Wookie Progress: My Stilts are here!

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by JediToren, Oct 25, 2002.

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  1. JediToren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2000
    star 4
    I got my Chewie stilts from my dad on Tuesday. He welded them togethor out of metal for my costume. They are considerably heavier than commercially available drywall stilts, but are still easy to carry with my legs. I'm thinking the extra weight is what makes them so easy to walk on. I did a little practice today and walked out to get my mail. At the end I was confident enough to walk up 3 flights of stairs!

    They are 12" stilts, and I am 6'4" so they make me as tall as Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). They have some silicone square pads on the bottom and are built just like drywall stilts, except that they are smaller than real drywall stilts (the smallest is 14") and they were free (14" stilts cost $165.00)

    The shoes are an old pair that are bolted onto the stilts, and leg straps are present at the top of the leg guard thingies (basically a half-pipe that cups the back of my leg so the ankles don't move).

    [image=http://imagem.webphotos.iwon.com/1000033198/1000033198_10222002110509PM0.2466089.jpg]
    [image=http://imagem.webphotos.iwon.com/1000033198/1000033198_10222002110704PM0.2978174.jpg]

    There are more photos at my Chewbacca Costume photo album on my WebPhotos Account.

    I also got my shortened bandoleer back last weekend and I hair up to the knee on the left leg, but I won't be posting any pics of the suit until I have some hair on one whole leg as its not much to look at yet.

    [image=http://imagem.webphotos.iwon.com/1000033198/1000033198_10222002105346PM9.966242E-02.jpg]
    [image=http://imagem.webphotos.iwon.com/1000033198/1000033198_10222002110413PM0.6373255.jpg]

    I also uploaded pics of my soap box which I will modify into a translator droid. All these photos can be found in my Chewbacca Costume photo album on my WebPhotos Account. I also have my pics from SWC2, DragonCon 2002, various Nashville Fan Force events, some 3D work, and my wrecked car from last April.

    I've also updated my Chewie Costuming Resources page and as I posted last week there is now a Wookie costuming mailing list.
  2. skip1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 3
    hey there matt,
    pics arent working!
  3. Jedi_Riibu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 4
    If you click into the photo albums those work.

    Cool stuff!
  4. JediToren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2000
    star 4
    Bah! I guess webphotos says no to off-site linking of pics.
  5. Stubbzilla TFN Costumes Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2001
    star 2
    Proof again that you don't have to spend that much money if you can do it yourself or find a friend who can. (I hope they work out for you and don't get too heavy!) :)
  6. JediToren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2000
    star 4
    Nah, they are fine. They are heavy enough to make it easier to walk, but not too heavy that they get hard to carry after extended use. I think some of the strongest muscles in the human body are in the legs.

    Although I must adjust the right leg bar. It keeps trying to pull my leg over and makes it difficult to walk on non-level surfaces.
  7. AnakinMoonwalker Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2002
    star 2
    BUMP

    Are stilts truly necessary. I know it would be weird to see a 6` Chewbacca but with the stilts the body would seem misproportioned and the character would walk weird.
  8. JediToren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2000
    star 4
    The proportion thing isn't much of a problem if you stick with small stilts. Mine are only 1 foot (12") and I've seen a 6' guy wearing 14" stilts for his Chewie suit and it didn't look very strange at all.

    I would say they are necessary. Each costume has certain elements that are essential and really make or break the character. With Indiana Jones, it's the hat. Not just any hat will do, it's gotta be just right. With a Jedi, the robe has to be right, and you've got to have a sabre. With Chewie, the mask has to be great and you have to be a giant. Out of the five fan-made Chewie costumes that I know exist, only two don't use stilts. One is the 5'5" Wookie, who I beleive is supposed to be Chewie's son Lumpy from Star Wars Holiday Special, and The Wook who is 6'5" and uses lifts or platform shoes. Most end up getting drywall stilts, however, I do know of a guy in Florida who once made some stilts by stacking blocks of wood one top of the other and boltig them all togethor I imagine that would be a tad heavy though. Metal is the way to go IMHO.

    I hear allot of folks say they don't want to use stilts because they are precarious and very dangerous, even folks like The Wook who spent a whole summer doing drywalling on them. However, shorter stilts are very easy to walk on. The reason they are scary to most people is because:
    1) Most stilts used for Drywalling or Painting are 2 feet or larger.
    2) Most folks just use straps to hold their feet on. Make sure you use an old pair of shoes and bolt them onto the stilts. I have never seen a strapping arrangement that holds the back of the foot down well enough.
    3) Most people never get comfertable with stilts. Your natural tendancy is to tense up your legs and ankles because instict tells you that makes you safe. It doesn't. It is 10 times easier to walk when I just relax my leg muscles and walk normally (well, almost normally).

    Stilts are very safe if you bolt a pair of shoes onto them (and put some padding on the leg brace part so you don't chafe your leg all day long) and you spend ALLOT of time practicing. I practice at least 1 half hour per week. I can walk up and down stairs, on uneven pavement, in my house on the carpet or on the linoleum (this is why u have padding so u dont tear up nice floors) and even get on and off the stilts without needing a seat or stool to sit down on.

    I'm 6'4" and even though I tower over most people by at least 1 head, everyone always says "You aren't tall enough for Chewie" when I tell them that I am doing a Chewie costume, then I tell them I will wear stilts.

    If you know someone who can cut metal and weld, I would have someone make it for you. If you are interested in going this route, rather than spending 165 bucks for new drywall stilts, I can talk to my dad who made the stitls and he'll tell you how he did them.
  9. Mirax H TFN Costumes Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 1999
    star 3
    You're really making it happen JT! Awesome and keep the progress pics coming!
  10. JediToren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2000
    star 4
    UPDATE: I've been taking the stilts to work (at a video store in Nashville, TN) and practicing walking on them after we closed the store. I'm getting very good at walking in them and I can practically fly with the large strides I am taking.
    Unforunately, I got so good at walking in them that the little plastic half-pipes on the backs of my legs broke off. I am going to take them back home to Washington for thanksgiving so my dad and I can replace them with metal ones and possibly add another support bar on the other side of the stilt.

    I also got my lifecasting supplies complete with a training video. I'm I'm hoping to make a lifecast in a few weeks and then I can start sculpting the mask!
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