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NIDA Props students bring stunning warrior to life

Introducing The Drover, a warrior character developed and created by NIDA's first-year BFA (Properties and Objects) students, who were inspired by the world of Mad Max. Conceptualised during lockdown, the team worked with industry specialists, using new technologies and a variety of materials (both found and crafted) to bring their warrior to life. See how each element of the outfit was created in this full video.

The project was carried out by six students, working independently on components of the costume from their home studios. With mentoring by NIDA tutors and industry specialists, they used techniques including 3D digital modelling in ZBrush, silicone moulding, dyeing materials, leather work, casting in polyurethane, cutting, shaping, sanding, and scenic painting with acrylics.

NIDA student Connor Palmer worked on the team creating the video, and shared some fun facts:

  • Some of the animal bones you can see on the costume are 3D printed, some were cast in resin, and some are real chicken bones. Hard to tell which is which!
  • Many materials on the costume are real found objects: old bicycle chain, disused motor cycle tyres and a computer fan were all incorporated into the design.
  • The shirt had to be dyed three times, as it kept turning out bright purple.
  • All the nails and bolts sticking out of the costume are actually flexible urethane (like rubber) so that no one gets hurt in real life.
  • The ram skull helmet was made twice: one version was a flexible rubber and the other is solid like rock, can you tell which one was used?
  • One of the very last steps was ageing the costume using real mud and red sand mixed with glue and shellac.

One member of the class completed the entire project in Newcastle. All the materials were shipped up to him, including a 3D printer, and he sent back some freaky-looking Mad Max themed boots and a respirator.

Applications to study the BFA (Properties and Objects) at NIDA next year in 2022 close on 29 October. Visit

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