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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Need new Vent figure head (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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REV BILL
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Glen Burnie Maryland
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I bought a "Wubble" from Craig Lovik years ago. The latex in the head/neck have deteriorated. I contacted Keith Lovik but he returned only one of my several E-Mails.I contacted Steve Axtell and he said it needs to be replaced. He could do it but it would be very very expensive and advised to get a new figure.I have 2 of Steve's puppets but my physical condition makes it very difficult to operate them.So here is my question. Where can I get a vent figure that has the controls on the stick with a latex type head? I love Clinton Detweilers work but his figures are wood. Please help.
Specializing in Family Entertainment,Gospel,Comedy and Educational programs for over 30 years.(Order of Merlin)
Dickens & Dave
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North Central Florida
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Wow, you may have a problem there. I'm pretty sure that Lovik's Wubbles were pretty unique, I don't recall ever seeing any other latex figures with a headstick besides those.
While I knew a couple people who had them at one time, I've never got to look at one up close to see how it works, so I can even suggest how to maybe transfer the controls from that head to another.
Steve might have thought you wanted him to make a duplicate of the figure as it is - maybe ask if he could transfer the controls from your wubble head to one of his puppet heads, maybe just doing that wouldn't be as expensive. Can't hurt to ask.
And maybe contact Clinton, maybe he could do that, transfer the controls to one of the Axtells you have.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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Dave,

We have begun experimenting with some of what you are talking about within the world of soft sculpture, but I can tell you it probably would not work to try an transfer from one to another. I would think that the latex or soft controls have to be custom fitted to that charactor to work properly. We are not real far down the road having only been experimenting with just a couple, but there would definately need to be some serious modifications done to make it work.

Steve

http://www.thedummyshoppe.com
CaptKirk
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Rev Bill: since it doesn't appear that Steve will be able to work his normal magic and help you out of this dilemma, I'd second the suggestion of contacting Clinton at Maher Studios and see what he can do or IF he can assist. I know he can work absolute wonders when restoring traditional vent figures but I don't know how much experience or expertise he has working with latex puppets. Once the rubber starts deteriorating,there's not much can be done to patch or splice it back into something acceptable as far as I know. Best of luck on getting your problem solved!!!
Dickens & Dave
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Steve, obviously some modification would be needed, no doubt the headstick and controls were made for those specific heads, but it's about the only possible option I can think of since there is currently no one else, that I know of, that is making anything similar. I can't imagine it being too complicated a mechanism that might be beyond modification to fit another head. Of course getting something as close to the same as the old head as possible would help.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
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Steve Axtell has Fred the Chicken with a headstick and another character also with a headstick. Maybe Steve can do the same magic with one of his human puppets. Smile

As for Steve and Jet, I wont be surprised if they can make a soft puppet with a headstick... They really do great work!

Another soft puppet maker I recently got in touch with is Lunas Puppets. I plan to get one of their dogs. Interesting work! I'm not sure if they can help you, but it could be worth the try. Smile
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REV BILL
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Glen Burnie Maryland
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I E-Mailed the Dummy Shoppe not knowing that they were already responding to this post. Do they use the stick control on their soft head figures?
Specializing in Family Entertainment,Gospel,Comedy and Educational programs for over 30 years.(Order of Merlin)
Dickens & Dave
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I don't think they are now, according to his post above, they are experimenting with it.
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Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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Dave,

I'm sure you have thought it through, but the real headache in such an endeavor is that with a traditional figure you are able to work off of a solid platform to mount your control devices. Soft on the other hand, by its very nature, has nothing solid to work from and therefore the head wants to collapse each time a control is manipulated. That was the biggest obstacle we encountered and even more than genetics may be why my hair is so thin on top until we figured out how to create a substitute solid platform for mounting our moving eyes about a year ago. Even at that, because the Vents hand has to be in the head, the "real estate" is extremely valuable and hard to come by. We have been able to do side to side moving eyes well. We can do blinkers well. We have not yet gotten to do blinkers and movers in the same head because the mechanical solutions we have discovered take up so much room that there is not room for the Vents hand inside the head.

I still lay awake at night pondering ways to accomplish this, and I am confident that we will eventually find a way. Just not there yet.

As to servo controls, we recently did a baby dinosaur for a customer using the $400.00 unit available from Luna's Puppets. It is a well thought out unit and works wonderfully for 360 moving eyes and blinkers. The hand space is a little tight, but it is workable.
My biggest concern is that (we did not find out until we were complete) the radio frequency that they use is now a major no-no with the FCC (or so I've been told by someone in a capacity to know) Some folks in Hollywood have been incurring a 12K fine/day for using said frequency. That is not something that I am willing to place a customer in the path of, so for now, we will not be using any more of that device.

The second problem is that the radio transmitter is the same type as you would use if you were at a Radio Controll field with an airplane. Much too big for stage work. Works great, but impossible to disguise. We got past the size issue because out customer is doing puppet stage work, not Vent, and could keep the radio down behind a curtain.

We are currently working with another firm with some tran/receiver devices that have eight channels and fit in the palm of your hand.
I see a lot of potential there, but a limited market because the electronics are going to run about 1,200 per puppet. In time as they become more cost effective, their usefullness will go up considerably.

Phew. . .I will shut up for now.

Steve

http://www.thedummyshoppe.com
REV BILL
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Glen Burnie Maryland
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I don't need blinkers, or any of the bells and whistles. I just need for his mouth to open and close controlled by a stick.
Specializing in Family Entertainment,Gospel,Comedy and Educational programs for over 30 years.(Order of Merlin)
Dickens & Dave
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North Central Florida
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Steve - I don't know about all those animatronics and stuff, but these wubbles that Rev Bill asked about, I'm guessing you're not familiar with them - they only had moving mouths, so there wasn't need for a lot of "real estate" for assorted different mechanics, just a mechanism to move the mouth only.
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Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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Ok. that's a no brainer. We've already done that on a couple, so that would be an easy fix. I'll work out something with Rev. Bill via email if he is so minded. You are basically just talking about a trigger mouth.

Steve

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Howie Diddot
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San Francisco & Los Angeles California
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Careful Bill, Steve is just itching to put some kind of automatic gizmo in a figure to complete his experiments, you may have to rename your figure Frankenstein when you get it back from Steve
Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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Rev. Bill,

The last comment smells a bit like a rat. So far among other things our "experiments" have produced some great results. Here is a short private video we did for the client, of a stick puppet that was done for stage work. His stick is intentionally quite long since he will be controlled from below the edge of a curtain. His name is "Professor Rat" though and not "Frankenstein" although that may disappoint some of our resident experts.

http://youtu.be/jegqd-qNYFg

Steve

http://www.thedummyshoppe.com
Dickens & Dave
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North Central Florida
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That's probably along the same lines as the Wubbles, except they were latex and the stick was shorter so you could have your hand in the body.

And what's wrong with Frankenstein? He was just misunderstood. Smile
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Servante
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I'm sure it was just a joke.
As for wubbles...hey, wasn't there recently something about them over on Clinton's site. I've seen something somewhere recently.

-Philip
Dickens & Dave
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North Central Florida
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I don't recall seeing a post about the Wubbles on Clinton's site, but my not recalling doesn't mean much....he might have mentioned it a post about an old catalog or a couple posts where he mentions Lovik.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Servante
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I checked up through the beginning of last month and didn't find anything. Saw something somewhere, though. It's hell to get old and forgetfu...what was I saying?

-Philip
Dickens & Dave
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North Central Florida
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I don't know, I forgot since I read it a second ago....
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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Wubbles are what started this thread!! Smile

Steve

http://www.thedummyshoppe.com
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