Saturday, April 09, 2011

This Weekend's Project: Cleanup

 Never officially finished the Demoman and posted any of the results on this blog. Been overdue for two years. Wasn't entirely happy with how it came out, but I had a chance to redo some of the problems I really didn't like about the first attempt. It's a good opportunity to share what I've learned during the process.

First, I didn't like how I did the head. Plain generic expression. I carved a slight grin to his face. Can't say it's my best work, but it helps a lot. Not bothering to completely redo the head this time. It wasn't as bad as the first Medic's head. That was horrible. This was one of the later sculpts that wasn't entirely made of suck.

 When I started out, I was still using some lackluster materials to accomplish the job. Notably belts made of black construction paper fastened together with a wire hook that was neither strong or pleasant to look at. Had a chance to correct that by making some fake leather belts. Picked up an imitation leather wallet and stripped it apart for materials. They're just long enough to make a belt, with some extra length to it. In this case, they were enough to go from the Y shape fork in the back to the front belt. It being vinyl, it was easier to assemble than regular cloth. I had the lovely option of either sewing the belt straps together, or just using hot glue to get them into place. Either method provided a satisfactory result. If you're trying to avoid seamwork, a thin application of hot glue will work. Just don't expect stellar results in extreme heat. Or leave him out in the sun.

  The grenades on his vest were made of Sculpey. Bad idea. They were heavy, and not to mention, didn't glue well to anything. I had made sleeves around the thick middle section, and glued those to the straps. Now with better tech, I made the grenades out of 110lb cardstock rolls that are much lighter and more willing to be hot glued into place. I did experiment with fabric glue, but that wasn't strong enough to hold that into place. It may have been if I had let the fabric glue cure for more than an hour. I wasn't taking any chances.

The smiley face was originally paper taped to his crotch. I guess that's how it's supposed to be. It doesn't provide a good result though in 1:6 scale as the tape degrades. For a permanent solution, I glued the paper drawing to a small piece of white cloth, left 2-3mm of cloth over the top, and sewed it to the pants. Fabric glue in this case worked wonders. Don't even bother trying using regular glue with fabric.

The pants themselves, I altered so they weren't as loose at the waist. Not sure what I was thinking at the time, but they were obscenely baggy. As a result, he had loose rapper pants that constantly needed pulling up. Unfortunately, unlike rappers, he didn't have underwear. That was a dead giveaway that his body wasn't actually black either... I added velcro to his fly and narrowed the waist to allow for less mishaps involving pants. Because a drunken man and pants never tend to be good friends.

I learned long ago that you cannot paint directly on rubber. Well, you can, but it doesn't stick. It rubs off easily and does nothing useful for something that will receive heavy play. However, I did learn that if you put kneadatite over rubber, you can cheat and make it paintable. It does add a ridiculous amount of thickness to the medium, which in the case of a flexible rubber hand, any thickness is ridiculous. The hands were immobile and not even worth trying to use to hold anything. Method #2 to the rescue! With the power of enamel paint, you can paint rubber, just not well. If you cover it with a layer of Loc-tite or super glue of any sort, it'll form a nice solid layer that's thin but still somewhat ok. I haven't fully tested the durability of it, but it's an improvement. You may ask "why not just buy a body of the correct skin color?" I'll reply with "This body cost $5 and the correct one costs $30." That body also requires a totally different head. I'm not making another head. Inverse Michael Jackson it is!

Now that the Demoman's officially done, I'm liking him a little better than how it was originally. I didn't make many photos with him in it due to his hands being a liability in holding props. And that he looked mediocre. Now, I can close the project also officially get rid of it for extra shelf space. It's finally in a state that I'd consider "presentable" and safe for someone to handle.

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