The Mask

I really took my time with the design of this mask, I also experimented a lot with adding mechanical devices to do things like make the eyes blink, and move the ears, unfortunately I couldn't get any of it to work but learned a lot for the next version of this Fursuit.

{Click on any image to see full sized}

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In this configuration the mask was very sturdy, however the inward curve at the base of the mask was really uncomfortable so I ended up making it an outward curve as you will see in the following pictures. This one is also my first attempt at adding motorized effects, I had plans for a lot more but settled on just making the ears movable, to make room for the motors I made the head a little larger and put in head straps leaving about 3/4in between the straps and the top of the mask. This also gave me a lot of room for a second ventilation fan at the back of the mask, as well as a place to put all the batteries to power everything.

 

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v2's mask is a hybrid of a canvas mesh and a foam mask. For the base I used the plastic mesh, but to give the features a more realistic look I carved foam appliances that were sewn onto the mesh. Also notice the nose and jaw pieces, these were ordered thru a Taxidermy Supply catalogue. The nose is actually a bear's nose..

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Once the jaw and nose were in place I immediately noticed the two straps holding the upper muzzle in place weren't strong enough to keep it up, so I had to devise a way to strengthen the straps, one of the really nice properties of plastic mesh is it can be rigid, when formed in curves, so cutting a piece a couple of holes smaller then the support straps I sewn them under the straps so as to make them form a "D" shape, this made the support straps rigid enough to support the whole mask without bending, I was also thinking of adding in a piece of coat hanger to each side for even greater stability but it wasn't necessary.

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The Fans and other electronics were added, in the front of the muzzle I put a small Pentium fan blowing inwards, I also drilled a couple of holes in the nose to get a little extra fresh air into the mask. The rear fan originally was a second Pentium fan but this proved rather worthless so I put in a larger fan mounted to the back of the mask set so it'd blow inwards up over the inner straps over my head... Worked great too! The fans were wired to two little switches at the base of the muzzle. Also as a last min addition I put in two extra AA battery holders, added to the 9v batteries it gave each fan the 12v they needed to run right. In the last pic you can also see the connector for the improved Psionic Resonator Crystal (see below.

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Next I fitted the lower jaw assembly to the rest of the mask. To make the lower jaw moveable I made it separate from the upper part of the mask and strapped it to my head with an elastic band that went over the top of my head, and another piece around the back of my head. The elastic was sewn onto a football helmet chinstrap which was sewn onto the lower jaw assembly. Was a real pain getting everything lined up but once everything was set it worked to perfection.

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Next the fur was fitted to the mask, this was a rough fit just to get the size of the piece I needed. Marking reference lines on both the mask and the fur I then pinned everything down and began to trim the fur. (that's James Bond in the TV :) )

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Using a pet trimmer I shaped the fur a little to fit the form of the mask. After everything was trimmed to about where I wanted it I started dyeing the fur for the mask to the nice black color I needed it to be.

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I reversed sewed the mask pieces together to hide the seams and also tacked the fur down at key points on the mask to hold everything in place. In the background you can see the picture I was using as a model for the mask.

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The ear pieces were also dyed and the backing pieces were cut put together then sewn onto the mask. I used some thin plastic for the backing, this was in preparation for the movable ears I had planned, unfortunately the motors I used weren't nearly strong enough to move the ear so I scrapped the idea and added in a small strip of plastic mesh around the base of the ear, and a coat hanger formed around the edge of the ear in place of the ear mech. 

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After all the fur was in place for good I broke out the good 'ol Airbrush and painted on some details to the mask, here's all four views of the mask after I was finished.

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For the eyes I used this fiberglass mesh I got from an old monitor (it's the screen you see inside the back of the air vents...) it barely affected my vision and I was able to paint on some eyes... The overall vision of the mask was pretty good, I did have a mean blind spot directly in front of me but otherwise I had no trouble getting around in the FurSuit.

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Finally lips were sewn onto the upper and lower muzzle. I used some thin leather which was once again reversed sewn into the mask to hide any sign of stitches.

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I also did an update to my Psionic Resonator Crystal, first off adding a duel color LED and a switch to control it which was mounted inside the mask. I got rid of the battery pack and put on a stereo headphone jack which connected to the back of the mask (see above) and the battery pack was mounted to the inside of the mask.