the rest of the 4 to make gestures or grab hold of objects(probably very poorly though). I would have to put a lot of practice in it since I would end up probably using my pointer and pinky as the thumb and pinky of the elite, but I think the thumb would be the most viable option as I can control it the best and has enough strength to pull the length of wire needed effortlessly.
 

Wolfgang117

New Member
well I have now haha, I was thinking something like that except attached to my thumb so that I can keep proper and steady control of the mouth but still be able to control the hands with the rest of the 4 to make gestures or grab hold of objects(probably very poorly though). I would have to put a lot of practice in it since I would end up probably using my pointer and pinky as the thumb and pinky of the elite, but I think the thumb would be the most viable option as I can control it the best and has enough strength to pull the length of wire needed effortlessly.
Now If I were to make a head with 4 working mandibles I would probably give the top row a different length or well less/more taught but keep it tied to the same main line so it's not out of sync if used with a different thumb but makes it to where its not all opening at the same exact time which would give it more of a natural feel.
 

Yelsanick0117

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
Now If I were to make a head with 4 working mandibles I would probably give the top row a different length or well less/more taught but keep it tied to the same main line so it's not out of sync if used with a different thumb but makes it to where its not all opening at the same exact time which would give it more of a natural feel.
I see what you mean there. You could do that pretty easily with the H2A Elite because their top mandibles are longer than the bottom ones. I think every other varient of Elite the bottom mandibles are longer
 

Skie

New Member
The guy who made this
used a simple pulley system with a cable attached to his arms inside the suit. The jaws were simply on an elastic to hold them shut but when he opened his arms wide enough it causes the cable to go taught and pull open the mandibles. Not something you can do if you want to be a talky Elite (and his elastic didnt hold up for long), but it works well if you just want the mouth to work during that oh-so familiar berserk pose. Just gotta figure out how to pull out and activate an Energy Sword afterwards :D
 

Wolfgang117

New Member
The guy who made this
used a simple pulley system with a cable attached to his arms inside the suit. The jaws were simply on an elastic to hold them shut but when he opened his arms wide enough it causes the cable to go taught and pull open the mandibles. Not something you can do if you want to be a talky Elite (and his elastic didnt hold up for long), but it works well if you just want the mouth to work during that oh-so familiar berserk pose. Just gotta figure out how to pull out and activate an Energy Sword afterwards :D
ohhh yeah I would probably have to consider the malfunctions thanks for reminding me, and that costume looks really cool haha. I have been thinking about how I'm gonna handle the sword actually cause haka seems to have that trademark giant anime sword in legends so I'm wondering if I should just keep it on my back or carry it around in my hand cause boy is it gonna get in the way.
 

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