Tuesday, November 25, 2014

And then there's this little fella

I just put this cherub-faced youngster on my website, kennycroes.com. He's looking for a home, too. Know anyone who could use a good laugh? I bet this little guy could help.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm old, I'm cranky and I like it!

This elderly gentleman may "brighten up" someone's Christmas this year, though it won't be because he's filled with goodwill toward men. He's a curmudgeon and he's hoping to find someone who will listen ad nauseum to his many complaints this holiday season. He'll be for sale on my website's "In-Stock" page. He's 42" tall, has moving mouth, raising eyebrows and self-centering side-to-side eyes. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A grinch in time for Christmas

I guess he's mad about seeing all the holiday decorations, ads, commercials and pop-ups so early in the year. Or maybe he's upset because I've only painted him with a primer coat so far. Or was it the election? Whatever it is, I don't see him changing his attitude any time soon.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Change of plans

This is the same "Alfie"...just dressed up for Halloween. Actually what happened was a client bought him from my "In-Stock" page on my website, but she had admired my "Norbert" nerd figure before he was sold. So she asked if I could re-costume Alfie to be a nerdy little fellow. I parted his hair in the middle, changed his clothes and added the bow tie and oversized nerd glasses. Now he's off to his new home in Nebraska.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What's it all about, Alfie?

I've been working mostly on conversion figures lately. Which is okay since I enjoy making them, too. This one I've dubbed "Alfie" and he's for sale on my in-stock page on my website (kennycroes.com). Check out his red lace-up shoes!

I've started to build a 40-inch Mr. Winkle. Hopefully I'll finish in time for him to end up under someone's Christmas tree. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

It must be close to Halloween

Seems every year I get a few requests for scary figures. Folks ask for figures with scars, blood, sharp teeth, bloodshot eyes, and take-offs on well-known freaky characters. Among this year's orders is a converted Goldberger Charlie McCarthy to masquerade as Billy in "Dead Silence".

However, no matter how much I darken the eyes, narrow the eyebrows and tweak the widow's peak hairline, Charlie still looks kinda cute.

Monday, October 06, 2014

The collector

Several of my customers own multiple figures of my making, but none have as many as Wayne. I built many of the figures in the photo, but Wayne also built several more from head castings, some from my designs sold by Braylu Creations.

Wayne is decorating his store for Halloween. He displays all of his figures (including many made by other well-respected figure makers). They will share space with scary dolls Chucky and Tiffany. As Wayne said, "After all, it IS Halloween!".

Friday, October 03, 2014


It's always fun to see figures built from my head designs. The castings are sold by Braylu Creations for do-it-yourselfers. These figures were constructed by Michael and Toby Fisher. Looks good, folks!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Change in complexion

Occasionally I  get an inquiry about a figure I've never built before. Such is the case today when I've been asked to send a photo of an Afro Uncle Earl. Every Uncle Earl I've built so far has been a Caucasian figure. So to reply to the inquiry, I used some Photoshop tricks to revise a photo of a previous Uncle Earl figure to show an Afro skin color with dark brown eyes. We'll see if his new look generates an order.

Friday, August 29, 2014


I've completed a Mr. Winkle for my British client. The order came with a request for bare feet instead of the typical stuffed muslin. I purchased a pair of feet from Mike Brose. The down side is that I didn't have any shoes in stock that would fit Mr. Winkle's big feet. So he's barefoot for now.

Saturday, August 09, 2014


It's been awhile since I've built a 2T Mr. Winkle. The mold is getting old and the castings require more TLC to get them ready. The dark marks on the castings (other than the eyebrow tube holes) are pencil marking slight depressions in the casting that I'll fill with wood filler. Then he gets sanded down.

The other photo shows the PVC pipe headstick I'm making for Mr. Winkle, who will eventually entertain audiences in the United Kingdom.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

The word is "Nerd"

No doubt this intellectual dummy is hoping to stump everyone on "Jeopardy". Until then, he'll take pleasure in showing off his IQ in public with a ventriloquist partner. His name is "Norbert". Oh...and he's for sale.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wow. Two days in a row...

I've been working on a Nerd figure for ventriloquist Wayne Carroll, who probably owns more of my figures than anyone else I can think of. He's also built a few figures from the heads I sculpted, the castings of which are sold by Braylu Creations. It's nice to have a fan.

At Wayne's request, I built the controls using a rod-and-tube control system rather than the rocker-style. And as I do with all of Wayne's figures, the eyes are different colors.

Monday, July 21, 2014


I'm often asked to create an unconventional character using one of my archetype cast heads. This one uses my full-size grouchy Mr. Winkle head. I used Photoshop to add the hair, whiskers, costume and some facial shadowing to portray an aging French nobleman. I sent it to my client to see if this is the fella he had in mind.

Sadly I missed this year's Vent Haven ConVENTion, but I enjoyed the photos posted on Facebook. Of all the performers scheduled, I'm most sorry to have missed Jim Barber. He's one of my favorites.

I'm finishing up a Nerd figure for a client. Photos will be posted.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Gender bender

If the clothes make the man, then the clothes can make the woman, too. Liz Van Dyke has given Jack (now "Danny") a new persona by putting him in a dress, pearls. bi-focals and a grey wig. So "Danny" becomes "Granny". Count 'em... Two... two... two dummies in one.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sunday best

It's always a delight to see the smile of a happy client. Liz purchased my "Jack", who was renamed "Danny" after Daniel in the Bible. Liz Van Dyke & Danny will be telling Bible stories to children at their church. There's even a stuffed lion for Danny to hold as he and Liz tell the story of "Daniel in The Lion's Den".

Liz also mentioned Danny will accompany her to the local children's clothing store when she buys him additional outfits. That should cause quite a stir. But he'll need to look his Sunday best!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Cheeky

My original 2T cheeky mold has been retired. So rather than have another mold made for the original sculpture, I decided to sculpt a new 2T cheeky character. I'm far from finished, but the personality is beginning to emerge from the PaperClay.

The process is to sculpt, then sand. Then adjust and sculpt some more. Then sand some more.

In the past, I've opted to sculpt a separate jaw right from the start, and leave the jaw off of the head sculpture. This time I'm sculpting the entire head. Then I'll have the mold made, then a casting generated from the mold. I'll cut the jaw out of the first head casting, then use the jaw's cut-away chin to build a complete jaw. After that, I'll have a mold made for the completed jaw piece. And the casting from that separate jaw piece will be used to build the first figure.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Point and shoot

Just back from a trip to Northern California for a family visit.

The threads stripped on my Nikon point-and-shoot digital camera so I could no longer attach it to a tripod. My Canon FS-10 video camera's battery pack died, too. I took advantage of both minor annoyances to purchase a Samsung MV800, a point-and-shoot digital camera that also shoots excellent HD video...all in one.

Now that I'm back, I shot photos and video of my Mortimer Snerd conversion figure and put him up for sale on Ebay. Hope someone gives the little guy a home soon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I preferred a nerd

Well. the next experiment is turning a full-size Otis head into a full-size nerdnik. The first cosmetic steps are to give him buck teeth and (non-moving) eyelids. As you can see, I only have one eyelid in. More nerdiness to follow.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I did a bit of touch-up on my "Jack" figure and recorded a new video.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

All done

Otis is ready to take the stage. Well...he needs a body. His new partner is providing that. I just had to make his head.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Goof proof

Here's the most recent look at Otis. He's going through the paint touch-up stage and getting the last of his mechanics installed. Tomorrow he'll get strings and triggers for the animations. After that, the trap door gets sealed and he'll be fitted for his wig.

Won't be long now.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Wong done right

I'm building two figures using my full-size Otis head for my good customer, Wayne. But he's been bitten by the "do-it-yourself" figure-building bug. He purchased my "Mr. Wong" head design from Braylu Creations and built the character pictured above. He named him "Bill". I think Wayne did an absolutely splendid job. I love what he did with the mustache and eyebrows. Beautiful subtle shading on the figure, too.

Take a bow, Wayne. Nicely done!

Monday, April 21, 2014

He needs a shave

My second full-size Otis is now at the point where he needs a shave...permanently The jaw and eyes are in place temporarily just for the photo. He actually needs another coat of paint before we move on to the shading. That's always a fun task. He really comes to life after his "stage make-up" is applied.

The final mechanics don't go in until all the painting is completed. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Many of the heads I've sculpted over the years have been available for purchase through special arrangement with Braylu Creations. Some folks like to "do-it-yourself" like I did when I built my first figure from a Mike Brose "Fred" head. Dozens of ventriloquists have bought and built figures from my head designs.  I'm proud to say that includes the late Clinton Detweiler, who purchased, built and sold several figures from my heads before his untimely passing.

One of my most loyal customers who has purchased several complete figures from me has been bitten by the "do-it-yourself" bug. He's made his own full-size Mr. Winkle (re-named "Al"). The figure is pictured here with a Lovik figure I recently repaired for him.

My only caution to the DIY folks out there is that once you've built one figure, you may not be able to stop (as in my case).

Thursday, April 10, 2014


My full-size Otis figure is almost ready to paint. I have just one more head-prep task to do. And that would be to form his eyelids (non-blinking). I like the eyes set in place before I make the eyelids so I can mark the right spots. I want them to cover the very most upper portion of the iris so he looks a bit sleepy, dense (or intoxicated with white lightenin'). I'll use Magic-Sculpt to make those drowsy eyelids.

And yes, I do know that each eye is a different color. That's the way Otis' new partner wants him.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Uncle Herman

This goofy old guy is now for sale on Ebay.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I dig the wig

This Mortimer conversion figure got some hair today. I used a faux-fur wig sent to me by Braylu Creations, sewn from a new wig pattern for 2T figures. It worked great. I have been using a wig pattern of mine that required hand-sewing nine darts. The wigs worked really well, but took a lot of time to sew. This pattern has only two darts. By folding and trimming, you get the same good result, but with a lot less hassle.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Flappin' his jaw

Moving right along, I installed Otis' jaw today. I like to get that set so I can tend to any gap correction before I start painting. His jaw swings open and closed freely, but I'll need to close up a small gap between the jaw and neck area. Overall, though, the initial fit was pretty good.

You may notice the jaw's interior has some Magic-Sculpt around the tongue. That's because I sculpted the jaw with a full set of lower teeth in case I wanted to use the Otis castings for different characters. But Otis only has one lower tooth, so I had to convert his teeth to gums.

Friday, March 28, 2014


A while back I mentioned that I still like making conversion figures from to time. I had a couple of Goldberger Mortimer Snerd dolls in stock, so I thought I'd put them to good use. This fellow has moving eyebrows, side-to-side eyes and moving mouth. Conversion figures are fun because it gives me a chance to try out new approaches with mechanics and painting. Eventually this toy Mortimer will be become a fully-professional working figure at an affordable price for a ventriloquist.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Head on a post

Yesterday I drilled a series of holes around the perimeter of the area on the neck where the headpost will go. Today I drilled more small holes around the opening I created. That's so the Magic-Sculpt I use to secure the headpost will seep into the tiny holes for anchoring the post (a PVC pipe). Now that the Magic-Sculpt is dry, the headpost ain't goin' no place.

Otis got some holes drilled into his forehead, too. (Sounds downright barbaric). Eventually eyebrows will flip-flop in those openings.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cuttin' up

Yesterday I began slicin' and dicin' the urethane Otis casting. I drill small holes around the perimeter of the areas I want to remove. Then I use a pair of small wire clippers to cut an opening on each side large enough to accommodate a hand saw. I use a hack saw to cut the trapdoor in the back of the head. I drill large holes in the eye sockets, then use the wire clippers to cut out more plastic. I smooth the edges of the eye sockets, mouth cavity and headpost hole with a Dremel grinding bit. I also round the edges of the trap door opening. I found that the edges are really sharp otherwise, and as often as I'm sticking my hands in there, it's safer to smooth the sharp edges.

Lastly I use a round Dremel cutting bit to rough up the head's glass-smooth interior so the Magic-Sculpt I use to secure mechanics will firmly bind to the head.

And of course, I sign my work.