Creating a Life Size Gremlin using a toy
This year Neca released a new series of 6" tall gremlin toys from Gremlins 2 "The New Batch". I have always been a fan of the Gremlins characters. You can buy full size model kits of generic Gremlins. I purchased one a few year ago for my "man cave" in my basement. I have always wanted to have some of the other gremlins from the movie. There were four main Gremlins in the movie and all of the have very different personalities. I will eventually get around to making all of them, but this Instructable is about how I made the character Lenny. I used him this Halloween to hide in the window while i handed out candy.
I used the 6" toy version of Lenny for reference and modelling.
The toy is designed that the head can removed.
Once I removed the head I was able to set the head up for scanning.
Step 2: Scanning
There are many different type of scanners on the market and different ways of accessing 3D images. I have had great success using the scanner from Next Engine. It is fairly affordable and easy to use. You can scan small and large objects using this scanner. It also has a multi-drive so that you can scan all side of the object at once.
Once the scanner captures the images it easily aligns your data to give you a full 3D object that can be used in many different 3D programs.
If you don't have access to a 3D scanner the 123D Catch program works great to capture 3D data.
Step 3: Preparing 3D Data
I imported the scanned data into ZBrush to edit it and prepare it for printing. The printer that I am going to use does not allow me to print the entire model in one piece so i removed the ears so that the model can be created separately.
Once the model was imported i was able to refine the model and edit the details.
Step 4: 3D Printing Sculpture
I use the Dimension UPrint 3D printer to get my digital data into a model.
The first image is of the Printer used. There are many printers on the market as well as companies that you can have object print from.
You can scale your data so that it will print in different sizes. It is like having a replicator from Star Trek. I scaled up the original data so that I could have the head be about 12"X 6" and make it close to life size.
Step 5: Mold Print
Once I printed the model I found that I wanted to add more detail to the model. I figured the best way to achieve a a highly detailed sculpture was to re-mold my printed scan.
I made a quick mold of the head and ears using silicone and plaster bandage.
1. Brush silicone over model so that it is about 1/4 inch thick. I used Body Double silicone from Smooth-on. (It is a fast setting silicone that cures in about 10min)
2. Apply about 4 layers of plaster bandage on one side of the silicone. The plaster bandage is used as a jacket to hold the shape of the silicone.
3. Apply about four layers of plaster bandage to the other side of the silicone so that jacket will come apart and release from the mold. I applied some vaseline to the frist side of the mold so that it would come apart.
4. Do the same process for the ears or other parts
5. Once i had the molds i took out the Printed model and was able to cast into them.
6. Heat up some medium hardness Chavant clay crock pot (slow cooker)
7. When the clay is melted you can pour it directly into the molds
8. Put the filled mold into the freezer to cool down about half and hour.
9. Remove the clay casts and refine sculpture.
Step 6: Refine Sculpture
Once all the parts were cast in Chavant I was able to assemble them and refine the sculpture.
I put plastic disc into the eye so that the eyeballs would be perfectly round. The discs were molded from large marbles and then cast in plastic. I also put in acrylic teeth into the mouth.
You can add as much or as little detail to the sculpture as you want.
Step 7: Molding Final Sculpt
I used the same technique I used earlier to mold the final sculpture. But instead of using Body Double Silicone I use Mold Max 30 Silicone.
First I applied a detail coat over the entire sculpture and waited for it to cure. It could take up to 8 hours, but the cure time can be accelerated if you use Fast Cat from Smooth-on.
Once the detail coat is cured apply a thicker coat of silicone over the model. You can thicken the silicone using Thi-Vex. You can get the silicone to the consistency icing and cover the sculpture like icing a cake. Make the silicone about a 1/4 of an inch thick.
Then apply a plaster bandage jacket like before. If you what the jacket to last longer you can make it out of other products like Shell Shock from Smooth-on instead.
Step 8: Final Cast
I cast the model using Smooth Cast 300.
Smooth Cast 300 is a two part liquid plastic that sets in 5 min. It is clear when mix and cure to a white plastic.
I poured enough plastic into the mold so that I could slush the liquid around and coat the entire inside surface of the mold.
The first slush coat was not thick enough so I applied a second coat of plastic. Because the plastic is clear it is hard to see if I coated the entire thing so i tinted the second coat orange. Once i saw that the entire inside was covered in orange plastic I knew that I had a complete coat of plastic over the entire mold.
I was able to remove the plastic from the mold in about 15min.
You can see the orange coming through the white plastic is some spots. It shows that my first coat of plastic was not thick enough in places and needed to be coated again.
Step 9: Painting
I primed the plastic with primer from Home Depot and then coated it with a base colour.
I used an airbrush with acrylic paints to add skin details, some of the spots were hand painted with a brush and acrylic paint. I hand painted the eyes. ( I might get around to putting glass eyes into the model in the future to make them more realistic)
Step 10: Final Head
You can see the size difference between the original toy and the new casting.
I only use the head to make him look like he has looking out the window at the Trick or Treaters.
I am going to make a body for him so that he can stand on the front lawn next year.
If i was a better sculptor i could have just sculpted a life size Gremlin with out scanning or printing anything. But I wanted to show what can be done with some cool technology that is available today.
Step 11: Products
Smooth Cast 300
Mold Max 30
So Strong Tint
Art Supply Store
Air Brush Paint (acrylic)
There are many others:
You can also get things printed from companies for example http://www.123dapp.com
Next Engine https://www.nextengine.com
Not including the machines and programs the head cost under $80 to make in materials. I can now cast as many as I want and have an army of Lenny Gremlins.