Stop Motion Film Progress Part 3

Right after updating the blog last night my Krampus puppet broke his left leg in a horrible skiing accident. Luckily we don’t shoot his parts for another month. This posed a problem I’ve never had to address before. How to repair a wire armature. Wire armatures are cheap and easy to build but suffer from quality of the joints. A fancy ball and socket armature would be great, but they cost a small fortune buying them online and I don’t have a machine shop or engineering skills to make my own.

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In order to get to the broken wire I had to undo a shitload of work I did over the last few days. Fur had to be ripped off, foam pealed away, and epoxy putty chipped away, all while trying not to damage the rest of the wire armature. Sucks to be me.

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My solution uses copper tubing, quick setting epoxy, and three pieces of smaller gauge wire for the replacement joint. The theory being that three pieces will be more durable than the one thick wire. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to attach another length of the thick wire without adding too much girth. So, cramming three pieces of wire and the original thicker wire into the copper tubes was impossible. Lots off effort trimming and doing what I could to widen the tube openings with wire cutters did the job. Epoxy on the wires should keep things in place.

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The two wires for the knee was not going to do the trick, so I epoxied the third wire on the outside, parallel withe the others. The blue tape is used to keep the wires in place as the epoxy sets.

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To make sure my repairs stay in place and have strength, I put more epoxy putty around the whole mess. This stuff is freakishly tough. I then ad to repeat the build up process with the foam.

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Since the fur was the easiest part of the build, I decided to replace the old legging with a new strip, this time with the fur lying in the correct direction. The last one was running up the leg instead of down. As before, I make quick work of it.

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Krampus back together and better than before…I hope.

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Now onto the head, the trickiest part. This is where the character becomes a character. Sculpting tiny things is not my forte. Sculpy is too heavy, so I’m using Paperclay. It looks, feels, and sculpts like clay. You’d never know it was a paper material unless you saw the package it came in. It has volcanic ash or some shit in it, too. Cool stuff.

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Some aluminum wire with epoxy putty and Paperclay for the horns. The ears need to be articulated, so I put some flaps of epoxy putty on some thin gauge wire. I’ll probably build up some liquid latex on the ears to give them that goat ear look. Haven’t quite worked that out yet. All these parts will be glued into the head once I finish the sculpt.

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Here he is with the horns just poked into the sculpt. He needs a lot of TLC at this point.. The Paperclay is very soft and needs to dry a bit between applications of more clay and detailing. I still need to work out how to add the articulated jaw and a long red tongue. I should have that for the next update. I’m back to work on Monday, so updates may be a bit protracted.

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About heartajack

I'm a graphic designer and occasional filmmaker that recently discovered the awesomeness that is the Can-Am Spyder Roadster. In recent years I've become obsessed with food and learning how to prepare it. I make the best damn ribs...EVER.
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