Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Tommy, too

Amazing how a wig, painted eyebrows, and freckles add to the personality of a character. My "Tommy" figure, the second I've produced, is ready to be granted a body and costume. I'm going to put him in his Sunday best. He'll look like the perfect child. Of course, his new partner, whoever that might be, will likely make him somewhat mischievous in nature.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Another Tommy


My first Tommy figure went over pretty well. He's the cutest figure I've ever made. Well, here's the second Tommy. He's nearing completion. All of his mechanics are in. The jaw took an inordinate amount of time to get right. I was pleased that this jaw, the first cast jaw, worked well. But the jaw cavity continues to be an issue. I have remedies, but it's certainly not "plug n play".

Thursday, May 28, 2020

AWOL


I've been derelict in posting to my blog. But I've been busy working on figures. I finished the fella you see pictured. Originally he was going to be a nerd, but my friend Buzz saw him before his scheduled haircut and thought he looked like a surfer. So I decided to go with that. I ordered a Hawaiian shirt, khakis, and boat shoes. SurferDude!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Using what I've learned






















I'm working on the jaw for the fat guy character. I made a lot of progress. Some sanding and touchup and he'll be done. The photo on the right is the latest incarnation of my Nerd figure-build. His eye, jaw, and eyebrow mechanics are in. I permanently secured the eye tray today. Last head install is the pulley for the jaw.






Saturday, May 09, 2020

Mike Brose

1953-2020

I build vent figures because Mike Brose wrote a great book. He offered advice and encouragement whenever I asked, and provided vent-building parts of unsurpassed quality. I would guess most if not all vent figure builders leaned on Mike's vast knowledge and kindness at some point. 
He will be missed by the ventriloquist community.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Chewin' the fat

My fat man sculpture I did for Braylu Creations has morphed into its first casting. I've started the process to build the first figure. I will only be able to progress so far because a mold and casting of the jaw must be done first. The initial sculpture of the jaw is laying to the right of the head. I will mount that in the head so that it fits nicely and swings free. I'll add some touches here and there, then it goes back to Braylu Creations for the mold and casting.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Lockdown project


Between baking cookies, following the news, daydreaming, and binge-watching "Game of Thrones", I've been working on this slightly cross-eyed ventriloquist dummy. He's got a ways to go yet, but he's beginning to show a little personality. He'll eventually be a nerd with glasses.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Look into my eyes

Here's a look at the completed eyes. These are 1.5" wood knobs painted white. The irises were printed on a computer printer, cut out, then glued onto the white knob. The last step was to brush on two coats of glossy varnish. I think they look pretty good all things considered.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Ring around the headstick


I have used different methods of securing a headstick in the neck of a casting. Braylu Creations came up with a method new to me using a ring that goes around a PVC pipe. The ring slips loosely over the pipe. After roughing up the contact surfaces of the ring, I attached it permanently to the top of the pipe with Magic-Sculpt epoxy. I let it dry overnight. Then I put a layer of epoxy on the bottom-side of the ring and slipped the headstick down the neck until the ring made contact with the bottom of the beck.  After that, I pulled hard on the headstick so the ring was forced downward inside the neck. The epoxy squished around the ring. I checked the headstick to make sure it was straight, made an adjustment or two, then tugged on it again. I let the epoxy dry overnight and now the headstick is quite secure. 

You may notice I installed an eyehook at the top of the PVC pipe before installing it. The eyehook will be used to attach the jaw spring.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Feathered dot

I glued the computer-printed irises onto the 1.5" wood knob eyes. The knobs got 3 coats of white acrylic paint.

The most important element to put into the iris image is a tiny feathered white dot somewhere in the center area of the iris. The white dot infers reflection. Without it, the eyes look lifeless.

The final step is a coat or two of glossy varnish to give the eyes a wet look.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Haven't seen this guy in a while





My return to figure making has been a slow steady process. I started by building a few conversions I had laying about. Then I stepped up to building a 4T Uncle Winkle. Followed that up with my new character "Tommy"

Here's a little history. Braylu Creations makes my molds and castings. They sell some of my character castings to the general public. I have a few characters Braylu casts that are exclusive to me. For example, the 4T Uncle Winkle casting is for sale to any builder. My new 2T "Tommy" is exclusive to me as is the head pictured here. This head casting is called "Otis". He makes two characters. One is a Hillbilly. The other is a Nerd. I'm going with the Nerd character this time around.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Four eyes

I've read many figure makers lamenting the scarcity of 1.5" eyes for full-size figures. It was universally accepted that Mike Brose made the best eyes in the business but since his hiatus, we've had to innovate.

The method I choose comes from Mike Brose as well. In his book "Figure Making Can Be Fun" he suggests printing irises on a computer printer and gluing them onto the painted wood knob. Before I found a good source for nice 2T eyes, I made lots of pairs of wood ball eyes for conversion snd 2T characters. Now I'm back to the same method.

The two pairs I'm working on are for a pair of 4T figures I'll be building soon. Pictured here, they've been drilled out and had a coat of primer applied. Next comes several coats of white acrylic paint, the iris attachment, then a coat of glossy varnish to finish the job.

A guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Steve Hurst

One of the best of us gone too soon. 


Monday, April 13, 2020

Something to chew on

My progress on my second "Tommy" character moves at a snail's pace. I could attribute it to having so many other pressing projects and engagements that it's been hard to make time for it. But the truth is, I'm probably watching too much TV.

Sometimes I just sit and stare at the jaw and think. One conclusion I reached is I am going to create the best jaw I can and not worry if it fits in the current casting's jaw cavity. It's a lot easier to adapt the cavity to accept the jaw than the other way around.

As the photo shows, I've added a row of teeth. They're rough in their current wet-clay state. After the clay hardens a bit, I'll etch a line between the teeth and lip. When the teeth dry completely hard, I'll sand them to remove the burrs in the back of the teeth and to make them smoother.

Hmm. Wonder what's on HBO?