Monday, 26 November 2012

31st ENTRY - Final Armatures

And here are the final armatures.

Design credits go to Tobias Feltus, Professor Donald Holwill, myself, and Edward Sams at John Wright Modelmaking, who brilliantly understood my needs, and assembled these functional works of art.

My clavicle design, refined by Edward Sams, using bronze and steel.

Anna, Isolde, Russeau, and Mr. Bernard

Professor Donald Holwill's foot design

Forearm design by Tobias Feltus

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

30th ENTRY - Cutlery

A fork, a spoon, and a knife.  These are hand filed from a sheet of aluminium.
The colour is not as I would like. Metal from a tomato can seems to be the ideal tone, but cans are not thick enough. Aluminium is too cold.

They are quite imperfect. The knife (last of the three made) was looking pretty good, until I found my measurements were off, and in shortening it, lost some of the shape in the handle. And the fork has oddnesses as well.
The spoon was the one I worried would be least successful, as the metal sheet was not thick enough for the depth of the spoon, but it actually seems ok.

I could certainly do with a vice.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

29th ENTRY - Material Matters

Throughout the duration of this project I have felt that I was always missing something, that out there was a product that was much better suited to whatever it was that I was doing. More often than not, I was right to think this.

When I started sculpting, I knew about Plastilene, and that it was the preferred product for special effects artists, for example. But the romantic side of me chose to ignore a product made from dried clay powder and motor oil, and instead to work with wax, a far more traditional and "cleaner" substance.

My lack of experience brought me to settle for Tiranti's White Modelling Wax, which I sculpted all my figures in, and which I felt quite comfortable with. But the main problems were two. First, being an off white colour, it was necessary to have a particular kind of harsh and very even light in order to see the form properly. Secondly, being soft modelling wax, there was a limit to the amount of detailing one could achieve.

I spent hours throughout the months going back and searching for clues as to what materials were used to sculpt the impressively detailed high end action figures, such as Adam Gu's Heath Ledger Joker sculpt.  But my searches strangely came to no conclusions, until very recently, when I discovered Castilene. And low and behold, this product is now part of the Chavant family.

Today I received a sample from the only European distributor I have found, which is in Germany.

All I can say is Blo%$@ F&%$*^g H£)(!!!!!!!

It is a very nice product.

Four different waxes.
From left to right:

Tiranti's Blue Carving Wax (impossible to cast in, shrinks terribly, is plasticky, and far too dark to see any detail)

Chavant's Castilene modelling compound (casts well, can be sculpted, carved, filed, sanded, built up by melting little bits and applying drops directly to the cold model. Seems great).

Tiranti's White Modelling Wax (what I used to sculpt the figures. Very nice to work with, but too pale to see detail, and too soft to achieve tight detail. This bust is how she came out from the version II mould).

Tiranti's Yellow Modelling Wax - Type B (got some of this intending it for the wax sculpture of Isolde in the film, wanting a beeswax look.  It is very soft, sticky, and impossible to see any form or detail at all!)

More of the white wax.

Same four waxes as above. Notice the difference in visible detail.
Blue Wax
White Modelling Wax
Yellow Type B Modelling wax

Here is a very useful guide to Castilene - Castilene Compendium:

28th ENTRY - Eyes

4mm balls are not easy to create.

Earlier on I attempted ideas of sculpting a positive full eyeball including the bulge of the cornea, to then mould and perhaps cast in two parts, inner eye separate from cornea. But of course at this scale it is probably impossible, and even my attempts at casting a perfect ball in the blue hard wax failed to begin with.

All along, my main concern regarding the eyes has been to achieve a realistic cornea, bulging out slightly from the rest of the eyeball, and being a transparent lens over the iris. My frustrations about sculpting eyelids over flattened beads were recorded in entries 10 and 15.

The tutorials available online, ranging from the Stan Winston School, to an odd Southern American gentleman's own technique, have all been very illuminating, but also not much help to someone working at 1:6 scale.

Doll makers and hobbyists brought me closer to the solution, suggesting liquid Fimo, or UV resins, which I'd had no experience with.
But most helpful was the example of the brilliant artist from Japan, Hanano, who makes the most arrestingly beautiful ball jointed dolls, and whose work I find myself deeply admiring.

As his eyes are only one or two millimetres larger than mine, and yet perfectly crafted, his work was the closest thing to the answers I was looking for.

Hence, between moments of much research and despair, the evolution of eyes for this project has been as follows:

During my mould-making expedition in Scotland,
Tobias started thinking about a solution,
using the beads, sanding down a 2mm flat surface,
spray painting them white,
and painting the iris with Humbrol enamels.
A solution to the cornea had not yet been found.
First tests by Tobias Feltus, 26/02/2012

Later on I attempted using a mask for the 2mm
iris diameter cut-off point, and made a silicone box
mould of a bead. Unfortunately I had the 
unpleasant surprise of the mask not actually being
a 2mm circle, as these things are designed
to take into account the width of your pencil
drawing the circle!
Anyhow, I couldn't get the wax to cast
properly, and didn't try resin, who knows why.

After much research I managed to find
a supplier in the UK of German glass
doll eyes, so I ordered a few to sample.
They are very nice, pretty much the right
scale, but not round on the back where
they are attached to wire. The idea of the
balls not being perfectly round on the
back worried me that they might not
work well in the eye sockets.

Here I tried making a quick cornea on two beads
with soft wax, and painted them.
I suppose I was thinking about the possibility
of there being no other way than to have a solid ball,
cornea and all, and just a gloss varnish overtop.
The third test was a sanded down iris, painted with
Humbrol paints, and varnished with a thick coat of
Humbrol gloss coat.
I also tested the Humbrol gloss coat thick, casting
it into the nose of a silicone mould.