Here's the ball & socket armature for the Fox puppet for Writer/Animator/Director Evan DeRushie's film "The Fox and the Chickadee".
He's about 10" tall from the tip of his ears to the ground while standing on all fours, so there was lots of room to play around with.
If you've got room to accommodate the set, that's a great scale for a puppet.
He'll be in a sitting position for most of the film, so I went with wire for the back legs for the sake of cost and build time.
The face, on the other hand, is another story.
The plot contains a lot of dialogue between the two characters, so it's important they're able to emote with as wide a range as possible.
As with the Chickadee, I went with ball & socket joints instead of wire for as much as possible to avoid breakage (metal fatigue is unavoidable).
Here's the bare armature.
Started with the same dorsal steel plate configuration as the Chickadee.
I find this style provides a nice stable palette to affix the joint pieces to while not adding unnecessary weight.
*Update. Here's the finished puppet.
The face has universal socket-joints for the front upper lip, "snarl" movement further up the snout, "smile/frown" flag-paddles at the corners of the mouth, ball jointed ears and eyebrows.
The rods for the eyebrows are the long ones over the eyes. They're brass, which is easy to shape with a pair of pliers. Gonna shape em around the eyes as I do the sculpt so I can fudge the eye position a bit without losing the brow position.
Here he is with the carved SignFoam body-mass parts and some carved upholstery foam for the flexible areas and some stand-in eyes.
The body ready for fur application.
He's got some shoulder blade extensions attached to the front legs that move under the fur to give him a little something extra to emote with.
Here's the final head sculpt.
Next step is to make a mold and cast it around the Armature in Foam-Latex.
Didn't bother with too much smoothing. It'll be covered with fur and Flocking.
The eyes are just temporary "working" ones. The final ones will be put in last.
He'll have Apoxie Sculpt upper and lower teeth.
Here's the foam latex cast.
It had a few rough spots but nothing that couldn't be patched or seamed.
The fact that it was going to be covered in fur and flocking gave me a lot of wiggle room.