Friday 16 December 2011


I made another of my posable creatures the other day.

Originally he was supposed to be a little dragon hatchling but as I didn't have the fabric I thought I did, he ended up being more of a kind of Gryphon-like thing instead. He's fully posable, from his neck to his wings to the very tip of his extra fluffy tail. He's also the smallest doll I've made so far as he can fit in the palm of my hand. :D

Here he is before he got his fur coat. :)

Widget (naked :P)

In my hand for scale...






He was going to have feathered wings originally but as I didn't actually have any feathers to scale he's had to make do with furry ones instead. :P







With David for scale. Widge is only a youngster so would be about 16/17hh when fully grown...

Widget (with David for scale)

Yeah, so I'm pretty chuffed with him as you can probably guess! :D :D


You can see him and my other stuff on my deviantArt page. :D

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Eyewear, Mexican Zombies and That Damn Hat.

My first block or 'term' I suppose you could call it, at college, finished today. This in itself is a big deal because if you'd asked me this time last year if I'd have managed a couple of months at college I'd have laughed in your face.
For those who don't know, I'm doing an NC at City of Glasgow College (formally Glasgow Metropolitan College) in Modelmaking for TV and Film. I still can't believe just what a perfect subject it is for me. Everyone in my class is completely mad (including the tutors :P) and despite there being a few bits and pieces I struggle with a little (being accurate for one thing, lol) I absolutely love what I'm doing and I'm so glad I decided to go for it.

Anyway, I've completed several projects now so I thought I might as well show them to you all. :D

First up is the Eyewear project. In this we were to design and make a pre-prototype model of a piece of eyewear from either the Sci Fi, Industry or Sportswear catagories. Unsurprisingly I went for sci fi and after a bit of faffing about with ideas, finally settled on this, the 'gill-wings' concept. Typically it was a faff and a half to make; heat bending the clear plastic for the visor, making mirrored masters for the vac-forming, painting it all with glass paints whilst trying to avoid it streaking all over the place and not to mention working out how to actually keep the blasted thing on my face! XD

When all's said and done though, I'm pretty pleased with it and it's actually very comfortable to wear, if impossible to see through!

(Apologies in advance for the photos - I keep forgetting to bring my SLR into class so I've had to make do with my iPhone's camera...)


Because it was a pre-prototype model it didn't have to be absolutely perfect...thankfully! XD

Next was one of many incredibly dull example pieces we had to make in our Media Handling section - mostly cubes and cylinders out of blue foam which had to be exactly the right size, much to my annoyance. For someone who loves photography, this one was very stressful as there were so many sections to make - many of which didn't have measurements listed on the reference sheet! I desperately wanted to soften the edges like on the real thing but apparently we weren't allowed. ¬¬

Blue foam camera

Next up was The Cube - basically a 100mm cardboard cube with a different surface on each side. One had to be vac-formed, one made from cork, one a 'natural' surface, one a 'man-made' surface and the last was to be our own choice.

First up was the cork contour one. I didn't have a clue what to do for this one so ended up falling back on the old trick of faffing about until something pops into my head and lo, a ruined old doorway appeared.

Cork contoured surface

For the 'natural surface' I chose to do a fossil - based loosely on the gorgeous ammonite I found down in Dorset a couple of years ago. Made entirely from blue foam (with some sprinkled on tealeaves for soil) it was the second thing I made for the cube.

'Natural surface'


I had a lot of fun texturing that one, especially as I hadn't bought my kit at the time so ended up carving out the whole thing with half a wooden coffee stirring stick I had in my bag! XD

The man-made one is probably my favourite bit though. Most people did walls or pavements but I thought I'd be a little bit different and did a partially excavated roman mosaic. :D Like the previous one, it's nothing more than blue foam, carved out with a scalpel, fingernails and the aforementioned coffee stirrer! It looks so much better in person...

'Man-made surface'

The vac-formed one took me ages to decide on but after Assassin's Creed Revelations came out there could only really be one design for me! XD I recycled some old train tickets that were cluttering up my bag as the card was just the right weight for some of the sections.

Vac-formed surface. Vac-formed surface

I wanted to do the full proper Ottoman crest but it was far too fiddly to cut out. Perhaps I'll revisit it next year when I'll get to use the laser-cutter! XD

The personal choice one proved even trickier to decide on and it was only after I'd been methodically stabbing a bit of blue foam with a scalpel for ten minutes that I realised how icy it looked...sooooo...

Glacier (with bonus Narwhal!) Glacier (with bonus Narwhal!)

Many, many coats of PVA glue, white paint, more glue and a sprinkling of salt created a nice floating bit of iceberg...with bonus Narwhal in the sea for scale. ;)

Glacier (with bonus Narwhal!) Glacier (with bonus Narwhal!) Glacier (with bonus Narwhal!)

Finally, came the main group project - scaling up a Lego minifigure! When it came to choosing one, my team and I struggled to decide between the Zombie and the Mexican Mariachi we combined the two and started work on the Mexican Zombie! :D I stupidly volunteered to do the hat which has to rank in the top five of the stupidest decisons I've ever made. XD Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the challenge and I liked learning and applying new skills but just...gaaaah, SO stressful!
The hat was a sombrero, and a very curvy one at that so instead of carving it out of blue foam like I was assuming I'd do, my lecturer Simon suggested that I vac-form it, which sounds excellent to begin with but not so great when it comes to actually making the bloody thing!

I had to draw out scaled technical drawings of the hat after taking horrifically accurate measurements with digital calipers and the like, then work from them. I'm not a terribly accurate or neat person in general (if it looks right, it'll damn well do! XD) so to say this was a struggle was a bit of an understatement!

Mexican Zombie hat technical drawings Mexican Zombie hat technical drawings

With Simon's help though I got there in the end. Unfortunately it wasn't as simple as just making it in one go - I had to make a master which could be vac-formed. This involved several weeks worth of carving out foam, cutting MDF, pouring resin, slapping on layer upon irritating layer of car body filler and sanding it all to within an inch of its life.

Not fun.

Step...err...five? It was quite far along by this stage.

Hat - vacforming master - WIP

^ The MDF had to be cut the right height so the brim would bend in the right way. Much superglue was used for this too...MUCH.

After weeks and weeks of work, I finally had a perfect master, so off to the vac forming machine I went and it looked perfect...the only thing I had to do now was get it off. Simon suggested blasting it with compressed air from the airbrush which would make it simply 'pop' off so away we went to try that...only, it didn't pop. It didn't even pip, it just...stayed there. Turns out the undercut was a lot worse than we'd thought and nothing we did would shift it so after all that work, blood, sweat and tears...

Mexican Zombie Hat - vac forming master. Mexican Zombie Hat - vac forming master.

It had to be virtually destroyed to get it off! :(

Still, I think it was worth it in the end. The cone part was made from blue foam, coated with jesminite and sanded to death. There are a few really rough bits here and there but by the end I really didn't care, I just wanted it done! XD

Mexican Zombie Hat Mexican Zombie Hat Mexican Zombie Hat

The rest of the team did a fantastic job on the body and squee, I'm so proud of it all! :D

Mexican Zombie Mexican Zombie

The other team's work. :D

Legomen project.

So yeah, that's what I've been up to since September! :D

Monday 31 October 2011

Meet Fantasia...and her tack...

I bought this lovely lady from another collector about a month ago so apologies for taking so long to introduce her! I rehaired her the day I got her, (or attempted to anyway - the mane slot was really wide and the hair kept falling out!) and finally got round to making her some tack last week.

She's called Fantastia - Fanta for short. :D




Her owner Linda is a keen endurance rider and Fanta makes the perfect mount for such events with the fire and stamina of the Arabian and the hardiness and flashy colouring of the Appaloosa in equal amounts!




I must stress that the neckrope in the next photo was NOT made by me. It, and a couple of rope halters and leadlines I use with the other horses were a very generous gift from Rebecca Dunne of Griffindoon Ropes Australia! I can't track down her website unfortunately, but here's her flickr photostream! -link-

Linda and Fanta

Now for my tack!

This was a bit of a faff to make if I'm honest, but I really like the result! The saddle's treeless too. ;) Sorry in advance for the crappy photos - I had to shoot under artificial light and it makes them all horrible and orangey, even with colour correction! DX

FIrst up is the bridle. I modelled it off of one of those synthetic halter-to-bridle combination bridles that are often used in endurance and things. I'd previously made one for Tully but I think this one is a little more accurate.

In essence it's a headcollar with a couple of D rings on the cheekpieces so you can attach a bit to it.

Linda and Fanta


The full ensemble!

Linda and Fanta


I'm aware the skirt of the saddle is missing - I lost the bits I'd cut out ready for it and as I'd already tacked her up for photos... 8-) I'll sort it out before her next photoshoot though, don't worry!

Fanta's Saddle

Fanta's saddle and breastcollar.

The ridged leather on the seat came from a second hand purse I got from the charity shop AGES ago with the sole intention of using it for this kind of saddle! The stirrups are handmade out of sculpey and aren't fantastic but they look and feel like the lightweight plastic ones you get.

Fanta's Endurance Tack

The saddlecloth has a bit of a story to it as well. A month or so ago, whilst I was making my posable creatures, I ended up googling 'free fabric samples' and getting a whole host of interesting pieces back. Many of them are of no use to me whatsoever but the colour and texture of this one caught my eye and after I sealed the edges with clear nail varnish to stop it from fraying I think it really looks the part!

Fanta's saddlecloth

(if anyone fancies some, it's 'Eagle' at the bottom of this page)

The orange bags over her withers are solid plastic and were cut off the spacesuit of a Doctor Who figure!

Linda and Fanta

The leather saddlebags are a complete cheat - they're nothing more than the cut off fingertips of an old mangled pair of gloves! The nearside one is far better than the other...

Fanta's Endurance Tack

Fanta's Endurance Tack

The water bottle is a washed out eyedrop...thing I found in the bathroom once, cleaned out and painted a lid onto. Waste not!

Fanta's Endurance Tack

Linda and Fanta

Of course, with the nights drawing in and the days getting darker, she needed a rug and really, only this colour would do!

Fanta's Rug

I customised the rider too, originally she was in nothing but green with lots of pockets and things so I sanded down her legs as much as I could and painted them to look a bit more jodphury, as well as removing the plastic ponytail she had already (which was so far up her head it prevented you putting a hat over it! XD) and gluing on a full head of mohair which I think looks a LOT better. She's a Primeval figure by the way, though I'm not sure who as I don't actually watch it, I just buy the figs. XD