Young Xenomorph Queen

Created by Nikki...
Before we begin, there are some frequent questions people usually ask about this particular costume. 

Has Zoe watched the movies?    No..... not really.  Her interest in the Queen Xeno came from the toys we have.  Both William and I are huge Predator and Alien fans, and have a few of the action figures around the house.  Zoe does know the basics of the Alien movies like the reproductive stages..... egg, face hugger, crest burster, etc, however, she has only seen the queen parts of the Alien Queen from the second movie.

Did we force her to wear the costume?   No...... If anyone has kids of their own, you will know that when it comes to kids, you can't force them to do what they really don't want to do.  At least that's my experience. ;)  I was up front with Zoe from the very beginning about the limitations of this costume months before building it.  She understood that this was something she would not be able to wear for a long period of time or be able to run around in like simple costumes.  Originally, William wanted me to be the Queen, but Zoe really wanted something Epic, so we decided to use this as a mini test of my skills.

How much does the costume weigh?  Not sure at the moment.  When we get a proper weight I will post it here.

Is she comfortable in it?  Mostly yes....... As I stated before, there are limitations on this costume.  We have to keep her out of the sun, even on a cool day.  The costume is all black and sucks up any solar heat.  It can get warm, but she has never over heated in it.  If she has any issues, she flutters her hands and we come to her aid.  She has had an issue with when she sneezes in the neck.  The head needs to come off of her completely for me to get to her.  I will be redoing the neck so it opens in the front to get to her more easily.

Does she dislike anything about the costume?   So far the only quam she has is when someone wants her to do something silly in the costume.  Zoe has become very protective of the image of the Queen.  She won't even give a thumbs up.  She did it once and has regretted it even since.  She wants the Queen to only be fierce. ;)

How much does this costume cost?
   First of all....... not for sale.  ;)    The materials are only a couple of hundred.  The time spent on the monster project has run the value up between 4,000 to 5,000.  This is not a concrete price due to the fact that it is not complete, plus in a child size. 
FEBRUARY 18, 2015

With Wonder Con coming up next month we got the idea to try to beat Baby Predator from last year. Zoe, our lovely little 7 year old will be debuting her new costume on Saturday at the convention.

Here is her build.....

We are using the Deluxe Alien Queen figure from Neca as our model.
 

I started off with a cheap top army helmet as the base for the neck and head.
 

I added padding to the helmet to keep it from sliding around on her head. Just used green foam covered in fabric. I will be adding a chin strap cup for her comfort so the weight of the head won't pull on her neck.
Added a neck extension to the helmet using a cylinder of 3mm craft foam.
 


William projected an image of the head on oak tag paper. The length from mouth to tip of crown will be 37" long.
 

I glued six sheets of the 3mm thick craft foam together and will be cutting it out tomorrow. I will also be adding wire support to keep the crown from folding in on itself.

 
Added the head support ribs today.

 

 

The front of the head turned out a little too high so I will be trimming it down before adding the outer skin tomorrow. I also hope to work on the lower jaw.

FEBRUARY 20,2015

First skin is on. This is just the foundation for all the detailing so it wasn't important to have it all in one piece.
 

I also started the top of the mouth lips and inner gums. This is done with simple application of hot glue.
 

MARCH 1, 2015

Took a couple of days off but really cranked out a lot of details tonight.
First I put all the detailing in the under crown with hot glue stripes.
 
Added rounded stripes to foam.
 
Then a sculpted stripe for the spine of the crown.
  
With any luck I'll be able to finish the rest of the inner detailing so I can add the outer crown tomorrow.
5 weeks to go!

MARCH 15, 2015

So I was planning on finishing the head today... wasn't even close. :p

Anyway, last week I cut out the rounded areas of the crown.


 
I next heat molded the thin foam into the cut areas.
 
 


Glued the trims pieces in. This ended up a little sloppy, but I didn't put much care into it considering the edges will be covered by the outer crown.
 

I added detailing inside the curved slots. Rounded foam inside the front slot.
 
And just hot glue in the back slot.
 

Now for the work finished today...
I set down a strip of foam with hot glue on the side front of the head. This will be peeking out of the outer crown that you will be seeing in the next update.
 
I also added the outer side detailing to the wings of the inner crown.
 
I also began working on the lower jaw today. I first started on a base.
 
 
added a longer level for the protruding chin.

 
and a third level for the lip.  You can see the difference in lengths here...
 
 
I then added a thin strip to act as the gums for the teeth.

 

Heat molded thin foam over the frame.. And added hot glue detail with a lower jaw henge.

 

I made the bottom detailing of the jaw out of the thin foam.
 

I made a change in the upper lip. After all the detailing was done on the front face the lip detail was sort of lost, so today I added a second piece of foam to add a little more dimension to it. I am happier with the result.

This is the before...
 
And now the added foam...
 

You can see in this last picture with the lower jaw that the upper lip sticks out more.

Tomorrow I will hopefully add the outer crown and start work on the underside of the head, along with attaching the neck frame. I really need to push hard if I have any hope of finishing this in time for Wonder Con. 3 weeks... and I haven't even started on the body. Yikes!!!

MARCH 16, 2015

Got the outer crown cut and attached today. I will still be perfecting the fit, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

I first use a very old piece of muslin fabric to drape over the head. It was more relaxed than paper would be, so very easy to get an pattern drawn up.
 

I then cut out the fabric pattern to double check the fit and make any necessary adjustments using tape and scraps of fabric.
 

Next I put the pattern on the foam using chalk. (looks like an exotic mask) ;)
 

Attached the foam to the head and heat molded it a bit using the stove burner. This was clumsy, so tomorrow I will be taking it out side and using the heat gun. I forgot to take pictures of one step I did ( sorry about that). I applied strips of the thicker foam on the under crown that will be giving a curved look to parts of the upper crown once I properly heat mold it tomorrow. You can see the beginning of the curves on this last photo if you look close enough. It is a smooth ridge that sweeps from the center of the head and out towards the second "fin" of the crown.


MARCH 30, 2015

Sorry for the lack of updates. I'm working really hard to get this done by Saturday. Yikes... this SATURDAY!!!!
This may be the last night of updates till after WonderCon. It takes too long and I need all the rest of the time for building. Next week I'll post more of the build.


Since we are planning on adding a working inner mouth, I started preparing the mouth pallet and inner jaw. I hollowed out the extra foam.

 
Also cut into the upper pallet.
 

With the dremel and a cone sanding bit, I made scoring details into the crown. It worked very well once I got the hang of it. If you plan on trying this, make sure you practice on a scrap of foam. Make sure you have a very steady hold on both the dremel and piece. go with the natural "pull" of the rotation.
 

I was a little concerned with some added weight from the hot glue, so I cut into the under crown.
 


Heat molded the thin foam to the under pallet and crown.
 

For the under details of the crown I glued two pieces of the thicker foam together.

 

Then used the dremel to carve out the rounded edges.
 

I used stripes of the thicker foam for the rounded lines that connect the "thorns" to the center of the crown. And added the hot glue lines.
 




APRIL 1, 2015

 
The chest plate is just a simple vest design which closes in the back with a zipper.
 

The front armholes were too open for my taste, so I added some moon crescent shapes to close it up. 

I heat molded a natural curve into the vest. This is very important to do on any piece that wraps around a part of the body. If you do not add this curve, you will put too much stress on the closure and the zippers or velcro will either pull off, or rip the foam. It will also add comfort because the foam will curve with your body, rather than push up against it.
 

On the vest base I added foam "bones". These are for any raised detail that will push up through the skin.
This is the front.
 
And the back.
 

I started heat molding the skin on by starting with the center front.
 

It took a lot of pushing and coordination with the heat gun, but I was very pleased with the effect.
  


I did unfortunately heat a spot too much and managed to punch through one of the raised areas. ACK!!! I was able to close it up with a little hot glue, and hopefully with some weathering, this little flaw will disappear. This is the front of the chest plate. I still need to trim and mold the top and the bottom left side (your right).
 
Side and back skin.
 

I am also completing the tail, however I want to put that all in one post, so you'll have to stay tuned. ;)


APRIL 3, 2015

Gaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! I came so close, but was still so far away. Its not going to be done for its debut tommorrow, and I am just devastated.

I suppose it WAS a little too ambitious planning on building this complicated monster in just a months time, still.....bummer.

Zoe is being more of a good sport about it than I am. She ever made me a card last night telling me how awesome I am and how its ok because she knew how hard I've been working on it. William thinks I should debut it at the StarWars Celebration in two weeks... give her a lightsaber and have baby predator and her duke it out. But I'm not sure about that. I guess we'll just have to see.

I'm sad...... :(

AUGUST 22, 2015

Hi everyone! My apologies for not updating in so long. Had to take a hiatus from this build to recharge my batteries..... Now that I am rested, let the countdown for the 2015 ComiKaze debut begin!

And now with no further delay......
The Tail

The tail was an interesting thing to figure out. There were of course some issues I wanted to focus on. Number one being transportation. Not just in route to an event, but moving through a crowd at said event. Building an adults costume, you can sometimes afford ignoring comfort and put all your focus on the "look". Building a child's costume is a little more complicated and requires a bit more sensitivity in its construction. If it is too restrictive, the child will develop a fear of wearing it and all your hard work is null and void. I was concerned with a 7 year old swinging a long tail around while trying to make her way through a crowd. Yes, its would look cool on most occasions, but safety is sometimes an issue. In the end, I feel I have designed it well without sacrificing the integrity of the ending result. As you will see in the next two posts.

First the base......

I don't like floppy tails...... They not only look "dead" in photos, but are really cumbersome when walking around. Especially when they are long enough to drag on the ground. They can get dirty or even worse......stepped on. Throw in the craziness of a kid, and add the danger of tripping. So..... I made the tail erect. It will be out of her way and will be posable (with some effort).

I choose a 9 gauge wire for the support. Yes, this will make it harder to bend, but I was looking for more of a durability in holding up the weight of the tail than pliability. I covered the wire with pipe insulation which will act as the inner spine of the tail. At the base of the tail I bent the wire end into a rectangle joint, which will insert into the harness pocket. (to be shown in next post)

 
 


Next, I started to cut out the vertebra of the tail..... This was tedious work, but easy.
The piece on the left is the top, while the right is the bottom. You can see the top is more narrow.
 
I made sure that the sizes dropped down as they went farther from the tail base. I also cheated and made three vertebra of each size instead of one per size. I knew I was going to shave off a little more once I fitted the pieces onto the wire, so I went with this method. In the end it saved me A LOT of time and frustration.
 

I glued the top pieces halfway to form a wedge shape. The center of all four pieces will form a hole to fit the pipe insulation. I was a little more careful in this stage because I wanted a very tight fit around the pipe.
 

With the top and the bottom pieces glued, I added an extra piece for the center bottom of the verteba. On the toy, this shows as a thick ridge. When all the vertebra are attached to the tail, I will trim this ridge down with a dremel.
 

After the pieces were assembled, I added the hot glue detailing.

TOP
 

BOTTOM
 

SIDE VIEW
 


Seek Peek for the next post...... You can see baby preddy running along her future prey. LOL
 

SEPTEMBER 17, 2015


Sorry for lack of updates. The last days of summer were brutal. Barely even needed the glue gun because it was hot enough for the glue to melt in the sunlight. Yikes.

Anyway, here is how I designed the tail attachment.

As I stated in the above post, I wanted the option of detaching Zoe,s tail without having to undress her. This is with the use of a simple waist harness. I may add suspenders to the thing later on if I have issues with it riding down on her, but so far I have not seen any evidence of this happening.

I started off making a standard waistband wrap. Its made of a lycra fabric and although stretchy; has a strong hold on her torso. I also sewn two different velcro strips for ease when she grows.
 
For the center back, I made a hard plastic pocket out of komatex pvc.
 

View of side and back of the waist support...
  

As you can see, the wire tab I made on the tail fits easily into the pocket... I made sure it was open enough to allow easy insertion of the tail, but snug enough that the tail will not move around once its in place.
 

The top part of the tail is bend down against Zoe's back and then back out were the tail "truly" begins. The section where it is close to the body will be disguised as the lower vertebrae. The reason for all this is to add stability to the structure of the tail harness and put all the weigh at Zoe's back waist and not lower on the hips which would throw off her balance.



OCTOBER 8, 2015


Was taking a break on the tail so decided to work on the small arms that protrude from the chest.

I first started out with backer rod for the base.
 

I was going to add wire to it for support, but decided against it. The Foam will act as a stiffener, so no wire needed to keep it stiff. Upper arm piece (flat view)
 

Upper arm piece, curved and closed with a straight strip of foam... This will slide onto the backer rod.
 

Added thin strips for detail and "bones" for some skin detailing.
 

The skin added by heat mold method.... plus an elbow hook spike.
 

Forearm "armor". I'm adding layers of foam to achieve the plated look.
 
 

For the hands, I was going to use thin backer rod that I would trim with a blade and sandpaper. I was too unsure if I would get the result I wanted, so decided to go with what I know.

I used two layers of the thicker foam as the base of the hands.
 
Added more foam for the palm and finger grooves.
  

I then used a drimmel to carve and round it out. After it was done, I used the heat of the stove to heat and bend the fingers to the desired curve.
  

I still need to smooth out some spots, but pretty happy with it so far. I will also need to add the fingernails, but do not know if I will make them from foam or epoxy. Tomorrow I will finish the second hand and hopefully assemble the rest of the arms.

NOVEMBER 2, 2015

OK... still not fully recovered for ComiKaze. I went on a 36 hour overdrive to get the dang thing as ready as I possibly could. I still have another 10% of work to do on it, but I completed enough of it to satisfy my inner
perfectionist monster to allow me to at least debut her at the convention. ;)

Here is the completion of the tail...

So, in the previous posts, I had mentioned how I designed the tail vertibrae. After the pieces were completed, I glued them to the backer rod.
 
While working on the body armor of the costume, I came up with a texture I really liked and now thought the tail detailing was "lacking". So I decided to add to the detailing and got a final result that I am more than ecstatic about.

This is the before shot....
 
And the ending result...
 
The tail spear was rather simple. I glued 4 arrow pieces together on the outer edges and curved the pieces inward to create the center hole for the joint. ( I apologize for the blurry photos, camera was acting up that day)
 
 

After the pieces were secure, I used the dremel to sharpen the edges of the spear. It has certainly proved to be the tool of the trade in this particular build. LOL
 
After I got the desired sparpness, I gave it matching detailing with the hot glue.
 

The spear has an second layer under the spear. This was mad in the same manner of the tail spear. 

This fits snug into the spear piece.  
 
I finished the forearm of the mini chest arms but doing a layered look and sharping the pieces with the dremel.
 

The nails were very simple to do. I just cut out a tear shape and then cut it in half. They look really cheezy in the beginning, but after I smoothed out the cuticles, they look more natural. 


After I added the mod podge, the tiny fuzz from the sanding smoothed out nicely. (not shown)


NOVEMBER 4, 2015

The body armor...

Originally I was going make a duck tape cast of Zoe and work from that. In the end, I decided to not do this because of her age. Asking a 7 year old to stand still for a couple of hours while you cover her in tape is not very feasible. I put all my fashion design training to use and draped the pieces directly on Zoe.
 

To get the proper curve in the foam, I used the heat gun to molded the foam around her body. Since she had a heavy fabric pant and long sleeve shirt, the heated foam was never uncomfortable for her. After getting a good curve around her, I marked the cutting lines with chalk. 

Upper thigh piece...
 

Forearm piece. I added the thicker foam for the 3 dimensional details on the piece. Afterwards, I smoothed and rounded out the edges with the dremel. I also cut into the foam where I drew the chalk lines.
 

Upper arm... 

Leg calf.... 

Leg calf with hot glue detail.
 

Forearm. 

Upper arm..


NOVEMBER 5,2015

The feet...

I use easy slip on shoes.
 

I used three layers of the thick foam to make the foot ridges and toes. I roughly rounded out the edges with the scissors. I didn't put too much effort into this because I knew I was going to cover the foam with the matching fabric of the bodysuit.
 

When the fabric was glued onto the feet, I added the toe nails and hot glue to define the ridges.



I will eventually be adding the look of knuckles.

NOVEMBER 5, 2015


There is still much to be done with the costume, and I will take better photo closeups of the neck and paint job. But until then, here are some pictures from Zoe's debut at ComiKaze!!

Getting dress...
 

Zoe and Kayla played off of each other beautifully. They would start sparring to the delight of the crowd. Kayla would stab with her combi-stick and Zoe would counter attack with swinging her tail at Kayla. The costumes did receive some damage, but it was very minimal and well worth seeing a mini version of AVP.
 

The girls with their buddy Dancing Will.... ;)
 

Another buddy of ours made a baby xeno so he could play with the girls as well!
 

Dancing Will made his daughter this awesome Minion costume!
 
 

Sparring......yet again  

Poor baby Predator.... So many worthy trophies..... so little time.
 

This was really cool....... Tested (The TV show) invited us to have tin type photos taken of the girls at their booth. Most Epic! And a great tribute to Baby Predator's final Convention. 

Awwwww..... Sisterly love. Don't tell Zoe I posted this picture. She would be really mad I showed the cute side to her fierce Queen. LOL



NOVEMBER 7, 2017



The list of things yet to do is still lengthy. This costume has the most pieces I have ever dealt with. So far 18 pieces in all, and I am still adding another 8.

I still need to add details to the under body suit, suspenders to the tail harness, create a system to secure the neck joint to the chest plate, make the finger extension gloves, and finish the winged back spikes. I also will be perfecting the paint job to bring out more of the details I felt were lost in the shadows of the costume.

In all, I was very satisfied with the debut, and the modifications are not that bad. So....yay!



JANUARY 2, 2015

Back Spikes.................................................................

Haven't figured out how I'm going to attach them to the back of the torso vest, but do have a couple ideas to play with. William thinks I should make them attach with velcro for easier storage and I agree, however, I am positive they will not have the proper support surface to holdup the weight. We'll just have to see what works.

I cutout the "fan" using the thicker 3mm craft foam. It is roughly cut with scissors, but I will easily smooth it down with the dremel and add hot glue details that will cover any flaws.
 

I glued this to a piece of backer rod with a 9 gauge wire support.
 

Added a second raised detail.
 

I heated the "fan" and curved it to get the look I needed.
 

Made sure to do the mirrored partner for each spike.
 

I then cutout a total of 24 long arrow shapes for the spike ends. 

I glued four of each group of arrows together to form the diamond shape to fit over the backer rod. Two of these will be flattened out closer to the tip of the spear to form the needed knife look that the toy has. (will be shown in next post)

 
These are the finished spikes.
 

Attached to the backer rod. The base of the spikes will be less rough looking once I add on the additional details and hot glue.
 

After finishing the spikes, I realized that the "fans" were a touch too small, throwing off the balance of the whole look. I decided to add the thinner foam on top to add an inch length.



JANUARY 8, 2015



Here is a picture of the fan extensions on. I sanded down the edge of the under "original" foam before attaching the thinner extension to reduce the bump on the blade end of the fans. There is still a bit of a lift on the top of the fans, (you can see this in the shadow of the green) but this will be further camouflaged with the hot glue detailing, so I didn't concern myself too much. I'm pretty happy with the scaling now, so......YAY!

 

There are so many curves and valleys on these damn back spikes. Trying to figure out how to make them only using craft foam and hot glue has proved to be a challenge.
 

More stripe detailing.
 


Here I ran out of the thicker foam so to reduce waste, I used three strips of the thinner to add this ridge. It looked like cut grass on my worktable before I started gluing them all on. LOL The top strip is smaller in width so it will round out nicely when I put the dremel to it.
 

Foam pieces after a quick session with the dremel.
 

Hot glue detailing of fan.
 

Hot glue detailing of spike.

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