Sunday, 3 January 2016

The Nausicaa Project: From Clay to Latex Legs

Just a quick update this evening, as unfortunately I've been quite bogged down in dissertation work this weekend! In my last entry I talked about the process of making Kai's legs, from realising the design in clay to moulding it in plaster.

When the two part plaster mould was set, cleaned up and ready to use, I poured latex into the hole where the top of the leg begins. I left this for about half an hour before turning the mould upside down and tipping it out again, which was long enough to create a reasonably thick skin. Obviously I wanted the leg to be hollow so it would fit over the armature. I then left the mould for 24 hours to ensure that the latex was 100% set.

Once removed, this was the result!

By the third attempt I had two feet I was happy with.

The next step was the bulk out the leg armatures so that the latex feet would sit over them solidly. This is often achieved with snipped upholstery foam, but as I'm making the flesh of my puppet using the soft sculpture technique, I thought I would try this out on the feet too.

It has worked just as well, and was quite an accurate way of building up the shapes. I haven't included the claws at this stage, as they're going to be added seperately in fast cast later.

I cut the feet in the corners, slipping the toes over the padded out armature like socks. Once re-aligned, I glued the cut edges back together with contact adhesive. The boots Kai wears have straps which fasten around the toes - these should cover the seam lines nicely.

In this photo I was trying to disguise the seamline left by the two part mould by building up more latex. I had already painted a base coat of acrylic onto the foot, but I didn't realise that this would simply crack and peel when positioned. I had to work over the top of it with acrylic mixed with latex paint. This worked nicely and gave a much better finish too!

Here's a photo of the final base colour, after touching in the seamlines on the toes for some hours to get them looking really smooth. As mentioned before, these aren't actually the final toes. These ones are going to be snipped off and replaced with fast cast alternatives. The hard plastic will be a much more suitable material and will provide a nice contrast to the rubbery legs.

That wraps up my latest Sunday update. Thanks again for reading, and do check back next weekend. I'll probably be discussing soft sculpture in more detail, as the body build-up is what I'm primarily working on in the coming week.

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