wild hog

For a few days now the baron of Tilgen has been asking himself who stole his favourite boar and what might have become of it- the critter is too old for butchering and mainly constists of bad manners. Today, the question will be answered by some ratmen...

2005, Schwertmeister; a beastman with a boarīs head.
Good field of vision is a survival trait for larp- monsters. In this case the question was: how big can a mask be built without the natural human interocular distance making it look queer?


The mask is carved out of open- pored matress- foam with a steak- knife (btw: I just notice that either the english language is abundant with hyphenated expressions or Iīm doing something wrong here..). Ok, back to topic: The material isnīt good for details but any amount of these could be added with other sorts of foam.
The big advantage of masks made of soft foam like this is in the protection of the puppeteer in case of accidental impacts (like being repeatedly hit with foam weapons) or involuntary dislocation of the mask (can happen if you wear something with a big snout bound to your face). The foam will yield without causing injuries. Only this kind of foam is soft enough.

You need a piece of foam at least as high as your head. Just glue as many layers of the stuff on top of the other (with Pattex, of course) until you have it. Nevertheless, choose as thick mats as you can find; the less “seams” there are the better.
Cut it half- round where the face will be later and extend the cutout for nose & mouth. The human interocular distance is too small for a head of this size so it has to be hidden in the cheekbones and also the “channels” through which the puppeteer sees have to be disguised. The better you can sculpt, the better the result will be.

The mask is attached with a strip of non- elastic, tear- resistant, non-fraying cloth about 3 fingers broad that is glued over the complete backside of the mask. Cut it away where it covers eye- or nose/ mouth- apertures. The relatively broad strip of cloth is knotted tightly behind the base of the skull. There it will securely hold the lightweight mask without disturbing the wearer.

The back of the puppeteerīs head -disguised under the hood- complements the form of the creatureīs head.


The hood is a “cut- out- model” that leaves the creatureīs ears sticking out. It is closed under the face to disguise the puppeteerīs neck.

Colours: Acrylics.
Applying the black ground directly on open- pored foam is the least eypensive way to colour an object but is also an arduous task; and the result is not very long- lasting.  The foam in itself will also tear easily. Better to close the surfaceīs pores before painting. Method one would be applying a coat of Pattex. Wait till is dry enough to touch it, then press it, thereby closing the pores and creating an even surface that can be painted with acrylics without further problems. This procedure will also prevent the foam from becoming brittle, thus extending the maskīs lifespan. This surface is not tearproof, though.

Best method to achieve an even, paintable, still slightly flexible and very tearproof surface takes one day longer but isnīt even expensive: Glue // cloth// glue.
Cover the foam with glue (in Germany it would be named D3 - waterproof and transparently drying) and plaster it with pieces of the thinnest cloth you can find- a neckerchief is well suited for that. Then a second layer of glue on top. When dry, it can be painted as usual. I did this with the mask during a make- over ten years later: foam-sealing

Painting techniques are rough shading and drybrush in three steps. See which parts are dark and which are light. When during painting yout think you might be too light, youīre still too dark.

The area around the puppeteers eyes should be blackened, but we need the eyes to be seen, so no morphmask this time. Nevertheless I generally recommend to wear a balaclava under any mask.


Above & below: The maske from the inside and below. All foam- masks insides look similarly to this one. The whole thing is held by broad, nonflexible strips of cloth at eyelevel. Contact faces are the forehead and nose bridge.
This eyeholes are quite small; with the jackal- masks (see “egyptians”) they are substantially bigger.

There is enough air supply via the big opening for mouth & nose.

The maskīs inside can be treated with desinfection- spray if desired. Many NPCs also bring their own balaclavas.


The overlarge head needs extra broad shoulders (and a large NPC).
The shoulders are two square pillows sewn togehter inside behind the neckhole of a supersize tunic. The false shoulders are covered by an attached wrap made of the same cloth as the hood. When the costume is worn the hood seems to be made of one piece.


Above left: The tunicīs inside with the false shoulders
Above right: The tunicīs outside with the false wrap.

The shoulderīs enlargements should be attached more on the back. If you put the pillows onto the puppeteerīs shoulders instead the neck will vanish and the costume looks like a football- armour worn under the tunic.

P_Wildschwein(9) P_Wildschwein(10)

Above: The hands are made of cheap working gloves with foam- plates; grounded black and drybrushed metal, washed black- but obviously have to be repainted....
Above right: after a renovation (plus some “rust”)


Above: Hog- action. The above- average- sized NPC with the artificially broadened shoulders and the oversized head barely fits through a door and is an intimidating opponent.

Although his vision is limited sidewise by the “channels” of the mask, his line of sight forwards is unhindered.
Thatīs why monsters constantly move their heads from left to right and back like a tracking- radar: To get an overwiew.

Attention: Normally you can see your own feet in your peripheral vision. Monsters are denied this luxury and thus have to tread very cautiously in rough terrain.
2013, jan 2016

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