Tuesday, March 20, 2012

WEMBLEY FRAGGLE Polymer Head Sculpt "Palisades Style"

Hey there everyone! Here is my first attempt at using "Sculpey" polymer clay. I wanted to learn how to build my own figures from scratch to go with my Muppet theatre and I thought Polymer is the way to go. I wanted my sculpts to be in the same style/scale as the PALISADES line of Muppet Show figures released in 2006.

 I always thought that Fraggle Rock would be a great series to create figures and sets for, so I decided to use a Fraggle head as a test of the materials and my ability to match up with my existing figures. I think it turned out pretty good. Please enjoy the pics and process:)

Here is the Final Sculpt. Same Scale and finish as the Palisades figures. The base and eyes are polymer clay, the hair is made from cotton thread. 

Here is a side view of the finished sculpt. I am pretty happy with the result, very close to the Palisades style.

Here is the beginning of the process. I started by using the Polymer clay, working it till soft. its like plasticine and dries hard as plastic. I shaped it into Wembley's head and began texturing it with a skewer.

This "sponge texture" detail was done on the entire head.

Eyeballs are shaped from the polymer clay as well.

I used many different images and videos as reference to the shape of the head and eyes.

The mouth has to have the flat Muppet surface.
Here is the head with the texturing all finished

Once it was done, it has to be baked. I created metal holders for the oven so it would bake evenly. This material needs to be baked 15min for every 1/4" of material being used.

While it was baking, I assembled the materials for the hair. According to the images, wembleys hair has multiple colors of green, yellow and white. I wanted the hair to be fairly close to the mariboo feather style of the Muppets, and cotton thread had the right scale and texture.

First i would wrap the thread around my fingers until I had the amount I needed...

Pull off the Loop...

Cut it in half...
Ready to be used as hair.

I did the same with the yellow thread. These short ones are Wembley's bangs

Now to bunch it up.

I inserted a few flex of green and white...

Muppet hair is growing!!

Once I had all the colors bunched up, I wrapped it in tape and prepared it for glue.

I dipped the bundle into some rubber cement to soak the base of the threads. Once it was solid, it was ready to go into the head of Wembley.

Once the material was baked, and it was cooled down, I tested out the eyeballs with wire pegs to hold it in place.

I then used my Dremmel tool to dig out a hole in Wembley's head to stick the hair bundle into.

Hair gets tested in place. Fits great.

The head gets painted a pale yellow, hair gets tested again for matching.

Looks like a good match

I used the oven stand to paint and finish the head sculpt.

Mouth painting was next.  Getting this right is almost as important as the eye pupil placement.

Looking more and more like a Muppet.

Once it is painted, I added a sealer to protect the paint job. Adds a bit of shine and finishing.

Metal pins are in place ready for the eyeballs.

I used the oven holder to spray paint the eyeballs. Gives a nice smooth even "Muppet Eye" finish.
Eye balls are put in place....No Pupils yet.....

Hair is added...but still needs to be styled and shaped.

With Pupils added the eyes come to life! I wet the thread and used a blowdryer to shape it. so much better.

Im not completely happy with the hair situation, but for a first run at it, Im pretty happy!

I would call this a success and Im excited to start creating my own figures, especially Fraggle Rock!!

Here is the Fraggle head in comparison to the other Palisades figures. Althogh the hair is real, and not sculpted I think its a good match. 
 Thanks again for checking it out! Let me know what you think of this Fraggle Head. Real hair? Sculpted?


Ben Sumner said...

Completely awesome, as usual!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Just wanted to say that I absolutely love your work. I always look forward to your posts and seeing all the great work-in-progress photos and commentary you share. Your creativity and ingenuity is super inspiring!

DanOfTheDead said...

Amazing stuff! That came out perfect.

ELLE said...

awesome, defiantly a material ill be using in the future!! and fragile rock, genius!! haha

Bob Mrotek said...

It's time to start the music,
It's time to light the lights,
It's time to get things started,
(Why don't we get things started?)
On the Wembley show tonight :)

Ursula Hitler said...

Always glad to see a new project from you. I've found that buying colored Sculpey really simplifies the work... Instead of struggling to paint clean-looking little yellow stripes on a green monster, for instance, you can just bake the monster as one green lump of Sculpey, and then apply little yellow Sculpey stripes and bake the whole thing again. Looking forward to seeing your next project!


Thanks for the comments guys:) Yeah Ursela, I think i will use more colors next time. This time I was just testing the material and quality, etc. Also I really want to try and keep the hand painted feel of the PALISADES brand of figures when I can. Stay tuned for more figures!!!

20 LA Wannabe said...

this is really awesome! do you sell these? great job!

Stewie Griffin said...

That is too cool! Gives me a world of ideas! I love the Muppets!

Matt Crosser said...

Hey Lance, I just wanted to tell you how much you inspired me to give this a try after less successfully using Cloud Clay to make a figure I didn't have. This time around I made Grover and Oscar the Grouch with Poly Clay and can't believe I never heard of the stuff! Thanks so much for sharing your process. If you want you can see photos of my Palisades-Style figures at http://mattsketchpad.blogspot.com/2012/07/sesame-street-figures-palisades-style.html?spref=tw

Matt Crosser said...

And by the way, I think the thread "hair" looks great on a Fraggle!