Over the holiday season, I produced a collection of plaster statues of Gus, to give as Christmas presents.
The process started with a resin model being produced using stereolithography. 3D Systems, Australia, "printed" the character from the digital model used in the production of the film. I divided the digital model into several pieces to allow flexibility in its reproduction.
Next was the production of a silicone mould, the process of which veteran stop-motion animator Jason Lynch shared with me in great detail. It was fun returning to a tangible medium, after spending much of my adult life producing digital work. Barnes Products supplied the materials, and shared their expertise in using them.
With the silicone mould completed, a myriad of materials in which to cast the character were possible. At the time, unfortunately, it was only viable to use plaster. While it is cost effective and easy to use, it can be quite fragile. Reinforcing was needed in the character's legs and neck.
While there were some imperfections in the casting, they were easily addressed. Large holes were drilled into the heads, with the help of my cousin's drill press, then glued to the bodies with one of humankind's great inventions, epoxy resin.
My Terracotta Army was ready to prime and paint. While there are some amazing paints out there, I had to settle with a pretty basic dark metallic paint for a finish. I think the statues turned out quite well. The recipients certainly thought so.
Here's a time-lapse video of the process:
With the plaster statues now scattered across Brisbane, the moulds lie dormant waiting to be used again. They should survive the casting of at least another dozen statues, and I'm keen to try some different materials.
Bronze is something I'm looking forward to, however, I will need to hand it over to a foundry. The process is a little more complicated, and my oven doesn't get hot enough!
Until next time… Keep creating!