Due to recent global events I have been thinking a fair bit about dystopian worlds. That thought process has me wanting to create images with a plague doctor. Unfortunately they don’t make any good plague doctor action figures. Last week I wrote about making my own backgrounds, so I figured I’d try to make my own character.
This is how I created the Plague Doctor.
Plague doctors were actual medical doctors from the bubonic plague era. Some of them wore bird-like masks, and walked around being historic, mysteriously healing and awesome.
My plan was to grab an existing character, and then craft some accessories to create as close to a plague doctor as I could manage. I started by spelunking through my toy box for a figure to use as a base and decided to use Eric Draven from The Crow. The Eric Draven figure is already dressed in black with a nice black trench coat, and looks rough all around. He does have a clown face, but I was planning on covering that with a mask anyway.
Once I found the right figure, I hit my crafting desk and started creating the things I would need to turn Eric Draven into a plague doctor.
Plague doctor accessories
I ended up creating the following accessories:
The staff was a piece of dowel with a skull leftover from Halloween two years ago. I added some rings from the craft store. The cloth on the handle is muslin wrapped around the dowel and glued in place. I then finished it with some paint.
I carved the mask out of foam, with some goggles made out of rings (the same ones I used on the staff) and some green gel for lenses.
The figure required several bits of rope and cloth. I used crafting string for the rope belt and necklace, and muslin for the scarf. In each case I dyed the material with black and burnt umber ink and left it to dry. The skull for the necklace is from a charm pack I picked up at the local crafting store.
A doctor needs medicine, and I figured a medieval one would hang that medicine from his belt. The vials are from another charm pack. I filled them with water and food colouring, then wrapped the flask in dyed rope. I also added a metal hook made out of a paper clip to attach the vials to the belt.
The lantern was the hardest thing to make. I used cereal box cardboard (Shreddies, if you’re curious) following a template I made in Photoshop. I folded it up and painted it with metallic paints to give it an aged look. The glass is some plastic I grabbed a few years ago from some old packaging in hopes it would be useful someday. Today is that day.
It took a few days to get the doctor together properly. Just as I finished, my state governor set a shelter-in-place order to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The order didn’t start until the next day, so in a last ditch moment of freedom, I rushed to the mountains and took a few shots of my new action figure at one of my favourite locations (don’t worry, I was still socially distanced).
This is the result.