Saturday, 7 May 2011

Paddle Ball Kid

In this post I'll be showing the construction of another side character called Paddle Ball Kid.
Much like the 'Little Old Lady' character that I made earlier ( Link HERE), Paddle Ball kid plays a small role in the film. Below is a storyboard panel that shows the design of the character. He is seen in the crowded theater lobby, batting his paddle ball with a hypnotized expression on his face.

As the characters is only seen briefly I didn't need to put too much detail into the construction.
The character isn't required to move very much, so most of the puppet will be static.

Above is the internal armature made from steel wire and Milliput. I have two K&S points in the chest to allow the arms and head to be removed. I attached a steel M3 nut to the foot to allow the character to be tied down to the base.

Next I started to sculpt the character onto the armature using Super Sculpey Firm. The eyes are cast in urethane resin (the same size as the Mail Man's). Above you can see the finished head and the rough form of the body. I printed some of my drawn designs to help guide the sculpting process. Unlike all the other puppets so far, I didn't have a marquette to work from.

Rather than trying to sculpt everything at once, I like to sculpt in layers. For example, I sculpted and baked the head bald, and then added the hair onto the solid surface. This helps to prevent me from squashing one area while focusing on another. In the picture above you can see the aluminium wire arm holding the bat. This is the only part of the puppet that will be animated.

To allow the arm to flex with the aluminium wire I sculpted it in Bake-n-Bend Sculpey. Above is the finished sculpture including, arms, belt, bat and bow tie.

The picture above shows how the character breaks apart into separate components. The head and right arm slot into place with K&S tubing. The other parts will be glued on after painting.

The sculpture was primed white to prepare the surface for painting

I hand painted the puppet with acrylic paints and added shading with chalk pastels. Above are all the painted components ready to be assembled.

Finally, here is the finished character ready to be filmed.

In my next post I'll show the updates to the 'Elle' puppet and the start of the bulky Theatre Usher.
Thanks for reading.


  1. Bloomin hell Nathan this is so good! I would sell my left testi to be able to sculpt like you and your brother. Amazing work as usual mate

  2. does the bake 'n bend sculpey work well? I tried it a while ago and it just crumbled in a really weird way. Maybe I baked it too long?

  3. Thanks for the comments :)

    Marc-H - The bake-n-bend sculpey works fine for small movements. If it bends back on itself too much it will break. Also, the thicker the clay the less flexable it is. I usually bake it for 7mins rather than the recommended 15mins.

    Hope this helps

  4. Fantastic sculpts guy's unbelievable! .....Nice to know about the bake and bend, bought some about a year ago but have been hearing bad things ever since, must give it a go.