Sunday, July 24, 2011

Take Me To The Pilot

I had so much fun painting the chair, that I decided to spend some time this weekend painting the pilot.  My painting method is really pretty simple. I begin with a base coat, then begin to add various glazes (each one more dark) and then a bit of highlighting just for that little "pop" where needed. Lastly, I look at the various details on the object and paint them (buttons, cuff links, etc.).

Now that the pilot is about finished, it's time to really kick it in gear on the remainder of the robot...It's going to happen fast! Stay tuned!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Say Good Day To You Sir...Good Day!

I sculpted the head today for my pilot.  It remains to be seen if I'll do a Garden Gnome version, but for now Dr. Giles Vandermeer is prepared to drive this infernal robot through scores of moon men...determined to lay waste to the vicious green monsters that threaten our lovely steam powered civilization! Hip Hip!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Getting A Head...Soon.

I have been hard at work on some other projects that needed my attention, but I continue to work on the robot and pilot as much as possible.  I know that sculpting the head will be great fun, and have been saving it for close to the end, but in the meantime, I have completed more of his body and have mostly finished his chair....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Little Off The Top...

I've been working on the pilot from the bottom up.  I decided that I'd glue up some leftover pieces of HDU and sculpt the basic form.  I'll add magic sculpt details once it's all roughed out.  I plan to have the pilot sitting back and pressing a foot pedal with one leg.  His hands will both be holding onto levers that control the robot.

Since it's the weekend, I thought I'd treat myself this morning...I got up early and headed out to the shop to whip up the pilot's seat. It's loosely based on an antique barber's chair.  While much of it won't be easily visible through the port hole, I know curious lookers will peer deep into that window looking to see if there is anything to see. I want the answer to be "YES!".   Once these pieces are all cured, I'll go back in and add decorative work on the metal arms that hold the back to the bottom, and add additional arm rests.  It came together pretty quickly, because I had been thinking about it most of last night.

I've also begun the process of casting some additional gun parts from the one provided by WETA. I'll need those to decorate various parts of the robot, primarily the arms.  I'm also using some bits and pieces elsewhere on the robot.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I enjoy the process of designing projects, but leaving enough room to allow for some development during the project.  As I build, I find that I make adjustments to certain shapes, and modify little things that mostly mean something to me.  One of the really fun parts is getting to design and add all the little details to a project. In the case of this robot/weapon/sign....I'm starting to add some details to the legs and to the interior of the cockpit. Eventually you'll mostly see the driver, but I want there to be plenty to look at inside.  I know that if I were looking at this thing, I'd have my nose right up against the port hole to see what was in I'm putting in pipes, gauges, levers and all kinds of little goodies.  It's a snap to design them and carve them. 
This first picture represents some round pieces that attach at the pivot point on the legs.   In all, there were 18 different pieces to carve for those.

Even the inside of the front cover will get detailing and  will conceal the lights that will illuminate the interior.
That hole on the back wall of the cockpit will allow wiring to travel down the back leg for power to the lights.
Tomorrow I start work on the feet, and begin to build the antique "barber chair" that will hold our pilot. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Standing On My Own 3 Feet.

The legs are covered! I still have the "feet" to do, but decided to take some time to work on the cockpit. 
I enjoy the process of making "greeblies" which are all the fun doo-dads you see on spaceships, rayguns and any model that needs some general detail.  In the case of models (for instance the ships from Star Wars) they are often pieces from model kits...tanks, race cars, airplanes. I found some existing greeblies in 3d form and had some fun making a piece that will be on the back wall of the cockpit. The four round pieces will be little gauges when it's all done.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More Leg Please...

Lots of work completed today!
I began by planning how I'd cover the robot's legs.  I did some vector illustrations and then added some texture in photoshop.
I then pulled this design into my CarveWright Designer program and set my depth and tool selection.  CarveWright's designer program really makes this kind of work easy.
Once I was happy with the size and layout, I set up the carve to do 6 of these. 2 for each leg (front and back). I then put in some Azek material and let the machine do what it does best...carve.  I used that time to work on additional designs for the interior of the cockpit.
Once they were done, it was time to cut them out and route a channel on the back for the pipes that make up the legs. My router made quick work of doing all of these.

Next it was time to glue them up and see how they'll look.  Eventually, additional "pieces" will be added to give additional detail, but so far I'm happy with them!
Also, an important piece arrived today!  I've decided to use my robot project in conjunction with a contest being held by an online replica prop forum (movie props). The contest is to upgrade a raygun designed by the creative staff at WETA (They do special effects for movies like The Lord Of The Rings and make rayguns through their Dr. Grordbort product line).  My upgrade to the gun will include the addition of this robot!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Get A Leg Up...or 3.

Having had a chance to look at the robot full scale, I made some minor changes to the leg struts.  I've decided to alter them in a way that will retain the stability I want, but will look even better.  I'm happy with the result...and all it took was a few changes to the armature.
Having completed that, I have started in on some mounts that will surround the armature and provide additional detail.  I will be making several "rings" that will attach to the body and create a mounting point for the legs.
These rings are the bottom layer, followed by a thicker layer with a decorative bevel. Those were quickly glued together and allowed to dry for several hours.
Next I added some rivets, and created a two-piece "ring" that will complete the mounts.
These mounts were then attached to the body.  I had to keep the diameter of the leg armature in mind when I made them so they would fit over the "feet" and slide up the armature until they met the body.  It went off as planned and they were all attached to the body in very little time.
Now I'll be gin the "skin" for the legs. Beginning tomorrow, my little carving machine will be getting a workout.