Hitchhiker Kyle, the Newest Addition to My Family of Corpses

With my law practice winding down, I found myself with far too much time on my hands. Most of the work I still have to do to effectuate this transition doesn’t need to be done until June. That left me sitting on the couch, flipping channels, and lamenting the lack of decent daytime programming.

I decided to build one last corpse before I leave on my North American Tour. I would specifically design this corpse to be a hitchhiker, and he would accompany me on my trip. At the same time, I’d try working with a new skeleton and experiment with some new techniques I’ve been developing.

And so I present to you: Kyle, the Hitchhiking Corpse.

Hitchhiker Kyle

Kyle, the Hitchhiker

Harvey Skeleton

In the past, I’ve used a plastic “Pose N Stay” skeleton frame for all of my corpse projects. They run between $50 and $60 and can be found on Amazon.com.

Harvey Skeleton

This time, I chose to invest a little extra money into a Harvey Skeleton. I discovered these bones at the 2016 HAAS at the booth for Skeletons and More.

Despite its hefty price tag (compared to the Pose N Stay), I was able to get wholesale pricing because I made the contact through TransWorld. I could have gotten them even cheaper if I could have ordered in bulk. But since I’m about to abandon my home, ordering just the one for this project was all I could do. With shipping, I spent about twice as much on this skeleton as I did for a Pose N Stay.

The Harveys are worth the extra price. They are heavier, and they do require a small amount of assembly out of the box. But they are far more detailed and fully articulate. All of the fingers move individually. All of the other joints are far more realistic. The only real drawback to the Harveys is that their heavier weight makes it tougher to hold a particular pose.

Hitchhiker Kyle

First layer of melted plastic.

Hitchhiker Kyle

Dark stain on the first layer.

Hitchhiker Kyle

Second layer of melted plastic. Multiple layers is key for depth and texture!

Hitchhiker Kyle

Lighter stain on the second layer. This also helps with depth!

Hitchhiker Kyle

Silicone flesh coating, topped with PermaBlood.

Hitchhiker Kyle

Finished and clothed corpse.

Finished and clothed corpse.

Silicone Flesh

After my experience in building the new broken femur prosthetic, I decided to create a new silicone solution so I could coat my corpse in a thin layer that would feel much more like flesh than did the plastic sheeting I had melted around the bones.

Although it probably wouldn’t be difficult to figure out, I’ve decided to keep my silicone solution recipe a secret. I can happily report that the flesh solution worked perfectly – even better than I had hoped.

Bloody Drawbacks

The silicone flesh coating did have one (predictable) drawback. The last step in building any corpse is to add PermaBlood to specific parts of the corpse. Because silicone resists binding to materials that are not silicone, the PermaBlood I painted on top of my silicone-coated corpse beaded up like water on glass.  It took several applications of blood to really get it to stick, and even then, it was still beading. It doesn’t look bad, but it wasn’t the result I wanted.

There’s a reason I put the blood on top of the flesh. The silicone solution dries matte. This is desirable, because it takes away the unnatural shine you get from stained and melted plastic. But the beauty of PermaBlood is that it dries glossy and it dries bright red, so it permanently looks like blood, even when dry (hence the name). Glossy PermaBlood on top of a matte silicone finish really pops out better.

As I discovered with the broken femur prosthetic, blending PermaBlood with the silicone solution causes the PermaBlood to dry matte. There would be no reason to believe that if I put the PermaBlood down first and allowed it to dry glossy, and then coated it with the silicone solution afterward, that the matte silicone would not take away the gloss of the blood the same way it takes away the gloss from the plastic.

In other words, the PermaBlood has to be the top layer and cannot be blended with silicone.

And therein lies the yet-unresolved puzzle. How do I get PermaBlood to adhere on top of a silicone coating?

Namesake

I polled my friends to come up with a name for this corpse. The overwhelming consensus was “Kyle”, in honor of my friend and mentor from Terror on the Fox.

Hitchhiker Kyle

Hitchhiker Kyle

Hitchhiker Kyle

Clothing

To really make him a hitchhiker, I had to make sure he was dressed for the part. I chose a pair of cargo shorts, a wallet chain and carabiners (not shown in the pictures), and a bandana scarf.

I had a t-shirt picked out for him, but because I had to bind his hands together in order to get them to remain clasped behind his head (for the pose I wanted), I realized too late that I couldn’t get the shirt on him without cutting the shirt up and sewing it back together. I’m no seamstress, and a shirt would have concealed the best parts of the corpse, so I ultimately chose to leave it off. I’m going to go back over the shorts and the bandana later with more stain and blood.

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