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Topic: Altering Existing Figures
Message: Posted by: Avrakdavra (Aug 10, 2004 11:34AM)
I am wondering if it is possible to acquire a "basic," standard vent figure and make alterations to its physiognomy using materials such as latex prosthetics, paperclay, etc. to customize a character. The basic mechanisms would not be touched--maybe adding bushy eyebrows, wrinkles, a nosejob...

Anyone with experience and/or advice?

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 10, 2004 12:24PM)
Fairly easy to do if you use the right secret stuff.

Take a look at and experiment with SCULPY 'Bake And Bend". Awesome new material that you can sculpt right on the figure...carefully remove it...bake it and then adhere it back on the figure ala a Prosthetic.
Instant new nose etc. The stuff is flexible like rubber but seemingly indestructable and doesn't go to hell over time due to heat etc like latex rubber would.

It takes any kind of paint...even Crayola Water Colors! (spray fixative)

I've used Sculpy products for many years and this new stuff is incredible...hard to come by though unless it's the 2 oz. size...it will mis though with the Sculpy Primo and Scupy 3 which comes in pund blocks.

You need tips, PM me.

Message: Posted by: Avrakdavra (Aug 10, 2004 12:54PM)
Thanks, Doug, I will.

I am a longtime user of polymer clay and am always curious to see what sorts of properties will be developed in new product lines.

Message: Posted by: damien666 (Aug 10, 2004 01:53PM)
When Academy Award Winning Special Effects Artist Dick Smith was working as the NBC Studio Make-up head back in the golden age, he altered one of Paul Winchells dummies by applying prosthetics to it just as you would an actor. There are a ton of materials to do this: foam latex, silicone,all sorts of 'Special Effects' related materials or sculpey as listed above. Good luck.
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Aug 16, 2004 12:58AM)
You already got several good advise!
I added a moustache to one of my figure, and it change him a lot.

If you willing to work more, you can buy a pre installed head figure kit from Mr. William Anderson in WI, USA. You just add some wood dough and then paint the head.
Or if you can put the mechanic by yourself, you can also buy a kit from Mr. Mike Brose, http://puppetsnprops.homestead.com/HeadCastings.html

Good luck.

Budi Ha Ha
Message: Posted by: Matthew Kimbro (Mar 10, 2006 07:08AM)
The absolute BEST stuff to do a cosmetic alteration would be magic sculp.

You would simply drill some very small holes in the area that you want to modify. Apply the magicsculp (which is a two part epoxy). Sculp what you want. Sand, primer, paint, and you are done!

You could use a paper mache' mixture, but it isn't as durable as magicsculp. This stuff is the best for modifying figures, and heck - Robert McRay uses it as his sole medium for making the majority of his figures.

Go to http://www.magicsculp.com to place an order.

Message: Posted by: olivertwist (Mar 10, 2006 07:33AM)
Thanks for the tip on Magic Sculp. Like Doug I've been using Sculpey but this sounds great. I'll try it on the next project.

Message: Posted by: rickmorse (Mar 11, 2006 10:29AM)
Why not buy one of Mike Brose's head kits, then alter its appearance using any of the methods in Mike's book? It will be a LOT cheaper than buying a complete dummy!
Message: Posted by: Matthew Kimbro (Mar 13, 2006 08:32AM)
Great suggestion (for once, sheesh...)

Quite a few people have modified a Brose kit into their own custom character. The great thing about this method is that the hard work is done (sculpting, molding, casting, finding the pivot point for the mouth, etc). You can put any number of movements into one (I've seen one that had as many movements as a McElroy figure) and they give you a great base to start from.

Wow Rick. With my elaboration, your suggestion was better than I thought! <g>
Message: Posted by: ChrisJ (Mar 15, 2006 10:20PM)
ROFL Matt! I have Mikes Book and it is a great resource. haven't gone the premade parts yet but have toyed with the idea. The simple fact, like you said Matt, that he found the pivot points is worth the cost of admission right there!

Chris Johnson
Message: Posted by: DaiBato (Jan 4, 2007 04:12AM)
On 2006-03-11 11:29, rickmorse wrote:
Why not buy one of Mike Brose's head kits, then alter its appearance using any of the methods in Mike's book? It will be a LOT cheaper than buying a complete dummy!
[/quote]Where can I find a Mike Brose head kit?

Dai Bato
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jan 4, 2007 11:17AM)
Message: Posted by: pixsmith (Jan 7, 2007 12:47AM)
Puppeteees have for years used wood dough (DAP actually works OK now) but it can take a log time to fully cure. I have some heads cast in plastic wood that are going on 60 years old that still have a slight 'curing' odor to them. It is a great medium for smallet things though, and it does wind up being relatively flexible. It's also good for filling sometime.

Puppeteer Frank Paris (thinking ahead to the finishing now) used a formula of (and I think rick can correct this if I am wrong) 1/3 acetone, 1/3 lacquer thinner and 1/3 plastic wood that was mixed, and then painted over the joints and seams to fill them . Sanding and painting finished it off.

if you use, this, please use a respirator, do it outdoors, mix only what you will use, and don't drink it. It is good once you are at the "repainting and finishing up "phase.

I haven't tried the magisculp, but I definitely want to look into it. One thing to remember is that if you are adding anyting of substance, it's a good idea to drill anchor holes for the material to help adhesion.


Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 7, 2007 09:29AM)
Don't forget Milliput.


Tell them where in the world you are and they will tell you your nearest supplier.

I always use it for repairs, alterations and to model features. It's a two part epoxy putty that gives you a couple of hours to mould and work and it will smooth off with water to a perfect finish.

it will be hard overnight for finishing the next day.

You can sand, cut, drill, tap, just about anything and it comes in different finishes and colours.
Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Jan 14, 2007 05:58PM)
Ventriloquist figuremakers in the old days just used paper mache... and you'll be surprised to know that many of these figures still look like new today! I guess the trick is how to make the right paper mache mixture. If you do it right, it is as durable (or more durable) than other hard figure materials. Len Insull, the great figuremaker, did a lot of outstanding figures using paper mache.

Having said that, I found another great medium to alter/create a figure. It's called Paperclay. It's the modern paper mache. You may want to google it.
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (May 9, 2007 08:25AM)

Im planning to turn an Axtell VINYL Orangutan into a female ape...red toenails...fingernails...red lips (and maybe a hair clip)

What would be the best kind of paint to use? :)

Or do you think I don't need to paint it to make it look female?...maybe just add a flower on her head or something :)

I think NOT having it painted might be safer in case the act does not work out...:)

In any case, would anyone know the best paint to use on a Vinyl Ape


Message: Posted by: Wanlu (May 10, 2007 08:04AM)
Steve Axtell already sent me an Email re the what paint to use :)

Thanks Steve :)