I decided I want the exterior of the houses to all be stone, with stone garden walls, etc. I envision this place to be like one the planned garden cities in England of the late 19th and early 20th century. If I am going to do this I need to find a good way to replicate a lot of walls. I do not sculpt well. I am not going to rely on someone with sculpting skills to have time available for this. So I took a trip to the Eugene Toy & Hobby to see waht they had. I found these retaining wall sections for model train sets. They will work wonderfully. I just can't afford to buy all I need. They were $11 for a set of 3. I have liquid latex. I have lots and lots of cheap plaster. I thought hey, why not make my own molds of these wall sections and then I can make all I need cheaply.
Latex mold making is not as easy as they make it look. they didn't turn out very well. I got sick from all the latex fumes. And the ones that did work didn't actually produce a working model. Even though the molds really did not shrink (I can fit the original in without stretching it), the casting is a good inch smaller than the original. I need to figure out why. I also had a hard time getting that first layer to dry properly. The side touching the original wall piece never dried properly no matter how long I left it before I did the second layer. The thing is, when you do a second layer, you can't wait too long or the layers don't adhere to each other properly. Then there were the issues with making the mother molds. Latex is thin and does not hold it's shape. This is ideal for peeling it off the original...not so for holding the casting material in the right shape. So you make a mother mold out of plaster. After the last layer has dried you cover it in plaster. Let it sit until set and voila you have a good solid base for the latex mold that will still allow for you to peel the latex off the casting without breaking it. my issue...the plaster kept crumbling. I followed the directions on how to mix it. I let it sit for hours. the ambient room temp was 70. The stupid things just kept crumbling. I finally got a few that will work, though I really need to figure out how to solve the mysterious shrinking casting issue.
Here be the picture evidence. The yellow one on the left is the first one that worked. the one at the top is the second one, though you can tell it stuck to the original and destroyed some of the detail. The one in the middle is the original, and to the right is the casting. Sad, sad, sad.
I also had a brilliant idea to use those poseable wooden artists manquins as the armatures for the puppets. I figured out how to get the hands to work, I just got to figure out how to build up the head and face. The advantage is there are more natural articulation points, and they are already built up to natural human proportions. I will still work on learning how to make my own, but to try to facilitate this video that is what I am trying.
And that is as far as I have gotten. The molds alone took 3 days. This is a long slow process. I am impatient. I want to be animating. However, this time I want better puppets and sets. I want this one to be really cool.
I am also looking into renting office space. As long as I keep it under $300 and utilities included I may be able to do it. I would be sacrificing saving any money for deposits for my own place to live, but it would be easier for everyone else to help out if I had a place other than just a bedroom for us to work. It feels weird, and frankly no one really wants to do that, as much as they want to work on this. Sigh. It always comes down to money, doesn't it. Well, if I can get to a place where my animations look more professional maybe I can get a few commissions, maybe start at least having it pay for itself. that would make it tons easier.
Anyway, if you are reading this and have an inkling of why my molds are giving me grief, feel free to either comment or email me. I was planning on having people over to help make castings, but I have to have enough molds for more than just one person to use.