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Scale model 'Winkie' Guard from the Wizard of Oz

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My daughter is participating in the HS Production of 'The Wizard of Oz' musical, and parents have been asked to help in any way they can, so I thought that maybe I could help by making the halberd heads from blue foam for the witch's guards....


so I just looked up pics of these guys to see what would be involved, and found this cool scratch built figure of one of the guards...


Wizard of Oz “Winkie Guard” by Greg Mowry

Posted on May 16, 2012

By Greg Mowry

The Wicked Witch of the West’s bodyguard was recruited from the vicious war-like population of the western counties of Oz. The term “Winkie” was used by Frank Baum in the original “Oz” books.

I made this 1/4 scale (18″ tall) statue after having the opportunity to study one of the two known existing Winkie costumes from the original movie.

Winkie6.jpeg?resize=213%2C300The body is sculpted from resin and “magic-sculpt” epoxy putty. The costume is made from hand painted wool felt like the original. The sleeves of the coat are crocheted wool like a cable-knit fisherman’s sweater, again like the original. The headdress, originally surplus cold stream guards’ bearskin bonnets, is made here in miniature from fine beaver fur.

Winkie7.jpeg?resize=225%2C300I made the spear point pattern by tracing the spear directly off the T.V. screen from a freeze frame from the DVD. I reduced it to proper 1/4 scale and fabricated it from 3 layers of styrene laminated together and finished with allclad chrome paint.


How in the Lords of Lead's name can you make those things with foam??????


Maybe they would take regular halberd heads?????


Just thought I would share....

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If I were doing this I would be looking at a laminate of plastiboard.

What is plastiboard you ask?

It is like cardboard only made out of plastic so it is more durable but still very lightweight.

You've probably seen it used for small signs as it is a durable material that can be set up easily using an inexpensive wire stake or just stapled or wired to a fixed object

You can find it in sheets with the plastic sheeting section of major hardware stores.

There is a special cutter made that makes it easy to do straight lines as the cutter fits right into the square channels that make up the matrix of the material.

I would make a laminate of two or three layers with the material oriented at angles of circa 60 degrees so they serve to reinforce each other.  Glue together with a spray glue using a contact method of application. I would make the outer layers just slightly smaller than the center so that they form a natural "edge" when covered with some sort of tape.  I would use either paper or cloth medical tape for preference.

Attach a plastic pipe handle, paint it up, add whatever flourishes are deemed necessary and Bob's Your Uncle.


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Something that size might be a little too brittle to be made in blue foam.  You may be able to make is out of something sturdier like the workshop foam mats that you stand on.  Either way, make a pattern that you can trace onto what ever material to intend to use.  then after you cut it out, you can use a utility knife (or some sort of sander if you have one) to bevel the edges.  Attach to some PVC poles and spray paint appropriately.  There are plenty of videos on YouTube with specific techniques.  I know that they have several on Adam Savage's channel, Tested.

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 Since these are only going to be used in a play and they aren't really a major prop, I'd recommend doing them on the cheap...


Remember - these are theater props (not even boffer weapons), so they don't need to actually be what they're supposed to be, just look like it. They only need enough structural integrity to serve their purpose, and keeping things light and portable is always the second major concern after having them look good.

Plus, if you make them too nice, the kids will be more tempted to use them on each other.


 Easiest way would be to use the plastiboard like GEM said, but only use it to make the middle layer to save a lot of money. (You're going to be making a number of these things.) Cardboard would be used for the outer layers (you can crush the edges of the cardboard to make a beveled edge for the blade), and you can use duct tape to seal the edges.

Technically, with three layers glued together, you could just go with cardboard for all of it. If nobody's throwing these things around or actually fighting with them, the heads should have plenty of structural integrity for their intended purpose.


Once you spray paint over everything, seams and imperfections will be invisible since the audience will be too far away to see anything but the general shape of the weapons.


(When I did the weapons for my Rocky Horror cast's shadowcasting of Army of Darkness, I just used multiple layers of regular white cushion foam tightly compressed and wrapped with duct tape for all the spear heads, and those were still functional and looking good a year later despite actually seeing combat as boffer weapons. If the heads of the halberds weren't such a complex shape with so many curves, I would have suggested doing that for these.)

If you can find sturdy cardboard shipping tubes to use for the shafts, that may be less expensive than pvc pipe.


For the part where the head connects to the shaft, you should be able to build the round parts out of a strip of cardboard and two circles to rough out the shape (sort of like a tuna can) and then use duct tape to flesh out the parts where it tapers down to the width of the shaft.



Edited by Mad Jack
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Foam core could be another choice.  You can generally find 20"x30" sheets of it at Michaels or Hobby Lobby for $2 or less a sheet. Laminate 2-3 pieces together, bevel the edges, and cover the edges with masking tape - then spray paint.   As Mad Jack said, the audience won't be close enough to see the seams. 

For handles, you could consider broom handles.  If your school has a lot of those brooms/mops with the heads that unscrew, you could simply make the heads fit on those handles, then they could borrow the handles from the janitorial staff for the performances.  No money out of yours or their pockets, and you get sturdy handles. 

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 Yeah, foam core would be good as well - it would be less expensive than using plastiboard, but three layers of foam core would be a bit less flexible than cardboard/plastiboard and thus more likely to break if it bangs into something, so it's a bit of a tradeoff.


Broom handles might be a bit too thin to show up well on stage, but if you do use them you can wrap them in colored duct tape/electrical tape rather than painting them.


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