Fandom > Cosplay / Costuming

My personal Tail project (W.I.P)

(1/2) > >>

I figured I'd get into a little story about my passion here before getting into the project itself. Not sure if to make this like a tutorial/experience sharing thing or just purely a showcase. You all can let me know what you'd want to see from my topic here. I think I should go into detail on how I've made this, and give a conclusion on how best to do what; What works and what doesn't, as well as pros and cons near the bottom of this post.

But anyway, I've probably alluded to this in my introduction topic, but I am an absolute tail fanatic. I just really love long prehensile tails; Definitly my biggest passion in existence. I can also thank Avatar and the Na'vi for showing me the art of tails. As of now I've been working for 3 years trying to create the most realistic tail possible for myself, and I'm talking has to look like a real tail, has to feel like a real one too, and of course it needs be able to move in a uniformed natural motion (None of that twisting or sharp bends).

Here's a little stitched image of me wearing my current tail, and sorry for the low quality. I'm still to this day using my old SE w595 phone to take pictures. Also I couldn't get anyone to take these for me so I had to awkwardly snap these images, also sorry for the not so great posetures.

So far it does look fairly realistic, and I don't have the hair on the tip yet as I'm still in the experimental phase. I'd want to learn the best method and get the final version done first before sorting the tip hair. The skin tone mostly matches with my skin tone, but not entirely as you can tell.

It's also nice and subtle as there's only a single strap that I use to wear it. This is because I also want to make a tail that feels more like it's part of me, instead of being something I'm wearing, and so far it's working really well.

As for the current details on how it's constructed. I've created an actual skeleton from wood, and this does a few things. Firstly, it helps the tail maintain it's structure and allows it to move with more of a smoother curve while at the same time mitigating unwanted twisting and sharp/sudden bending. There are 40+ bones each being 1 inch in length that slightly taper as you get towards the end.

Originally I designed the skeleton so each bone would have rounded ends, and I used rubber bands cut to length and glued to each bone which acted as ligaments. This does work, but it also has the potential of the rubber breaking, plus it causes the tail to be too springy, so this time I've decided to create a hole through the center of each bone, and have them all connected with a very long lace.

If you want to make a realistic tail, doing a skeleton will make it so much better in how it acts, and preventing it from stretching, etc. Since I've made and used a skeletal structure, it's also helped make the tail move in a more natural fashion instead of it being more string-like. So if you're walking around with your tail on, it tends to move around better and acts more tail-like instead of being rope-like.

Here's a little diagram of the concept I used which has bones, a lace linking them together, and I also tied garden rope between each bone to create a gap for allowing them to move around freely and keep them more inplace. I'll actually upload an actual image of the skeleton itself once I'm prepared to try something else for the flesh and skin part.

Right now as for the flesh and skin part, I decided to use upholstery foam for a nice springy flesh feel, and coat it with liquid latex to replicate skin. Now, there are issues with doing it this way, and of course some people can have an allergy with latex products, so I will not be recommending this. It does look okay, though, however it does not have that nice smooth feel like it should.

Current conclusion and best method for a realistic tail (Will be updated as I progress with new methods and materials):

* Create a skeleton for your tail - From experience, I've found this really does work and helps in a number of ways on making a realistic tail. It will help maintain shape, prevent stretching if someone pulls on your tail, or if it gets caught on something the skeleton will keep it together nicely. A skeleton also helps make the tail move around in a more natural way. If you don't use a skeleton, then it's just going to be soft material flailing around. The concept I've come up with (Which I posted above) has so far been the best and most successful design for me. It's hard work but it pays off.
* Keeping it subtle - Because I'm using a skeleton, it allows me to connect the main strap to the end of the skeleton, which allows for a better secure fit when I'm wearing my tail. You can get away with only a single strap for wearing, and as it's nice and subtle, it'll feel less like wearing, and more like it's part of yourself which is of course what you're going to want if you're passionate about having a tail.
* Latex and upholstery foam - It kind of works, but I honestly don't recommend it. There's of course some people that are allergic to latex so it's not the best choice for creating that skin-like look and feel. The main problem I've had with it is it will not create a smooth enough look and feel. It does somewhat feel skin-like, but it doesn't ever get smooth enough, even if you thin the latex. Another problem I've faced with using the foam and liquid latex is it's not the best at maintaining it's shape. After awhile and because tails bend a lot, it will crease and form divots which obviously you don't want. Bottom line is using upholstery foam and coating it with liquid latex is pretty easy to do, but it will not be smooth enough, it has a bit too much friction, and it's going to crease and become uneven.
I will be trying silicone casting when I can build up enough funds. From what I've heard and watched (And a good person recommended this to me), silicone seems like it will be the best way to get that nice smooth, soft and skin-like look and feel to it. I'll have to cast myself some silicone and update this topic on how it goes.

It looks really very good! Great work :)

Why thank you, though it is still far from perfect. oh yeah I forgot to mention but mine is a decent amount longer than Na'vi length, so if you're shooting for a Na'vi tail or same length as theirs, you'll have a much easier time. There is a nice way of getting those skin patterns too, though I'll try and see what I can do with silicone before sharing the results.

Good luck with your next work :)

Okay I am back. No progress on this yet because of the current situation with what's going on in the world.

I have some more to add, though because I did look into silicone and got many test samples, and I found that 'Ecoflex 00-50' is infact the most skin-like silicone with the perfect amount of resistance and flexibility. 'Dragon Skin 10' would be the next best one, though it is a bit more firm. Holy hell silicone is a fantastic material. I doubted it before but it turns out it is top class for this stuff and everything similar.

Also I kinda want to ask a question regarding this. Would you prefer a tail that is static, as in it doesn't use robotics, or would you rather one that does use robotics and can move very naturally?

I say because I personally prefer static due being able to make one that ain't bulky and without the worry of having to deal with a failed mechanism, where as with robotics, it's most likely going to be bulky, and you'd probably need to sacrifice cerain things like portions in order to get it to work.

I feel that an old school automaton would be the most realistic way to go (Without motors and the like) if you was to go down that route.

But anyway, for the folk that want to make a highly realistic tail and are unsure on what material would replicate that: Ecoflex 00-50 silicone, and Silc Pig Pigment (For coloring). It should work for both static and robotics. Silicone alternative would be Dragon Skin 10, but I'd recommend only going for that if you can't get Ecoflex.

I'll probably get more involved with the community soon; Currently been modding a video game for the past few months, and I need a little break from it.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version