A Regular Royal Queen

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A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 17 May 2012, 09:58

Tis a Glorious thing I ween to be a Regular Royal Queen.
No half and half affair I ween , no half and half affair,
But a right down regular , regular , regular ,regular Royal Queen.

Gilbert and Sullivan

Well there a parade of Old Queens at the 350th Birthday Mayfayre.
And a lot of them were in my booth ...boom boom .

I have been sitting on a lot of 'making of' pics of these , as I did not want to spoil the surprise.
But now its time to share ..hope you wanna see 'em ? Here's a small selection.

If anyone wants to see a few step-by -step ones , Im happy to post some.
Richard
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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby lesclarke » 17 May 2012, 13:34

One is amused.
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 17 May 2012, 14:08

Hello Les .... did not see you at the weekend ( of course chart does not mean you were not there ...it was so crowded ) .

Yup Queen Victoria was the other 'Old Queen' in the show.

I don't have a pic of her at the mo ...something I will put right today.

She was made about 4 years ago to appear in my regular gigs at "Blists Hill Victorian Town" ...her costume is nice , but I was never happy with the face - just one of those ones that didn't work out as planned ( probably 'coz I was being too 'nice' about her , considering where she was going to perform )

So I will take a pic later ...before she goes through the bandsaw to have her face sliced off .

Then I am going to carve another , as a kind of flat mask , and glue it on ....this time with her looking like a grumpy Bulldog chewing a wasp ( hopefully)

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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Benjie » 17 May 2012, 15:01

Love to see any pics you have Richard, be great to see, thanks for sharing them.
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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 19 May 2012, 15:40

Its Saturday , and I have just started the Royal facelift -
Odd to think that this time last week we were watching 350 sausages come out of a Birthday Cake in Covent garden - it's a strange old World isn't it !
I did not start Victorias plastic surgery yesterday as planned , tidying up the workshop took precedent - and anyhow I wasn't in the mood ...I always work faster when the Muse is with me
( older viewers will hear 'Julian and Sandy' now saying " The Muse is fluttering - go it gal - ooh she's landed )

Here is Queen Victoria a couple of hours ago :
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And Prepped for Surgery - wrapped in foil and cling film ( NHS Cuts are hitting hard )
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The Unkindest Cut of All ..
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Only the Best Wood used ( from Trees )
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Notice that I dont "Laminate" plywood profiles together anymore ... now its the new , patented Coombs "jigsaw puzzle" method :
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Then each part sculpted with a Black and Decker Powerfile Sander:
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First rough look at her , with separate nose to peg in:
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The pieces are still 'loose' on the workbench ( I only came in to make a cuppa and put my camera phone on charge lol)
I will glue them together with Screwfix wood glue now , and that will be all I can do until tomorrow when the glue has hardened enough to put the whole face against a disc sander to make it the right thickness to glue back to what is left of the first head .

After that I am going to need to think about redoing her hair ..as it rather got shredded by the bandsaw ...a lucky accident as it happens ..as I need to give her a more accentuated centre parting - which was quite a distinctive part of her 'look' ..and something I did not get right the first time around.

There .. I hope that has satisfied those who like a "fix" of workshop trivia - smalltalk at the Mayfayre was most revealing ; I now know there are those out there in cyberspace for whom all this is a kind of puppet pornography ...fulfilling a need for something they don't do in their own lives .... but hey it takes all sorts ( no names - no pack drill)
Also "Hello" to the ones in the shadows - the visitors to this Board who like to view ..but don't post .... you know who you are ;-)

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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 20 May 2012, 22:28

Quite a good day in the workshop again today ( yep no bookings this weekend , hey ho ..but Im enjoying the peace while it lasts ...its about to be hectic )

Yesterday was quite a good day ..the Muse was indeed with me lol ..here is what it produced:

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Even with such a flat mask , it was still worth
hollowing out the back a bit to save weight :
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Joined to Head:
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Also started a new Monkey head today
while Victorias glue dried
( The mug is one of those Huge mugs - not regular size
so it throws the scale out a bit lol ):
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End of day 2:

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Far from "portrait - perfect" ..but infinitely better than she was - and the hairline , when done will help a lot : the large 'gap' at the top of each each is to allow the flat swoops of hair to tuck between ears and head .
She will also get a better Crown .
Night Richard
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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 07 Jun 2012, 22:47

Now that all the "jubilation" is behind us , and Queen Victoria is all but finished - I thought Id post some more pics. I did actually use her all over the Jubilee period , as I was at Blists hill Victorian Town ...and she is very much an 'expected' part of the show there now.


Paint job ..an odd choice of colours ...but I had confidence it would work with the costuming , as it was going to have some purple highlights as part of its re-vamp :

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Using a strip of pink fabric for her trademark 'Hatchet Parting"- decided to make a full wig piece :
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I have a set of big darning /mattress making needles , a couple of which are big enough to take thick wool ... so it was a case of sewing it through a strand at a time:


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Slow and fiddly stuff - but the result was worth it.
- note too how the nutty brown tones of the hair , temper the purple on her face paint , and make it look more naturalistic - (well I think it does lol) I will paint the parting to blend with the skin tones later :

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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby lesclarke » 08 Jun 2012, 09:27

Fascinating stuff Richard, I will really enjoy a long viewing of the step-by-step-pics in the near future. I like the colouring of the new face, sometimes we need to push ourselves to get away from our 'usual' approach.
Interesting to see how you tackle the hair.

I've no experience of the sander you use, just found some pics of it, and it looks bigger than I expected, is it always a two handed job to use it?
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 08 Jun 2012, 14:34

Hello Les ... no its a one handed operation ...the Black and Decker Powerfile is not that big ( I have fitted a vacuum cleaner pipe to mine and to an automatically switched dust extractor ..and even with that fixed to it , I can still hold it single handed )

So its file on one hand , and head ( or whatever else is being carved in the other )

As always a picture tells the story better ...so I will take one later , as I despite having loads of work -in -progress pics , they are all of the puppets , not the tools.
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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 12 Jun 2012, 14:31

Royal BLING

Spent yesterday evening with beads and thin bronze jewellers wire to make a new crown for Victoria,

As it is . literally . the crowning glory of the puppet . once its on I will take a picture and call her 'done '

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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 21 Jun 2012, 15:34

More on the Finished Victoria soon ...I changed her crown fabric to plain purple ..that paisley red was a mistake.


But here is the other new puppet from the Mayfayre ( soon to be in my Summer Season at Heights of Abraham ) ..Queen Elizabeth 1st ....the most elaborate and time consuming costume on a single puppet I have ever done.



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The head , unmounted was started in 2009 I think ? , and then tucked away unfinished.
Remembering I had this , was the inspiration for making this summers show a Royal comedy of 'always the wrong Queen' .

Here is the wooden shape that will form the dress -I knew form the outset that her appearance in the show would be very quick , she would not be bashed with a slapstick , and her purpose was to be a 'cough and a spit and a nice costume' as one of my drama school teachers used to say.

For that reason - and to give the dress nice shaped waist - I knew she would need to be a rod puppet , not a glove puppet.
Notice the line of holes in the wooden arc behind her head ? ...these are to take the power magnets which will hold her big stand up collar in place ...I know that it would be big and fairly delicate , and I would want to remove it to make packing her away in the puppet box easy ...but I also did not want fixing it on , or taking it off to be a chore ...so magnets on the puppet , and correspondingly in the collar made it both a fast and strong bond.



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This is one of many reference pictures I trawled form the net ...I liked the shape of this dress , but preferred the colours and styling on some others ..in the end it was smash up of all of them with a big dose of Judy Denchs costume from 'Shakespeare in Love'




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I knew it would take a lot of cloth ..so I rummaged in the attic for what I had the most of, knowing it would take about a yard and a half . Also I was looking for a suitable pallette of colours and textures .
I tried them out by laying them on the kitchen floor:
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I 'dressed up' the head to test out the look ... I often do this if its a fancy costume.

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Last edited by Richard Coombs on 21 Jun 2012, 22:45, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 21 Jun 2012, 22:04

Underskirt :

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And then some pleating ( a bit like making a clowns ruff only bigger )The main gold/ black fabric that I wanted to use was actually only a mesh/ netting ..so each panel of the dress had to be 'basted ' onto a base fabric before dress could be assembled. :

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Planning the Stand-Up Collar :
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Collar and Ruff ...not needlework for the feint hearted ...you need to be a bit OCD and have no life to want to fiddle about like this - lol - nice results though :-) :

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Start of a Stomacher :


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And after many , many more hours of beading.

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Some out of focus sleeves


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All the fiddly bits together ( about 9 or 10 days work )

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Hair and coronet ( beads sewn and wired onto a wire star frame - which was 2/3rds of a Christmas tree decoration )


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Last edited by Richard Coombs on 21 Jun 2012, 22:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 21 Jun 2012, 22:34

Up till now all the bits have only been loosely pinned to the puppet .
Now for the final assembly :

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A couple of bits of asymmetrical padding to balance out the fitting of the main pleated dress:


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Sleeves

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Stomacher


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Full Monty


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Paintjob

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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Richard Coombs » 22 Jun 2012, 12:09

The Royal Entourage .
Or me , blowing me own trumpet (again) LOL
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The look I wanted;
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I could have made a wooden trumpet and sprayed it gold ..but you can't beat the look of real metal -So this was a very lucky Ebay find:
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I cut it and put a metal rod inside it with some P38 car body filler to make it strong- The heraldic Banner will cover the 'join'
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Built in laminated slices - for speed- , & also as I knew I wanted to make 2 identical heads.
Holes in Body to keep weight down.
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Edward Scissorhands ?
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Wire and hot melt glue to join trumpet robustly to puppet
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Then P38 again ( can be carved quickly with a scalpel for a few minutes when part set )
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Last edited by Richard Coombs on 24 Jun 2012, 12:47, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: A Regular Royal Queen

Postby Chris » 22 Jun 2012, 12:47

Very interesting series of pictures Richard, informative and inspirational. I thought you might be interested in our Good Queen Bess, a marionette, made and costumed by Eric Bramall. Well I say that, but it may have been costumed by Madge Stavordale. Eric made the puppet for Buster Stavordale for use in their shows at the Festival of Britain. There is a duplicate version of her to sit on a horse. The horse was carved by John Carr. Somewhere I have a sound recording of the scene where she addresses the troops. I rather think the voice is that of Ann Hogarth (of Muffin fame). Now how's that for name dropping - but only meaning much to those either long in the tooth or those with an interest in British puppet history.

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