The frame for the body begins with 4, 8-foot sections of ¾” PVC from the plumbing department at the hardware store. In order to support the weight of the body and head, I opted to double up on the supports for the legs and use two separate poles per leg instead of just one. I typically use wood screws to secure the pipes so I can make adjustments and recycle the parts for next year.
This prop actually stands best in a tripod configuration in order to secure proper balance. I don’t want this to be mounted to a base as “The General” will be gracing our yard next to the house. The pole for the tripod has a slight bend in it so that it can be spun around to find the best position on uneven terrain. The pole will be hidden between the two cape colors so as not to be noticed.
The hands are made from pipe insulation foam with silver duct tape. Later, the tips of the fingers (small triangles) will be cut from the same foam and adhered to make it look like there is a closed fist around the lightsaber.
The head was made out of cardboard and the face was a piece of craft foam which was heated and then shaped by hand. The eye sockets utilized crumpled tinfoil, and the eyes were made from small pieces cut to shape from a ping pong ball. In order to get the spray paint to stick and cure to the foam, The entire head was coated in 2 part resign epoxy and allowed to dry overnight. The paint was an antique-white spray can from the hardware store.
The General’s armor was constructed out of cardboard with masking tape run across the edges in order to hide the corrugated cardboard. The armor was painted with the same spray paint as the head.
In order to make the guts of General Grievous, a ball (about the size of a racquet ball) of clear packing tape was crumpled and then spray painted red. A second ball layer of clear tape was wrapped over to create a sense of wetness through the high gloss sheen. Additionally, a rope of duct tape connected the two balls and was lightly misted with red paint.
General Grievous’ support structures (hood, ribs, leg details) were created once more with the foam insulation pipes.
The finger tips were wrapped in masking tape and attached to the foam/duct tape rings
Once the head is dry, detailing can begin. Start by blocking out the large sections around his eyes and mouth. A coat of yellow is applied over the eyes and the eye socket “meat” includes a deep red with a wash of black in the recesses.
White pinstriping tape can be changed to any color with a Sharpie marker.
The iris of his eyes can be painted with an Olive Drab green (tops and bottoms) with a radiating burst of brown. In this case, The General has long, black stripes on this helmet and the pupils of his eyes use the same material.
Airbrushing completes the look by tying in the highlights, shadows and battle damage. Leveraging multiple colors helps achieve added visual depth. Pay attention to the edges of the cutouts (eyes, ears) and add additional battle damage to the helmet.
A permanent BIC marker is used to highlight and outline various details
The final and most important aspect of completing the head is to create a layer of super gloss over the eyes. To achieve this, simply brush on 4-5 layers of Future Floor Wax. Don’t scrub it on or you risk creating bubbles. Simply dip the brush and allow the drop to permeate the entire eye surface.
The General also sports certain mouth parts - which resemble some kind of alien microphone. Flat stirring sticks, heavy gauge wire and paint are all that’s needed to create this.
The body armor wouldn’t be complete without some additional airbrushing work as well.
To make the capes, plastic tablecloths are an inexpensive choice. In order to cover the body, 2 large (108 in) tablecloths get stapled together (long edge) and then draped over.
Start with red on the inside, this cape goes in front of the tripod pole to hide it, then gray goes behind to cover it from the back.