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'Titch' the Frontline Dog 

Large scale puppet

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3 Monkeys Zeno asked us if we would help them develop and build a realistic oversize Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for UK.Frontline Plus for their promotional activities at 2018 Crufts Dog Show and various locations and instore appearances around the Uk.

Project Details 

The oversize dog which was named “Titch” was crafted by ten Artem technicians over a six week build period and represents 2000 hours of work. She is operated by a three person technical team and three puppeteer performers who wear the suit for thirty minutes at a time.

We started the development by looking closely at dog shapes and began by drawing a spaniel profile in Solidworks. We were able to try a number of configurations and arrangements of how best to fit the puppeteer, the support mechanisms and electronics before settling on the final design.

We also had to adapt the proportions of the puppeteer to suit the proportions of Titch by using leg and arm extensions. A camera and small monitor were used to give the puppeteer a dogs view of life as the Titch’s head and mechanism were mounted on a helmet worn inside the costume which limited their vision.

Once we had settled on a design and it had been approved we sculpted a full size model of Titch in High Density Polystyrene on our multi axis KUKA arm and used this to make a fibreglass head and our costume fabricators used it as the form to develop and cut the complex patterns for the fur which had to be imported from the USA.

Simultaneously a team of technicians was designing and making the support structure that was covered by the fur and foam “skin”. Made from a combination of aluminium, nylon and foam rubber the support structure needed to be flexible, light and strong as well as containing the “neck” joint and head which was packed with radio control equipment, and the mechanisms for moving the eyes, mouth and tongue.

With shows lasting twenty minutes and running virually back to back, the wear and tear on costumes like this can be considerable. We are specialists in this area and ensure that our costumes and other oversize puppets are built to perform under these demanding conditions with a minimum of maintainance and to the highest specification possible.  

Drafting the skin pattern

Drafting the skin pattern

Painting/Finishing the sculpted tongue

Robot CNC of the head

Adding detail to the CNC cut out

Animatronic eyes inside the head

Attaching the patterned fur

Final testing

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Watch Titch in action below!

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