Well of course a weta has legs – six of them in all. But I’m talking about those clever design people in Wellington. They now have legs, and you can have them too (at a price).
Obviously there must be something special about these legs, and there is. They are, to be technical about it, digitigrade stilts. That is to say, they are leg extensions that give the impression that you are one of those animals that walks on its toes rather than on its heels like we do. Like, say, a faun, or a werewolf. The idea, of course, is that these things can act as a skeleton over which all manner of interesting costumes can be built. Movie effects people do this sort of thing a lot. But the Weta Legs (as they call them) are not specialist items for stunt men, they are a commercial product available to anyone.
At NZ$1320.00 a pop they are still only for the serious costumer, but they have been designed to be strong and comfortable enough for extended wear, and to allow the user to run and even dance in them. I remember all too well Dave Wake breaking a leg falling off home-made digitigrade stilts at an Eastercon masquerade. These things are expensive, but they could have saved him a lot of pain.
The Legs have been designed by an American sculptor and inventor called Kim Graham, and if that name sounds familiar that’s because Kim has also been responsible for some magnificent sculptures at convention art shows, such as this dragon head that I reported on years ago.
The Legs have been undergoing trials over the past year so serious costumers probably already know about them. As for the rest of us, we can look forward to seeing some spectacular creations at future masquerades. As I’ll be at the New Zealand NatCon in Wellington this year, I hope to get some video of the Legs in use. They may well turn up at Worldcon in Melbourne as well.
Here’s a photo of Kim wearing a set. For a much better view, watch the promo video.