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POSTING 1, 05/04/98: This is a slightly-different/a-lot-the-same project. In some ways, it's very similar to the Colonial Marine Project, in that you sculpt the armor, make castings and attach them over the figure. It's also another big-boobed gal figure, which this web site seems to have in great abundance... top-heavy, you might say (hyuk, hyuk)... What makes this different from the CM project is that the armor is cast in a soft material, and meant to be the creature's skin.

We jump to the first picture after quite a bit of work has already been done. I'd already converted the Cotswold Joe body into its female form; this was no simple task. The traces of red around the legs are my experiments with Bondo Spot Putty (it sands easily (probably because it's too soft)). Cots bodies are pretty good candidates for my perverse brand of toy abuse, but they do have some anatomical peculiarities which are challenging to fix.
This shows the clay torso skin taking shape. I changed a few things after this & saved the hip design for later. My wife was quite astounded at the uh...robustness of this sculpt and recommended that I at least make them the same size. Good advice.

The back of a figure is difficult to work on because it's anticlimactic-- you know that it takes a back seat to the front. Overall, I drew from some familiar inspirations: Aliens, Species, Guyver & that Borg hook-thing again. (I copied the boob design from my "Princess Pneuma" sculpture.) The crotch-piece is really just a clay "doodle", and the striated stomach muscle is similar to that of Species' Sil and the various Guyver creatures. The back attempts to resolve some of the design issues of the front and introduces some of its own, in the spikes which are sculpted to look like they're poking through the muscle layer. I left the design of the butt area ambiguous because I'm not sure if I want her to have a tail.

The latex castings were tinted with acrylic paint. I used latex for this because it's so cheap and doesn't require the elaborate mixing & weighing that urethanes do. At the same time, I'm fully aware that latex turns to gunky goo after not too long (10 years?). I'm hoping to deal with it by painting the castings-- from what I've seen, painting latex protects it from humidity and preserves it somewhat. Que sera, sera...
The shoulderpads are another design doodle, a real difficulty, because the design keeps changing. You don't want to change your mind after you've baked the clay. The look is sort of Maria robot-ish, mixed with some Alien. I'm considering whether to give the pads a more veined or chitin-ish look. Although you can't see them, the back of the pads have a slightly "Zeiram 2"-ish look.

At this point, there's still a lot to do. I'm trying to think a few steps ahead, and wondering whether I'm going to lop off the figure's boobs so I can foam fill 'em--y'know, stuff like that. I guess she does need a head, but I'll probably save that for last. I've discovered that if I don't, I get bored working on the figure.

The big disadvantage of designing as you go is that you don't know where you're going (too well). On the other hand, what you do is what you get, so your vision & reality can't get too far out of whack.

--05/04/98


POSTING 2, 05/14/98: The old ISP's had some problems with their web server for the last couple of days, not that there's been anything exciting to post here. Work on the project plods along, and I'm finding it difficult to force myself to work on it. At this point, I've got green latex castings for the body & arms, but I'm trying to come up with a design for the legs. Big problem: When you design stuff on the fly, it may end up looking funky. I'm disappointed that the design as a whole doesn't do anything for me, despite liking certain parts of it. I look at the mishmash of design elements and can see that I was thinking Boobs on that day, Guyver on that day, Alien on that day, Robot on that day, and so on... As much as I hate to admit it, it probably is a lot better to do your designwork on paper first! Too late! It's partly due to the way I've had to work on this thing, in pieces. A part is sculpted then baked. If symmetry is necessary, then the other piece is sculpted and baked. Molds are made. The clay pattern is usually damaged during demolding. Parts are cast, but can't be test fitted on the figure, because it's being used to sculpt on. You can't see what the whole figure really looks like, and you can't go back and change anything (without wasting a bunch of work & materials). So it's become an ugly Frankenstein-like creation. I'm sure you don't want to read any more of my Giger-esque angst & whining though, so I'll change the subject...

If you were curious about what an animation armature looks like, here's what Armaverse's looks like when you use parts from their "Humature" & "Armasaur" kits together. Ideally, you'd cover it with clay or create a suit skin over it. Although it's articulated out the wazoo, it may be too much of a good thing-- the joints go all over the place, sloppy like! It does hold poses, but because it's quite heavy, adjusting one part may cause another to go "soft", requiring more adjustments. It seems like it may be excessive & extravagant for a toy, considering the cost (>$100) and the fact that it seems to require so much "attention". I'd hate to seal it up in a latex suit and then need to adjust the tension of a joint!

By the way, Burman Industries now has a web site, even though it's not finished yet and you still have to call your orders in. Anyway, they sell lotsa exotic Hollywood creature effects stuff, for people that like to make that sort of thing. Unfortunately, some of it can't be shipped, and the special packaging charge for some mildly dangerous stuff is pretty steep.

...more...


Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM