Paul Kidby's illustration of the "Pale Rider"
Take one perfectly good electric scooter, dismantle it into the most basic parts: battery tray, motor, power circuit and controls. Add one bicycle from the local thrift store. Learn to arc weld by putting the pieces together. Add some Paper Mache and fiberglass accents, two or three assorted mirrors, decorate with beads and feathers, and there you have it - a two wheel death cart.
PVC tubing provides some basic support for the stick and bone structure of the front and rear forks. Tubing is held to the frame with sheet metal screws then covered with Paper Mache to provide the final shaped form. If the structure is to appear as wood sticks, the Mache is colored with tempera paint added to the water. For bones, white epoxy creates a smooth white bone finish.
Front foot rests were created by cutting two pieces of U-shaped steel (shelf standards) and bolting to a section of 1/2" steel tubing. The metal was covered directly with white hot glue, built up into a bone shape. The foot rests can be hinged up out of the way for transporting the bike, and down for riding.
The horse skull and hip bones are created from heavy cardboard that has been cut, bent and hot-glued into the basic shape. This form is covered with CeluClay Paper Mache to round the shape and add coarse detail. Once dry, the paper Mache is covered with epoxy resin that has titanium oxide (white polish powder) added as pigment. Fiberglass cloth is used in areas of stress or reinforce where the metal frame connects with the weaker cardboard structure.
Foam rubber covers the steel tube "spine" between the hips. The foam is cut into the vertebrae and covered with white hot glue.
Because the standard bicycle brakes use the wheel rims, and the rims have been covered with the simulated wood covers, a disc brake was added to the rear wheel. This is mostly concealed with the stick structure of the rear fork, and by two brass and copper bugles that were added as tail pipes. A "bronze" plaque with the Unseen University logo and name acts as a chain guard.
- There were two small cart-wheels, one behind the other, with a saddle in between them. In front of the saddle was a pipe with a complicated double curve in it, so that someone sitting in the saddle would be able to get a grip. The rest was junk. Bones and tree branches and a jackdaw's banquet of gewgaws.
- Soul Music
The first thing I tried for making the wheels was to make a cardboard cover and coat this with thin layer of CeluClay brand (Paper Mache) but the moisture in the Mache warped all out of shape as it dried. Back to the drawing board. I needed a simpler solution.
What I tried next was cardboard wheel covers with a simulated wood grain made with hot glue. Acrylic paint was then used to tint the "boards" shades of grey and brown. Dry brushing with white or black enhanced the grain and knot holes.
To conceal the nuts and bolts of the wheel axels, foam rubber was used to create a wheel hub, again textured with hot glue grain and colored with paint.
- A horse's skull was strapped over the front wheel, and feathers and beads hung from every point. It was junk, but as it stood in the flickering glow it had a dark, organic quality - not exactly life, but something dynamic and disquieting and coiled and potent that was making the Dean vibrate on his feet. It radiated something that suggested that, just by existing and looking like it did, it was breaking at least nine laws and twenty-three guidelines.
- Soul Music
The horse skull for the fron t was formed with cardboard and hot glue. Plastic ornament shells glued in place for the eye sockets, then the entire form covered and smoothed with Paper Mache. Teeth were made from foam rubber, then given a hot glue texture for the ridges. The skull was then covered with several layers of white epoxy, and reinforced at stress points with fiberglass cloth. A steel rod support frame was made that would attach to the handlebar frame at two points. This was anchored with hot glue then reinforced with more epoxy and glass fiber. The frame is concealed with some fake ivy and black roses.
- The Senior Wrangler bit his lip. 'Not too certain about that,' he said. 'Looks like it's got more than enough magic in it as it is. Is it . . . er. . . is it breathing or is that just my imagination?'
- Soul Music
The ribcage was formed with copper tubing, then a foam rubber backbone was glued in place and coated with hot glue. Hot glue rods were glued to the tops of the spine, then the entire assembly covered with a thin layer of white hot glue. Paint was lightly brushed on to age the "bone".
The rib cage enclosed the battery tray from the electric scooter. The frame was concealed with Paper Mache for a wood appearance, then a small fireplace bellows mounted on top of the batteries. A gear motor drives the bellows to make the cycle "breath".
- He weighed very little and, although He often rode back with His saddlebags bulging, they weighed nothing whatsoever.
- - The Colour of Magic
Steel tubing was bent and welded to the scooter frame and rear fork. Cardboard was wet-formed to the frame then covered with fiberglass when dry. dense foam rubber was then glued over the fiberglass, and a soft black leather glued over the assembly. Saddle style side flaps were made from leather and placed over the frame. For saddle bags, I found two black leather handbags at Target ($6.00 each!) and mounted these to a leather backing. With the side flaps and saddle bags in place, the seat is mounted to the frame with sheet metal screws.
- A blue glow flickered under his fingers and spread in jagged blue lines, forming a corona at the tip of every feather and bead.
'We're in a cellar!' said the Dean. 'Doesn't that matter?'
Death gave him a look.
- - Soul Music
Beside the mandatory blue (LED) glowing eye sockets, a blue cold-cathode light is mounted under the horse skull to create a glow on the front wheel. An unfiltered ultraviolet fluorescent bulb is mounted inside the brass lamp of the "motor" assembly, and blue LEDs shine from inside of the two bugle tail pipes. Colored LEDs that indicate battery power level for the scooter batteries and the 12volt battery power were also replaced with small blue LEDs.
- Modo straightened up, and paused to admire his rosebed, which contained the finest display of pure black roses he'd ever managed to produce. A high magical environment could be useful, sometimes. Their scent hung on the evening air like an encouraging word.
The flower-bed erupted.
Modo had a brief vision of flames and something arcing into the sky before his vision was blotted out by a rain of beads, feathers and soft black petals.
- Soul Music
Making a pure black rose: Take a bunch of red ones. Pick all the leaves off. Dip in purest black air brush paint thinned with water. Dry, repeat until the red no longer shows through. Replace the leaves.
Intertwine around University signs, in the cycle frame, under the horse skull, or any place a rose might get caught, but not where they will rub or get tangled in the moving parts. Save spares for tossing into the audience, gripping in teeth, holding in tiny clawed hands, or awarding to fair maidens (oops, wrong story line...)
- He pulled open the top drawer of Death's desk and extracted a big iron key ring. There was only one key on it.
The cycle has a security style lock switch to turn the main motor power on and off. Taking the small cylinder of the key and soldering it to a brass tube, lamp finial and other decorative brass pieces, a large functional skeleton key is created. Death does not require keys to complete his duties, he just walks through walls or appears where he needs to be. But to maintain appearances, it would seem likely that Death would carry this along with an assortment of other skeleton keys. The battery recharge port, fuse and security switch are mounted in the branch just in front of the saddle.
- If you gave the globe a shake, a cloud of little white snowflakes swirled up in the liquid inside and settled, delicately, on a tiny model of a famous Ankh-Morpork landmark. In some globes it was the University, or the Tower of Art, or the Brass Bridge, or the Patrician's Palace. The detail was amazing...
They were really pretty, though. Except, strangely enough, for the writing. It was on the bottom of each globe, in shaky, amateurish letters, as if done by someone who had never seen writing before and was trying to copy some down. On the bottom of every globe, below the intricate little snowflake-covered building, were the words:
- Reaper Man
The "motor" consists of a wicker basket, an old brass flood light fixture, a brass pot, copper tubing (including a brass faucet at one end) and a snowflake ball featuring the Hubwards gate. The basket conceals a 12 volt battery used to power the cold cathode lighting and bellows motor.