Our story so far: I acquired a bucket of a miraculous modeling compound called "Magic-Sculpt" and decided the obvious choice for a first project was my insect girl Annophila because her design is almost robotic, each limb a separate, semi-rigid part. After finishing the sculpture, I needed to paint it. I took pictures documenting my progress, and here they are, with full commentary.
I changed the palette quite a bit from my original color designs. I have made new images to reflect the brighter color scheme, but you might still see some old red-and-gray Annophila pictures floating around... Here's the red and yellow parts done. You can see in the background my fancy 99-cent acrylic paint ... and yes, that metal thing is a hookah. It's mostly for decorative purposes. I have smoked it once or twice - Tobacco only, folks! Honest! Don't do drugs. Drink your milk. Stay in school.
Here's all the colors done. The acrylic has a nice silky sheen to it, but I want Annophila's shell to be glossy & shiny. So, next step is to coat her with Magic Smooth and pray for the best! (Magic Smooth is a companion product to Magic Sculpt. It is also a two-part epoxy resin, but it has a gooey texture rather than a putty-like texture.)
Well ... Magic-Smooth can best be described as "difficult." It's a little awkward to apply, being a gel slightly more viscous than Vaseline. It's clear, but sort of yellowish & cloudy if you apply it too thick. Its properties are unpredictable. Some sections turned out smooth & wet-looking. Other sections had an inexplicable wrinkly or crackly texture that only became apparent AFTER it had cured. Some areas had little white specks (dust got mixed in?) I can't figure out what I did wrong. I applied it in sections, one each day. I had to let one part cure so I could hold it while applying Smooth to the next part. Maybe my mix ratio wasn't exact from batch to batch? Would that make such a difference?
Anyway, once I had started, of course I had to cover the whole thing. I was able to re-coat the crackly sections with a very thin layer and get it looking reasonably smooth, but it's not a shiny as I had hoped. Now that I know, I prefer to think of the Magic-Smooth merely as a sealant to protect the paint. Turns out this WAS a necessary step anyway, as I discovered in the course of smearing this goop into some of the awkward nooks & crannies: Acrylic paint will scratch right off of Magic Sculpt, if you nick it with a fingernail, a knife, the edge of a table, or anything at all. I did quite a bit of re-touching in between Magic-Smooth sessions.
And now, there you go. She's done, all sculpted, painted and sealed, and suspended in an Attitude of Flight. Now it's just a matter of watching to see if the Smooth coat reacts with the paint, discolors or turns opaque over time. I don't think it will. (As of August 2009, it has remained stable & transparent.) Overall I'm very pleased with how well this turned out. It's many times better than things I've attempted with clay, Sculpey, and paper-mache. I hate Sculpey; it is an invention of the Devil. Magic-Sculpt made possible a much higher quality of work. I highly recommend this material to anybody interested in making figurines, models, puppets, etc.
Get out your red & blue 3D glasses (right eye blue, left eye red) to enjoy the incredible three-dimensional solidity of the Annophila sculpture! Hopefully many of you out there in TV land will have a pair of glasses left over from some three-dimensional spectacular or other; several were broadcast in the 2000s and glasses were given away by the truckload. Only a fool would throw away a perfectly good pair of 3D glasses, so I know you still have them somewhere. Because you're not a fool. Are you?
Contents copyright 1994-2009 by JW Kennedy.