Monday, April 29, 2013

This is what a knucklehead I am

So I start cleaning up, throwing away all of the bits of trash from my work table. Then I decide to dry fit everything on the kit to take it all in. And then I notice that I have a problem: his hand is gone!

And now to ask myself the classic question: when did I see it last? Oh, who am I kidding, I know what happened.

So it's out to the garage, to search the grotesque city trash can for the piece. While I'm holding my nose, I think of how fitting it all is, to be searching in the vile garbage for Frankenstein's hand. Of course, at the very nasty bottom of the can...

Further work on Frankenbase

Well, I got over to Walmart and got more red putty to coat the steps. I also cut out any and ALL usable parts from the original plastic base. I made a couple of accessories with Sculpey, and now I'll mess with some lights.
The air dry clay is going to probably take multiple days to dry out, so this build is going to drag on a bit further.

The only thing I could see to salvage was the half-buried skull, and... why not? The three phallic mushrooms.

The excised skull (duh)

I also made a partial femur bone and an additional skull (minus jaw and including one eyeball), from Sculpey.

The steps are now all coated with putty.  Now I'll wait for it to dry, then I can start spot sanding.  The air-dry clay will be applied all along the front of the stairway, and partially buried within that clay will be my accessories.  I'll probably paint whatever bits of the base that still show a satin black or something.  If possible, I'm going to make a sign to attach, with "Son of Frankenstein" logo, probably from an old poster.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Monogram Frankenstein: Building the Base

Getting some major work done on the base.  I contemplated making it all out of sculpey, but it would've weighed a lot, and would've been more difficult to work with than the material I ended up choosing.  Remember, the more you work with a piece of Sculpey, the softer it gets, to the point that if you barely handle it, it'll show your fingerprints.  That's not exactly what I wanted to deal with while trying to mimic the dry masonry of an old castle wall.

The material: Econofoam, the kind of stuff you can find at a Joann's or Wal-Mart.  Basically, it's that type of styrofoam that you see people use when they're making arrangements of fake flowers in a vase.  You can cut it, mold it with your hands, paint it, and it weighs literally NOTHING.

I used a piece of wire to slice the blocks into tiny slabs for the stairs.  One word of caution when using this stuff: after you've touched it, and until you wash your hands, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES.  Also, don't lean over your work area and blow away the stray bits of shed foam.  The fine powder is very gritty and painful once in your eyes!

So here's preliminary set-up for the stairs.  Held together for now with a bit of Aleene's Tacky Glue.  I slapped a bit of 3M Bondo Glazing Putty, in order to rid the steps of that spongey styrofoam look.  I made sure to ding the steps in order to make it look like a dilapidated location, like the one that Basil Rathbone discovered in "Son of Frankentstein."

The ruined walls were made of the same foam material, only this was a more shallow slab.  I used a popsicle stick to cut the grooves between the "blocks."  Then, I obviously followed that up with a generous application of red putty.  The main thing is, when working with this foam, to understand that unless you REALLY primer it out or coat it with some kind of putty or plaster, you're going to have a very trying time attempting to completely paint the surface.  It's so porous that you'll go crazy, always seeing holes appearing.

I don't know if it's because I'm left-handed, but it always seems that once I've come up with a layout that I like, I then horizontally flip it and it looks MUCH better.  After I place Frankie in there to see how it was, I noticed that it didn't look balanced, so I reverse the background wall sections, and it suddenly felt more balanced.  And if you really want to get all gestalt about it, this configuration expresses menace:  if we read from left to right, it appears that the left shape is like a snake or predatory creature, looking down on the lower shape on the right, which kind of resembles a cowering figure.  Strangely enough, you'd be surprised how your brain is viscerally absorbing this stuff and coming to emotional conclusions.  Come to think of it, it looks like the little guy shape is trying to run away! 

Ah, after some primer. NOW it's starting to happen.  I'm very pleased with the appearance of the steps after the putty's been sanded; it looks like old chipped stone.  Of course, it doesn't make much sense to have a staircase that's made of gigantic slabs of rock!  But this is going to be an exterior.....  and I'm still not sure about whether or not that final partial step is going to make the cut.

The slight curve of the staircase adds sweep and drama.  It almost feels now like he's in the process of moving up the stairs, instead of the static pose he struck in the original Monogram plastic base.

I'm glad that the wall sections are not taller than Frankie.  I really wanted him to appear to shoot out of the surrounding, like he was in motion.  Had I left the wall sections in their original configuration, there would've been a cluster of shapes up around his raised arm.  With this set-up, the raised fist with Krogh's prosthetic arm will really stand out.  The front of the base still has a long way to go.  There's a hollow underneath the stairs that I'm wanting to use for the housing of a 9-volt batter in order to power some LEDs so that he can be lit for viewing in the dark.  The front face of the stairs will not be visible soon, as I'm going to build up a mound of clay so that the stairs will appear to be slabs that were laid into the soil outside Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory (as seen in the film).  One of the LEDs will be buried in this earthen base, a and maybe another behind him.  The soil part will feature some oddball things, like a skull or two, and maybe even the book that the doctor bestowed to his son.

In addition to some craft glue, I also stabbed toothpicks through the various pieces, creating a sort of foam shisk-a-bob that held the wall pieces to the stairs, and ran toothpicks down through the stairs and into tiny holes that I'd drilled into the wood base with my dremel.  Overall, it's pretty strong right now, but being foam, it will always be vulnerable .  I ran out of red putty, so I had to stop, but I'll be applying a coat over the rest of the stairs soon.

Quickly getting back to the whole gestalt thing, there's also something right about how the left-hand shape points in the direction that he's going, and the dangling block at the top mirrors his upraised arm.  You know, I was thinking that maybe this scene is what happened while everyone at the end of the movie was seeing the Doc's son away from Vasaria after the brief, fateful stay.  While the townspeople  were at the train station, Frankenstein had emerged from the sulfur pit, and with his vest charred and tattered, he picked up Krogh's arm and stormed out of the destroyed lab, ready to wreak VENGEANCE! Or something like that.  More to come!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Frankenvest...

Pretty much built up the way it's gonna be, with tattered sleeves. Probably pre it tomorrow.

Frankie (or son of) Gets a Brand New Vest

Using 3m Bondo Spot putty to build up the fur vest as seen in "son of Frankenstein." Tomorrow ill build up his sleeves, which need to look more billowy, if that's a real word.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Modified Frankie Underway

Here he is, skirt less , with a paper towel wadded up and stuffed inside for support. Look at that gap.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Taking Care of Business

Well, today I had my vasectomy. Recovering here in the back room, watching "Steve Neil's garage" episodes and the Star Trek TOS episode "Metamorphisis." The doc did a great job.

Before I left for the procedure , I did saw away Frankenstein 's coat, and removed the club-holding hand. Currently I'm working on getting the furry vest just right.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mission San Rafael Arcangel Miniature Completed!

The palm leaves were created by painting both sides of a piece of cardstock and then using a leaf template to cut them out. The trunk was a real tree branch. The leaves were held in place with strips of green decorative tape.

Tree trunk is held in place by plaster.  The sand is real, glued on.  The missionary is made by my son, from Super Sculpey.

The doorframe detail is a printout from an actual photo.  A bit of a cheat.

Bell frame made from popsicle sticks.  Bell is Super Sculpey.  This pic is neato: the cast shadows match those in the printed photo doorway, giving the illusion that the archway is really there.  I like goofball stuff like that!

A close up of the tree (with a tipped-over Frankenstein in the background.

Just another day at the mission.

Though they're in shadow, all of the windows have clear plastic in them, with brown window frames.

This pic shows just how much the walls bowed from the moisture brought on by the wet Rigid Wrap and the subsequent plastering.  Oh well, in the end, it came out okay.  I also learned a few things that will help me in future builds of miniature structures.  Oh you know I'll be doing THAT someday.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Update on Monogram Frankie...

So I was talking to my coworker friend Mark, telling him about the kit. Suddenly, I had one of those ideas. One of those dangerous, fun ideas.

What if I were to toss the model's base, cut off/sand off his jacket, and then give him a furry vest like he wore in "Son of Frankenstein"? The more I thought about it, the more resolved I became to make it so!

And so that's the plan, folks! More to come.

Ps-- my son's mission is coming along, and should be done today.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

San Rafael Mission Project

Well, my son's fourth grade school project is to build a miniature of a California mission. He chose Mission San Raphael because it looked easy. Well it should have been.
So an Exacto knife, a Dremel Trio cutting tool, a cardboard box and some plywood later, we ended up with this. Needless to say, a lot of measuring was involved, along with some compromises...
After the shapes were determined and attached to the base with Super 77, we set about using some rigid wrap to cover all of the seams. Next up will be brushing on some plaster of Paris.
The walls did buckle a little but not major. We took some corrugated cardboard and ripped away one layer to reveal the wavy pattern beneath. With some painting tricks, this will look like the tile roofing. I must admit I was relieved to have this much done...

After cutting and fitting, looking pretty crisp and clean.

After Rigid Wrap.  As you can see, the walls warped a little.  Oh well!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The New Acquisition

Picked up on EBay, still sealed. Really looking forward to opening this one. The author Charles Solomon also wrote another animation-related book that I have, The Disney That Never Was, which was great.