Thank you for the featured status and homepage! I am glad to see my work was appreciated.
I decided that for Christmas last year I was going to make my family something special. I settled on the idea for homemade action figures for my brothers and close friends. However that would not do for my Mom. I decided to make her a statue of Dr. Mario, based on her favorite video game (Dr. Mario for the NES).
Here is a list of the supplies I used:
-Wax + Melting pot
-(Optional) Hot plate/Individual burner
-Paint (I used Testors model kit paint)
-Paint brushes (Should be obvious)
-Sharp knife of some kind
-Urethane plastic mix
-Silicone rubber mix
-Sculpting tool set
-Slight sculpting skill
-Creative use of materials
-TIME (Possibly the most important thing)
If done right on the first try, this should cost you about $30-$45.
(By the way, if you ever plan to make homemade gifts, be sure to start before November. Learn from my mistake.)
Step 1: Getting your Doctorate
My next plan was to make another mold and pour in some plastic. I used the modeling clay to make quick molds of Mario's hands, feet, and face. I filled these molds with hot glue to have a durable copy to include with the body I sculpted to produce a finished figure. I added a headband and hair to complete the head, since I already had a copy of the face. Once I finished sculpting his body, I had to figure out how to capture his likeness. The clay I used only cures when baked and I did not want to melt my hot glue parts, so I made a plaster cast of my Dr. Mario statue while the clay was still unbaked. Once the mold was done I opened it up and scraped the clay out. The mold was successful and the clay could be re-used, so I thought it was a win-win scenario. I carved out a hole at the bottom of the feet to pour the plastic into. I stayed up all night Christmas Eve pouring plastic into the molds and getting my paint station set up. However, I found out that urethane plastic and plaster apparently fuse together. I tried desperately to chip the plaster mold off of the plastic figure inside, but it was no use. (An expensive mistake).
My last attempt at this was to make a urethane rubber mold of the Mario figure. I used OOMOO 25 for the mold material. I cast a mold around my Mario figure and thankfully this idea worked and I finally had a mold to begin sculpting my Dr. Mario statue. After my mold was finished, I began re-sculpting his body. (I featured the re-sculpt in step 3).
Step 2: Don't Get Sick
For my viruses, I started with three balls of aluminum foil about the same size and coated them with clay to minimize wasted clay. After I had three clay balls I added arms, hands, and feet. Then I sculpted the faces. I started each face with the mouth. I made a small rolled up bit of clay for the lips and blended that into the face. Then I added in the eyes, nose, and facial features (tongue, teeth, etc.) The last thing I did was make the horns on their heads. After I was happy with the sculpt, I set them aside.
I made my initial mold out of plaster just like the one for my Dr. Mario. I left the clay soft just like Dr. Mario so I could pull it out of the mold when I was done. After making the mold, I poured the urethane plastic mix into the three pouring holes I carved in the viruses backs. These molds also had the fusing issue just like Dr. Mario did. It really was a sad day.
My last attempt at this was to make a urethane rubber mold of the viruses. I used OOMOO 25 for the mold material. I had to re-sculpt the viruses, but this time I baked them so the clay would be set in place and not get messed up. After I had a nice rubber mold for each virus I wanted to test them out before wasting more plastic. I decided to test the mold with wax. Wax is easily poured when melted, can be re-melted to use again, and can be carved if needed. The wax can get a little messy, so I got one of those individual burners. (I got this after I made a mess by spilling a little wax on my cook top stove.)
Once the wax was cooled, I took it out of the molds and everything worked perfectly! So I went on to work on Dr. Mario so I could pour in the plastic for everything at the same time.
Step 3: Playing with Plastic
Once I had a wax Mario duplicate, I started carving off what I did not need. First I cut off his hat because Dr. Mario doesn't have one. Then I trimmed down his belly a little to make the lab coat easier to create. Once I had the wax carved, I applied the modeling clay to make a lab coat, hair, and various other parts needed to be accurate. I made the headband out of a small section of computer cable with a washer for the reflector piece. I did not think the stethoscope was needed, so I left it out. Once I finished with the sculpting, I made another mold for Dr. Mario. I originally intended to bake him like I did with the viruses, but that would have melted the wax parts.
Once the mold was made, I poured in some urethane plastic mix and I had a plastic Dr. Mario statue! I chose the white plastic mix because that would make painting easy. I also poured the plastic for the viruses at this point. Unfortunately, the virus horns did not work very well with the red and blue virus design. I made new ones out of clay, baked them, and super glued them in place. (I figured after everything was painted nobody could tell the difference, and I was right.)
To fill in gaps made from air bubbles, I used Jin Saotome's super glue trick. It worked very well. (For my action figures, I figured out a way to drastically reduce the bubbles during casting, but it was still a slight issue.)
After the plastic had hardened, I used a hobby knife to trim the excess plastic from the edges and sanded the sides down a little. I used my Dremel with a precision bit to add in a few small details and carve out any portions that did not cast right.
Step 4: All your base
I got lucky on the plastic base I decided to use for the finished product. When mixing my plastic for the final casting, I accidentally made too much. I just left it at the bottom of my mixing container to set, because I didn't know what to do with it. Once it was set, I noticed it was the perfect size for Dr. Mario and the viruses. I decided that leaving the base white would look better than painting it to resemble a pill, so I was already done with my figure base. That was definitely the easiest thing I made with this entire project.
Step 5: Looking a Little Pale
Dr. Mario was a little harder to paint, but was not too bad. My first challenge was what to do about his clothes, because everything was so white (even though it was supposed to be). To break up the white and make the figure look more interesting, I mixed up some gray that was a little darker than the virus gloves. This became the lab coat color, and I made his gloves the same color as the virus gloves. After that, I mixed up some skin tone and painted his face. Then I mixed some brown for his hair. I then painted all the extra parts (black mustache, red tie, silver reflector thing, etc.) The final touch was to paint the eye color.
After everything was painted, I let it dry for a day just to be safe. Then I sprayed on some Krylon matte clear sealer for protection. I guess I got too close on a few spots, because it made things look a little cloudy. I re-painted the parts that needed it and then I was finally almost done!
Step 6: Mounting and Finishing Touches
It was a long and interesting project, but now that I am finished I am proud of what I did.
It took WAY too long to get this project finished up, but I was able to give my 2009 Christmas Present before Christmas 2010. This year, I went with store bought gifts.