Anna is the next part of the Humanly Posable Armature experiment.
If you just arrived and landed here, you can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here.
There were 2 questions in my head which Anna had to provide answers for:
1. To test whether polymer clay can be used to sculpt the body parts, instead of the foam padding which is traditionally used with stop-motion armature.
2. To test whether polymer clay can be applied directly to the metal joints so that they still work after the clay is hardened.
The experiment gave the “yes” answer to both questions.
Polymer clay is heavier, but it gives much better body structure, compared to foam. Parts that will remain visible after clothing (neck, wrists, legs) look much better in clay. If a slender waist and graceful limbs are not important, a combination of clay/foam padding can be used.
“Clay applied directly to the joint” experiment: As it turns out, polymer clay and steel make great friends. Due to oil-based nature of polymer clay, the clay-encased joints are self-lubricating, in other words, the steel ball will still rotate inside the polymer clay enclosure.
Step by step photos for Anna.
You can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here.
Made the chest plate and hip parts out of the 1″ square wood tiles.
A better (hopefully) solution for the chest and hip connections is in the works, I will use it and describe on the next doll.
But for Anna – here is what happened:
Drilled the holes to sandwich 2 wood tiles together, – to make the cross-shaped connection for the chest. Almost the same way t-shaped connection for the hips was made.
Manual drill handle and 2 mm drill bits
After drilling the holes in the wood tiles, marked how these tiles should be connected, so that the holes are aligned.
Added Magic sculpt epoxy putty layer.
Added brass connectors – the feet are removable – for the ease in sculpting and costuming. Also the head and the hands will be removable. Making head, hands and feet, painting, wigging is hard enough and I don’t want the whole doll dangling upside down during the whole process.
The hands – same way as described HERE
Assembled, just to see how it all fits together.
IMPORTANT – DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THE JOINTS. Just enough to hold and rotate. You can always adjust it later.
The force that you create by moving a overtightened joint (a limb serving as a lever) is enough to warp and break steel on these miniature parts. I managed to do so. So BE GENTLE.
Disassembled again – to make the “bones”.
This is so to stop the “unmovable” parts from moving/unscrewing.
A layer of magic sculp make the “bones”.
Next photo starting the head. I am using this gadget – Sculping Head Stand, small one.
Put the clay on to form the core of the skull and bake. After it is baked, tighten the core against the wooden ball.
The baked core will sit on the ball and will not rotate during sculpting. When you complete sculpting and bake the head, you can unscrew the head off, just like a drawer knob. There will be a semi-sphere depression – the place for the neck.
First layers of polymer clay – directly onto the joint.
Find the opening of the hex screw head – and keep that hole – it will be the access port for adjusting the tension of the joint.
Sergei, thank you for the idea!
Ready for baking. forceps will keep the parts in the air while baking.
Two more gadgets – feet holders. They are made out of the thick pieces of 12Ga wire which are stuck into a cork. The top part – M2 screws.
The bottom part – round magnet. The whole thing is covered with magic sculpt. They are useful for making feet, if you like your feet symmetrical. Together with a small lazy susan, they make a great little contraption to sculpt the feet.
Baked. The oven is my old convection oven Deni 10400.
A pointer – use the thermometer and be precise with the clay recommended temperature and time because the metal heats up and cooks the clay faster than usual. My first clay layer darkened.
Made the head.
Assembled – to check how things are going.
Assembled – It worked! Even if my anatomy is not quite perfect, structurally Anna works. The limbs move and she holds the pose. I see that a few things can be improved – both anatomy-wise and structure-wise. Well, that will be the project for the next doll.
The tiny holes that you see are access ports for the allen key/phillips screwdriver – to adjust the tensions of the joints. Each joint has a access port. Hex head screws are easier to tighten/loosen than the phillips head screws, therefore they will be the choice for the next doll.
They can be and should be on the back, but I figured it out too late for Anna. The access ports will be preserved, even with clothing – I will find a way to make eyelets in the clothes because they are really very useful for adjusting the tension of all joints.
I will complete Anna on the next post – painting, wigging, clothing.
Continues on Part 2
Thank you for watching 🙂