Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stop Motion Puppets

A friend of mine is making a prequel to the 1933 film version of King Kong. Just as special effects artist Willis O'Brien did in the original classic he is using stop motion animation to give the illusion of life to Kong and the other denizens of Skull Island.

After seeing the native I sculpted for my Kong bust he asked me if I could make a native that he could animate. It sounded like a fun project so I gave it a whirl.

The first step was sculpting a 4 1/4" native figure in Plastilene clay. After the sculpture was completed I cut the head off the figure so I could make a separate mold of it. Then I went about making a two piece Plaster of Paris mold of the body.

Since plastilene is an oily clay I didn't need to coat the figure with mold release to keep the plaster from adhering to the model. However plaster sticks to plaster so I needed to coat the first section of the mold with Vaseline to prevent the second half from binding to it.

The plaster mold came out well enough for my purposes. After the plaster dried I coated the inside surfaces of the mold with an acrylic sealant. Now I needed to tint liquid Latex rubber with acrylic paint till I got a suitable skin tone for my native puppet. The mold was given several thin coats of the latex/paint mixture. Here is a picture of the mold with the latex being painted on. Next I'll be making a mold of the natives head.

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