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Here's where the magic happens. I'll be posting about all of my experiences and experiments (both failed and successful ones), introducing you to my costumes, sharing fun stories, linking tutorials and useful products, and who knows what else!

 

Care of Magical Creatures - Part 3

Michael MacWolff

It occurred to me, as I spent nearly 20 minutes poring over my blog posts to find some specific creature photos, that I missed a few in my first two lessons. So I thought to myself, why not have a third? After all, I never did show off what are arguably my most impressive creatures (though the Swooping Evil is pretty awe-inspiring), as well as all of my creatures that are not explicitly from Harry Potter canon. If you missed the first two, you can find them here: Lesson 1, Lesson 2.

So, on to my final magizoology lesson (at least until I make more critters).

Phoenix

 The phoenix might be the most iconic creature in the  Harry Potter  series, second perhaps only to dragons. We come to know and love Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix, through the books, and he comes to Harry's rescue on a number of different occasions.

The phoenix might be the most iconic creature in the Harry Potter series, second perhaps only to dragons. We come to know and love Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix, through the books, and he comes to Harry's rescue on a number of different occasions.

The phoenix is a large and highly intelligent magical bird. These creatures can be fiercely loyal to witches or wizards with whom they have a strong connection. Phoenixes have a number of magical properties, the most notable of which is their periodic rebirth by way of self-combustion. The phoenix ignites and a new body is born from the ashes. The creature retains all of its memories, however, and as such can live for a very long time. It is unknown how many times a phoenix can be reborn. In addition, phoenixes can carry immensely heavy burdens with ease, they have apparition powers, allowing them to disappear and reappear at will, their tears have very potent healing properties, and their song also has mysterious magical properties.

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My phoenix was created from a lawn flamingo. I started by painting the flamingo red. The feet are made from heavy gauge wire, wrapped with a thinner copper wire to give them better texture. The legs are threaded through holes in the bottom of the plastic flamingo. The tails are stiff red felt with metallic gold painted around the edges. They are all hot glued together to form the three individual tails. For the bright orange underbelly I pulled apart a stuffed animal and glued the fur to his underside. The red fuzzy feathers are marabou feathers I glued to the flamingo's body. For the wings, I used more heavy gauge wire threaded through holes in the sides of the flamingo, and then hot glued a small piece of red felt around the wire to form the base for each wing. The feathers are then attached to the wing base with more hot glue, which allows the wings to be folded. for the head, I used a combination of different types of feathers to make a crest on top. He's perched on a piece of branch from our back yard that I turned into a stand for him.


THUNDERBIRD

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The thunderbird is another large magical bird native to the western United States. These massive raptors can create storms simply by beating their six wings in tandem. These creatures require a very large, wide-open spaces for their habitats and claim territories several hundred square miles in area. Thunderbirds were hunted nearly to extinction and very few of them are living in the wild today. As such they are very closely protected by the magical law enforcement in their areas.

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My thunderbird is essentially a plush with a wired underskeleton. The face was made with sculpey and then painted. The base body I patterned out myself and sewed with a suedecloth fabric, which you can see on the tails. I then massacred several different stuffed animals to get the different shades of fur on his body. The wings were a part of the plush pattern, and parts of the wire skeleton extend into each wing to make them pose-able. Most of the pinion feathers on the largest pair of wings actually came from a pheasant tail I purchased from a taxidermist. A lot of the other feathers came from masks or other unusual sources, since I wanted them all to be natural colors.


RUNESPOOR

 The runespoor was initially intended to be in the film  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  but the scene was deleted. You can see it on youtube  here .

The runespoor was initially intended to be in the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but the scene was deleted. You can see it on youtube here.

The runespoor is a three-headed snake native to Africa. It is highly venomous and can reach up to 7 ft. long. We have learned from parselmouths that each head serves a different function: the left is the planner, the middle is the dreamer, and the right is the critic. As such, the right head tends to clash with the other two often, and it is not uncommon to find wild runespoors with only two heads, if the planner and dreamer get fed up with the critic and decide to bite him off.

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My runespoor is simply a snake plush with a couple of extra heads. I modified the pattern I used to make my occamys and made it with tiger-striped fur, since runespoors are generally black and orange striped. There is a wire skeleton on the inside so he can be posed as I please.


ACROMANTULA

 We all remember this terrifying thing from  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

We all remember this terrifying thing from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Acromantulas are gargantuan spiders native to southeast Asia. Their venom is highly toxic, but is also a very valuable potion ingredient. these spiders are highly intelligent and are capable of human speech when the get older. These are also social creatures, unlike most arachnids, and can form colonies of hundreds of their species.

I admittedly didn't make this one, I just bought it on Amazon.


PUFFSKEIN

 You might recognize these guys' smaller breed, the pygmy puff, bred and sold by the Weasley Twins.

You might recognize these guys' smaller breed, the pygmy puff, bred and sold by the Weasley Twins.

The puffskein is a small, cushy, harmless creature that is a favorite pet for young witches and wizards. They are incredibly durable and don't care about being cuddled or tossed around.  The most unusual thing about the puffskein is their taste for bogies, and they tend to use their long, flexible tongues to clean out their owners' noses while they sleep.

This guy started out as some sort of plush I found at the thrift store... I think it might have been a duck. I cut him open, reorganized some stuff, and sewed it back together in a sphere. The tongue is fleece with wire in it so. it can be curled up.


AMPHISBAENA

 From this point onward, we are out of the  Harry Potter  canon. The amphisbaena is a two-headed snake originating in Greek mythology.

From this point onward, we are out of the Harry Potter canon. The amphisbaena is a two-headed snake originating in Greek mythology.

The amphisbaena is a two-headed snake, thought to be related to the runespoor. However, unlike is other multi-headed cousin, the amphisbaena has a head on either end of its body, rather than all heads facing the same direction. As such, the heads do not function independently as the do with the runespoor, but rather work in tandem to accomplish the creature's goals. These snakes are also venomous, and the venom is an uncommonly-used potion ingredient. In addition, the skin has certain healing properties and is best harvested shortly after it is shed.

I made my amphisbaena just like i made my runespoor, I just modified the pattern a bit to accomodate the extra head.


PYGMY ARCWHALE

 Flying whales show up in a lot of different fantasy settings, these are my own interpretation. Just add wings.

Flying whales show up in a lot of different fantasy settings, these are my own interpretation. Just add wings.

Standard arcwhales have been soaring the upper atmosphere for millenia. It is said that the first whale dreamed of being free of the sea, and rose from its waters, ascending to the heavens above. Arcwhales feed on dream energy from witches and wizards; they tend to function in a similar fashion to dreamcatchers, filtering out bad dreams and leaving the sleeping witch or wizard with only pleasant ones. As such, you can see their appeal, and that is how pygmy arcwhales came about: they were bred to be kept as pets, since the full-sized arcwhale would not be able to fit through your door.
In addition to feeding on dreams, arcwhales (pygmy or otherwise) generate cloud or mist around them when they fly. This helps obscure them from muggle vision, and can indicate a pod passing through a residential feeding zone when a heavy fog rolls through. 

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My whales are just plushies I found at the thrift store and added fleece wings to. I did use wire in the wings so they can be posed.

 

I hope you enjoyed the next installment of my Care of Magical Creatures lessons. I have plans for a lot more critters so hopefully some time down the line I'll have time to add to this continuing segment here at MDC.