Thursday, April 30, 2020

Look into my eyes

Here's a look at the completed eyes. These are 1.5" wood knobs painted white. The irises were printed on a computer printer, cut out, then glued onto the white knob. The last step was to brush on two coats of glossy varnish. I think they look pretty good all things considered.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Ring around the headstick

I have used different methods of securing a headstick in the neck of a casting. Braylu Creations came up with a method new to me using a ring that goes around a PVC pipe. The ring slips loosely over the pipe. After roughing up the contact surfaces of the ring, I attached it permanently to the top of the pipe with Magic-Sculpt epoxy. I let it dry overnight. Then I put a layer of epoxy on the bottom-side of the ring and slipped the headstick down the neck until the ring made contact with the bottom of the beck.  After that, I pulled hard on the headstick so the ring was forced downward inside the neck. The epoxy squished around the ring. I checked the headstick to make sure it was straight, made an adjustment or two, then tugged on it again. I let the epoxy dry overnight and now the headstick is quite secure. 

You may notice I installed an eyehook at the top of the PVC pipe before installing it. The eyehook will be used to attach the jaw spring.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Feathered dot

I glued the computer-printed irises onto the 1.5" wood knob eyes. The knobs got 3 coats of white acrylic paint.

The most important element to put into the iris image is a tiny feathered white dot somewhere in the center area of the iris. The white dot infers reflection. Without it, the eyes look lifeless.

The final step is a coat or two of glossy varnish to give the eyes a wet look.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Haven't seen this guy in a while

My return to figure making has been a slow steady process. I started by building a few conversions I had laying about. Then I stepped up to building a 4T Uncle Winkle. Followed that up with my new character "Tommy"

Here's a little history. Braylu Creations makes my molds and castings. They sell some of my character castings to the general public. I have a few characters Braylu casts that are exclusive to me. For example, the 4T Uncle Winkle casting is for sale to any builder. My new 2T "Tommy" is exclusive to me as is the head pictured here. This head casting is called "Otis". He makes two characters. One is a Hillbilly. The other is a Nerd. I'm going with the Nerd character this time around.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Four eyes

I've read many figure makers lamenting the scarcity of 1.5" eyes for full-size figures. It was universally accepted that Mike Brose made the best eyes in the business but since his hiatus, we've had to innovate.

The method I choose comes from Mike Brose as well. In his book "Figure Making Can Be Fun" he suggests printing irises on a computer printer and gluing them onto the painted wood knob. Before I found a good source for nice 2T eyes, I made lots of pairs of wood ball eyes for conversion snd 2T characters. Now I'm back to the same method.

The two pairs I'm working on are for a pair of 4T figures I'll be building soon. Pictured here, they've been drilled out and had a coat of primer applied. Next comes several coats of white acrylic paint, the iris attachment, then a coat of glossy varnish to finish the job.

A guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Steve Hurst

One of the best of us gone too soon. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Something to chew on

My progress on my second "Tommy" character moves at a snail's pace. I could attribute it to having so many other pressing projects and engagements that it's been hard to make time for it. But the truth is, I'm probably watching too much TV.

Sometimes I just sit and stare at the jaw and think. One conclusion I reached is I am going to create the best jaw I can and not worry if it fits in the current casting's jaw cavity. It's a lot easier to adapt the cavity to accept the jaw than the other way around.

As the photo shows, I've added a row of teeth. They're rough in their current wet-clay state. After the clay hardens a bit, I'll etch a line between the teeth and lip. When the teeth dry completely hard, I'll sand them to remove the burrs in the back of the teeth and to make them smoother.

Hmm. Wonder what's on HBO?

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Tommy on TV

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Wood if I couldn't

I like to share my failures as well as my successes. Well... not ALL of my failures. Otherwise, this blog would not be much fun. So, please don't do what I did in my last post. It didn't work.

The block was too large, the epoxy didn't stick to the chin interior because it wasn't roughed-up enough. So, it wasn't too difficult to tear the thing apart.

This time I cut the block to half its size. I roughed-up the chin interior much more. I used more Magic-Sculpt and wrapped it over and under the woodblock.

After the epoxy hardens and I'm convinced everything will hold together, I'll use paper clay to sculpt the full jaw piece.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Wood if I could

I'm reminded of that scene in "Apollo 13" when the engineers had to solve the carbon dioxide build-up in the ship. They had to literally put a square block in a round hole with only what they had on hand. My challenge is far less critical to survival, but I still had to think about it.

The rounded back of the chin needs to be attached to the flat surface of the woodblock using what I have on hand. (Otherwise, hello 

I settled on using Magic Sculpt epoxy to create a flat surface on the back of the chin. First I roughed-up the backside of the chin so the Magic-Sculpt would adhere. Then I put chunks of the epoxy on both sides of the chin interior and pressed it against the flat woodblock to create a flat surface on the epoxy. After the Magic-Sculpt dries, I'll attach the chin to the woodblock with crazy glue.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

History repeats

The little fellow in the last post started like the one in this post. I'm building a second "Tommy". I received the casting from Braylu Creations and now I'm prepping the head.

This time I used a 1/32" drill bit to remove the jaw. I drilled tiny little holes all around the jaw carefully following the slot lines I'd drawn on the original sculpture. It worked better than the last jaw removal when I used a 1/16" drill bit. I lost more material using the larger bit. I lost less material this time though there will be patching with this one, too.

This munchkin will look similar to the first one, but he'll have blue eyes and straight brown hair.

Thursday, April 02, 2020


I think this little cheeky boy is even cuter with his costume. I'm getting to know him. He'll pretend to be a 4-1/2-year-old character. Though I plan to sell him, I'm enjoying working on his voice and manipulation. He'll be tough to let go. However, I have another casting of his head, so I plan to build another as soon as some tiny drill bits arrive.