Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Slot receiver

Fig. A: The full-size

Fig. B: Cut down

Fig. C: Marks where irises are centered
Fig. D: Magic-Sculpted in place

As I've said before, Buzz James from Braylu Creations is always experimenting with designs to make figure building easier, quicker, more fun, etc.  This time he sent me a slotted synchro bar.  The size was more appropriate for a full-size figure, so I cut it down to fit a 2T head. 

The slotted synchro bar allows the posts or springs to be spaced so that the irises of the eyes are centered properly.  The slotted synchro bar would replace a solid synchro bar with holes drilled at the (hopefully) perfect spots.  Of course, if I drill the holes in the wrong spots, I have to expand the holes, file the holes, or toss the solid synchro bar in the trash and try again.  The slotted synchro bar allows you to center the irises (I have the head facing a mirror), mark the proper placement of the springs, and then Magic-Sculpt the springs (or posts) in place.  And it worked!

Next I'll drill some tiny holes so I can install small screw eyes for attaching the nylon cord.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A wish from Santa


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Far East mystic

The first casting of my full-size Asian character arrived today.  Thanks to Buzz James at Braylu Creations for doing such a wonderful job.  The casting came out well and will require minimal exterior prep.   Should be a few weeks to build the figure.  There's also a separate jaw, but I plan to re-design it for this character.

I acquired a long gray wig (which my wife will cut and braid), a really nice Asian mustache and goatee, and a very slick-lookin' gold silky costume.  I still need to find a hat and slippers.  

As always, I will post my progress.

A customer asked me to design and build this character for him.  His act will soon incorporate this mysterious purveyor of Asian boogie-boogie. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

An Earl Christmas

Uncle Earl may show up under someone's Christmas tree this season.  He's hoping Santa wins the bid for him on Ebay.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Speed sculpting

Q: Hi, Kenny. I have a question. What do you use for sculpting plastic over Goldberger dolls? Like what kind of material will stick to the plastic?

A: I use Magic-Sculpt. The downside is you only have about 15 minutes of working time before it gets difficult to work with, so you need to know what you want to do.  Don't go too heavy with it because it adds weight. Also, rough up the areas with sandpaper that you want to cover with Magic-Sculpt.  That will ensure a good bond.  Magic-Sculpt smoothes nicely with a wet hand. - Kenny

Additional Note:  Be sure to wear latex gloves when handling Magic-Sculpt.  Some folks have an allergic reaction causing skin rash if you touch it with your bare hands.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

On the blink

Q: I'm a former vent and dummy maker. I caught a couple of your videos on YouTube. Pretty good. I learned how to make my dummies from Paul Winchell's book (you know which one) but it never showed how to make closing eyes. I'm not interested in blinkers, or side to side,  just closing eyes.  You got a simple diagram you can send me on how to construct this? 

Why the renewed interest? I'm constructing a new dummy for a horror flick we are planning to produce.. 
I started ventriloquism around the age of 11.  I haven't performed for more than 10 years 'cause I just got bored and got tired of playing straight man. What an ego! Please reply. Thanks.

A:  “Blinkers” is the term for eyes that open and close together. “Winkers” refers to eyes that can open and close separately, so I think you're referring to "blinkers" after all. Most instructions I've seen are installations over side-to-side eyes, but I suppose the mechanics would work with eyes that don't move.  However, I think the eyes would still need to be mounted on a tray of some kind.
Either way, the great Al Stevens' Fred Project is probably your best free source of information. Mike Brose’s book “Figure Making Can Be Fun” is also an excellent resource. Hope your horror flick figure turns out well. Keep me updated! Thanks again. - Kenny

Friday, December 02, 2011

From there to here

Last week
This week

Big Uncle Earl's jaw is finding form.  The lower lip is contoured to meet the upper lip.  I've smoothed some of the contact points' odd bends and twists. The interior has been smoothed. After it dries, I'll add the tongue.  There won't be any teeth since Uncle Earl will be a candidate for dentures. 

Also, I think I don't make jaws exactly like most folks.  You know, with precise parallel slits on either side.  With the old guy characters, I think uneven contours and overlaps make more interesting and expressive faces.  As long as the jaw opens cleanly, the funny angles add a lot of "character" to the character.