Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Big Winkle

The Post-person had a box for me today. It contained the first 3T (aka "full-size") Mr. Winkle casting. It came out really nice. This will be a fun project! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

What the...?

Yes, it's really an odd picture. But there is an explanation. You see, I'm transforming an Uncle Earl into an Auntie Pearl. But I had to un-braid the wig I bought in order to loosen up the braid. I will (or my Mrs. will) re-braid the wig and form it into a bun on top of Auntie Pearl's head. Then I will re-glue the hairline, which is currently pulled back.

That make sense? 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Left is right

I sculpted Big Otis' left cheek yesterday. It's rounder and fuller than the right cheek, and I like it better that way. So I'll add to the right cheek so it matches the left. This project is moving along rather quickly. I guess it's because I'm copying my Little Otis.

I'll install the jaw today so I can start working on it. Once the jaw swings freely, I can also close the gaps on either side of the mouth opening.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Top smile

Big Otis (above left) has the top part of his smile now. Just like Little Otis (above middle). Or at least as close as I can make it.  I got some good news from my mold maker today. The Little Otis mold will be produced next week. And I'm expecting my first full-size Mr. Winkle casting (model above right) to arrive sometime next week, too.

Friday, April 26, 2013


The copy under construction
I have an order for my "Miss Mazie" character. The little temptress is the only female character I make. And she comes with a winker option. I had to look back at my past blog postings to recall how I made the winker. Luckily I shot a couple of close-ups of the gizmos I made to make the animation.
Original Miss Mazie
I use a Braylu Standard head. So far I've sculpted her fashionable nose and full upper lip with PaperClay. The Braylu Cheeky Boy jaw works best for this character because the lower lip is quite full, too. I'll use the new soft foam boobs from Braylu. The original Miss Mazie has Styrene vacuum-form breasts which I attached to the camping-pad-foam body with cords. I'm hoping the soft foam hooters will attach with glue. I bought the same "Hannah Montana" wig. I also found a lovely red velvet dress with black faux-fur trim on the sleeves and black sequined shoes on Ebay. Add a black feather boa and she's ready to charm her audiences.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Covering the brain pan

Though Big Otis won't really have any brains, I'm sure he'll spend a great deal of time trying to outsmart his future partners. I worked on his forehead today. Again, I tried to copy what I did on the Little Otis model. 

I also prepped his jaw. I started with a Jackie jaw. I carved away most of the chin and lips. Big Otis will have a dumb chin to go with his lack of brains.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hill or mountain?

Progress on my full-size Otis the Moonshiner continues today with some work on his nose. My first attempt gave him a bulging bridge. But I'm attempting to copy the 2T version, and his nose was a ski slope. So out came the Dremel grinder and after some "zoom, zoom, zoom", the Big Otis nose looked more the like the Little Otis nose. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I ordered some new label stickers from VistaPrint. They offered free shipping if I spent $50 or more. They also had a deal on long-sleeve T-shirts, so I ordered 5 extra-large with my "Vent Into the Mic" logo. Long-sleeve T-shirts are my standard wardrobe living here on the Oregon coast.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Buzzards in their BVD's

The notorious Buzzard Brothers will be fitted with custom-tailored duds by their new partner. So the two silly siblings, Joe and Ike, are being shipped in their "all-togethers". 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Second time around

My previously-owned (as in "used") "Donnie" figure needed some serious refurbishing. I completely repainted the little fellow, added a new wig, updated and repaired some mechanics, and gave him a nifty pair of Converse-style tennis shoes. Now he's a happy camper ready to make someone else happy, too.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stringin' up the outlaws

The mechanics are installed in the Buzzard Brothers. Today I connected the mechanics to the control stick with my braided Stringliner cord. I threaded the cord through the triggers, tied a small knot and drenched the knots in Elmers Glue. After they dry, I'll trim the extra cord and animations will be complete. Then I'll close the heads with the trap doors. Lastly I'll attach the wigs and facial hair. Soon they'll be ready to confess their dastardly deeds.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Flat on his face

Uncle Earl was painted with my new paint regimen. I've switched from acrylic to latex. Makes a huge difference. Even the flattest acrylic I've used still puts a slight shine on the figure. Flat latex is really flat. As in flat tire. Flat as a pancake. Fully and totally flat. Yet it has an inexplicable glow. I'll paint my figures this way from now on.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Zoomo zooms

Remember this little alien? He's been floating around the workshop waiting for someone to place him on the transporter and beam him to a galaxy long ago and far away. Well, today he finally got his wish. 

He's off to Ohio.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Makin' copies

My new 2T "Otis the Moonshiner" model is ready to be shipped to the mold maker. He'll make a silicone mold from my model and then produce polyurethane castings from the mold. The head and jaw will be cast separately. When I receive the castings, I'll cut out the jaw opening in the head and drill out the eye sockets. The edges will be smoothed with a Dremel tool and the fun begins. A few weeks later I'll have my first 'new & improved' Otis figure. And he already has a new home waiting for him.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Buzzard buzz

Ike and Joe Buzzard are making fast progress now. The eyebrow mechanics are in and the jaws have been permanently installed. The eyes still need to be synchronized and the motion mechanics installed. But that'll happen soon. 

Both will have facial hair. Ike will have a thin mustache that will ride the edge of his upper lip. Joe will sport a Buffalo Bill-style mustache and goatee. 

I'm also using a new paint regimen that has a flatter finish. I really prefer it over my former recipe.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Detail in the devils

Here's the latest update on the Buzzard outlaw brothers. I completed the three coats of flesh tone. I did some detail painting on the Buzzards including shading around the eyes and cheeks. I also painted their lips. I installed their eyebrow tubes and supports for the eyes. Things should start moving pretty quickly toward completion of these two little trouble makers.

I'm completely refurbishing a used figure of mine (the guy on the right). I repainted him, updated some mechanics and gave him a new wig. He'll be ready to entertain someone soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Three of seven

I was talking to a customer on the phone today. He's about to order a "Miss Mazie" figure from me. He asked how long it might take for me to build and deliver. I estimated about 6 weeks depending on how many projects came my way. He asked how many I'm working on now. I counted. Wow. Seven. I'm working on seven projects at the same time. Here are three of seven. ("3 of 7" sounds like a name for the Borg).  The aforementioned Buzzard outlaws and an Uncle Earl got their second coat of flesh tone paint today. One more tomorrow and I'll be ready to paint the details.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Another brothers

Now that the boys have been primed, it's a little easier to tell what they're going to look like. Since they're outlaws, I thought I'd turn down the corners of their mouths to make them look kinda mean. But after giving it more thought, I figured the droop of their mustaches would cover that anyway. So I'll let the raising and lowering eyebrows set the mood. 

Tomorrow I'll sand the primer lightly, then apply the first coat of flesh tone paint. I can start putting more mechanics in the head, too. 

Monday, April 08, 2013

Peek at the cheek

Otis' big brother Otis (Daryl and my other brother Daryl) got a right cheek. I probably should have waited until I had a fitted jaw, but what the heck. I'll probably do the forehead next and wait until I do have a jaw in place before I sculpt the left cheek. 

I sealed the trap door on Little Otis. Now comes the final touch-up and sanding and he'll be ready for the mold.

I also sanded the Buzzard Brothers and did more gap work on their jaws. They're about ready to paint.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Pose with nose

The 40" 'Otis the Moonshiner' takes on a touch more personality with the addition of a nose. It's a big nose, too. It'll probably seem less huge as the cheeks take shape. I still have the new 2T Otis model to refer to for awhile.

Speaking of the 2T version, today I added the PaperClay to seal the mouth cavity. I glued the trap door to the head, too. Tomorrow I'll seal the trap door seams. I'll do some final sanding. Then he's done.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

I changed the subject (sort of)

Yes, I'll keep blogging about the Buzzard Brothers. And you'll probably see some more photos and prose about the 2T Otis. But now I've started a new project.

Otis the Full Size 40" Moonshiner.

I started with the Braylu 3T Blank. First I sculpted his "don't hit me" eyebrow area. He also got an Adam's Apple. Next I'll do the nose. I forgot to order a Jackie jaw which is handy to use as an armature for the Otis jaw. Since I'm always ordering stuff from Braylu, I'll get that in the next shipment.

Buzz (Braylu owner) and I Skype quite often. He showed me a beta casting of the new full-size Mr. Winkle. Even though there were some corrections he wanted to make, the casting still looked pretty good. It'll be fun and exciting building the first full-size Winkle from a "ready-to-ship" urethane casting. 

Friday, April 05, 2013

The same only more of it

Joe and Ike Buzzard: They continue their emergence from Urethane and PaperClay. Over the last two days, they got new chins (jaws) and ears. Both boys were blessed with ears that stick out pretty far

Otis: I installed a Styrene barrier inside his mouth opening. I secured the plastic piece on all four corners with Magic-Sculpt. Tomorrow I'll fill in the front with PaperClay being careful to define the edges where the castings should be cut for the mouth opening. Then it's on to sealing the trap door.

I might change the subject tomorrow.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

I changed my mind

I removed the "Follow By Email" window. I guess I should have tested it before I blogged about it. I signed up myself to see if it would work. Well... it does work.  Too Well. It actually sends the entire blog posting, photos and all, to your email. Which means you don't have to actually come to the blog itself.  I was hoping it would just send an email that would say something like"There's a new posting on Vent Into The Mic! Hey, check it out even though you'll be distracted from whatever useful thing you're doing now", which would encourage followers to go to the blog. But nooooo. It sends the entire posting. 

Now what fun is that?

Speaking of fun, my outlaw brothers are getting some gap control. My friend and figure maker Mike Palma let slip a little secret about using business cards to calibrate the gaps on either side of the jaw. Thought I'd try it, and yes, it works great. Now those 250 free Vista-Print business cards are finally coming in handy.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Finishing touches

My Otis model is almost ready for the mold maker. I did some gap work on the jaw, then removed it. I'll seal the open mouth cavity and then seal the back of the head. I learned a lot working on this model. Next I will try to duplicate the work on a larger 3T head.

By the way, Google repaired the bug that prevented list additions. I was able to add four more names to the "VENTRILOQUIST WEBSITES" list today.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Blog clog

As you may have noticed, I keep adding names and website addresses to my list of "VENTRILOQUIST WEBSITES". But recently I have been prevented from adding names because of a glitch in the Google-hosted blog. At first I thought it might be a setting on my computer or browser. But after checking with a Google-blog forum, it appears I'm not the only one experiencing this problem. And Google says they are working on a solution. Meanwhile my list remains as it is, unable to add Lisa Laird, Rick Morse, or Terry Robinson (aka "Dr. Solar"). 

By the way, if you're a performing ventriloquist and you have a website and you're not on my list, please let me know and I'll add you to my list of ventriloquists who need to be listed.

I have to finish cooking my oatmeal now. Thanks for your attention.