Right I have made KONG (although his arm snapped off and I don't know how I am going to get it back on). Now I want to make more monsters. I was thinking of building an arsinoitherium, which was meant to appear in the original 1933 film but was sadly dropped out. I also bought the Warner DVD and watched the amazing 2 hour making of documentary with Peter Jackson's recreation videos. The question is, how would I build this creature using the build up process - no plaster moulds involved (I haven't quite got to grips with moulds yet.) Any suggestions?

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What I did was make a sculpture of the head out of clay, then make a plaster mold. Cast a latex head mask. It was then fitted over a wood block that was roughly padded out with foam shapes.

Check out Richard Svensson's blog - this page, for example, shows a creature not too dissimilar in terms of general structure from the type of beast you're after making:

http://loneanimator.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/king-who-sought-immortal...

Note the use of thermo-plastic to make the two-piece skull. This is also known as 'friendly plastic'. It comes in the form of pellets which can be melted at low temperatures (by being plunged into hot water, for example) and moulded by hand. I assume what Richard did was make plaster moulds for the two halves of the creature's head (upper part and lower jaw), make latex skins using liquid latex poured into and out of the moulds and then, while the latex skin was still in the moulds, I imagine he pressed softened friendly plastic into the cavities to form rigid shells behind the latex, being mindful of undercuts etc.

Angus Lamont said:

What I have done so far:

Made a head out of plasticine and covered it in latex, which I don't think is going to work. The problem I have is in the head. You make a skull then do you glue the latex skin over it? If so then wouldn't it be a bit 'baggy'? I did this with my Kong puppet.

In theory 4 strands of 1.5mm should be the same as 1 strand of 3mm wire - but it does not behave the same.  The single 3mm wire will be stiffer and less springy.

I never use just one wire, but often use two.  Most of my puppets have 2 strands of 3mm wire for the legs and spine, but it depends on the size, weight and thickness, how much you need.  I did try 8 strands of 1.5mm instead for legs once (12" tall  thin human), but the puppet kept bouncing back and forth for half a minute after I moved it.  Had to wait ages to take the shot. I go up to 4 strands of 1.5mm for small puppets, but once I reach a certain size - about  10 inches tall for a humanoid -  I switch to 3mm wire.  I don't remember how many 3mm wires I had for my Chasmosaurus, which is the nearest I've done with a similar body plan - probably 3 wires in each leg, maybe 4 in the spine. 

I tried painting latex over plasticine for a mini puppet once - it didn't work.  After a few moves the plasticine inside started to break up, but with the latex on top I couldn't smooth or fix it.  I only did it because I didn't have wire fine enough for the 2 inch tall puppet so I figured I could animate the clay, but it was better without the latex.     

Good advice Nick. 

I have a good idea of how I will make the body (Rick's method) but it is the head that seems to  be a challenge.

StopmoNick said:

In theory 4 strands of 1.5mm should be the same as 1 strand of 3mm wire - but it does not behave the same.  The single 3mm wire will be stiffer and less springy.

I never use just one wire, but often use two.  Most of my puppets have 2 strands of 3mm wire for the legs and spine, but it depends on the size, weight and thickness, how much you need.  I did try 8 strands of 1.5mm instead for legs once (12" tall  thin human), but the puppet kept bouncing back and forth for half a minute after I moved it.  Had to wait ages to take the shot. I go up to 4 strands of 1.5mm for small puppets, but once I reach a certain size - about  10 inches tall for a humanoid -  I switch to 3mm wire.  I don't remember how many 3mm wires I had for my Chasmosaurus, which is the nearest I've done with a similar body plan - probably 3 wires in each leg, maybe 4 in the spine. 

I tried painting latex over plasticine for a mini puppet once - it didn't work.  After a few moves the plasticine inside started to break up, but with the latex on top I couldn't smooth or fix it.  I only did it because I didn't have wire fine enough for the 2 inch tall puppet so I figured I could animate the clay, but it was better without the latex.     

Well started building the armature. Pictures will be up soon!

Just another question. I have bought a bag of cotton wool balls to pad out the body of the animal. Is PVA glue okay to use to stick it down? I have tried sticking with Liquid Latex, but it is proving to be very messy.

That is from the magazine Cinemagic that I told you about. Why don't you just follow that method?  The best method is the method that works best for you, but only you can find it by experimenting, but that Ken Brilliant article should put you on your way.

Angus Lamont said:

Well I had a look at this article - same principle.

http://www.stopmotionworks.com/articles/CMkbdinobldup.htm

The only way to get cotton to work is the use thread and wrap it around the cotton, but you would be better off just using foam. Adding latex to cotton will just give you a solid piece of rubber.

Angus Lamont said:

Just another question. I have bought a bag of cotton wool balls to pad out the body of the animal. Is PVA glue okay to use to stick it down? I have tried sticking with Liquid Latex, but it is proving to be very messy.

Thanks for the advice Tim. 

The thought of using cotton balls for something like that is nightmarish - if you do use cotton you want surgical cotton, which comes in thick rolls. If your drugstore doesn't already have it they'd probably be glad to order some if you ask. 

Looking at the armature, and seeing how small it is, I would not even suggest cotton for anything but detailing.

Below is a screen grab of a small puppet made from foam trimmed with scissors, covered with a Kleenex tissues,  with cotton wrinkles, all coated with latex, and painted with latex paint. This puppet is smaller than your puppet, and no molds were involved. Again, you must find your own way, no one can find it for you.

Nice skin, Tim!  Compares well with skin cast in a mould.  The only thing I see that gives away the built-up construction is a bit of folding in the tail, which is what happens in thick areas when the skin is latex with something softer inside.  And it isn't that bad.  

It doesn't look that small, it's so nicely detailed.

PVA glue dries hard - well, semi-hard - I would not use it for sticking foam or cotton.  What you want is contact adhesive.  Either the kind that comes in a tube or can, or even better, Number 74 Foamfast spray adhesive from 3M.   No 76 is good too, or no. 90 if they still make it, but 77 is useless.    Same with the kinds used for paper in office supply or stationers, it doesn't really bond foam.  The 3m spray glue is good because it puts a very light layer on each surface, without soaking in.  

I have tried a cheap contact cement in a tube from the $2 shop and it works fine.  Bostik makes a contact glue I believe.  

Apparently rubber cement also works - but I haven't seen that anywhere for decades in my country so I can't test it.  It's like a rubber dissolved in solvent, and I imagine you would use it like a contact glue, putting a little on each surface, letting it go tacky, then sticking them together.  I last used it to make a flexible paint for foam latex, by adding pigments and thinning with naptha, back in the late 1980s.

 

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