Creating A Cheap Posable Mannequin Display
HOW TO CREATE A POSEABLE MANNEQUIN DISPLAY- On a Budget
When we built the Judge Death Display for the 2000 AD stand at SDCC 2014, the main worry we had was being able to take the statue with us - in a suitcase !
So we started to piece together a very simple, poseable mannequin out of easily obtainable parts from any local hardware store.
Nearly all of this can be prepared using basic tools, and tweaked according to specific needs with very little effort.
The 'skeleton' is created using either wooden or plastic poles.
For strength we recommend the wooden poles, but for a lightweight costume plastic is fine.
For wooden poles we used cheap wooden 35mm curtain poles from a UK shop called Argos :
You can cut this to length as needed for arms or legs.
Once cut, you need to put a bevel on the edge to make sure they push into the push-fit brackets ( they are a tight fit otherwise and dont have enough room to 'push' past the rubber o-rings)
For plastic poles we went to Screwfix and bought pipe for Pushfit plumbing.
You need 32mm fitments.
We were able to buy the poles individually so do ask- we bought long lengths over the counter so it might be easier to go to a store rather than have posted.
DON'T buy the pipes for bonding as they won't fit the poseable brackets (below)
If you look at the photo below you can see what pushfit brackets we bought to make an entire body.
For the poseable brackets we used these from ebay:
These are to fit 35mm poles- we havent tried other versions so it might be worth buying your brackets first to make sure everything else fits.
Excuse the photo but its the only one we took before assembly ( taken for customs so they could see it if needed! )
This should show you pretty much all you need to know to work out what's going on.
Some of the pushfit brackets will need cutting down with a hacksaw to get the right lengths- they cut pretty easy with a good hacksaw fitted with a metal blade.
We used self tapping wood screws to hold everything once a pose was established. You can be quite generous with the number of screws as the more used the less flex you'll get.
You may find it easier to drill pilot holes first but the screws enter the plastic pretty easily without - but def use pilot holes for wood as you'll spilt it otherwise.
The adjustable metal brackets may need some attention as they come assembled but still adjustable. To hold the angle you might need to remove the central bolt and trim it a little bit shorter to give it some 'bite'.
You could use small washers to space the head of the central bolt out a bit- basically the bolt is a bit too long to hold the two halves of the knuckle together tightly to stop them moving. If you look at the photo below you can see how they have been spaced out.
Another option is to use an existing mannequin torso and use parts from the above assembly-
The mannequin below was made to hold the www.judgeminty.com costume !
For padding you could use pipe insulation as above or wrap bubble wrap around the parts.
For a head you could use a cheap polystyrene display head with a pole embedded in it....
Hopefully there is enough information here to get you started on producing a mannequin for your costume that is very cheap and can be made in less than a day !
Any questions just ask -
Have fun with it,