Saturday, June 29, 2013


Ever wanted to be a super hero, or dress up as one of your video game villains or hero's? Well, here at The Critter Den, we have fun making fantasies come true. We can in most cases create any character you can come up with, whether it is foam construction or any other type of fabrication. We have many years of experience in making all kind of suits from Ironman and Robocop to Ted (ok Ted was not a suit, but Aina REALLY loved working on him) (-:
I want to take you through some of the steps of making one such costume. First suit out at The Critter Den. We created ISAAC CLARK from DEAD SPACE for a private client. Material to buy was:Leather, vinyls, heavy spandex, L200, L300, flex-board, glues, paints and flexbond. Some battery operated LED strips for a lot of blood for the photo shoot. Costume Created by Desire Soto Vaughn and me Aina O'Kane. As You go through the photo's you can click on each photo to see the full photo in larger size. Some of the pictures does not show all before you click on them. First photo shows Desiree in action of patterning and the first shapes of the close to 300 pieces that had to be molded and shaped for this costume.
Boots and different pieces of the outfit is here starting to shape. All L200 and L300 pieces was cut by us on a band-saw or carefully by using personna razor blades. Then sanded with dragonskin and different grids of sandpaper to then be heated with a heatgun or torched to make a smooth surface. Finally after close to 270 hours between the two of us, we were seeing the whole thing put together and then the aging and distressing had to be done.
We got ready for a photo-shoot and asked one of our good friends and fellow fabricator Jake Roanhaus to model the outfit before shipping it out. Next series of photos shows side to side action shots, where we picked frames from the video-game Deadspace and placed our model in the somewhat same position. We did not have, or neither did we create the weapons from the game, so we used a chainsaw from the garage for this shoot. (-: It was a lot of fun throwing blood on our photoshoot set!!
I hope you enjoyed seeing our first suit creation from The Critter Den and we are looking forward to show you many more creations to come. Thank You for looking.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making Of A Tiger Continue

Making Of A Tiger Continued

The saga of making a tiger continues.....
After the sculpt was handed off to Jim Ojala of Ojala Productions, he created a beautiful mold and made a fiberglass form which was our base for the body. The finished tiger body is in two pieces so that the head can be detached as Madame Tussauds Las Vegas will place two speakers in its head. This baby is going to grrrrrowl a welcome at the visitors to Madame Tussauds.

Ernesto Cornejo did a pre paint, creating a black striped pattern so that our Chief Critter had a pattern to follow. Now it was time to start the "furring" process.
Using calf and goat hides Chief Critter spent numerous days piecing and puzzling the hide together, sometimes dealing with pieces that were no more than 1/4 by 1/4 inch. Piecing of the hide is a very tedious and meticulous process, as you have to take the fur length, thickness and direction into consideration.

Piecing creates a much sturdier application than flocking or transfers. Both of these applications are beautiful and realistic looking, but are not meant for a lot of wear and tear. Piecing of the hide leaves the hair attached to the hide and is more durable and has a much longer lifespan.
(see the “process” link at

Our tiger was delivered on January 21st to a very happy client and should now be on display in Vegas as a part of the Siegfried and Roy Exhibit at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Chief Critter

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Making of a Tiger.


We thought it would be helpful and informative to share with you some of the processes used in creating our costumes and critters. As time and the confidentiality of our clients allows, we’ll post sneak peaks of projects as we are working on them. Those of you not familiar with our business will hopefully find it interesting to see the stages involved. For those of you in the critter/costume creating world, we gladly welcome your comments and ideas.

Making of a Tiger.

We are currently working on a tiger for Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, for the Siegfried and Roy exhibit. Our deadline is mid January 2011.

We were lucky enough to recruit a very talented sculptor, Len Burge ( to sculpt the body and head of the tiger.
First he needed to create a strong base for the tiger to be sculpted on. So, off to home-depot for 2X4s, sawhorses and strong plywood. Since he anticipated using 500lbs of clay he needed to put together a strong and sturdy table with rolling casters so that the table could be rotated.
Before starting any sculpting plumbing pipes were used for an armature and a combination of chicken wire, burlap and gypsum created a base loosely shaped like a tiger.

The body was sculpted out of wet clay and head out of a soft chavant clay.
The most important thing to take into account when you are sculpting an animal that will have fur applied is to not make it too big. You have to take the thickness of the fur into account so the sculpt resembles the animal without fur.

As you can see Len has done a fabulous job sculpting the tiger.

Next step was off to moldmaking. Jim Ojala ( is our guy for mold-making. He and his crew created a 12 piece mold of the body. It needed to be in this many pieces because of undercuts underneath claws etc. We chose a fiberglass mold for the body. The head is in for mold making as I write and will be a silicone mold.

I will keep updating the "making of a tiger" in the next couple of weeks so please come back and visit and I/we welcome any comments and/or ideas of "how to". I know there is a lot of very talented artist out there and we all have slightly different ways of doing things. I/We are always open and interested in learning new things here at The Critter Den.

Thank You

Chief critter

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Critter Den

The Critter Den is a Los Angeles based animal fabrication facility offering museum quality critters for the discerning client.

We can create any creature that exists in nature or in your imagination. Our Chief Critter is Norwegian born Aina O'Kane who has over fifteen years experience creating high quality animals for motion pictures, television and commercials. Our talented team of experts have extensive experience and a wide range of credits.

Please note that we specialize in quality over quantity and will not compromise.

We look forward to hearing from you.