Monday, June 27, 2011

The capper

Among the final steps to mold-prep my full-size head model is to close the mouth cavity.  This took awhile to figure out.  I ended up stuffing the cavity with wadded-up paper towels, then covering the opening with Magic-Sculpt.

Just a touch more sanding, then it's off to Braylu Creations to have the mold and castings made.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Well, what happened?

Well... I've gone completely nuts on my Elmore head. I don't really want to mess with the head much more, but now I want to remake the jaw... like almost from scratch.  Now that I've taken my snippers to the stock Elmore jaw on the left (on the right is the way it used to look), I'm going to construct a new jaw with styrene sides and Magic-Sculpt.  I'll use the cut-up jaw for my armature.  Fortunately, I drilled the holes for the axle-tube prior to my wack job on the jaw.

Of course, I need to find partners for Uncle Earl and Mr.Winkle soon. So I must make progress on those projects, too.

Let's hope I don't get any more bright ideas.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How do we start

Folks like me that build figures from Kenny Croes Collection heads sometimes don't know where to start.  So here's a short basic list:

  1. Cut off the back of the head.  I secure the head in a vise and cut straight down from the top of the head to the nape of the neck using a hacksaw.  Some folks might choose to use a power tool, but as I've said before, I'm only allowed a select number of power tools. (My wife doesn't like emergency room visits.) 
  2. Next, punch out the eyes and remove the plastic if the mouth is covered.  I use a drill with a 3/8" or 7/16" drill bit to take out the eyes. I use a Dremel cutting tool (very small round blade) to clear the mouth area.
  3. Cut a hole at the bottom of the neck for your headstick if you need to.  I order my heads without the socket ball.  I prefer to purchase the Braylu PVC pipe headsticks with the neck transition (socket ball) attached.
  4. Using a Dremel fine grinding bit, smooth and shape the eye sockets and mouth opening. 
  5. No casting is perfect, so first you'll need to sand off any unwanted bumps and fill a few bubble holes.  I prefer white Elmer's Carpenter Wood Filler.
  6. After the wood filler dries, I sand the head as smooth as possible.
  7. If I'm absolutely sure I know where I want to place the eyebrows, I'll drill the holes in the forehead for the 1/8" brass tubes that will contain the eyebrow rods.  I'll save this step for later if I'd prefer to develop the face more before I choose my spot.
  8. Then I turn my attention to the jaws.  I sand and/or fill where needed, then I drill the holes for the 1/8" brass axle tube. 
  9. I install the brass axle tube and secure it with Magic-Sculpt.
  10. At this point, I want to determine the best placement for the jaw in the head.  I cut a 3.5"-length of brass rod, slip it in the jaw's brass axle tube. and find the best spot in the head for the jaw to swing freely.  Shorten the brass axle rod if you need to so the jaw will insert far enough into the head. Don't be surprised if you have to trim, sand and/or fill the opening (and/or jaw) to get the jaw to freely open and close.
  11. I mark where the brass rod axle ends make contact with the head's interior.  That's where I will place my axle slots on both side of the head's interior.  I use Magic-Sculpt to form the slots. 
  12. Before you sink the axle ends into the Magic-Sculpt to form the slots, put a little Vaseline on the axle ends so you'll be able to lift the axle away from the Magic-Sculpt.  Be sure to make the slots open-ended so you can slip the axle in and out easily.  Later down the line, you can cover the slots with Magic-Sculpt to permanently secure the jaw's axle in the head.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A pen-NIN-Suu-laaa

This nose is in the vicinity of Cyrano's.  Though this Elmore head has a ways to go, at least the hole where his clown- nose used to be has been made prominent with Magic-Sculpt. 

I had to trim off the side of his left (our right) eye socket to make way for 1-1/2" eyes.  Figured I wouldn't show you that until it's presentable.

He'll also require some attention to the corners of his mouth.  I'll try to resist the temptation to do more (which would add weight).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Look Ma, no teeth

The Earl jaw comes with a flat top.  I prefer to cut it away to reveal the interior of the jaw.  I use a Dremel cutting tool to cut around the edges.  Sometimes I'll loosen it further with a chisel.  Once I get it off, I apply a smooth layer of Magic-Sculpt.  After it hardens overnight, I'll add a Magic-Sculpt tongue. 

One could also add some lower teeth, but I prefer Uncle Earl to look like he forgot his dentures.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Whites of their eyes

I like the eyes from Braylu Creations.  I also like to enhance them.  I pop out the irises, sand the eyeballs smooth, and paint them with a coat of white acrylic paint.  To give them that wet look, I apply a final coat of clear acrylic glossy varnish.  Then I glue the irises in place. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Who nose what

This Elmore head looks pretty frightening now. But he'll get a new nose and maybe a few more facial tweaks.  I'll cut larger eye sockets to accommodate 1-1/2" eyeballs as well.

I hope it will be an improvement. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Head line

One of the benefits of working in a more spacious workshop is being able to work on more figures simultaneously.  I had six heads in stock when I moved in and now they're all under construction.  Some of these fellas will emerge as the stock-characters they are while other heads will be altered slightly to create a new look. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Three's company

Michael from Pennsylvania (shown holding his two "old guy" figures) purchased "Mr. Fenster" from me a few months ago.  Then he purchased an "Elmore" head and 2T parts from Braylu Creations and built his own figure.   After that, he bought a "Mr. Winkle" head and made the old coot in the photo on the right.  So now Michael has three Kenny Croes dummies. (Nice work, Michael).

If only people had three hands instead of just two.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


"JIMMY" wanted me to make very sure you knew that he's for sale right now at the Kenny Croes Dummy Store. Click here to find out more about this lil' scamp.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Two for the road

These two fellas seem to have a difference of opinion.  You see, they're both waiting to catch a plane.  The little guy on the left seems to be looking forward to the trip.  The old-timer on the right looks like he sat on a tack. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shelf life

My better half scored this shelf at the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Annual Garage Sale.  The side shelves actually close, but I like them permanently open.  I placed the unit on top of my primary work bench. 

She also grabbed up another wood shelf unit that will now replace a stack of crates.

The "man cave" just got a little cooler.

Waitin' for a bus?

I really like the new body and shoulder pads from Braylu Creations.  They deliver a more natural look underneath their clothing (which they obviously are without). 

Cyber Video

I had a heck of a time uploading the correct aspect ratio for my videos to YouTube. They would always come out squeezed or stretched.  Finally I've settled on the video software Power Director to produce my videos.  The app has an automatic YouTube upload tool that retains the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.  No squeezed or stretched look.  And Power Director has enough production transition and titling tools to make a fun demo video for my little guys.   

Sunday, June 05, 2011


Here's the first little dude I've completed in my new workshop.  He was started in the old shop, but mostly worked on here.  I've also had to figure out how to photograph the feller, too.  My "photo studio" was makeshift this time because I don't have the drapes hung yet.  But I secured one panel to a bookshelf and managed to shoot his "graduation portraits". 

Jimmy will be offered on Ebay soon (that is... if someone doesn't grab him up first).

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Gettin' fit

No, I didn't mean aerobic exercises and liftin' weights. 

With triggers and rocker mounted on the headstick, I have to make a slot in the neck hole so the headstick and controls can clear the opening. I used a 1/2" drill bit to cut the slot, then used a file to smooth out the cut.

Now... back to my calisthenics

Friday, June 03, 2011

No reason

Down in the mouth

Actually he looks quite happy.  Here's a peek at my first full-size head with his mouth open.  Hopefully in the future he'll be opening and closing it a lot. 

I have to come up with a name for this fella.  Suggestions welcome.

Lots of sanding still to come. 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Give my ears back

I concentrate so much on the front of the ears, it's about time I paid some attention to the back.  I added some Magic-Sculpt.

Now he is definitely wet behind the ears.


Once in a while I get a squeaking noise in my side-to-side eyes.  I typically tear them out and re-seat them to get rid of it.  But... does anyone know WHY they might squeak in the first place?