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The Female Cyborg

The Female Cyborg
Female Cyborg Prop - Front
Female cyborgs were all the rage at one point. Since that seemed like an interesting thing to try and create, I decided to make a female cyborg in 2001. (Apparently that was the time when they were all the rage, because you really don't hear much about them any more.)

We had acquired several mannequins for the Wyandotte Haunted Houses over the years. At one point, I think we had about 12 or 13 of them lying around (literally).

The trouble is that haunted house workers sometimes like to try and make big things into smaller ones, so I wanted to get a mannequin for myself before they were all reduced to dust. Fortunately, I managed to scrounge up this specimen with head and torso complete, along with part of a male mannequin leg. (I didn't even want to ask what happened to the other part of the male mannequin leg.)

I sliced her open at the shoulder and abdomen because the mannequin was already broken in that area. Plus I wanted to remove her, er, central section. Naked mannequin breasts still fascinate 15-year olds...and people with the mental capacity of 15-year olds. Since these are the same people who tend to like working in haunted house, I felt my surgery was justified.

Female Cyborg Electronic Guts
The Female Cyborg's Electronic Guts
My friend Allan got me a few old circuit boards from ancient PCs, which I mounted inside of her using spray foam. (God knows what the amateur haunted house industry would do without Great Stuff!) You can actually see some of the great stuff poking up inside the main opening on the right side in the picture at left.

I painted the Great Stuff grey because I suspected that cyborgs would have grey intestines. (Why not?)

The sheet I actually screwed right onto the bottom of the mannequin. She has no lower section, which worked fine because she was going to be hung in an area with a 36" high wall. While this loooks OK here, you can really see how unnatural this looks in the side view of the prop.

Female Cyborg Prop Side
Female Cyborg Prop - Side
The head was in decent shape, so I basically left it alone. I painted the mouth because it was somwhat chipped. I then threw a Marilyn-esque wig on her and voila!, we had a decent-looking head for the cyborg. (Which is crucially important as any cyborg afficianado will tell you.)

The body of the manniquen wasn't in good shape and didn't match the leg from the other mannequin, so I had to paint it. I used spray paint that was as close as I could find. I'd like to say the bag and the "air tube" coming into the head were inspired touches, but they really exist to hide the difference in paint color between the head and body and the wire that was going to serve as a device to hold her up.

The arms were the really tricky part. I used PVC pipe to construct the majority of them and a 3/8" bolt to secure them to the mannequin arm plates. The arm plates look a little unnatural, but, hey, she's a cyborg! I then decided to zip tie some old wires and broken terminal strips on the arms so they didn't look too much like PVC painted silver. Next, I artfully cut apart my male mannequin leg and bolted it in the back to the PVC arms to give the illusion of a human skin or partially human arms (or something).

Female Cyborg Hands
Female Cyborg Prop - Front
The hands were the real challenge. I knew from the outset that they were going to be tricky. I went back to my old standby: toys. I browsed the toy aisles at Meijer's and Toys R Us, seeking cyborgian inspiration. K'Nex came to the rescue. I glued them together, spray painted them silver like the arms and interwove them with the scrap wire I had to make them look as techy as possible.

Unfortunately, they weren't very durable, although they actually survived better than I though they would. The spacing is all wrong on the fingers, but K'Nex doesn't appear to have thought about the needs of we cyborg-manniquen-builders. Someone should really write them a letter of complaint.

Female Cyborg Repurposing - 2005

The Industrial Chick Prop
The Industrial Chick in 2005
Some things just never seem to go away. the female cyborg was transformed into an industrial chick in 2005. This prop had hung around for about 5 years at this point and I was amazed at how durable she was turned out to be. She appeared in the 2004 haunted house as well in an alien haunt in 2002 or 2003. Considering how much time I had invested in her (compared to some of the other props I'd absolutly slaved over), it continues to amaze me that she of all props has proven to be so resilent.

I notice she has been given a new wig and the bag has been removed. Because the Jaycees paid for the manikin and the circuit boards and some other materials were donated, this is one of the props I just gave to them. Most of the time, this spells the end of the prop - within a few years, someone has decided that it would "look really cool" if only the prop were to be splattered with blood.

I guess the circuit board effect combined with the appeal of the manikin (which has long been one of my favorites of the batch I acquired in the mid 90s - yes she's survived THAT long!) has kept her from being thrown to the haunted house cannibals that insist on modifying the props every year.