Now this has been a very productive weekend. Thanks to Raven’s agility show, I’ve had what has becoming an increasing rare amount of time to just sit and chip away at the post backlog. Halloween is at the forefront of priorities as our annual Halloween Haunted Trail is but a few weeks away. Like yesterday, thought I would go ahead and detail the improvements and upgrades to another prop for this year’s haunt.
If you happen to recall, several years back (2017 I believe), we constructed the Dancing Zombie prop based on some linkage ideas we had found on the web. The core of the design was the offset wiper motor that would rotate the torso in somewhat of an ellipse incorporating a smooth forward/back as well as a left to right motion.
Hit the jump to read about all the new offseason upgrades to our Dancing Zombie prop!
Good hauntings all! As it is September, we are currently in full throttle preparing for this year’s Haunted Trail of Tears (link here). Truth is, the trail efforts are an ongoing effort throughout the year, researching ideas, building new props and unfortunately, rebuilding or upgrading props that didn’t live up to expectations. I covered the efforts involved in the Westworld 2.0 line rollout with Servo Man back in July of last year (link here). That line made its debut in the 2019 event.
Unfortunately, that version ended up experiencing a malfunction late in the evening. The best I could tell at the time, the fabric got caught up in the servos which added a bunch of drag to the mechanism – end result, nearly burned out servos. I got it put back together for the 2020 event and hauled it out to its spot in the trail. turned everything on and nothing. Apparently, something got knocked out of whack during the bumpy ride down into the valley. With no time to repair it, it simply became a static prop for the night – completely bummed, especially with all the offseason work that went into it. You can check out all the details in the previous post on that version, but wanted to throw in some quick shots just so you know the upgrades that were done for this year.
… and the simplified version showing the main linkages. Note specifically the neck area as that turned out to be where a lot of the issues turned up. That little neck on the servo was basically holding up the entire weight of the head and carrying all the torque for the rotation.
Hit the jump to see the latest additions in the Westworld 2.5 Posey line.
Update: Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Creepy Joe for giving me the new soundtrack for my clown props (link here). Maybe I’ll add an animation of a clown sniffing a girls hair (link here, here and here) – if that doesn’t give my haunted trail (link here) guests nightmares I don’t know what will!
I can’t believe we are in June already and the date of our Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears is FAST approaching. Worse yet, I am still trying to get the Halloween project posts out from last year. Whoever told me I was going to have more free time when I retired clearly didn’t know how hectic things are around Intrigued headquarters. I am shocked I found time to even have a day job ha! To chip away at the backlog, figured I would go ahead and finish off the second part of the Foam Coffin project – specifically the animation for last year’s signature piece. If you recall, the first part of this project was making the coffin (link here).
That was actually supposed to be the easier part of the project, but putting all the extra design time in to create the foam board connector system and making the foam cutter (link here) added a serious chunk of time. Luckily, I had started work on the animation at the beginning of the year or there would have been zero chance of this prop making it to the trail last year. Actually it started midway through the previous year when I was working on the Servo Man two servo mechanism (link here), but I will get to that after I talk about the concept.
Hit the jump to read how a spooky concept came to life!
Well, we just embarked on another camping adventure. A short one this time unlike our previous multi-week excursions. Of course, there is birding involved – Ron is even going to be able to join me for some fun time in the field… not for a couple of days though until the weather clears up. Seems that we are perpetuating a trend on our trips. In January we brought the Midwest rain, snow and ice down to Texas with us. In April we brought the Midwest Spring downpours to the Alabama Gulf Shores and Florida Panhandle. Now, damned if we didn’t manage to bring the May showers north with us. Clearly we are CURSED!
As I sit here listening to the rain come down, thought it would be an excellent time to get to another one of the new props for last year’s Haunted Trail of Tears (link here). Unlike the previous post which was more of upgrade to an existing prop, today we are covering the signature piece for the year. Each year I decide on what the big addition is going to be and then spend a majority of the year trying to get it conceived prior to show time. Note, regardless of how early I start on the signature piece each year… I NEVER give myself enough runway. Every year it comes down to the night before or even the day of to get it in good enough shape for the trail.
Hit the jump to learn all the behind the scenes work it took to bring this idea to life.
“Another post so soon and sans birds or anything with a heartbeat – what’s up with that Bri!?!” Tis true folks. My inbox has been filling up with hate mail from the Birds Are Rats with Wings (BARwW) Consortium – when they get their dander up they can be a handful, especially when maintaining a birding blog as part of the overall Intrigued mothership. They were feeling left out along with a number of the other purely non-wildlife readers that have admittedly been slightly in my pursuit to close the gap on Ron’s birding count. Guessing based on the last post you might have been expecting a companion post on the actual 2020 foam coffin prop. That would definitely been a logical thing to expect, but that is waaay to predictable for me – I prefer to keep you guessing (especially for those sending me angry emails ha!)
In my defense, this post does carry the Haunted Trail of 2020 theme (link here). For reference, you will need to actually look back at the Project Witch Replicate post (link here). That blog post covered a new prop for the Haunted Trail of 2017 (link here and here) – can’t believe it was that long ago. This was the 2017 version of the witch.
So, long time followers of Intrigued should already know my kryptonite is failure. It literally gnaws at my core until something is done about it. Pretty much three paths lead from such events – train harder/get better and get ‘er done, find a better way to accomplish said feat or, unfortunately, find myself in the hospital. Come to think of it, there is really only two paths as the last one just starts the cycle over again. Not sure of the exact moment this infliction came to be, but likely a result of being undersized in every sport I ever participated in and a father (who was also undersized) that wisely knew the ramifications of letting someone get the better of you and not picking yourself off the ground. This being an over-dramatic intro for one such failure, albeit one of a harmless nature. What you see in this next shot is the results of “find a better way” after a disappointment.
A bit of background. For the 2019 Halloween Haunted Trail (link here), I had designed a new prop to add to the cemetery. The intent was to have a coffin being half exposed from the ground being pulled out by a group of skeletons. Prop building for the big event starts months in advance in order to get it completed prior to the chaotic mess that occurs during setup. I picked up the foam sheets to make the coffin out of in April and went right to work on cutting out the pieces. The top and bottom were supposed to be easy as they were straight cuts. Not the case, as my hand would waver on the long cuts – the foam was no match for the hot blade of the gun and happily obliged a wayward cut. Slowly the coffin size got smaller and smaller as I tried to correct the bad cuts.
Hit the jump to read about the solution to an annoying failure.
My favorite holiday has arrived. Following the tradition from last year (carried over from our Haunted Trail feature introduced by my partner in haunt Paul several years back… it was time to slice into some pumpkin and grab the kerosene. Except this year we amped it up a bit because if there is one thing better than one flaming pumpkin.. .well, clearly it is TWO flaming pumpkins. Unfortunately, we didn’t anticipate the increased light would bring out the creatures of the night. Happy haunting, see you in November.