Intro: The Executioner - a Surreal Piece
This piece was inspired by the mechanistic hidden world that "The Chief" sees in the book "One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest" and has some influence from the creatures in "Pan's Labrynth". The Executioner is the first in a series of surreal characters I'm planning and may try to incorporate into one large diorama in the future. A sort of mechanized surreal underworld. The Executioner smashes the souls of the damned. Exactly who or what will damn them in this crazy little world I haven' figured out yet, but I'm sure it will come to me eventually. That being said let us begin...
Step 1: Tools & Materials
- Bench vise
- Work piece protectors (optional)
- Dremel with cut-off wheels and grinding stone
- Dust collection system (optional)
- Drill with drill and driver bits
- Drill bit sizer
- Wire brush
- 2 small spring clamps
- 1 headless action figure with hammer (left over from my Halloween Egg)
- 1 Plastic gear
- 2 plastic eyes
- 1 copper thumb screw
- 1 small philips head screw
- Super glue (liquid type)
- Epoxy putty
- Spray paint (primer, silver, gold, clear)
Step 2: Straigtening Things Out
The first thing I did was straighten the handle of the hammer. The handle at some point in the manufacturing or packaging process had become bowed. The souls of the damned don't take a tormentor with defective tools seriously. In order to rectify this I heated the handle with my torch and clamped it in my bench vise to straighten it out. I had the work piece protectors in place on the vise so a pattern wouldn't be transferred to the handle. The slight scorching on the handle will be removed in the next step.
Step 3: Erase the Marks
Since the hammer and figure are mass produced plastic they will have mold marks and uneven edges from mass assembly. In order intimidate damned souls we can't have an executioner who looks like he was slapped together in a factory. Plus since he began life as a construction worker we'll need to remove some of the molded details.
First we'll use a dremel and cut off wheels to remove the base of the eyes to make the back of the eyes flat. Use spring clamps to hold onto the eyes so you can keep your fingers clear of the dremel. Once the eyes are done use the dremel to remove any unwanted features. In my case I removed the belt radio and shoulder microphone.
Once the gross material removal is done use sandpaper to finish the areas and remove the mold marks as well. This is also a good way to remove any scorching from the last step.
Step 4: Strike a Pose and Hold It
With the marks removed it is time to decide how we want to pose our executioner. I went with a forward leaning imposing posture. However, given the mass produced origin of our executioner he is unable to hold a pose, and we'll need him to do that for statuesque dignity. I used super glue lock his joints in place. Make sure you use the liquid super glue and not the gel. The liquid super glue will be pulled into the small spaces of the joints by capillary action.
Step 5: Fill in the Gaps
Once the super glue has dried we will need to fill in the gaps of the joints and assembly points. Fill in these holes with two part epoxy putty. Wait for it to dry and then sand it down. Then repeat until the filled gaps are even with the figure surfaces.
Step 6: Base Preparation
With the gaps filled we can prepare the base that will support the figure. I chose to use a plastic gear to fit with the mechanized theme. However, the gear was attached to an axle that didn't want to separate easily. So I clamped the axle in my bench vise and used a hacksaw to cut through the axle and free the gear. Then I washed the gear so the paint would adhere better.
I placed the figure on the base to determine how I wanted to position him. Once I determined his position I checked the diameter of the screw that will hold the figure to the base with my handy drill bit sizer. Then I drilled a hole in the gear for the screw. With that done I held the figure so that the heel of his foot covered the hole in the gear. I used an awl to mark the position of the screw on the foot. Then I drilled a hole in his foot to accept the screw. Make sure you drill deep enough to accommodate the screw.
Step 7: Painting Time
The major structural modififcations are done so we can begin painting. First prime the gear, hammer and figure. With that done paint the pieces whatever color you'd like. I chose silver for the gear and hammer; gold for the figure.
Step 8: Clean the Head
With the rest of the figure under control we need to clean the head up. Place the thumb screw in vinegar. I let it soak overnight and then used a wire brush to remove as much of the surface dirt as possible.
Step 9: Assembly
Now we can put the executioner together. Drill the screw into the base and then into the hole in heel. Then thread the thumb screw into the neck hole. Turn it until it hits the central screw that holds the body together. If you hear cracking back the screw off a half turn so you don't split our sealed up seams and joints. Use clear spray paint to seal the figure. Once that is done use E-6000 to glue the eyes to the wings of the thumb screw.
I made the mistake of sealing the figure after I glued the eyes on which made them foggy. Oh well. Live and learn.