Actor Factory

Silicon molds and plastic mixture

I’ve written previously about my lifelong proclivity for melting army men and cowboys into new creatures. I’ve recently discovered a new twist on the theme – making molds from them, and casting new figures in plastic!

I know, I know – the world doesn’t need more plastic waste, and I won’t make a career out of this. But, it’s immensely satisfying to have single form characters, with no melted parts and weak joints.

I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth again. In chapter four, he says two things that I find relevant to what I’m doing here. First, he says:

We need to honor the world of things, not despise it. Each thing has Beingness, is a temporary form that has its origin within the formless one Life, the source of all things, all bodies, all forms.

He goes on the write:

In most ancient cultures, people believed that everything, even so­ called inanimate objects, had an indwelling spirit, and in this respect they were closer to the truth than we are today.

I feel a little like Dr. Frankenstein doing Weird Science – making hosts for indwelling spirits.

I’m still getting the hang of the casting process. Below are some early efforts.

Lobster tail with human legs attached

One example – I took the legs from a cowboy, and fused them with the tail of a plastic lobster.

Green, White, Pink and Orange Lobster tail men

I tried creating an anthropomorphic foot guy. Below, the one on the left is the original, and the other two were early casts.

Giant foot people

I liked this guy so much that I took the idea further. I found the most perfect Bond-like villain figure. Meet, Dr. Stinky (and his pet, Smelly). First, the original made from several different figures and parts:

Sexy Villain

Here are smaller figures, which didn’t quite turn out as I hoped.

And here are some work in progress photos.

One of the lessons I’ve learned is, when Smooth-On says something has a 3 minute “pot life,” then I really need to get it mixed and poured in 2 minutes 45 seconds. Another lesson – make sure there are vents (made with straws or coffee stirrers) for air to escape.

Next, I’m going to try slightly larger figures.

Update: I made a trailer for the villains…

The Once and Future Peanut

Almost 7 years in, the Giant Circus Peanut™ is still standing in my kids’ backyard. Squirrels and birds live in, which makes me feel a lot better about some of the materials I used to make it.

If you need the backstory of this sculpture, then please see here, and here and possibly here.

UPDATE

May, 2017. The peanut has fallen. Due to the weeds and fencing, I cannot see why it fell. It’s been overgrown and neglected for years.  Maybe the animals finally gnawed through the base.

Circus peanut in weeds

The Peanut has fallen

detail of circus peanut decay

close up of decay

More circus peanut decay

and yet more decay

UPDATE

September 2017. This just in:

LOL

Raccoon Skeletons

line-drawing

For years, I’ve been bringing dead raccoons home to bury them in a makeshift pet cemetery. It is a nice thing to do for them, and it provides a safe way for me to interact with them.

big-fella

found

in-the-ground

I recently started a new taxidermy experiment. I’m not so interested in stuffing them at this point (although I would love to own some stuffed raccoons), but I AM interested in their bones.

reclaimed

Instead of burying them and reclaiming the bones later, I am trying a new approach, which is to keep them in a cage above ground until they fully decompose.

snow-white

cage-one

The photo below is from a few weeks ago. Living in such a rural place has been a big advantage. There is a sad abundance of dead raccoons, and the nearest neighbors are far enough away that smell hasn’t been an issue.

in-the-cage

I introduced meal worms to the bodies shown above. Once the bones are exposed, I’ll put them in a box with more meal worms, as they are supposed to rapidly clean the bones. My cage has successfully frustrated visiting vultures and other critters.

Natural-History-Museum

I will make 3D scans of my clean bones. I’ll process those scans into .stl files, which I can then print using a MakerBot or similar (as I do with action figures).

more-bones

I’ll have new, plastic skeletons to use in my work. They can be armatures, charters or sculptures.

for-sale