Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Love at first sight

I'm holding my newest niece Mia Colette. Not only is she beautiful, but she was born on my birthday. I met her only 15 minutes after she came into the world. I don't think I've ever held anyone that young before.

She has a firm hold on my little finger. I'm sure we've bonded for life.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Grampa Carl" going to Assisted Living

Come to think of it, all vent figures require some assistance for living. So I guess it's not such a big deal that "Grampa Carl" will spend his golden years pinching nurses in Spokane.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Trying my hand at it again

The first pair of hands I semi-sculpted will be replaced in the near future with a newly-sculpted pair of hands. I'm sculpting my first model out of Klean Klay.

I started with a 1-inch-tall piece of 1-inch-in-diameter wood dowel. Then I took a coat hanger and bent it into the shape of the hand. I drilled two holes into the top of the wood dowel and glued each end of the bent coat hanger into the holes. That's my armature.

I piled on the clay and shaped it as best I could to make it resemble a hand. Now that I have the basic shape and look, I've hot-glued the dowels onto a wood board so the hands will remain upright and steady for final shaping, detailing and smoothing.

The hands will remain glued to the board throughout the silicone rubber mold-building process.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Leave it to lever

Installation of the toothbrush handles went without a hitch. It was easy to drill the axle hole and easy to install them in the control post cavities. The final test will be after I hook up the control strings, but I don't anticipate any problems. The toothbrush handles are so much neater looking than the brass levers that had a hunk of Magic-Sculpt on the ends for finger comfort. The toothbrush handles are very smooth to the touch.

Thank you, Al Stevens.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Elderly man looking for room

"Grampa Carl" is now actively seeking a companion. Well... I'm not sure how active he can be at his age... but he is looking for a roommate on Ebay.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Say hello to "Grampa Carl" (maybe you'd better shout)

A brush with serendipity

I was getting low on flesh-colored paint, so I referred to Al Stevens' helpful primer called "The Fred Project". I recall that he gives instructions on the colors and ratios required to get the right shade. After refreshing my memory about paint, I decided to meander through some of the other sections, specifically the chapters on control stick preparation and levers. You may recollect my recent whining about making levers in an earlier blog entry.

So I'm reading about drilling holes and gouging out wood and using power tools that I don't have. And then I get to the paragraph on levers. There's a nice photo of a lever made from wood. Yeah, I suppose I could do that. Maybe it would be easier than dealing with the brass. And then I notice this sentence in italics "One prominent figure maker makes levers from plastic toothbrush handles."

Suddenly bells and lights go off in my head like I've just scored 500,000 in a pin ball machine. Toothbrush handles!

So today, I went to the Dollar Store and bought this 5-pack of toothbrushes for a buck. I get 'em home, rip 'em from the package, measure an inch and a quarter from the end, saw it off and stick the thing in the channel I gouged out for a brass lever. And PERFECTO! The toothbrush handle even has a little opening for tying a string!

Tomorrow, I'm going back to the Dollar Store and buy every 5-pack of toothbrushes they have in stock.

I'll tell 'em I'm a dentist.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Here's lookin' at ya

This evening I've been making eyes. I purchased 1-1/4" wood knobs. I drill a 7/64" hole clear through from the top to bottom to accommodate a brass screw for an axle. (The knob comes with a partial hole already drilled). Then I drill a partial 7/64" hole on the side to accommodate the spring. I paint the knob white with three or four coats of acrylic paint.

I print the irises on my computer printer and carefully cut them out. Then I glue them to the white ball opposite the hole for the spring. I'll finish them off with two coats of a clear glossy acrylic varnish. That will secure the iris to the wood and give the eyeball a wet shiny look.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New look at an old-timer

Here's the first look at the old guy made from a Charlie head. He just needs a little more touch-up here and there and he'll be ready to find a home... like a rest home.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Yep, it's almost like magic

I like to read the ventfigures Yahoo Group forum. One of the posts asks about making a head using Magic-Sculpt layered over a clay sculpture. Here are my suggestions:

"Regarding the amount needed, I'd recommend ordering the 5lb. size (Resin: 2.5lb, Hardener: 2.5lb). It's actually more than you'll need for a single head, but it's handy stuff for securing mechanics, fill, and making more heads. The 5lb. size costs under $30. Kneading a ball of Resin and Hardener together only takes 2 minutes. (I count to 120).

I'd also recommend that you make the head with two thin layers of Magic-Sculpt with a layer of fiberglass webbed tape (used in drywall taping) or gauze between the Magic-Sculpt layers for reinforcement. Otherwise the head will be brittle and subject to shattering if bumped hard or dropped. I've been told that the ideal time to apply the tape or gauze is when the first layer is still slightly wet and pliant. The tape or gauze can be pressed into the Magic-Sculpt without protrudung from the other side.

Working time is about 20-30 minutes before it starts to become uncooperative. It dries rock-hard overnight.

The Magic-Sculpt layers also need to be thin because weight can become an issue.

Magic-Sculpt requires lots of sanding to hide the seams. It's difficult to make the thickness of each side-by-side application even, so sanding is required. Be sure to wear a mask because the powder is fine and tends to adhere.

All this being said, I like Magic-Sculpt and I use it all the time. It's amazing stuff. By the way, Mike Brose's book "Figure Making Can Be Fun" covers the basics of the method you've described."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Getting a handle on it

As mentioned in my previous post, I dislike making levers. Nonethless, control posts need levers so I make them. Of course, naked pieces of brass aren't too friendly on the fingers, even after filing down some of the rough snag-ends. So the brass levers need handles. I use balls of Magic-Sculpt which I shape and smooth into finger-friendly handles. Then I stick them on the ends of the levers.

Upside? Seems to work pretty well. The texture is comfortable on the finger or thumb.

Downside? Kinda irregular-looking and ugly.

Better ideas anyone?