Friday, May 31, 2013

I enjoy being a girl

No, I'm not cross-dressing. Rather this is the tune Miss Mazie might be humming. She's finally ready to meet her new escort. The way she's dolled up, I bet she's expecting a night on the town.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Just lop it off

I'm working on the new Otis 34" figure. One of the first tasks is to install the brass tube in the jaw. A brass rod will be inserted in the tube for the axle. Sometimes when I drill the holes on either side of the jaw to fit the tube, they're not quite lined up. When I insert the tube, it's either too low on one side, too forward or back from perfect alignment, or both. So rather than file one of the holes to align the tube, I just lop off the corner completely. Since I'm going to secure the tube with Magic-Sculpt anyway, I sink the tube in the two-part epoxy until the tube is properly lined up.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Change up

I've been working on the Jerry Layne figure that was left with me for repair. The side-to-side eyes weren't working. The top-right photo shows the "before" situation. The little bar that's attached to the right eye's dowel was loose because the dowel split. The tube-and-rod eye mechanics also had a problem. The loop that was attached to the rod (and looped around the little bar on the dowel) broke off.

My friend Randy prefers rocker-style eye mechanics. So rather than repair the existing set-up, I decided to change it. As you can see from the other photo at left, I attached an eyehook to each eye dowel. Fortunately there was a small hole already drilled in the left eye dowel so I could easily screw in the eyehook. I used Magic-Sculpt to secure the eyehooks, which also repaired the splits.

I'll add guides to each side of the head, attach cords to the eyehooks and run the cords down the hollow headstick. Then I'll attach the cords to a rocker mounted on the headstick.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New old guy

The first full-size (40"-42") Uncle Winkle casting is in the process of becoming the first completed figure. I've done my head prep and fitted his jaw. Today I painted his coat of paint primer.  I'm pretty excited about this old fella.

My other chore was to do the head prep on the new "Otis the Moonshiner" casting. Always a messy process. Lots of grindin', drillin' and cussin'. This very first figure has already been purchased. As soon as the first one is completed, I'll take photos before I send him to his new partner and make him one of my standard 34" "KneeBuddy" characters offered on my website.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The winker works

The winker works! I actually miscalculated my first round of mechanics and had to de-install them. The rocker was interfering with the eyebrow springs, so I went to a single tube and rod pulley. Works like a charm. The last step is to add the eyelashes. Then I need to string the eyebrows and jaw, add the side-to-side eye guides and install the jaw pulley. Pop on her Hannah Montana wig and her head is done.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thrift store treasure

I don't get a ton of repair work (though I'd love to get more... hint, hint). However my friend Randy swung by on his way to Tacoma to drop off his Jerry Layne figure for fixin'. Randy found this figure in a San Francisco thrift store for $62. Great score! The side-to-side eyes need to be repaired and the jaw sticks sometimes. It's a wonderful figure, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I regret not snapping a photo of my host, ventriloquist Ed Shipley before his cohort Uncle Grimsley made it back in the trunk. Ed invited me to speak today at the Coquille, Oregon Rotary Club. He's a retired Episcopal priest who has been entertaining parishioners for over 30 years. His vent figure Uncle Grimsley was made in the 1970's by a fellow named Dick Lovik when Mr. Lovik worked at Disneyland. (Note: I'm not sure he meant Keith Lovik since I've never heard of a figure maker named Dick Lovik). The figure was designed to resemble then-young Ed Shipley, but as an old man. Of course, today Ed says it's hard to say which of the two looks older.

The Rotary Club was an attentive audience and seemed to enjoy Uncle Grimsley's introduction of me. I did a PowerPoint presentation about my vent figure building and showed off my figure "Donnie".

Ed says he'll send a photo of himself and Uncle Grimsley for my blog, but first he'll have to ask his wife to scan one. I may perform some repair work on Uncle Grimsley, too. Over the years, he's developed a few cracks. (Haven't we all.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

She devil?

With her eyebrows titled outward, she looks like a little demon. But the brass eyebrow frames will eventually be coaxed back into position, covered with Magic-Sculpt and painted a dark brown. Her winker has been assembled and given its flesh tone paint coat. She'll get some blue eyeshadow on that winker and a bit more above her eyes.

The left eye will soon have a sculpted static open eyelid. I'll form it so it matches the open winker. Finishing touch will be lush eyelashes on both eyes.

I placed the eye tray inside the head today. When the Magic-Sculpt dries, I'll proceed with the winker and raising eyebrow mechanics. She might be ready to go by the end of this week or early next.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Auntie Pearl

This innocent-looking, sweet-dispositioned little old lady is named "Auntie Pearl". Though she's married to Uncle Earl, she tends to flirt with the young orderlies at the Happy Haven Retirement Home. She loves a rousing game of canasta, a plate of homemade cookies, and a snoot full of Jack Daniels. This former FanFan Girl at the Rosemont Variety Theater in Hoboken is hoping to resurrect her show business career with a partner. She'll audition for you on Ebay.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fear the ear

I don't think there's a more difficult anatomical feature to sculpt than the ear. Seems like every time I meet someone, I stare at their ears. And I'm always amazed at the variety of shapes and sizes.  

I've made lots of cartoony ears. But a somewhat realistic ear has eluded me. Today I made my best effort yet on my full-size Otis. I need to do some slight modifications after the PaperClay dries. But I think I got a lot closer this time. It'll be real interesting to see if I can sculpt the mirror image on the left ear.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Monkey business

Nina Conti will be featured in a new HBO series by Christopher Guest (of "Spinal Tap" fame) called "Family Tree". Hear all about it in this NPR story.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I guess I'll just have to adjust

The winker frame went into Miss Mazie's right eye today. It took quite a lot of bending... adjusting.. .bending... adjusting... more bending... more adjusting. No wonder I charge extra for this animation. I still may need to do some bending, adjusting and even eye socket grinding to make it perfect.

Over on the right side we have the first full-size Mr. Winkle casting. He underwent some serious head prep today. I cut out the eye sockets and jaw cavity. He got a control stick, too. I also installed an axle tube in the separate jaw so I can place it in the head tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mazie phase

I'm back from my road trip to Cal-ee-for-ny-yay. I had a good time visiting family, airports, kids, old friends, pretty parks, oil wells, lakes, factory clean rooms and creatures of the sea. Now I'm back in the workshop picking up where I left off.

Miss Mazie got some attention today. I touched up the corner of her right eye where a winker frame will be inserted. The eye tubes were installed today. And I painted the bottom of the jaw (shown temporarily installed). 

Another project that moved forward today was my Otis the Moonshiner full-size sculpture. I added the first layer of PaperClay to the outer portion of the Styrene ear frame. I prefer to form the ears in steps. I let each phase dry so I don't mess it up as I work on the other parts of the ear. It's slower but seems to work better for me.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On the road

Monday, May 13, 2013

On the road

Saturday, May 11, 2013

On the road

Friday, May 10, 2013

On the road

Thursday, May 09, 2013

On the road

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

On the road

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

On the road

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Near ears

I cut out ear frames out of Styrene plastic and used Magic Sculpt to secure them to Big Otis' head. After the Magic Sculpt dries, I'll add PaperClay over the top to sculpt the ears' final shapes.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Latex effects

Again I'm using acrylic latex paint over a primer to paint my figures. This darker shade for Miss Mazie will also be completely flat. And I won't be spraying it with Krylon Matte because it still adds a slight shine to the flat latex. I really prefer this super flat look.

After I install the winker in her right eye, I'll add a stationary open eyelid to the left eye to match the right.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Tinker with a winker

I'm building another "Miss Mazie" figure for a client. Since I've only made a winker one time (on the original Miss Mazie), I had to review how the heck I did it. Luckily I took a few photos of the gizmos I made. I actually had to do a Search of my own blog to come up with the photos though. I also reviewed the photo I shot of the interior of Miss Mazie's head. From that information I was able to build the widgets pictured here. The top two photos are the rocker that will be suspended on a bar across the top area of the head. One end will connect to the winker, the other will connect to the cord. And since the mechanics are toward the front of the head, I had to cut a hole in the eye tray so the winker connection above the eye tray could connect to a spring located below the eye tray.

The hardest part of this was bending the brass rod on either end of the rocker. It worked out okay, but I still haven't figured out a surefire way to do it. I was scratchin' my head the entire time. (I'm lucky to have any hair left on my head as often as I scratch).

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

I work eye work

Otis the Big got some attention today. I worked on the eyes adding smile lines around the corners. His cheeks have been evened up. Though it's not yet photogenic, I started work on the jaw, too. I think ears are next.