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Carl Mustaine
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I have done a few searches on controls and there seem to be a whole variety of ways to animate a figure. The main two are for the mouth and eyes .

My figure has the mouth control on the right hand side (operated with the index finger) and the eyes with the thumb (up and down). Other figures I have seen have the eyes with a slider on the front for the eyes and the mouth is operated by thumb control.

Is one easier than the other? Is there any standard?

Thanks for any advice.

Carl
tacrowl
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Carl,
Most figure builders have their own way of doing things. I've got a Payes figure, a Kem Poyner figure and a BigHead by McRay, all have different control set ups.

I don't believe one is easier than the other, it is a matter of practicing with the figure so you become comfortable. The more animations, the harder they are to work.

Sorry I can't be more helpful there.
Tom
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Servante
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I agree with Tom. I have four figures (five if you count my original now-retired Louie). They all have different control set ups. I'm used to using the thumb for the mouth, only because Louie was set up that way...but, depending upon the figure (and, sometimes, which side s/he sits on), I use different fingers.
Some of mine have only the mouth and headstick. Some have eyes, eyelids, eyebrows, etc. It's pretty much whatever the figure builder wanted to do.
-Philip
Servante
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Oh...and the Wanlu Duck...but he's direct-drive.
Bob Baker
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Not too much to add here, but I am always amazed how I can go from figure to figure with different controls without missing a beat. I bet that's true of everyone. It's not much different from switching voices.

Bob
Servante
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Yep.
Bob, you just reminded me of a story Mark Evanier tells about Paul Winchell.
Evanier was directing a cartoon, and he'd hired Winchell to do a couple of the characters.
They were preparing to do the table read when Evanier noticed that there was a scene where Winchell's two characters had a conversation.
He apologized and said (approximately),"Paul, I'm sorry, I've got you talking to yourself in this scene. Do you think you can manage it?"
And then he realized who he was talking to.
Bob Baker
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Great story! Thanks for the laugh.

B
Carl Mustaine
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Thanks for your posts!

The reason I was asking is that I am finding the figure difficult to use. While the mouth is fine using the index finger (and pretty comfortable), it is the eye control that I am struggling with. The eye control is like a small brass hoop on the end of a lever (it is the maher style).

This figure has the same control stick:

http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE-MAHER-PRO-VE......0wt_1167

If I hold the control stick so that the mouth actions is comfortable, I struggle to reach the eye control. It is like the eye control needs to be a bit lower down (which would make it easier to reach with my thumb). I was wondering if anyone had ever had a similar problem (and how they corrected it!)

Thanks for any suggestions

Regards

Carl
Servante
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You know...it looks to me like a left-handed figure.
It would be hard to reach the eye control if it were right-handed.
Wonder if you can use the ring to drop down an extension. Something as simple as a ring from the ring. Seems like that might solve it.
-Philip
Carl Mustaine
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It hadn't occurred to me that it may be left handed!

Is is possible to convert to right handed? It was made by Clinton Detweiler

Actually, I turned the figure around so the controls were reversed and it still didn't feel that comfortable (although it was better). It is the little ring that your finger sits in that is the problem.

Does anyone modify the stick control, or add anything to make the control stick easier to handle? The stick diameter is 3/4 inch and feels a little puny. Is there anything I can wrap around it for a better grip?

Once again, any suggestions appreciated!

Carl
tacrowl
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Carl,
You could build up the stick with cloth gaffer tape then wrap the tape with a leather wrap similar to a tennis racket to protect against sweat.

It sounds like you've already made some modifications, but if you aren't comfortable with changing things yourself, contact Clinton through his blog. I'm certain he'd be willing to make the changes you want for a very reasonable fee.

Tom
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Carl Mustaine
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Tom,

I haven't modified the figure in any way. I meant I had turned the figure head around so the face was at the back and then used the controls for a bit. It feels a little easier to use this way!

I will persevere for a while and will look at contacting Clinton a bit later. I would like to get a better grip on the headstick, so I may try your gaffer tape idea!

Regards

Carl
creativemac
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Carl,

here's something I did for a headstick that was too small for my hand.

Donald

Click here to view attached image.
Donald Woodford

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Servante
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What is that? Pipe wrap? That's a great idea.

Philip
Servante
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I went back and looked at the picture again, Carl...and sat, bent forward, wiggling my fingers in the air. Fortunately, no one but the dog saw me.
It still looks (To me, at least...and I AM left-handed) like it might be set up left-handed. The reason turning the head around backwards and trying it would be better but still not right would be, I think, because both controls have their pivot point on the front of the stick. Turning things around moves the pivot point.
Clinton and his son are both friendlier than you can even imagine and Clinton, though he is "retired," hasn't stopped repairing and repainting figures. Retiring from what you love isn't really retiring...because you wind up using your spare time to do what you love. Just less stress, I guess.
But I still think you might experiment with a larger ring hung lower on the lever...maybe tied into place or something, just to see if it isn't a bit more comfortable that way.
Let us know what you finally do!

-Philip
Carl Mustaine
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Donald,

Just out of curiosity, is your figure left or right handed? What finger or thumb do you use to operate the eyes? That looks even more difficult than the controls on mine!

I saw some of that foam pipe lagging last time I was in a hardware store. It was 99 pence ($1.50) for about 6 feet (enough to last a lifetime!)

Thanks

Carl
Servante
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I looked at the picture again, Carl. It looks like the eye control is on a heavy wire...like coat hanger wire (?) I have a Lovik head here to my right that I've been slowly converting ("Living mouth" to standard "slot mouth" and changing it's skin tone from African American to Caucasian).
The eyes are on a heavy wire.
But BOTH the mouth control and eye control are attached to the same pivot point on the headstick, with washers separating them.
MAYBE it's possible to simply move your eye control down to the same pivot point as the mouth. Rather than screw around with replacing the rod itself, you MIGHT be able to simply add a small extension of coat hanger wire (might have to cut off your rod a bit)by simply creating a loop of hanger wire that bonds with a loop on the rod coming down so that it's even with the mouth control, with the same pivot point.
(Maybe I'm complicating this more than I need to, eh?)

-Philip
tacrowl
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The pipe wrap is a great idea Donald!
Tom
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creativemac
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Actually is FOAM wrapped around the headstick. Used contact cement to glue together. Pipe wrap used for insulation will also work. Used what I had on hand.

Figure used with RIGHT hand, Index finger controls mouth. Figure used with LEFT hand, thumb controls the mouth.
Donald Woodford

"Invite a Dummy, to your next function."
http://www.woodynfriends.com
Carl Mustaine
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Phillip,

You are a genius! What I did was to unscrew the brass lever which controls the mouth, and move it up and put it under the eye control lever using the same long screw, with a little piece of plastic between them (so both controls are on the same pivot point). All I had to do then was adjust the mouth string length

This has raised the control height a couple of inches which feels more comfortable when fitted into the body of the figure. Now I just need some padding and I may be sorted! I think I may also desolder the brass ring - a flat lever may be even better.

I have emailed Clinton a few times recently and he has always gotten back to me. He seems a really nice guy, who I can't see "retiring" from the vent scene any time soon. Once was to confirm if my figure was actually one of his! He took one look at it and identified it down to the year it was made and the clothes and hair the figure was wearing!

Donald - Thanks for that. It just proves that there is NO standard!

Thanks again

Carl
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