Animatronic Hair & Eyes
An animatronic figure's hair and eyes provide a large portion of its character and style. Realistic eyes and hair indicate that the character is a serious character. Fluffy materials and oversized eyes indicate more of a cartoon character.
There are essentially 3 ways to enhance a figure by adding hair.
First is puppet hair. It is more like material than hair, giving a character more of a cartoon appearance. The puppet hair material is sewn or glued to the figure. Before you choose puppet hair, ask yourself, "Do I want to make a man or a muppet?".
Wigs, moustaches, other fake hair
Wigs, fake moustaches, fake beards and other hair props are available from costume shops and costume suppliers. Fake hair comes in a complete piece with a backing. The pieces can be applied directly to the outer shell of the figure where hair is needed. One of the best times to buy fake hair is during after-Halloween sales when seasonal supplies are reduced by stores.
Individually sewn hairs have the highest level of realism in a character. The hairs are punched directly into the skin of the animatronic character. The process is very tedious, but the results can be fantastic. Either real hair can be used for synthetic hair.
Finding eye materials and styles that meet the needs of a character design can be a challenge. There are some good artists that have a gift for creating high-quality animatronic eyes, but most animatronic figure makers need to find off-the-shelf materials to make their eyes. Personally, I opt for taxidermy supplies for creating a realistic figure's eyes. There are very good glass and plastic eyes available from taxidermy suppliers. For projects that need a different look, like robots or other mechanical creatures, metal and LED eyes are a great option. Ultimately, design sketches of a character are used to determine the materials needed to create the eyes.