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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I started a thread in the "Showroom" section for a full size Glenn Strange Frankenstein project I've been working on that can be viewed here:
http://www.hauntforum.com/showthread.php?t=6189

Any build questions I'll be answering on this thread.

A few members where curious about what the body is made out of. Due to the very large size of this prop, it was important that it can be disassembled easily to move it around and not be flimsy. I decided not to go with the much less expensive PVC body and go with a high end mannequin.






The other reason I chose this route was because of the difficulty building up a PVC stick figure to the correct size and proportions I was looking for. The mannequin pictured is the largest you can buy at 6'-4" tall with about 18" shoulder width, if that at all. As large as this mannequin was, the Frankenstein jacket would just slide right off the shoulders. The first thing I had to do was build some shoulder extensions for it that not only added an additional 6" width to the shoulders, but still enabled the arms to attach in the same fashion. Even more important was the fact that once you start heavily padding a mannequin's torso, the arms would now be pressed into the torso, so moving them outwards several inches was a necessity and adds a great deal to his presents. If anyone goes this route, I have a photo of the shoulder modification.

Once that was complete, it required very careful padding from top to bottom, anywhere from 2"-4" thick or more of batting material throughout. Once he started building bulk, I had to start test fitting the clothes to make sure he was shaping up correctly. I didn't want him to look as if he was simply filled with uneven newspapers, but appear to be a real person in a well made Frankenstein costume.

The batting was also applied tightly so if you touched him, he actually feels real. Bottom line is that you can make one of these on the cheap, or spend some money, either way, it's going to take a lot of time to fine tune an authentic look. We keep a few of our life size props set up all year in a spare room. So some of our halloween props don't actually get disassembled and stored in the basement. Hope this answers some of the questions asked.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Okay, now for the boots. This part to me was the make or break part of the project. Without authentic looking boots, I would never have done this build.

Originally I purchased a set of those Frankenstein boots from Ebay. If you do a search for "Frankenstein boots" you'll see the only retail type of boot available. Although they appeared decent and at a size 13, they were totally worthless for my project. What they call size 13, is really a standard men's size 10. They really didn't look correct anyway, so my project was derailed before it really got started. I still have the boots, which are pictured below for reference for a side by side comparison.

A friend of mine, who is a volunteer fireman, had an idea that I could modify an old pair of fireman boots he was donating to me. Volunteer Firemen are actually a great source when it comes to opinions on haunts and costumes because they are ususally involved in fund raiser haunts during halloween time.

Aside from the incorrect sole of firemen boots, the look of them with the high calve area was perfect. I used stiff construction paper very well glued on to form the appropriate sole area to a height of about 5". Firemen boots are very well made and stiff, which made the type of work I had to do to them much easier. Some fiberglassing and flexible bondo strengthened everything and I was able to make a plaster two piece mold.

After all the modifications were done, the boot actually looked like a universal boot, meaning from the outside of it, it was no longer a left or right boot, so I only had to do all of this one time. I did get lucky because the mold failed while demolding the second boot. But they do look good and the latex was nice and stiff. Originally the idea was to cover the boots with a black suede material, but my impatience got the best of me so I left them as they were.

If you have the Abbott & Costello Meets Frankenstein DVD, in the extra features section, Bob Burns shows off a pair of original Frankenstein boots that were given to him from Glenn Strange. They were used for public appearances and are really large. This summer I may try and duplicate this larger pair, which I believe to be about 15"-16" long. I will carve them out of stiff foam and then produce a mold. If I do that, I'll make these boots available to one of the members here.


This photo shows a comparison between the retail boots and what I ended up with. If anyone that may attempt to build a life size franky and feels this boot suits them, I'd sell them for $25.00, which is below what I purchased them for and I'll toss in shipping.

 

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Extremely COOL!! Thanks for the how to. Just out of curiosity, how much was the mannequin?
 

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Now what would the world be like without good old Frankenstein, ya gotta love the old black and whites classics!
Im happy you went with making your own boots, the look is so much better, nice job!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Extremely COOL!! Thanks for the how to. Just out of curiosity, how much was the mannequin?
I had to spend $178.00 for it, which included delivery to my home. The original one I built as a test figure was a solid one piece body. You couldn't imagine what it was like moving such a large and heavy figure around the house. I'm still trying to justify the expense for this lastest version, but I'm very happy with how he's shaping up.

BTW....the head had to be cut off leaving only the neck portion. Going by what you see in the movies, it gave me a great deal of insight into what Dr. Frankenstien did in the movie.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Hi Sickie,

The mannequin head was very well done and flawless, it even had painted eyes and real eye lashes. I tossed it on the shelf and really don't plan to use it for anything. If you think you want it, here are two photos of it. I placed my bucky skull in the photo to give it scale. I'd only ask for shipping money. Just PM me your home address and I'll ship it out Monday morning for you. It can easily be attached to something else by inserting a 1" diameter PVC pipe into it and spraying that insulating foam stuff in it for support. You'd have to figure something out to replace the neck, but that shouldn't be a problem.



 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Wow, you did an awesome job, Richie!
What are the head and hands made of?
and how does he stay standing?
Hi there Mr. Chicken,

Wow, where did you dig this thread up...LOL.

The head and hands are very thick latex so they'll last for decades. The hands are re-cast Don Post Studio prop Glenn Strange Frankenstein hands first offered in 1973 to the public.

The platform has two 1" diameter rods that slides up into each boot through the feet. So he's very sturdy but can also be lifted off the platform and displayed directly on the floor. If displayed standing on the floor, there is an eye-hook that protudes from the rear of his waist to tie him into a hook on the wall for safety reason. You wouldn't want him to accidently fall on someone should they bump him to hard.

Note to Sickie...sorry you missed out on that head deal. I just assumed you were not interested.
 

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Richie,
These are the head/hands I have had for years bit never really used. I had thought of just selling them but would like to make a Frankenstein prop for a scene we're doing this year. I haven't seen this mask/hands since we bought them over 15 years ago. The latex is thick and has held up very well.





 

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Discussion Starter #18
Richie,
These are the head/hands I have had for years bit never really used. I had thought of just selling them but would like to make a Frankenstein prop for a scene we're doing this year. I haven't seen this mask/hands since we bought them over 15 years ago. The latex is thick and has held up very well
Hi Jdubbya,

Those would make a wonderful life size Frankenstein prop! I always liked that mask because of the great skin tone and hair it had. Those hands are one of the best around and look completely real, even better than the 1973 set I used for mine. I wouldn't sell them and put them to good use and assemble a full size figure. Do a little work at a time on it, no rush since it's winter time.

Assuming you want it to look the part, getting a large enough suit (size 52+ and pants, size 46) and padding him correctly will be the difficult part. We also have our Frankenstein on display in our house the balance of the year in a spare room. Please post photos if you proceed with your creation.

Note to Groovie Ghoulie Yes, the mannequin head was used for another prop, sorry.
 

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Note to Groovie Ghoulie Yes, the mannequin head was used for another prop, sorry.[/QUOTE]

Well, I'm glad it was put to good use, and thanks for the inspiration, I'm gonna dig out my old Frankie mask, as well!
 

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Really nice job on the Frankenstein. Your attention to detail really paid off. I love Frankie. Wish I had one.
 
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