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I make toys for kids who don't want to grow up. I'm on the lookout for new projects. If you're interested in commissioning me to build something ridiculous, shoot me an email.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Genestealer Build Update 4: Mounting the Head, Re-Splitting the Torso, and Starting on the Arms

So this beastie has a big ribcage arrangement that will contain the wearer's head and shoulders.  Since the waist end of the ribcage is too small to squeeze in and out of, we'll have to make it able to open in some way in order to get it on and off.  So when Jeff sculpted out the digital model, it had break points separating the chest and back:

Parts Side

Here's what they look like in real life:
Genestealer Armpit Split

Ultimately those would end up being pretty obvious seams that didn't belong on the final critter's very organic shape.  It's not Jeff's fault, we really didn't discuss much about how we would hide the seams separating the front from the back.   But I had to come up with something else. 

So I started by joining the chest and back with some glue and a bit of fiberglass to make sure the new joint wouldn't fail while we mangled the adjacent plastic:Ribcage Split Glassed Over

Then I added a bit more of a visible overlap where I wanted the chest and back to come apart by sculpting a new ridge with some Free Form Air epoxy putty:Sculpting Carapace Overlaps

Here's a better angle to see the forward edge where the new overlap is built:
Sculpting Overlaps for Separation Points

Once I had the new connection overlaps sculpted to my liking, I hung up the ribcage in an out-of-the-way corner in the shop:
Genestealer Carapace Overlaps Curing

Genestealer Chest Suspended in the Shop

This week I decided I needed to mount the head print so I could use it as a sculpting armature (and later a mold plug) so I made a cardboard template to fit the neck hole:
Cardboard template in place

Here's the template laid out on a piece of 3/4" cardboard: 
Cardboard Template on Plywood Base

The inner offset line is about the same shape as the neck hole and the outer line is the extents of the skirt that will overlap on the inside of the neck hole:
Template Traced onto Plywood Base

With that sorted out, the printed head was mounted in place:
Printed Head Mounted to Plywood Base

The back of the neck had a divot in it that would make it hard to fill the neck hole, so I went ahead and filled it with a batch of expanding foam:
Foam Filling Recess in Back of Genestealer Neck

After it was done growing and had firmed up completely, I whittled it down and smoothed it over:
Foam Fill Shaved Down

Then the whole thing got another pass with bondo to smooth it over:
Fairing Done

Satisfied that it was smooth enough, I gave it a coat of XTC-3D epoxy resin:
Epoxy Coating on Head

Then set it aside to cure:
Epoxy Coated Head Curing

While waiting on that to set up, I cut the chest and back apart with a coping saw, separating them right under the new ridge:
Back and Chest Re-Split

It turns out I'd gotten a little overzealous with the fiberglass when I had joined the two parts together, so cutting through the mass of glass was quite the task with the delicate little coping saw blade:
Genestealer Torso Split

But once the cutting was done, I focused on smoothing the new ends of the back piece:
Genestealer Back Cut Off of Back

That done, the back could be polished up and prepped for molding.  In order to get a better idea of how things were going, I gave it a coat of greay primer:
Genestealer Back Primed

Now it's sitting on this handy rolling work stand waiting for the primer to dry:
Genestealer Back Primed

Because I need a challenge, my plan is to mold it and cast it in fiberglass.  This is going to be an exceedingly difficult piece to duplicate.  The mold is probably going to have to separate into something like fourteen pieces by the time it's all said and done.

Meanwhile, I imported Jeff's arm model parts into the Carvewright Designer software: Forearm Buck Carving Layout

Next I'll let Lopez the Robot Whittler carve out the wooden pieces that we'll stack together and use as vacuum forming bucks to make the arm shells.  I'll also be getting a start on sculpting the skin for the head and hands.

Stay tuned...

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