Wednesday, 7 December 2011


It is clear that one of my main mistakes, as I have mentioned repeatedly, was to first build armatures, and sculpt the figures onto these. The bone structure I had created without enough study into form made it impossible to achieve the figures I desired. And because I thought things would be moving much quicker, and I was moving production down to Italy, I hurried to build a second armature for the young girl, a smaller one, again, before leaving and before sculpting.

I do wonder, however, how it would have been had I done things the "right" way. Today I thought to use the young girl's first armature in the place of the armature built for the old lady. This latter one had been made economically, and hence has wire arms. As I now have an extra full ball and socket armature sitting idle, I thought to use that for the old woman. The two armatures are roughly the same size, at least in height. Grandmother has wider hips, but this would not be a problem.
Instead, what of the full armature did not fit in the mould were the arms. She had been sculpted with wire in the place of the bulky elbow joints, and therefore can only work with wire, or with smaller joints, which of course I don't have.

This has inevitably brought me to worry about the fact that in all the puppets there are places where the skin only just covers the joint, and this will surely be very problematic when casting the silicone puppets over their skeletons.

Clearly, therefore, sculpting onto the armatures is the correct way to work, but only after first making quickly sculpted mockup to be sure of the right proportions to build the armature to.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


two views of Apartment II

the floor plan of both apartments, Assisi November 2010.

Liz's costume patterns, Assisi Feb, 2010

and the little disasters... She was so concentrated on the details of her work that she only noticed later that she had placed the sculpture down... face down...
Assisi, November, 2010

Something that bothers me about working with puppets this scale is the impossibility to have bones in the fingers. This is something I'm just trying, hoping that the rubber will prefer to bend at these thinner points. Assisi, February, 2011

In an earlier entry I mentioned how I found it suddenly easier to sculpt the head with hair, rather than imagining baldness. Here the face was well enough established that the hair could come back off. Assisi, February, 2011

Yet another problem with designing the armatures prior to the sculpture. Shortening the foot as much as possible against the established armature. Assisi, February, 2011


I spent a good few hours on the internet looking at props for 1:6 scale action figures. Too many hours. I could have made my own props in that time.
In the end I ordered one set of silverware, but was not impressed by the quality, so worked on options of my own.

My first resin mould, started in Assisi (February 2011), and finished during a weekend at Longcross Studios (September 2011), outside of London, where I worked on the film World War Z.
It is not a masterpiece of a mould, but passable.
The resin was Diaspro Calk, from the Italian company Flockart ( ), suggested to me by the make-up designer Luigi Rocchetti.

Grandma staying moist, half way submerged in Deruta clay.

My first silicone mould test (in MouldMax 25), done in Cardiff, November 2010. I used a very intricate crab shell I found on the beach in the Gower, knowing it would be too intricate, but trying nonetheless to quickly patch up holes where undercuts would be too deep. I wanted to test an interesting object, even if this meant a failing test. It was quite unsuccessful, but I was impressed with the detail the silicone picked up from the newspaper it was poured onto (or whatever it was I had underneath).

Armature for the girl, kindly assembled by Joel Calvert at John Wright's studio (January 2011).
I decided she needed an entirely new armature, as the original did not suggest her correct age.

In November 2011, passing through Bristol after revisiting the Gower in Wales, I took the girl armature back to John Wright Modelmaking for a quick modification to reduce the gap between two joints so that the clavicle chest piece wouldn't stick out so much. This was the only modification I am allowing myself. The arms will have to stay long.

And here they are again, back in the box, traveling back to the UK in February 2011, when Liz and I moved to London and joined the crew of Marc Forster's 'World War Z'. The sculptures stayed in this box for many weeks. I finished the mould for the grandmother, taking advantage of a workshop, but started an oil painting to keep me myself during the weekends. I only just put the tools back to the sculptures in the last few days.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Entry of Pause

In January, as sets were on their way and puppets ready for moulding, I fell into becoming part of the crew of 'World War Z', Paramount's greatest endeavour.
'The Unattended Lessons' is sadly on hold.