CatBus Costume – Creating with Restrictions

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Catbus From My Neighbor Totoro The character known as “Catbus” is a relatively minor character in the animated movie “My Neighbor Totoro”. While his screen time throughout the length of the movie only seems to be less than 2 minutes tops, he does have an impact to the story. With his extremely unique design and […]

Catbus From My Neighbor Totoro

The character known as “Catbus” is a relatively minor character in the animated movie “My Neighbor Totoro”. While his screen time throughout the length of the movie only seems to be less than 2 minutes tops, he does have an impact to the story. With his extremely unique design and build this character can be extremely hard to compare to any other character from nearly any other film.

Creating Aw with Restrictions & Limitation

When my client told me they wanted to go as “Catbus” my first reaction was “Awesome, I love a good challange”. A challenge it was. Not only did this costume come with a list of real world design challenges that need to be over come, I also had to follow the costume restriction placed forth by the convention that she planned to wear it to. On top of that she also came up with her own wish list of what she wanted and I had my own as well. The major restrictions and limitations are as followed:

ACEN 2012 Convention Restriction:

  • Costume must not extend more than 6″ away from your body.

Client Requirements:

  • Can allow other people to “ride the catbus”.
  • Easy for people to get “on & off the bus”
  • Can be worn by one person (when no one else is “riding the catbus”

My Requirements:

  • Have eyes that light up & a face that functions like a puppet that the “driver” can manipulate
  • Have inside pockets
  • Include a way of access for driver hands to be used (able to open doors or grab things)

Common Sense Limitations & Requirements:

  • Must be able to see
  • Must have some airflow
  • Must be lightweight
  • Must be portable

The costume to about 2 weeks of solid work from the moment I woke up until the time I collapsed. The body was made up of a faux swade outside with airbrushed details, yellow cotton inside, plastic windows, dowels & pipe connectors and a lot of hard work.

The end result of this monstrous beast was amazing! The Catbus was stopped almost every other step in some cases for photo ops and happy fans who wanted to jump in for a short ride. The client was never stopped or harassed by the convention security. (Though another costume I had made was stopped due to a 1/4 inch bell on the end of her staff was considered to be a “weapon”…. but the staff it self wasn’t…. just the bell… WTF?) Overall this costume was a wonderful success.

The video below shows some of the creation process and the final result.

Steampunk


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