Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Zombie: A Cautionary Tale

Poor Fred was dead.
Now, he's lost his head!

How mortifying!

Fred was about to get a make-over. He was all laid out in my garage/workshop when I discovered that some field mice had gotten in under the door and made a nest in his head. I mean, like overnight! This is very embarrassing for the undead.

I pulled his teeth for later use, and sawed off his head because the varmints had thoroughly destroyed the structural integrity of it and because of the smell.

The moral of this story: Mice love paper mache, so protect your project!

I'm going to try adding something to my paste to discourage rodents; possibly cat scent.

Fortunately, Fred didn't lose something irreplaceable!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Project Glukkon: Meet Spurweehl

Spurweehl the Glukkon


... is finished! To help develop his character I wrote a backstory (below).




Glukkons1 are naturally drawn to power, and use industry as a means to that power. Unfortunately, their race has a history of exploiting2 others along the way, and this Glukkon is no exception.

Fascinated by machines from an early age, Spurweehl devoted himself to the study of mechanical engineering and graduated Magna Cum Gluk from Odd  State University ("Home of the Bug-Eyes!"). He was snatched up by Kawg Gearwerks and quickly rose to the top of his profession. As a Junior Executive he made a name for himself with several patents, including a gear lubrication method based on reclaiming the greasy sweat of the working force. At the same time he promoted healthy hydration with "Spurweehl's Own" liquid refreshment: a sugary, thirst-inducing drink ("Pre-deducted from your pay for your convenience!"). Gaining a reputation as a canny innovator, cost-cutter as well as a snappy dresser, Spurweehl eventually engineered the forcible retirement of old man Kawg and took over the operation of the gearwerks.

 Today, Spurweehl Gearwerks is the top producer of industrial machinery on Oddworld1, supplying such giants as FeeCo Trains1 and Rupture Farms1, and is likely to remain that way as long as Spurweehl stays alert and someone doesn't grease the gears of industry with him!
1 "Glukkons", "Oddworld", "Feeco Trains" and "Rupture Farms" are the creations of Oddworld Inhabitants
Also mashing, pulping, dicing, etc.

 This was my first project involving "monster mud", so it was a learning experience. Monster mud is a 5:1 mixture of drywall compound and paint which will give stiffness to cloth. Originally I bought a thrift store blanket to make into Spuweehl's suit. When dipped in the mud it was so blasted heavy that I had to use it for the pant/skirt only! It's as solid as wood though. A sheet was cut and mudded for the upper body then everything was painted. I thought the shoes looked much better in purple. The gear-shaped platform is necessary to make the figure stable.

Platform and feet
 I equipped him with LED's behind his eyes and a switch on the back of the head.

  The button and crest thing  were plastic toy pieces spray painted gold.

This was also my first attempt at chroma-key (green screen) photography. I did this on the cheap; which was okay, but a good quality screen would work better.

Here we are, having celebratory stogies.

Spurweehl's Statistics:
Height: 6' 9", including base
Weight: 51.2 lbs.
Shoe size: 14 (same as mine)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Project Glukkon: Body

The body is basically finished. Paper mache now covers the basket-like chest. It resembles a dress-makers dummy - and for good reason: the plan is to drape it with clothing. Since the figure is top-heavy I made a gear-shaped platform of plywood for stability.

Front view
 Check out those knobby knees.

Side view
Next comes the hard part: dressing him up!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Project Glukkon: Body

The body is coming along nicely! I cut cross-sections of styro-foam and attached these to the spine, then wove cardboard strips into a kind of basket using hot glue. This will be covered with paper strip mache for durability. It should serve just fine. Next to do: legs.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Project Glukkon: The Joy of Blackwashing

Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?
Pablo Picasso
No, I'm not talking about destroying reputations or painting a fence. Blackwashing is a technique for bringing out the contrasts of a piece. What you do is cover the (in this case) paper mache piece with watered-down black paint and then wipe it off. The difference can be dramatic!

Here are before and after pictures:

I followed this up with some dry-brushing to lighten the skin tone.
Now go blackwash something.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Project Glukkon: Feet

Still working on the head, but took some time to start constructing feet for the Glukkon. They remind me of those cardboard clown feet they used to put on party balloons for the kids, but these are made of scraps of press-board, angle iron and 2x4. It pays to be a hoarder.

I toyed with the idea of buying shoes at the thrift shop but decided to make my own.
The soles were traced from my own clown-sized shoes so they ought to be plenty big! They need to be large to provide stability for this guy.

Stylish orange soles

Here are some more head-shots:

With white waterproof masonry paint
Final skin color

 The head is nearing completion so I'll be concentrating on building a body for this lout.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Project Glukkon: Update

Head construction is complete. Here is the head, fully detailed.

And here he is "skinned" with shop towels. The towels add texture and wrinkles where I want them.

Next, I'll give this guy a nice paint job.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Project Glukkon: Cigar

A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.
Rudyard Kipling
 What Glukkon would be complete without his smoke? I found directions for making a stage-prop cigar and followed them for the most part. After slitting a cardboard tube and rolling it to the right size and taping it, I covered it with a few layers of PM for strength. This was wrapped in the brown paper, stained, glossed and the ends sealed with hot glue. Adding a custom cigar band and steel wool for ash finished the job.

Construction: cardboard tube, paper mache, masking tape, stain, hot glue, white glue, gloss polyurethane, gold foil from a candy wrapper, brown crepe paper and  steel wool (for the ash).

The sign of a quality smoke

Monday, July 15, 2013

Project Glukkon

Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh. For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Proverbs 23:20-21
What, you may ask, is a Glukkon? Only an evil industrialist corporate type from Oddworld - as seen in the video games "Abe's Oddysee" and "Abe's Exoddus".

Rough plan

As you can see I just used the plan as a guide.

 A Christmas-tree stand makes a perfect base for holding the work. This is one BIG head! A mature Glukkon stands between 9 and 10 feet tall.

First pass
 Here he's got cranial ridges, eyeballs and some detail. (Paperclay is great for detail.) A Glukkon head kind of resembles an octopus. I still need to add his siphon-like ears.

Side view
 You can tell by the yellow eyes that here's someone you can trust!

3/4 view
More work still to do. Glukkons are also snappy dressers.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Articulated Half Mask Project Completed

Here's the Fred and Ginger masks; painted, with moveable jaws. Elastic bands were attached to make them wearable. Polyurethane was painted on Ginger's lips for a glossy look.

The purpose was to make wearable masks for a ventriloquist act - these ought to do the trick! (The mechanism to make the mouths move is not yet in place.)
Fred and Ginger are essentially identical except for the paint jobs.

Fred and Ginger


Me and my sweetheart.
A cute couple

Monday, May 13, 2013

Half Mask Project cont.

Here are Fred and Ginger - complete but for straps for wearing them. After trying different ways to hinge the jaws I settled on the simple expedient of attaching them with cable ties. Next I'll have to post some action shots.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Half Mask Project cont.

Here are the mask parts after sanding.

After applying gesso and more smoothing.

Soon they'll be ready for painting and assembly.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

TARDIS completed

My partially-completed TARDIS model had been gathering dust in a closet for years until this week when I dusted it off and finished it.  Size: about 11" (27.9cm) from base to tip of lamp. The Tardis was scratch-built from balsa wood, plastic and odds and ends.

Dr. Who purists can quibble about details, but I think it's a fairly good representation of the Doctor's time-space machine.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Half Mask Project

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Oscar Wilde

 A friend asked me to accept the challenge of creating a pair of ventriloquist masks for a show. Having already bought Jonni's book on making masks I felt prepared enough to make a go of it.

After sketching an idea on paper I bought a plastic mask from my hobby store to use as a form and taped it down to a board.

Features were added with clay. This is to be a ventriloquist's mask with a moveable jaw. The jaw will be made separately for later attachment.

The clay was covered with petroleum jelly, followed by a sheet of plastic to make separation easy. The form was covered with two layers of shop towels, well wetted with a plaster-based paste.

Once the layers were dry I carefully lifted them from the form and trimmed it. It doesn't look like much now, but there's lots of work still to do and it should clean up nicely.

This is all an experiment - I've never done anything like this before so wish me luck!