Stan Winston School of Character Arts offered a challenge to create a piece of dinosaur art. The 1st place prize was quite remarkable, so I thought I would give it a shot. Unfortunately, the weight of my sculpture broke the armature, and I did not have time to rebuild it before the 16th deadline. It was a frustrating disappointment, but learned a bunch in the process.
The main thing I took away from this it to under build with lighter material. Had I packed the volumes more thoroughly with Tin foil, I would not have had to use as much clay, saving me money and quite possibly the armature.
I also found that my armature should of been stronger. I should of doubled up the wired and wrapped it for more stability.
I did however discover a useful way of keeping the “bones” of the armature from bending. I had purchased some discounted square brass tubing from Hobby Town a while back, intended to be used on my robot piece. I ended up measuring the lengths of the bones From the Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, recommended to me by a friend Damon Bard. I then slid the brass tubing over my armature wires so that as I posed the skeleton, the bones would not distort. I found this to both be time saving, and allowing me more freedom with my poses, knowing my proportions would not be off.
The clay I used was a mixture of Super Sculpey, and Super Sculpey Firm in a 50-50 ratio. This allowed me to have the neutral gray of the Firm, while having the ability to blend more easily. The only downside I found is that the elasticity of the clay, while great for posing, is not so great when finalizing volumes and forms. I finally found myself baking the clay, sanding down the primary forms, and then adding my secondary forms on top of the hardened model.
The trouble I ran into was that baking Sculpey more than once is not a good idea. The “hardened” parts softened up a bit in the oven, and my armature moved. No longer was my dinosaur balancing its weight, because the legs and tail supports had cracked allowing the armature to lean as if to fall over from a mighty blow. I had to drill a supporting rod into the base to correct the posture, while I fixed the shattered legs and tail with new Sculpey.
This is how the sculpt currently looks. It needs about a weeks worth of work to get it back to where it was, and to make the final finishing touches. While I missed the deadline from Stan Winston, I think I still will have a nice piece in the end. I might just take it down to the local museum of fossils and see if I can get some work out of it.