The uncle of all dragons

A few months ago I was contacted by (and I have to stand up and salute when I type this) the head of the Guild of Makers that I’m a member of, asking me if I could sculpt some DRAGONS!

Wooot. oh… Missed a line… Some dragon hands? Whaaaaa?

It all makes sense once you get down into the details. The mind lurking on the shoulders of Dr Lucy Rogers who first appeared on this blog many years ago, had conceived of a way to make a smoking dragon head using an e-cigarette (those things people make huge clouds of smoke that smell like Bakewell tarts) and a cast dragon head.

I approve 100% of the materials used by the way. Dragon Skin is one of my favourite mould making materials and I use it a lot for my castings. My current moulds for Loki (GRAAAA! Still not done a write up for him!), Odin and Freyja all use Dragon Skin moulds.

I was handed* a brief which was to make two pairs of hands as if they’re exploding out of the wall and to sit on either side of these smoking heads.

So armed* with this concept, I knuckled* down to come up with something handy**.

At some point, I bought a large 4lb pack of Aves Epoxy sculpt thinking it would be cool to do these in something new, but ended up falling back to my old favourite, Super Sculpey. Stick with what you know.

I spent ages doing the scales on each one. I was going mad some evenings when I was doing them as I felt I wasn’t getting far and then all of a sudden… BOOM. Done.

The two right hands got a little over done in the oven, but other than a little darkening down, they came out fine. The claws then got added with Milliput.

I then made the left as if they’re in the process of ripping through the wall. Once baked, I cut up the wooden bases and carved chunks into the back to fit wall mounts.

The back of the mounts had a recessed area so the hangers wouldn’t stick out and remained flush to the wall.

Many tubes of glue gave their lives in the process. A minutes silence for them please.

Next came the smashed wall bits. I finally used the Epoxy sculpt and its quite nice to use. I made the wall texture by scraping cracks and then pressing a stone onto the soft Epoxy to give it a rocky surface.

I regret not making the whole hands out of them a bit now. They fit well on the walls.

Some paint. Mainly bright but simple colours, as they had to match the castings. I didn’t do as much shading as I could have done but it was nice to do something simple.

The original dragon heads I’m matching. The green isn’t as minty as it looks from what I understand.

I like the red one. Nice and Welsh. Cymru am byth.

The green looks good as well though.

Big ol’ google gallery time https://photos.app.goo.gl/oJ8YwwHAChKeEdRY9

*bad pun

**that one didn’t work.

FIDDLING WITH BERTRAM – GAVIN PART 2

Another update. Not even sure if anyone is reading these. When we last saw our intrept manservant he was waiting to see if he would be mass produced or just become a one of a kind. Well, after a tense finale, the Kickstarter made it and the cloning tanks started to output a host of Gavin.

Send in the clones

One piece which was cast in a two part block of silicone.

While the body was another slab.

Gavin

This let me cast them up easily in two parts. Then, after a bit of cleaning/sanding/filling, they got glued together and then the loooooong job of painting was started.

Gavin

Then more paint.

Gavin

Until there was a grand army of the republic.

Gavin

After a varnish and basing I was able to get them herded together into a couple of boxes. Then over one weekend they got CAREFULLY driven from the dungeon in Suffolk to Bristol via Kent (long story) before being handed over to Rumpus Animation, ready for distribution to the people who backed the game at the correct level.

Here they are in Bristol, being commanded by the lord high Barry Monkey Esq.

Gavin
Barry with his underlings

(Actually, I believe Barry is in charge of cleaning out their litter tray and feeding them while they live in the studio.)

Shortly after finishing them I went to a gig by Professor Elemental who is providing his vocal talents to the game and I did a custom Gavin for him based on his rather snazzy jacket.

At this point I’ve realised that I don’t have a painted Gavin of my own. At the time I was so sick of making them for everyone else that I didn’t make one for myself, this should be fixed one day but not just yet.

Heres a couple of shots of the finished pieces but theres more pictures, including lots of WIPs, in this gallery: https://goo.gl/photos/TL21w7ZD3vu1fpT49

Paint your dragon

Before I start on the writeup on this dragon sculpture project, I’d like to take a moment to shamelessly promote my Facebook page Castings of Cthulhu. Yes, it has the same name as my Etsy page. in some misguided attempt at branding. I’ll mainly be using the blog for the big meaty project writeups while the facebook page will be for updates, photos of work in progress and general whats going on. Thats if I remember to keep updating it.

Now, back to our regular programme.


Base
Base
Milliput and wire work
Milliput and wire work
Wire mesh wings
Wire mesh wings
Blocking out the body
Blocking out the body
The head and horns
The head and horns
Baked Dragon
Baked Dragon
Primed Dragon
Primed and ready to be painted


This was a commission for someone who wanted it as a birthday present, so after a few chats about the requirements I had a rough idea of what the dragon had to look like. I began with a chunk of quartz and glued a blob of milliput to it. I had done something similar with the horned god and found the weight of the rocky base to be useful in keeping the piece in place and also as something to hold while working on it.

The armature was built up with wire and more milliput then sculpey was layered up over it, pretty much how all my other sculptures have been done. The wings had an under layer of car body wire mesh to build the shape. The bottom of the quartz was a bit too rounded off so I applied a few blobs of milliput and stamped them with a couple of rocks to give them a more natural finish. I also glued the quartz to a piece of plastic card to give it a flat base, this softened a bit in the oven when it was baked but stayed flat enough. Mental note, remember to check for plastic before baking next time.

Part of the way through I was getting a bit annoyed with the tail and how it joined onto the body. Originally it curled around the rock more but it was bent at an almost 90 angle at the base of the body and look stupid, so I dug down to the armature and bent it into a more gentle angle. It helped to give the body a bit more movement and looks much better.

I’ve been trying out some new tools I got for Christmas which are really nice to use, they’ve got rounded ends of different sizes and they really helped with getting the wrinkles, folds and other shapes smoothed out and formed.

Some time later, the whole thing went in the oven on a nice low heat for a couple of hours. I’ve been trying to do them for longer and lower which is resulting in less cracking and a nice hard finish.

Painting was a bit of a tricky one. I’m a bit of a sloppy painter so it took a few goes to get it tidy but the requirement was a green dragon/finish/skin/scale tone. Plenty of Games Workshop paint and ink died to get the final colours right.

There are more pictures of the project in my google gallery

This project was a bit of a first as I’ve never sculpted a dragon before but then theres a lot of things I’ve never sculpted before… a zombie… a fish… the cast of Fame…