Friday, 22 April 2011

Puppet Assembly

In my last post I cast out all the silicone components for the character 'Elle'.
After some quick clean up I assembled all the new parts together using the slot together K&S points that I designed into the armature.

Above is the puppet standing upright, being supported with steel wire at the hip rig point. I tested the knee and elbow joints to see if they flex correctly and everything is working nicely. Its best not to reposition the puppet too much before filming to extend the life of the aluminium wire.

The hair is cast in yellow silicone with some aluminium wire inside. I will be painting onto the surface to bring out the details and make it appear more like blond hair. The only sponge padding needed was at the waist. This is a relatively small amount in caparison to the Mail Man puppets. You can read Josh's post about bulking out the puppet HERE.

Speaking of the Mail Man.... above are the feet I cast for him. Mixing the dark colour proved difficult as the original colour of my silicone is white. This meant I had to add a lot of black oil paints and I was concerned that adding too much would stop the silicone from curing. In the end everything worked fine.
Above are the 2 pairs of shoes for the 2 identical Mail Man puppets. You might be able to spot two small air bubbles on the second shoe from the back. This is only a minor imperfection and can easily be  filled with more silicone.

The final parts to be cast were the Theatre Usher's hands. As before the hand armature was suspended in the mold with the K&S at the wrists.

The hands were cast in flesh tone silicone that will match the colour of the puppets face.
Above are the hands with the excess silicone cut off. The seams still need to be cleaned up

Trimming and Seaming
In my last post I mentioned about 'Trimming and Seaming'. This is the process of cleaning and removing the seam lines caused by the two part moulds. There are lots of different techniques for this. I've been using the stone tool  on my dremel to gently sand away the lines. Applying Vaseline to the stone tool helps to stop the silicone from snagging and slowly but surly the line reduces.
Alternately, for a more professional finish, the seams can be cut away leaving a small trench. This trench is then filled with more silicone, masking the lines. Before the silicone fully cures talcum powder is added to the surface to stop the silicone from being shiny. Once everything is set, the talcum power washes away leaving a smooth and invisible seam. This method gives better results but is very time consuming.
I'm pleased with the results I got using the dremel.

That's all for today, Thanks for reading.


  1. thanks nathan! i have been flat out! its driving me mad! i got so much still to do! no way am i gonna finish by may lol! plus i dont know if you read it but i only got a camera for 2 weeks! hahah pointless! trying to crack the monkeys at the mo! as always your stuff is looking absolutely awesome! you totally smashed the puppets man! professional style! i love it! keep going!

  2. awesome.
    How are the body and gloves connected?
    hand and arm?

  3. Thanks for the comments.

    Lastara -
    The gloves slot onto the arms just above the elbow with K&S. I'll post a picture of all the separate components in my next post, it might make it clearer to see.