Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Dragon is taking a bit longer then expected. I think I'm looking at well over two hundred hours if not over three hundred.  I'm nervous to put forth another expected finish date, as this has been one of the more ambitious projects I've taken on. I will post updates here as I go and hopefully it will be ready to cast some time this summer.  I thought I would go ahead and put up some of the early progress shots.

I started off by cutting a six by six inch wax base and building a thick gauge steel wire armature. Here is a shot of the initial armature with a nickel for scale.  This turned out not to be enough support, after I got most of the wax on.  I've not worked this large in wax before and it supports itself less well then I expected it to. I think I was expecting it to act like greenware ceramic, when the wax was cold.

After I got the armature together I covered it in victory brown wax, causing it to look a bit like an undead chicken. Given recent events I'm glad I went with wax over sculpey in this case, as I'm intending to cast this guy in the platinum-based silicone rather then tin. The reason for the platinum is the shelf life, tin-based silicone gets funny and fragile after a couple of years and as detail is going to be very important with this mold I would like something that will not be prone to losing bits as it gets older.

Once I'd added about 8 pounds of wax I started to have a balance problem. I didn't have the wings on yet to create counter balance so the dragon got really top heavy. I tried adding an additional external support, this did well when it was not being worked on. I needed something  larger to stabilize it while I was working.
In the end I grabbed an old lazy Susan and drilled a one inch hole in it. I then bolted a large treaded rod to it to create a back iron. I liked the idea of a reusing this device as a back iron for other large pieces, so I decided to make the horizontal bar adjustable. I got some cast metal electrical clamps that had threading running horizontally. Next time I will just want to work the back iron into the initial armature.  I think that will be a lot stronger if it is solidly attached, but it was a little late to do that with this dragon. Here is a close up of the adjustable horizontal bar.

Once, the dragon was nicely stable I started adding finer muscle structure. I added the taxidermy eyes as I would then know what size I needed for the casts. It is also really nice to have the eyeballs difficult to damage while you are working on the lids. This applies to claws and teeth as well, though I did not add pre-harden claws and teeth in this case.

Most of my time so far has been in the detailing. It has been about ten percent building up the form and ninety percent detailing.  This is generally not the case with most sculptures. I blame the scales, so many scales.  I will likely be working on this guy at the next convention, which will be Duckon.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Upsetting Sculpey

I recently purchased a new box of super sculpey, the normal pink stuff.  I just used it to make some molds of smaller stuff with platinum based silicone. I lost every single mold I used the new sculpey with the silicone just didn't cure where it touched the clay. I wonder if they added sulfur to the formula. This isn't the first time I've used super sculpey with this silicone, so it was just the new batch. I noticed it was softer then usual and smelled a little different but I didn't really question it until all of my molds failed. Not that it smells like sulfur. Has anyone else had this problem? 

Sorry about the long time between posts. I'm going to put up an update on the Dragon shortly. It is taking a bit longer then I expected.