I have been practicing sculpting heads for my projects for a few weeks now and decided it was time to take another attempt at doing a full figure.....
the proper way to go would be to sketch it out first, but I like to just start building and see where it go's.
I tend to over engineer my armatures, and solder the main connection points.....since it will be built up with foil then detailed with "super Sculpey" the armature doesn't have to be as detailed as I would usually start with.
since i don't know what I'm making exactly I allowed for an extra long neck and something that could end up being a tail.
Step 1: Adding to Armature
I soldered some pre made fore arms and hands that may not be to proper scale with the rest of the armature.
(I made these arms as an experiment in October and they sat on my work bench waiting for a project to go on).
they are 22 gauge wire wrapped over an armature of 18 gauge thermostat wire, it was then repeatedly dipped in liquid latex and allowed to dry then painted with Acrylic paint. Not sure if they will take a layer of Sculpey and fire without cracking but it may turn out good (stay tuned).
RE: soldering....an iron would take too long, and a MAPP gas torch would be too hot for the small scale of the copper wire.....I found that a Wall-Mart crembrule torch (spell-check was not helping.....ask someone in the kitchen tools aisle...it's pronounced Crim.broolay) produces a reasonably hot flame (plus the ramakin's make nice sherbet / dipping sauce bowls)...much less expensive than dedicated micro torches from hardware stores, and more dependable then crack pipe lighters from dollar stores / flea markets.
attached "very basic" feet to the armature....though the completed project may not be standing I always do a center of gravity / balance test as I find this a good way to judge the structural integrity.
while soldering the feet / shins in place I also added some simple wire extensions off the shoulders and lower rib cage (out the back)....I don't intend to attach wings (or some sort of equipment package), but if I do, I'll have a way to attach them (otherwise I can just nip them off and detail over them).
Step 2: First Firing
decided to take a chance with the firing...
built up the armature with wrapped / balled up Aluminum foil (did not take a photo of that step)
applied the first layer of Sculpey. Since there was so much surface area I formed the torso and upper arms and legs and gave it a short firing at lower than recommended temperature....see next step.
Step 3: Aaargh.....possible "fail" Point
made foil "super structure" for the fore arms and shins,
applied a coating of the beige Super Sculpey,
covered the armatures of the hands, and made basic feet over the existing armature.
fired the whole thing a second time....
2 issues appeared.
1)... a substantial crack at the right arm elbow
2)... with the added weight and re-positioning of the foot pads the center of gravity is off and it isn't balancing correctly (try's to roll over onto it's left side)
....hoping these 2 problems can be corrected by gluing it down in position on some sort of display stand (and disguising or incorporating the crack into the detailing)....
I have left the armature wires coming out of the back to attach wings (?) and I decided to make the head separately and attach it to the existing armature. I cut off the tail armature because it just didn't look right.
Step 4: Hands
the intention was to to trim around and do detail work on the hands and fingers, but the Sculpey was not "solid or thick enough" to do any fine detail sculpting.
removed Sculpey from fingers and palms....can try to make them more "presentable" with epoxy putty during the next phase of detailing...
Step 5: First Detailing
repaired problem area's with epoxy putty.
applied a coat of coffee latte acrylic paint as a paint base...(note: in the pictures above the paint is still wet, is a "satin / flat" paint and should dry lighter and less glossy)
the proportions are off (arms too long, ass too big, etcetera) but I have an idea that "could be" sort of cool....or a total fail.
where I'm going with the head is still up in the air......stay tuned...
Step 6: Experiment
I wasn't loving the proportions I ended up with.... so I decided before I work on the head I would do some body details.
wanted to try covering up some of the detail issues with "hair" (maybe Wookie / skunk / Honey badger..?)
new respect for doll makers.....attaching hair is very labor intensive....attached 2" lengths of inner filaments from paracord to the back of the project with super glue.....brushed it out to separate the filaments.
took 2 hours to complete 2 rows......going to look for an alternative approach for this.
I found some (quite nice) fake fur to detail this, but I don't want to have it look like a figure wearing a fur suit....I'm going to work on another figure as a "muscle study" and get comfortable with the placement of the muscles on the arms and legs and attach the fur in segments to simulate the muscle groups (minor adjustments in the "nap" of the fur to accentuate the effect)....this may take a while...
not loving the stripe / mohawk.....and the fur (though high quality) is coming off like a bad gorilla suit so I'm researching "muscle locations" for the arms and legs to simulate a more organic look (it will be worth the delay....I hope).
1/7/2016 (Happy New Year)
I keep getting distracted and not returning to this project...I applied more fur, but I'm beginning to realize that this is going to require some creative "hair dressing"....the fur is quite thick and is really starting to look like the figure is wearing a fur suit instead of being a hairy creature....I'll break out the beard trimmer and see what i can do, but social / family obligations are making it difficult to get back to this.