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Armature for a dragon

The previous pages gave you an idea on the typical fantasy/AD&D dragon: lots of scales, muscled legs, clawed feet. In this case study, I'll create on of those typical dragons


Take a fairly thick piece of iron wire and stretch it to the length of the dragon you want (from head to tail). This will make the backbone of the dragon. Take some smaller pieces of wire for the arms, legs and wings and attach them to the backbone as shown in the sketch.

As you can see, my typical fantasy dragon is closely related to the dinosaur. It has two hind legs, which are slightly bigger and more powerful than the forelegs.
The dragon is shown on his hind legs to emphasize this relation to the dinosaur. If you bend the joints of the fore and hind legs you'll make your wire frame more dragon-like. The low, bend form of the spine gives it support for the heavy wings. See example below.



You now have a basic dragon wire frame, but it's not the muscled (or fatty) dragon you want. So now it's time to stuff your dragon. For small model: use tinfoil. For bigger models: use styrofoam or wire mesh. I haven't used wire mesh myself, but it is supposed to work nicely. It might also work for the wings.

When you've fleshed out your dragon, cover it completely with tinfoil. Again, I haven't used wire mesh myself so I don't know if you need to do this with mesh too. Below is the finished wireframe for the dragon. It's done with some fairly thick wire, so I had to use a pair of thongs to bend it. I didn't do the wings, but I left part of the legs sticking out at the top to attach te wings to later on.



Cover the wireframe in tinfoil. Make sure you add some crammed up tinfoil to the belly and neck to create a full bodied armature. It saves you on clay later on.