06/14/99- So okay... you're laughing, right? This crummy sculpture doesn't look anything like Nicol Williamson's Merlin from the 1981 movie Excalibur. Even if you ignore the lopsidedness, the rough finish, all the pits, and the fact that one eye's higher than the other, it just doesn't look like him at all...

Yep, that's what I thought too.

I didn't sculpt him with a moustache & beard because I wanted to add that hairstuff to the casting after I've painted it.: That makes it difficult tell when you're sculpting in the ballpark. Shave off all your hair if you don't believe me, but it's true-- people just don't look the same when you remove all their facial hair.

I was curious though, so I added crude digital representations with Photoshop. Hmmmmm... to me, it does seem bear a vague resemblance, which gives me the signal that it's okay to proceed with the cleanup. I hope that the real-world addition of this stuff has the same effect. We'll see... (I've been humbled by that before, and that's the chance you take when you do "in-progress" stuff.)


Merlin with King Arthur, from Boorman's Excalibur (1981) 1/6th scale custom doll/figure

06/19/99- After reworking the eyes & nose, detailing the ears and working on the finish, I made this casting & painted it. To me, it seems close to the actor's features, although one could say that guys with beards & moustaches all look kinda similar (like humans with heads). Obviously, the headpiece isn't finished. Since I have another spare "Palpatine robe" (Hey, you get 2 per figure!), I don't think I'm going to go for movie-fidelity in the costuming-- like I care! It's just one of those wizardish ratty black cloak things, and the exposed neck area of the movie's costuming isn't ideal for Joe's exposed neck articulation. It's been hard enough fighting the "yawn-factor" of this project, so I think I'll just work on his headpiece and make a staff and call him 'done'.

I haven't done any casting in months (it's not my favorite thing to do) but it was a necessary evil in this case. I guess you get sloppy and take shortcuts when you're rusty and doing a small job, but I was quickly reminded of how you shouldn't! While mixing the components I stirred a bit too aggressively, and the stuff splashed up out of the mixing cup-- all over my hands, I felt a few drops hit my face, and a few drops in my hair. Like a idiot, I wasn't wearing eye protection either. I couldn't feel where the stuff splashed because it's like room-temperature kerosine. A lot of thoughts go very quickly through your mind-- first of all, you realize that although the stuff is wet and can be wiped off, it doesn't remain that way for long. Secondly, even if you wipe it off, a residue will remain and harden. It's as tenacious a skin-bonder as superglue. Thirdly, if you were to get it in your eyes, what could you do? Wash it out with... acetone? Noooooo, according to the directions, you're supposed to flush your eyes with cool water for 15 minutes and seek immediate medical attention!

Of course, I didn't think about reading the directions since that's what I do after-the-fact and it's too late. Instead, I trusted in the futility of immediate action, and worked on through to get the casting-- then scoped out the health situation. Other than bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep, I think everything's cool. But hey, I'd gladly sacrifice my eyesight for a funky head casting of Merlin... Wouldn't any idiot?

The moral of the story is to TAKE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS SERIOUSLY! Know what to do before the "it'll never happen" stuff happens. They don't put those warnings on products to achieve an artistic balance of black & white space!

Merlin's staff, from Boorman's Excalibur (1981) 1/6th scale hand-made doll/figure

An appropriate use of Magic Sculp, don't you think? Unfortunately, it's risky to use heat to accelerate the cure if it's stuck to styrene, so everything gets finished & painted later. (BTW, I realized that his hair was actually reddish and not brown...)

Merlin, from Boorman's Excalibur (1981) 1/6th scale doll/figure

Necromancer pissing contest: Not bad, but how tight are the groups at 100 yards?