Thursday, July 31, 2008

"FERD" flick

"Uncle Ferd" is looking for someone to talk to. You can evaluate whether or not you'd like to enage him in conversation on a regular basis by going to his auction on Ebay.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Someone to talk to... is that so much to ask?

Poor old "Uncle Ferd". He's lonesome for some company. I whispered the word "Ebay" in his ear and he perked right up!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One of the best I've seen

I see a lot of other vent builders' work on the internet, some for sale on Ebay. While I admire much of what I see, now and then a figure shows up that really impresses me. Kem Poyner's figure called "Scotty" is something very special. The creation is like a three dimensional cartoon come to life. Mr. Poyner highlights in his description that the figure is great for children's shows because Scotty's appearance won't scare kids like some figures can. "Scotty" is a wonderful example of excellent design and perfect execution. Nicely done, Mr. Poyner.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Making dummies causes wrinkles

I'm making this old guy. Old guys have wrinkles. Lots of 'em. (I oughta know). It's always a bewildering head-scratcher when I paint in the folds of Magic-Sculpt that are supposed to look like wrinkles. I've read that vent figures are generally designed to look "right" from a distance of about 10 feet. But my arms aren't that long, so I have to guess (up close) how much (and how dark) the paint should be when painting wrinkles. Here's what I do.

First I mix up a small batch of flesh-colored paint darkened with Raw Umber. Then I apply the color blend in the wrinkle grooves. Then I apply a very thin line of Raw Umber by itself over the blended color. My intent is to make it look somewhat shaded.

Then I stand back 10 feet and scratch my head in bewilderment some more.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

My home in ol' Virginia

My little pal "Dusty" may be speaking with a lovely southern drawl. He's found himself a "pot-nah" in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Router touter

My incompetence when it comes to home improvement projects is legendary. I joke that I'm not allowed power tools, however that's not too far from the truth. Once I got it in my head that I needed a chain saw. I went to the local hardware dealer and asked for one. The clerk looked me up and down. After a moment she said, "No, Mr. Croes. I don't think I'm going to sell you a chain saw. You CAN have this handy handsaw... but sorry. No chain saw for you." Good thing she didn't let me have one. I have a feeling my nickname would be "Lefty".

There are a few small electrical devices my wife (and that clerk) have allowed me to purchase. (And I'm not talking about the blender I use to make Margaritas). One tool I really love is my Dremel tool. I've wanted to improve the quality and speed of making slots in the control post for levers. Before Dremel, I would drill lots of holes, then gouge out the remaining wood by hand. It works, but it's slow, not fun, and not as neat as I'd like.

Now... I KNOW better than to ask that clerk for a table router. She'd look me up and down and say,"No, Mr. Croes. I'm not selling you a table router. You CAN have this router bit for your Dremel tool. But sorry, no table router for you." Well, I bought the router bit for my Dremel tool (without asking) and lo and behold, it works great. I still drill the series of holes, but the router bit gouges out the remaining wood quickly and neatly. A little sanding and the slots look great.

The router bit does a MUCH better job than a chain saw!

Friday, July 11, 2008

On the blink

My first attempt at making soft blinkers for my conversion figure has proven to be rather difficult. In fact, I may pass it up for the moment because it's a little frustrating. The 1/16" brass rod is too thick to use for the blinker frame for such a small eye. To secure it, the length of tube in the corner of the eye needs to be longer, but there's really no room to make it so.

I tried building a frame out of the .18 gauge copper wire which was actually recommended for winding around the frame to make an interior axle. It worked pretty well as a frame, especially after coating it with a little Magic-Sculpt for reinforcement. However, the amount of space left to wrap the wire for the axle is just too small. I'm also concerned that there will be little room for the mechanics, though I'm still working on a strategy.

Time to catch my breath and move forward with my "old guy". I have found that stepping back and thinking about a problem sometimes produces a solution down the road. Of course, any thoughts you might have on the matter would be welcome.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Have jokes, will travel

This young feller is now seeking a meaningful relationship with someone who will disagree with him in public once in a while. He can be examined further on Ebay.

In addition, I have begun the process of installing blinkers on my next project. Today I inserted teeny tiny tubes in the outside corners of the eyes. I also fashioned an admittedly rough blinker frame. I will attempt to refine it tomorrow.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Old guy (takes one to know one)

I have three more figures well underway. One of them is this fellow who will be rather "mature". I like making the old guy figures because they don't require a lot of Magic-Sculpt (which adds weight) to make a significant change. In fact, I glued a small trimmed styrofoam ball to his nose and covered it with a thin layer of Magic-Sculpt to keep the weight in check.

I also plan to add my first pair of blinkers to this guy. (Uh-oh. I can see some cussin' and swearin' in my future).

Friday, July 04, 2008


Soon this little freckle-faced scamp will be looking for a partner. Look for him soon on Ebay!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

It's a dirty job

One of the messiest jobs is cutting up the Charlie heads in preparation for their transformations. I have to slice off the back of the head (ouch!), pry out the jaw piece (say ahhhhh), carve out the excess plastic mounting around the jaw (please be gentle), trim the back of the jaw pieces (yowweee) and poke out their eyes (hellloooooo).

The process causes debris to fly about and dust to fill the air. I wear a gas mask during the massacre.

I also sand and drill small holes in the heads' interiors so Magic-Sculpt will adhere securely. Then I drill holes in the forehead (that's gotta hurt) for the eyebrow tubes.

I recently went on an Ebay buying spree and collected ten of the old Charlies. So you can expect some new lively characters to emerge from these old worn out dolls.