Odin assembly: Photos from Odd and the Frost Giants

Sorry for the terrible photo. The pencil lines were too light to pick up and I was too lazy to go back and redraw it so you can see it. BUT this is the full scale side view of Odin as an eagle.  You can see that I use two different colors of pencil. The blue is what things look like in the standard operating position.

The orange is what I call “flight mode.”

Odin is attached to the end of a staff which can act as a perch or be hoisted into the air to get greater height.  When it’s in the air, the puppet will be unattended, so I needed ways to make sure that it stayed in a clean line but still had free movement when it was at standard operating height.

Interestingly enough, I wound up having to deviate from the plan a little once I got the puppet assembled. I couldn’t find some of the materials I’d planned on using so had to go with Plan B.

I had already worked out the pattern for the puppet’s head, so I lay it on a sheet of birch veneer. See the nice big open section of the grain at the top? I positioned the pattern on that so it was on the crown of Odin’s head and the pointing part was on his beak.

One of the things that is fun about veneer is playing with the natural textures of the wood.

For reference, here are the veneers of all the God’s.  I originally wanted to use birdseye maple for Odin but when I looked at the veneers the texture was not pronounced enough to be interesting.

Thor will be teak.

Loki will be paduak.

I’ve worked with something called “PaperWood.”  It’s a microthin veneer backed by paper and behaves pretty much just like paper.  Actual veneer is much harder to work with.  I cut it using scissors.

Normally when I score paper, I use a bone folder. This has zero useful effect on the veneer.  So I scored it very, very gently with a razor blade.

I then had to soak the veneer in water to make it pliable enough for some of the bends.  Alas, this meant that my tape and glue no longer worked.  I used binder clips to hold the pieces roughly in place while it dried. Once it was dry enough to take tape, then glued it together as usual.

Here is the finished head.

I had to make the beak a separate piece from the rest of the head in order to get the bend I wanted where the head and beak meet.

I designed this without a lower jaw, but suspect that I will go back and add one later.

Overall, this is a pain in the hiney to do but, I think, worth it.

Here is the assembled puppet. This is not finished, just assembled.

Rob Kimbro, the director of Odd and the Frost Giants, and Jodi Bobrovsky, the props master, are coming out this evening to pick up rehearsal puppets. In order to get Odin on the plane, we’ll have to partially disassemble the puppet.

I’m also experimenting with veneer wings. They are backed with paper, but my instinct says that they will crack and break off from use and just being hit against things.

I’m taking photos with my phone, so you’ll have to trust me that the woodgrain is there and pretty.  The original plan was to use cloth, the way I’m using cloth on the other puppets, but I so liked the look of the veneer that I thought it was worth giving it a try in rehearsal. Swapping out to other wings is easy enough.

Series Navigation<< Odin’s concept and paper trials.Assembling Thor for Odd and the Frost Giants >>
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7 Responses

  1. Julia

    Okay. Stop being awesome. Really. Right this minute. I may explode from being on the same Internet as such awesomeness if you don’t tone it down a bit!

  2. Delia

    I love, love, love these puppet process posts. You are going to do more as you make Loki and Thor and finish Odin, right? Pleasepleaseplease?

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      I don’t know. I mean, I know that there was a curse and the three gods were transformed into animals, but I don’t know the particulars of how the curse picked which animal.

      Thor is a bear.
      Loki is a fox.

    2. Rob

      I suspect that Neil thought that the raven lacked the authority of the eagle. Hugin and Muninn are servants of Odin, after all. Having the lord of the Aesir transformed to match them would be a bit too much of a downgrade. Like having Thor become a goat.

      There’s also a parallel drawn in the story with a knight’s horse, hound, and hawk. The gods are a wilder version of those companions with Odd being the knight. I think that the eagle fits that parallel a little better.

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