Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween 2012: Costume #2

     2012 would prove to be a very prominent year for fried chicken.  In June, Chik-Fil-A came under fire for espousing Anti Gay Marriage support.  In September, numerous US-based businesses (including a Kentucky Fried Chicken) were vandalized in the Middle East over a controversial video.  If anything, this should illustrate how pivotal fried chicken is to American culture.

     It’s no secret that I adore fried chicken.  I am not alone.  I found out about a Japanese KFC and how they decorate their mascot.  I was determined to make this my Halloween costume this year.

1:  Purchase a sectional sofa from Ikea
     Okay, that may be a bit extreme, but we really needed a new couch and by getting it from Ikea, we got a very comfortable sofa at the right price with the bonus of all this great double-walled corrugated cardboard.  This ensures that all my costume components would be of consistent texture, weight, grain, and detail.

2:  Cut out all the needed components
     I used two instructables (here and here) for what size and how many of each component I needed, and what the hole-template would be for punching the 2,090 holes.

3:  Customize
     I had repurposed a plastic katana from one of Cameron’s previous costumes.  We also had a Darth Vader helmet that was no longer functional, so I used the headpiece from that.  I had to Dremel off some of the front, then added a plastic dog-cone collar for a brim.  It looks less-Vader-y this way.

     Traditional samurai helmets have ornamental crests, or maedate.  The higher the rank of the samurai, the more-ornate the maedate.  Well, we’re talking about a Colonel, for Pete’s sake, I had to have something pretty fantastic.

The typical Google-Image-Searches didn’t reveal anything appropriate, so I had to brainstorm this one:
I settled on a spork

Spork of the mighty
     The spork is iconic of the KFC empire, I thought.  Against a vast mountain of instant potatoes and gravy, the spork is your greatest ally.  I needed to make one.  Rather than mess with heat guns and smoking plastic, I decided to raid the kids’ sandbox.  I found a discarded toy shovel that I thought would pass.  After some rough carving, sanding, and painting, I had my crest.

     It wasn’t enough, though.  I wanted more.  A lot of helmets have horns, which initially seemed pretty cool.  But then I thought “chickens don’t have horns”.  So what do chickens have?

Behold, my wishbone of power

     Fabrication included making a template from a manila folder (folded for symmetry), transfer to cardboard, then cut and paint.

     The spork and wishbone fit together like a fast-food Voltron.

Further decoration
     I needed logos for my armor.  I actually found a site that would generate the katakana characters for “Kentucky Fried Chicken”.  I verified this against the KFC-Japan website and it was a perfect match.
     There were plenty of English KFC logos to choose from.  I did want to combine the Rising Sun design with Colonel Sanders, just to really hammer the point home.  So after a few minutes in Photoshop, “Rising Sanders” was born:
     Soldiers had various designs painted onto their chestpieces, so I thought this would be best applied as a stencil directly onto the armor.

     I tried to balance authenticity with kitsch here – whenever I thought I was sweating the details too much, I reminded myself that this was all just cardboard.  If I thought I was being too cavalier, I just had to look at my picture of Colonel Sanders and how I wanted to do him justice.  And whenever I got tired of punching those holes…I remembered the smoking remains of that glorious restaurant.

Happy Halloween.  In case you missed it, check out the other costume I had to make this year. 

               Share and enjoy.

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