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HPA-1 Kits: Step-by-Step Instructions

This post contains step-by-step instructions for the HPA-1 Kits which can be used to make make articulated puppets and dolls, such as these:

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ALL HPA Kits – click on the LINKS to order:

M00083 HPA-1 Basic Hardware Kit – includes consumable parts only (metal, wire, tube).
M00698 HPA-1 Tool Kit – includes non-consumable and long-use tools only, things you buy once.
M00220 HPA-1 Magnetic Wrists Kit – includes parts for the flexible wrist joints only.

M00023 HPA-1 Basic Hardware + Magnetic Wrists – includes Basic Hardware Kit and Magnetic Wrists Kit, no tools.
M00137 HPA-1 Starter Kit – includes Basic Hardware Kit, Magnetic Wrists Kit and Tool Kit.

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M00083 HPA-1 Basic Hardware Kit:

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Click on the photo to zoom,
click again for extra zoom

1)  1 piece 12″ round brass tube 5/32″ (to make head, hands and feet removable)
2)  25 pieces joint compression plates (12 pairs for armature + 1 spare)
3)  13 pieces M2x10 button hex screws (12 for armature + 1 spare)
4)  25 pieces ball screw (12 pairs for armature + 1 spare)
5)  22 pieces brass connectors M2x10 mm (21 for armature + 1 spare)
6)  7 pieces brass connectors M2x5 mm (6 for armature + 1 spare)
7)  24 pieces M2 hex nut (18 for armature + 6 spares)
8)  3 pieces chest/hip connectors (2 for armature + 1 spare)
9)  5 pieces screws M2x20 (4 for armature + 1 spare)
10)  2 pieces perforated steel slices (1 for armature + 1 spare)
11)  2 pieces of cotton-covered finger wire, 32 Ga (each 18″ long, 1 for armature + 1 spare)


M00698 HPA-1 Tool Kit:

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click again for extra zoom

1) 1 piece diagonal wire cutter (to cut screws to size)
2) 2 pieces long nose pliers (to tighten screws)
3) 1 piece tube cutter (to cut tubes)
4) 1 piece needle file (for cleaning thread after cutting)
5) 1 pack of JB Cold Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy (thread lock)
6) 1 piece allen key (for hex head nuts)
7) 1 piece ruler (to measure things)
8) 1 awl (to open tubes after cutting)

M00220 HPA-1 Magnetic Wrists Kit:

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click again for extra zoom

1) 2 pieces ball screws
2) 2 pieces brass connectors M2x10 mm
3) 2 round countersunk magnets (8 mm diameter x 5 mm height x 3 mm hole)

M00023 HPA-1 Magnetic Wrists Kit:

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Click on the photo to zoom,
click again for extra zoom

1)  1 piece 12″ round brass tube 5/32″ (to make head, hands and feet removable)
2)  25 pieces joint compression plates (12 pairs for armature + 1 spare)
3)  13 pieces M2x10 button hex screws (12 for armature + 1 spare)
4)  25 pieces ball screw (12 pairs for armature + 1 spare)
5)  22 pieces brass connectors M2x10 mm (21 for armature + 1 spare)
6)  7 pieces brass connectors M2x5 mm (6 for armature + 1 spare)
7)  24 pieces M2 hex nut (18 for armature + 6 spares)
8)  3 pieces chest/hip connectors (2 for armature + 1 spare)
9)  5 pieces screws M2x20 (4 for armature + 1 spare)
10)  2 pieces perforated steel slices (1 for armature + 1 spare)

1) 2 pieces ball screws
2) 2 pieces brass connectors M2x10 mm
3) 2 round countersunk magnets (8 mm diameter x 5 mm height x 3 mm hole)

M00137 HPA-1 Starter Kit:

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Click on the photo to zoom,
click again for extra zoom

1)  1 piece 12″ round brass tube 5/32″ (to make head, hands and feet removable)
2)  25 pieces joint compression plates (12 pairs for armature + 1 spare)
3)  13 pieces M2x10 button hex screws (12 for armature + 1 spare)
4)  25 pieces ball screw (12 pairs for armature + 1 spare)
5)  22 pieces brass connectors M2x10 mm (21 for armature + 1 spare)
6)  7 pieces brass connectors M2x5 mm (6 for armature + 1 spare)
7)  24 pieces M2 hex nut (18 for armature + 6 spares)
8)  3 pieces chest/hip connectors (2 for armature + 1 spare)
9)  5 pieces screws M2x20 (4 for armature + 1 spare)
10)  2 pieces perforated steel slices (1 for armature + 1 spare)

1) 1 piece diagonal wire cutter (to cut screws to size)
2) 2 pieces long nose pliers (to tighten screws)
3) 1 piece tube cutter (to cut tubes)
4) 1 piece needle file (for cleaning thread after cutting)
5) 1 pack of JB Cold Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy (thread lock)
6) 1 piece allen key (for hex head nuts)
7) 1 piece ruler (to measure things)
8) 1 awl (to open tubes after cutting)

*************
Step by step instruction

1. Prepare your drawing or proportion chart.
My armature is for a man of about 175 cm (5 feet 9 inches).
In 1:6 scale – he is about 29 cm (11.5 inch) tall.

I usually use the chart of “average guy” by Andrew Loomis (the guy with mustache).
For this post I am using a faint outline of the same guy so that you could see the small parts better.

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Part 1 – PUTTING TOGETHER AND MAKING HARDWARE PARTS

2. Find the compression plates. They look like this:

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3. Arrange compression plates in pairs on the chart where the joints will be.

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4. Find M2x10 button hex screws. They look like this:

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5. Put one M2x10 button hex screw next to each pair of compression plates.

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6. Find the brass connectors M2x5 mm. They look like this:

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7. Put one brass connector M2x5 mm next to each of the following joints: shoulder joints, elbow joints, knee joints.
Total of 6 connectors.

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8. Find the brass connectors M2x10 mm. They look like this:

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9. Put one brass connector M2x10 mm next to each of the following joints: waist joint, hip joints.
Total of 3 connectors.

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10. Find the M2 hex nuts. They look like this:

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11. Put one M2 hex nut next to each of the following joints: neck joint, ankle joints.
Total of 3 hex nuts.

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12. Find the ball screws. They look like this:

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13. Put 2 ball screws next to each joint.
Total of 24 ball screws.

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14. Find the long nose pliers and the allen key.
They look like these:

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15. Gather all parts of an ankle joint and put it together.
Same for the second ankle joint.

NOTE: Go easy with tightening the joints. Different joints need different degrees of tension. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN. The limbs work as levers and generate a surprisingly strong torque in the joint – enough to break the metal. 

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16. Same for the neck joint. DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN!

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17. Now – shoulder joints, elbow joints and knee joints. DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN!
The brass connectors in place of hex nuts serve as JOINT TENSION REGULATORS which can be used to adjust the tension in the joint while and after you make the puppet/doll.

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18. And now – hip joints and waist joints. DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN!

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19. Here are all the joints assembled.

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20. Find the chest/hip connectors. They look like this:

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21. Put them on like this:

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22. Secure them with M2 hex nuts. This is the chest connection (held with 2 hex nuts) :

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23. This is the hip connection (held with one M2 hex nut and one brass connector M2x10 mm)

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24. Attach the waist joint to the hip connection and secure with a M2 hex nut.

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25. Find the perforated steel slice, M2 x 20 screw and two M2 hex nuts.
This construction will serve as a “sitting bone” which and will provide a sturdy bottom for the puppet/doll so that he/she could sit without toppling.

Note: The chest/hip connectors have rather shallow thread on one end (the dimpled one). I am aware of it and working on getting a different kind custom-made for me. They will be a little larger, steel instead of brass, with all holes threaded. For now, just secure with JB Cold Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy the screw into the hole if the thread is not working.

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26. Connecting the chest to the waist. Find one screw M2x20 and two brass connectors M2x10 mm.

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27. Snip the head off the screw with the diagonal cutter.

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28. File smooth the cut end with the needle file so that it goes into the threaded brass connector.
In order to see better what I am doing, I use this Magnifier Head Band.

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29. Connecting the shoulder joint to the elbow joint, with a brass connectors M2x10 mm.

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30. As you can see on the photo, the balls screws are too long.

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31. Cut to shorten one of them, file smooth the cut end with the needle file, assemble. Same on the other arm. SAVE those 2 cut ends, you will need them in a minute.

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32. I hope you saved your cut pieces, so you can use them to widen the shoulders.
If not, cut the spare screw M2x20 provided in your kit.

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33. Widening the shoulders with small cut pieces and brass connectors M2x10 mm.

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34. Cut the ball screw on the hip joint and complete the hip connection.

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35. Use screws M2x20 to lengthen the thigh bones.  Same way as in the chest-to-waist connection – snip the head, file down with the needle file, connect.

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36. Now the removable feet modules (meaning from the bottom of the knees).
Find the round brass tube 5/32″ and four brass connectors M2x10 mm.

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37. Screw the brass connectors M2x10 mm on the ball screws.
Measure off how long the tubes should be. In my case (1:6 scale average build) – 4 cm.

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38. Measure off 4 cm. Slightly pinch the tube at the mark.

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39. Insert the tube into the tube cutter . You will feel the click when the mark meets the knife inside the cutter.

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40. Slightly tighten the knob on the cutter and rotate the tube. If it does not rotate, loosen the knob.
Turn a couple of times, tighten the knob, turn more, tighten more. In a few seconds the tube will snap.

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41. The walls on cut end of the tube are pushed inwards after cutting, so you will need to open it up – with the awl from your tool kit. Insert the awl into the tube, grab the tube with pliers and force the awl into the tube a couple of times.

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42. Here are both feet modules. You will be able to remove them and make feet and shoes and stockings in peace, without dragging the whole doll around while you are working on the feet. We will also make removable hand modules (from the elbow down) and the head module.

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43. The hands. Measure off and cut 2 tubes (3 cm for this one).

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44. It is useful to have a hand reference. Download it from the internet, resize and print, or just draw. For example, my own hand is 18 cm long, so 1:6 scale would be 3 cm long.
Find the cotton-covered finger wire.

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45. The cotton-covered finger wire in the kit is 18″ (45 cm) long. If you cut ten 4.5 cm pieces, you will have enough for 10 fingers.

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46. Bend the ends with the long nose pliers.

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47. Insert the bent ends into the tube.

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48. Flatten the tube with long nose pliers and, for good measure, carefully pinch it a few times with the diagonal wire cutter. Carefully, don’t cut them off.

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49. Measure off and trim the finger wires with scissors.

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50. Find two brass connectors M2x10 mm, screw one on each elbow joint ball screw and put on the hand modules.

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51. Cut a piece of tube for the removable head module (3 cm in my case).  Attach the same way (with a brass connector M2x10 mm).

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52. All the parts are done. Don’t expect it to stand and do things just yet. We will need to thread lock (with JB Cold Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy) it first, because everything you screwed together tends to get unscrewed. At this point everything is wobbly, moving and rotating. It is very confusing why something moves – because of loose joint or loose thread. So don’t exercise your puppet/doll just yet.

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Part 2 – THREAD LOCKING (with JB Cold Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy)

53. Find a tray or a shallow box with a towel. This is to prevent the parts from rolling around and dropping to the floor.

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54. Find JB Cold Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy in your kit. Squeeze out equal amounts of both ingredients (about pea size each). The epoxy hardens within about 40 minutes and completely cures overnight.

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55. Mix well

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56. Starting from the head unscrew the first joint. Work with one joint at a time, so that you do not get lost which part you are working with.
Things can get confusing, so work methodically.

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57. Screw the connector in place as tight as you can without breaking. Working with 2 sets of long nose pliers is helpful.

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58. Set each thread-locked part on the towel to cure – keep the armature outline.

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59. Here are all the limbs thread-locked. No joints yet.

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60. Bring in and set the tubes in their places.

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61. Bring in and put in place the parts for the neck joint and ankle joints.

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62. What you have left – joints with brass tension regulators.
In order for them to be more effective, I anchor (epoxy) the screw to the plate. This is not necessary, but very helpful.

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63. Put some epoxy to the place where screw head meets the plate.

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64. Add a M2 hex nut and tighten it.

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65. Complete all joint plates one by one and put each joint part set as you complete it to its place on the towel.

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66. WAIT UNTIL NEXT MORNING TO ASSEMBLE.

Part 3. Assembling

67. Assemble.

Reminder: Go easy with tightening the joints. Different joints need different degrees of tension. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN. The limbs work as levers and generate a surprisingly strong torque in the joint – enough to break the metal.

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68. The armature is ready. You can now pose the armature and check the functionality of each joint.

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Hands with Magnetic Wrist Joints.

Cut 10 fingers out of cotton-covered finger wire, 32 Ga.
Put them into the piece of round brass tube 5/32″ (opposable thumb wire from the opposing end).

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Flatten the tube with long nose pliers and, for good measure, carefully pinch it a few times with wire cutter.
Carefully, don’t cut them off. Set the hand on a shorted ball screw. Pinch with pliers to tighten the tube around the screw.

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Here are the parts that make the magnetic wrist joint, from top to bottom:
round brass tube 5/32″ (hand module)
brass connector M2x10 mm
8 mm countersunk magnet
The hand.
Cold Weld epoxy is used to secure hand module, brass connector and ring magnet.

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Sculpting hands.

Paint wire with Translucent Liquid Sculpey on cat tongue brush.
Make little sausages.

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The sausage fingers should be the same width as on the reference photo.

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Make indentations where the fingers bend with the X-acto knife.
Make nails on the other side with fingernail tools.

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Bake.
Make small cuts where finger knuckles are.

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Bend fingers (break clay).
Paint fingers with Translucent Liquid Sculpey

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Put clay on the palm and sculpt the hands with a hook micro tool, cat tongue brush, fine point tip rubber tool.
Finger ring palette is helpful to keep the clay and liquid clay close to the sculpting area.

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Finish, bake and paint with Genesis paints, at the same time you paint the face. For reference use your own hands.

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70. Next – remove the head and feet modules and start making the head and the feet.

For more details continue to the King and Jester post.

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25 comments on “HPA-1 Kits: Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Will these be offered as ‘buy it now’ in the future?

    Like

  2. In a word: WOW! I hope you sell lots, after all your developmental work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is fantastic Natasha, following with great interest. One day I will attempt this, when I finish all my current projects. Well done on your successful experiment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] you just arrived and landed here, you can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here. All Tools and Materials Used in This Project: Sculping Head Stand (to sculpt head in peace, […]

    Like

  5. […] you just arrived and landed here, you can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here. All Tools and Materials Used in This Project: Sculping Head Stand (to sculpt head in peace, […]

    Like

  6. […] you just arrived and landed here, you can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here. All Tools and Materials Used in This Project: Sculping Head Stand (to sculpt head in peace, […]

    Like

  7. […] you just arrived and landed here, you can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here. All Tools and Materials Used in This Project: Sculping Head Stand (to sculpt head in peace, […]

    Like

  8. […] Continued from Part 1 If you just arrived and landed here, you can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here. […]

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  9. […] 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. The inspiration image was this lovely 1832 portrait by Karl Brullov of Nataliа Pushkina or […]

    Like

  10. […] 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. […]

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  11. […] Continued from Part 2. If you just arrived and landed here, you can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here. […]

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  12. […] you just arrived and landed here, you can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here. I will be glad to see people joining me on this project (using stop motion armature for OOAK […]

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  13. […] If you just arrived and landed here, you can see the detailed description of the parts and tools here. […]

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  14. I’m so happy I came across your eBay store. Not only do you offer anything and everything a clay artist needs and WANTS, but you are an amazing artist yourself. Wow! You’re very talented. Also, you’re store is now my favorite (Hobby Lobby was before, lol) and I’m already starting to fill my cart again 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. […] by step description for making magnetic wrist joints (M00220) (M00220), used as an option with the HPA (Humanly Posable Armature) […]

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  16. […] is a detailed post about making a 1:6 scale armature in HPA-1 Instructions, here on this post I will describe the most important […]

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