The Predator Costume Manual Guide (2017)

Discussion in 'Predator Anatomy (Costumes)' started by Wreav, May 16, 2017.

  1. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    THE PREDATOR COSTUME MANUAL GUIDE


    Previous Version: SO YOU WANT TO MAKE/BUY A PREDATOR SUIT? READ THIS!!!!!!

    Important DIY link: Important Costume & Prop Links

    Content:

    - Memorable quotes -

    1. General Introduction

    2. Rough breakdown of prices

    3. Important notes – From Animatronic Heads and general noob mistakes.

    4. Maintenance of your suit

    5. Conventions

    6. Final notes


    Memorable quotes!

    “Not everyone has the ability to paint fast”

    “I can make a suit for 200 bucks! Two years down the line I spent 2000$ and I’m still at it”

    “We love Newbs! Use the search bar!”

    “Come in here with a game plan”

    " In the movie there was a team of FX artists repairing the suit after every shot"

    "I just want to point out for anyone coming here with no idea what they're getting themselves into. I started in late 2011 piece by piece, making a mr incredible version, scrapping it, being in between jobs, losing motivation, having no time, no place to work on it, and finally getting the money to have some decent artists make me a whole suit with painting comissions. It's June 2017 and in theory I'll be done next week. Almost 6 years. Probably about $2200 dumped into it. If you aren't able to commit the time or money, you'll end up with a half decade long project sitting in your closet or garage." - BranHeadhunter



    Pre-intro:

    Please familiarise yourself with all of these sections before thinking of purchasing a suit or making one. What you are mostly paying for is for a latex suit, not a foam latex suit made by StudioADI if you have impossibly high standards with animatronics and all that jazz you should invest around 50,000$ towards that goal. Most normal latex suits vary from 3000$-4500$ and artists spare no expense in bringing out the characters to the best of their ability. Despite this Predator suits can be expensive so please this information is here to help those who are planning to make or buy a suit for Halloween or convention purposes.


    1) General information

    It is 2017 and it is time to rewrite and work on a manual guide that will aid further members of this site and from external sites to understand and come to grips with what it takes to build/buy, maintain a Predator suit. This manual will try and cover a breakdown of the prices, the costs as well as what artists go through with each process and what are the general assumptions and mistakes people make when getting a suit.

    An important note before we get started:

    On this forum it is paramount, a pillar which we must all follow. To respect our fellow members, there are members of all abilities and members of all ages we are all people in and out of cosplay and many have endeavoured to make this forum a place where people can share their suit making journeys. It is a bumpy road ahead which doesn’t promise glory all the time, triumphs and victories come with hard work this will inspire more to join. Whether you buy a suit or make it that is only half the journey. One must maintain their suit as well as work on it and upgrade it over time.

    There have been Predator costumers and costuming wearing hunters and huntresses of all ages. Predator cosplaying isn’t limited to a certain age nor is it gender specific all can be the hunter we so wish to portray in our own way. It was inspired by Stan Winston and the team that brought us our sentient humanoid creature that haunts our dreams and reminds us that our spines and skulls are trophies. You can be as old as our youngest hunter, Kayla or as old as the Elder Predator Greyback we as a community will do our best to support you.

    Every so often new members come in on mass to this site looking for a suit for Halloween or other general convention purposes. Note these suits aren’t mass produced they require attention, hours of works and many components which mainstream costume buyers will not understand and leave out which is a hazardous mistake. It is great seeing new faces eager to join the forum and to join the hunter family whether it is building a suit yourself or buying one. Realistically, only a few ever pull it off, some appear on the forum for a short while and disappear. Do not be scared, there are members who are here to help we were all noobs once, regardless of that, this is a learning process for all and we are all students. Without further ado we can begin.


    2) Rough Breakdown


    Predator parts can cost a lot, today cosplay and prop making is at its pinnacle it is more popular than ever and more people are wanting to dress up in suits. With that in mind it is important to note that companies such that provide the materials to make these suits have bumped up their prices. Suits can take a long time to create and each process is a challenge in itself from sculpting it to molding it to casting it to painting it etc. It is a challenge, if you buy it then you avoid these tedious areas but it will still cost you, a finished suit easily exceeds the 3000$ mark unless you choose to go the Mr Incredibles or the Rubies route.

    Most completed suits are very expensive, back in 2009 they were estimated at 2000-3500, now they can be upwards of $3500-4500 depending on who it is from. These are very expensive stuff. Not to mention people who have been doing this for a while have acquired a certain skill set for example those who have painted latex heads for a while know what goes into it. From the liquid acrylic paints to the adhesives as well as the varnish which is used up. Not to mention the artists paint job reflects how much the artist is worth. Also it is important to note that the price reflects the cost of labour, damage to the mold, materials used, artists paint job and so on. If you’re expecting cheap suits, Rubies Predator is your best option.

    The section below is a general census of what is available around the board and external sources. None of these prices represent an individual members prices etc. This serves as a guide.

    Raw parts: Body Suits/Legs can total $800-1400

    Armour pieces can be upward from $300

    Latex heads: (Raw) $200+ (painted and dreaded can range from 600$-1500$ depending on how custom it is and who it’s from)

    Bio Masks 120-250 US (Raw) Painted/electronics can be anywhere from 220 US – 400$

    Dreads = 1 Dread is 4$ think of it like that. Flex foam dreads. Not cheap backer rod dreads or tubing dreads.


    (More general census prices will be added)


    If you plan on getting all of the parts raw you can spend as little as 1400$ - 2200$ picking up all of the parts required for your suit. Realistically, if you do not know how to paint latex or have no prior experience in all of this you will need to educate yourself on how to do all of this. There are a multiplicity of videos demonstrating what it takes to paint suits from Youtube, Stan Winston School and so on. You will need to utilise acrylics, adhesive promoters, flexible foam, air brush kits and so on. Note: paint cannot stick to latex and no matter what you do there will be eventual cracking which you will have to patch up. Suits aren’t mass produced items that will be kept in pristine conditions to the end of time. Suits will need fixing and maintenance before outings.





    There are those who can paint it all for you. Those who have the experience and the decades under their belt. They can charge from $2500-4000 – it depends on who it is, how custom do you want it and how soon you want it. All of those factors are involved.



    Painting latex is very tricky – many of the older members know this already it will help you in the long run if you do your research calculate the pricing on things and then create a plan on how you’re going about making a suit or buying one.


    Also as a community we like to help as much as we can. For those who come on here to press members about getting a suit in time for Halloween with one month notice – it’s not happening… period. Best option as PredatrHuntr suggested Rubies cheap-o version, or a paper mache, foamies or a Mr Incredible suit and do it yourself. Utilise the search button and the respected forums such as the RPF.



    3)

    These suits can take anywhere from 2 weeks to – 4 months to make.

    For those who are going the route of not buying a suit it can take years. Some members have spent two even three constructing their suit from scratch. Predator suits are a labour of love and are not for the faint hearted whatsoever. Throughout this journey you will gain skills that will help you maintain your suit and to train you for what may come in the future in your other ventures. Members who have made suits in the past and have completed their builds have spent no expense in trying their best to get the suit that they desire.

    A few key things to remember are: Many of the suits are latex and not foam latex (seeing as latex is the most cost effective way of making suits) Suits can be very expensive in todays climate with cosplay and prop making being at its pinnacle.

    You have seen a Predator move its mouth and someone was using animatronics for their head. First and foremost, to new members set your suit goals to a realistic level, not many members do animatronics not to mention the parts are very hard to come by with the addition of having many draw backs. The rig inside the mask can be heavy, the mask itself to have the full effects of an animatronic mask it should either be in foam latex or in silicone. This can all cost thousands of dollars to even achieve.


    Many of our fellow forum members actively replace, repaint parts on their suits or builds as there are wears over time. Paint cannot stick to latex without an adhesive promotor, many members of the forum use either Tim Gores adhesive promoter or another of their choice. Note the consistency of the paint must also be very thin, hence it is mostly recommended to be doing this by using an air brush.

    Liquid acrylic – is a medium most tend to use when painting a suit.

    Latex will crack and peel from the latex suit over time and will need pre convention prep.


    Dreads – Dreads are dangerous to make. Newcomers often do not appreciate them for what they are they are an art form which takes years to fully master. Foam is generally dangerous in its chemical form, it can lead to many respiratory problems if one doesn’t use the proper protection. I for one have suffered as a result of this so please don’t be an idiot like I was, we are human we aren’t invincible. Some of these effects can shorten your life greatly.


    USE PROTECTION!

    Latex gloves, respirators, etc


    4)

    When I started out, I underestimated greatly! And I mean if I met myself now a couple years ago I understood why I got the flack that I did. I purchased raw latex parts. Over time I realised my biggest mistake was underestimating every aspect and component that went into making a latex suit. I purchased an air brush, upholstery foam, paints, adhesive paints, kits etc. I ended up receiving right advice and wrong advice. I looked at some of the members like foam dreads cost that much? Really?

    Many of the members on this site who have suits, whether hand made by themselves or bought the finish product is awesome in its own right. It is important to never forget what goes on behind the scenes whether it is pre-convention preparation which is required. From refitting the dreads with adhesive, to repainting that unbleached titanium skin on your Predator suit. Here are some of the draw backs to latex suits over time.

    General suit maintenance:


    Suits require maintenance, members who have been here a while have learnt to fix their suits from the latex work to fix cuts to adhesive work and so on. In the FX world suits are generally fixed by a team of artists between each take. Latex does rip, it's best to learn how to fix it! Now let's begin.


    Latex – over time they harden and become rough and rigid.

    Warping – Latex and Resin can warp over time if not stored in a cool place with no pressure hence a mannequin is highly recommended with a good storage room in a wardrobe or a closet.

    Acrylic paint cracking – Acrylic paint cannot naturally stick to latex hence an adhesive promoter is used to aid the bonding process but with enough friction/force paint can crack. Hence it is best to have the colors that are required to fix the part on hand. Fixing parts from time to time become part of your workload when preparing for a convention.

    Replacing parts – dreads can over time can degrade, armor can become warped over time too.


    Despite the suits looking amazing as a finished product it is important to note:

    Pre-convention preparation is required, many people do not see the work behind the scenes that takes place. From people refitting the dread locks, to repainting certain latex parts or filling any holes or any wear and tears from previous outings.


    5) Conventions:

    It is that time of the year to show off your suits. But it’s difficult work! You will need handlers, water, repair kits if all goes to hell!

    - Lots of water

    - Repair Kit

    - Helpers


    6) Final messages:


    If you have a question, please search for it in the search bar by doing extra research you can get the knowledge you desire. If the question hasn’t been asked already feel free to ask it. Many members lurk for months on end to make a decent post for those who come on the board just to ask a question that has been asked multiple times can be annoying. So please do your research.



    Final important note:

    We are here to help but if you can’t help yourself in anyway by progressing as an artist and a costumer than you shouldn’t take the plunge in the first place. There are guides and individuals here with enough experience to guide you on what you need to do to fix certain areas of your suit which can get damaged over time. We can go so far as to inspire and inform but the building/fixing is up to you. If you aren’t prepared for all of these factors, then this will be a long road for you yet.






    Further information feel free to comment. I will add it and arrange it the best I can. Thanks.
     
  2. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    Jmen likes this.
  3. Jmen

    Jmen Elite Hunter

    I dont know - i have nothing to add here. great job and its gonna be a good start for beginners.
     
  4. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    I want to make it as fool proof as possible so people know what they are getting themselves into.
    May also add areas of how to avoid warpage, how to take care of your suit, baby powder/talcum powder and errors which beginners should not make.
    More suggestions if you can find any it will be massively helpful. Before I pin this post up.

    LunaticNic anything to add?
     
  5. Jmen

    Jmen Elite Hunter

    maybe it is enough for start? i mean this thread can be main and links inside of can give answers for more detail question. i think there is no sense to make 1 huge post. maybe better to make it like a "tree" - main thread with links. you decide, im just asking) :ninja:
     
  6. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    May do a section after 7 with the links. I may merge Hunters Moon's old thread with this and make it into one big thread. Thanks for the suggestion. What does everyone else think. ?
     
  7. Jmen

    Jmen Elite Hunter

    Also - numeration is broken, or it is me? "Conventions" must be #5 and "Final messages" #6? they are both #6
     
  8. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    fixed
     
    Jmen likes this.
  9. LunaticNic

    LunaticNic Elite Hunter

    I like it, however I personally feel it doesn't encourage making your own suit enough. I understand artists here are trying to get paid for their craft. But to me in its current form it is targeting potential buyers more than there is an equal encouragement of buying and DIY suits. Depending on how crafty you are, a good looking DIY suit doesn't need to cost 1k and over.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  10. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    I started one then didn't know what else to write.

    Chapter 4) Making it yourself
    Best use those search bars because Pepakura and Mr Incredible suit is your route. First and foremost whether you are creating a Pepakura build you will need the following, card printer,
     
    LunaticNic likes this.
  11. LunaticNic

    LunaticNic Elite Hunter

    Never worked with Pepakura before, but regarding the DIY route for the suit you can use a mr. I and other superhero costumes or a simple morph suit as base. If the muscles on the suit (or lack thereof on a morph suit) aren't to your liking you can cut pieces of upholstery foam into muscles and glue them on. I used hot-glue-sticks on top of the upholstery to give it texture like scales and warts. Cover the suit in latex and then paint. I'd say most armor pieces should be done in pep files, However some like the groin guard (especially AvP version) would be good way to get practice in on sculpting and molding, as for a piece like that can be cast in latex, and the 1 piece mold would be rather simple.
     
    Loktarr likes this.
  12. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    There is the other hunters moon thread which revolves around the DIY side of things. We could just have a link to that in this thread. Or incorporate that thread into this one.
     
    LunaticNic likes this.
  13. Isubomo

    Isubomo Elite Hunter

    Sorry, 8am on my end, just reading all your convos at the moment, so far so good...
     
  14. LunaticNic

    LunaticNic Elite Hunter

    I personally would go with partial incorporation of the DIY thread, but "read the full thing here" *link*
     
  15. Jmen

    Jmen Elite Hunter

    The biggest problem of beginners - reading. They are usually cant do this) They are asking a question first, make tons of thread and didnt do anythisng. Question - how to teach them read our thread "For beginners"?
     
    Loktarr likes this.
  16. LunaticNic

    LunaticNic Elite Hunter

    I'm not certain if its already like that or (if it isn't) if it is even possible. But what about if you make a new account and log in for the first time it takes you straight to the beginners thread. Or something in that direction. I think it needs to be sort of "in your face" at first. Maybe an automatic notification when creating an acc giving them the link to the thread.
     
    Loktarr and Jmen like this.
  17. MystxXxHunter

    MystxXxHunter Unblooded

    I can tell you... From starting my suit last year... This is no simple and easy task. I am a naturally good artist. I can usually pick up any trick and style as a quick study. I'm not the best nut I am good and dedicated. This is no easy feat. Making a suit has been a life long dream since I saw P1 when it hit theaters. I have a left hand glove. Custom. Took 40hrs to sculpt. I used silicone to cast. Which sounds great but the worst idea to learn with. I have burned about 1000$ so far learning. I'm probably going to probably resculpt my glove. Its awesome, I love it, but it's a little to beefy. I have somewhere between 3 to 500 hours on the headsculpt... Which was more improper planning to ensure symmetry. Nothing says fun like resculpting half a predhead... I have yet to successfully make a mold but tomorrow I am going to take as much time as possible to properly mold the head. I literally stopped working on this for 4 months just to breath... This is no joke. I love it but this site has been amazing. And I wish I would have read this sooner and had it branded into my brain the seriousness of what I'm getting into. I am very thankful for this site and all the inspiration and information you guys and all its members provide on the daily.
     
    Loktarr, Wreav and LunaticNic like this.
  18. MystxXxHunter

    MystxXxHunter Unblooded

    Fyi. A paint trick I learned for latex that has prevented cracking and the need for a promoter. I painted my glove this way about 6 months ago for a trial run and the paint still looks brand new. 1/3 water 1/3 acrylic or latex paint and 1/3 casting latex. Its a little tricky getting the color depth as the latex lightens the pigment. So far so good. And you can airbrush with it.
     
    Wreav and LunaticNic like this.
  19. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    MystxXxHunter the ratios are pretty tricky, I believe Steve Wang in his Stan Winston guide did a little demo of how he mixed up paints. He used one of those mini cocktail blender things (can't remember the name off the top of my head) but one of those to help the mixing the various paints/naphtha etc. It's good to invest in good guides but nonetheless, people are doing a great job showing the do it yourself guys what steps they could take to make their skills better.
     
    MystxXxHunter and LunaticNic like this.
  20. MystxXxHunter

    MystxXxHunter Unblooded


    I wonder if my ninja juicer will work lol. I use it for grinding my coffee beans turns them to a fine powder.
     
  21. LunaticNic

    LunaticNic Elite Hunter

    I think he's talking about something more like this. I believe putting it into something like a juicer will clog up the machine, and cause the color to foam up allot ... additionally you'd have to mix rather large quantities of color doing it that way ...

    Screenshot_2017-05-22-13-57-16-1.png
     
    MystxXxHunter and Wreav like this.
  22. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    yess that!
     
  23. Huntress

    Huntress Hunter

    Too bad this wasn't posted six months ago. I don't think I'd have gone ahead with my Predator had it all been outlined. I have my Predator now and it's been a love/hate relationship. She's a beautiful creation but had I known how much maintenance is required and that it can't be put on by yourself I'd have never gone forward with it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  24. Wreav

    Wreav Community Staff

    My first suit required two people to help me put on. This exact post wasn't up back then but past members have written about some of the tedious things revolve around Predator costuming. This one is still WIP, currently working on adding more content to it.
     
  25. BranHeadhunter

    BranHeadhunter Unblooded

    I just want to point out for anyone coming here with no idea what they're getting themselves into. I started in late 2011 piece by piece, making a mr incredible version, scrapping it, being in between jobs, losing motivation, having no time, no place to work on it, and finally getting the money to have some decent artists make me a whole suit with painting comissions. It's June 2017 and in theory I'll be done next week. Almost 6 years. Probably about $2200 dumped into it. If you aren't able to commit the time or money, you'll end up with a half decade long project sitting in your closet or garage.
     
    LunaticNic and Wreav like this.

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