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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mixed Luck or Do People Really Need to have Fingers?

Last week I said I was expecting my people moulds to arrive any day and I was right. . . . . Well, half right anyway.  The four moulds I purchased were shipped in two different packages.  One arrived within hours of my last blog post, the second?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I looked up the tracking numbers for the two packages, the missing one was sorted in Miami on the 7th and then disappeared, there are no further entries as to its whereabouts.  At the moment I'm very worried that it's fallen out of the airplane and will next be seen when it bobs ashore on some isolated tropic island.  Either that or someone misread the address and there are some postal workers in Austria trying to figure out what to do with it.  The last time that happened the box arrived six months later very much worse for wear with post marks to prove it'd travelled to very corner of Austria before some bright spark recognised the label actually read Australia.  Oh dear.  Hopefully it's just delayed and will be here soon.  Hopefully.

The two moulds I did receive were "Katie" and "David".  David is a male designed to be 1/12th scale whereas Katie is a fairy who just happens to be about 5 1/2" tall and therefore can pass in 1/12th scale although she isn't quite right.  Using these two moulds, I started playing around to see what I could do with them.  I started with the Katie mould as she was less gracile than David and as I figure it probably easier to play with.  After pressing the clay in the mould with a wire armature (skeleton) in the middle, this is what she looked like:

At this point, I was quite pleased.  Soon though I realised I had had too much clay in the mould, meaning that she was thicker than she should be.  Mostly this wasn't a problem except at her fingers which turned out two or three times thicker than they ought to be.  Oh well, it was only a first attempt after all, so I moved on and tried to separate her fingers.  Here's where I started to get into real trouble.  Fingers stretched, squished, came off completely, got reattached and generally distorted.  Still this isn't a problem, I just need to give her something to hold that conceals them.

 Hoping for better luck, I tried another doll, this time with the David mould.  I did a much better job of getting the right amount of clay in the mould and thought I was doing well, but in removing the doll from the mould, the bottom half of his left hand got stuck and snapped off.  Every doll I have tried in the David mould has suffered the same problem with this hand.  I tried making countless left hands without bodies in this mould and everytime the same thing.  Urgh.  So I had to carefully prize this last bit of hand out of the mould and reattach it to the hand.  This pretty much wiped out all the finger impressions made by the mould, effectively meaning I had to sculpt the hand again from scratch.  Want to guess what one of the main reasons I wanted a mould for?  Yep, so I didn't have to make hands from scratch.  This doll ended up with fingers more deformed than the first and to make matters worse, I later snapped one off when I was dressing him.  This doll is the one snoozing in the library chair.   I wonder why he's wearing long sleeves that almost totally cover his fingers?

Switching back to the Katie mould, I started on another doll.  This doll was originally going to be posed in the Dragon Study room on the top floor, leaning over the rail and waving to someone below.  In this position, I decided that it wasn't necessary to separate the fingers and left them as they came out of the mould.  (Chicken?  Me?).  I did decide to alter the face and the doll slowly morphed into something unexpected.  I looked at the face I had made and then flattened down the chest to create a male . . . goblin?  I'm not sure what he is, but I'm really quite proud of him.  I've dressed him in a red brocade vest and silky black pants that give him an Eastern look.  Perhaps he's a Djinn?
The two dolls from the "Katie" mould

Going back to the David mould, I made another doll and focused on messing with the face again.  This time I got a face more in line with what I had in mind, albeit very stern and authorative.  He was perfect so I'm sure you can all hear the "but" I'm about to introduce.  I baked all the dolls I'd done at the same time and the next and last doll I made fell over in the oven, landing right in his face!  I pulled him out half baked, but the damage was done.  He now has no face, just a flat plane at a slight angle with eyes painted on.  I'll either stand him in the castle facing away from the front or create an oufit for him that includes a face scarf of some kind.

The fifth and final doll I made was again from the David mould, or rather half the David mould.  I used the upper part of David and attached it to a painstakingly scuplted horses body to make a centaur.  By the time I'd finished fussing over him, he too was perfect.  Has disaster written all over it doesn't it?  Well, I braced his body with balsa wood supports when I baked him to ensure he stayed upright, but failed to account for the fact that although the clay shrinks slightly when baked, the wood doesn't, which I think is why the supports intended to keep him stable ended up causing his feet to lift of the ground, his legs to crack and somehow the whole lot went down, wiping clean the best face I'd ever made in the process.  After he had cooled down I pumped glue into his various leg cracks and slathered them in polyfilla.  Once sanded and painted, I think he'll look as good as he should have.  He also has a crack in the back of his neck (long hair needed) and in one arm (sleeves?).  Harder to disguise will be the funny bows in both arms.  People, even centaurs, don't usually bend between the elbow and the wrist.

The Centuar is still very much in-progress

Unless the woman mould (called Chelsea) arrives soon, I'm going to use bought dolls for the rest of the people in the castle because I want to finally finish the castle and have very little faith in mail services not to have completely lost the remaining moulds.  As you may have noticed in the first photo, I have already started to dress a cheap porcelian doll as a cook and "he" (who actually started out as a she, but once you glue on a big beard who can tell?) has a porcelain kitchen maid in the works to give him a hand.  I'll probably reward Artie for all his hard modelling work in the castle over the past months by giving him some proper clothes and a place in the castle as well as one or two glamourous ladies to keep him company.

My first attempt at making wings from Fantasy Film for the first "Katie" doll.

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