Dactyly Development

The past few days have been taken up with various bits of work, but one of the main ones is the completion of the hands and feet for the "Ratman" model. Here's how it went:
 First step was to model the feet, to scale, out of super sculpey, and make sure they were going to look OK size wise on the model. I wanted to keep the oversized style of the original illustration, as this would look really nice when animating.

 The next step was getting them cast, so dishes were made and lined for easy removal once it had set. The plaster was then mixed up, as best I could to avoid bubbles and lumps. Added to mould and left to cure.

The moulds were removed carefully after a few hours, and cleaned up. The detail quality looked really rather nice, and kept all the little marks of the models. Next up was getting a first layer of skin painted into the moulds, along with details such as spots and nail colour.

Then it was a case of making some hand and feet armature to fit snugly into them,making sure to be padded with foam to keep a soft shape. Also, keeping the wire right to the tips of the fingers and wrist, to make sure they were flexible right up to these edges.

Pour on the latex (a slightly redder tone for under the skin transparency to show through). Any split blobs or splats can be worried about later as the flash lines won't be too much of a problem to clean up afterwards, and will actually aid in the removal of the latex from the mould once set.

Repeating the process for the feet (slightly more complex armature required for them, as they will be involved in the anchoring and rigging of the character to the floor, and supporting his weight).

To note: I'll be using M4 size threaded rods and bolts for this puppet, for both the tie-downs and rigging.

Then it was a case of waiting and topping up the latex as it dried into the moulds, the process took a good two days or so to fully dry out.

 The removal from the mould went smoothly thanks to the rigging points on the feet and using the flash lines to lift them out. Then the flashes were trimmed off with some nail scissors (why hadn't I started using those sooner? They're perfect!).

All that's left is a bit of touching up the latex with some painting and affixing them to the rest of the puppet securely. The skin blotches and other details worked out nicely, and the more I use this technique, the more I'm sure it's the way to go with model making.


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