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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This is how it starts

otis the moonshinerWell, not exactly. First there was a clay sculpture, then a mold, then the casting you see in the photo. I've been commissioned by a ventriloquist who owns several of my figures to build a 42" Otis the Moonshiner. He already owns a 34" version of the hillbilly. 

Working for this vent is especially gratifying because he only has one absolute requirement. He insists that I have fun building his figures. 

Of course, not every task in bringing a figure to life is a lighthearted frolic. But overall it gets more and more joyous as the character emerges from lifeless urethane plastic.

My client likes photos of the progress, so I'll share them with you, too.