Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Call me Dave...

Next up is David Cameron. Even though he has a fairly distinctive face, all smooth and sleekly chubby as all well-fed aristocrats should be - Caitlin Moran once said in an immortal line, "Cameron looks like C3P0 made of ham" - nevertheless, when it actually came to sculpting him, I found it immensely difficult, despite having made a small-scale maquette first. The final sculpt ended up departing somewhat from the maquette - what works small often doesn't work life-size...

By the weekend, Boris and Dave should be complete in puppet form as we prepare to shoot new Rubber Balls videos, so watch this space!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Who's the slaphead, who's the slaphead...?

It's Baldy Boris! In a departure from my usual technique of sculpting the hair as part of the final rubber casting, in the case of Boris Johnson that simply wouldn't do - his famously unruly hair simply cannot be sculpted. And so he's been modelled bald and will have a shaggy blonde wig fitted! Also, in another departure (behind the scenes this time), I'm using Alec Tiranti's Basic Alpha Plaster to make the mould. It is much harder, though more expensive, than the Prestia Classic I have hitherto used, and this increased robustness has already been noticeable as I dug the clay out of the mould with wooden tools and at no point scratched the surface of the mould, whereas with Prestia Classic even a wooden tool can mark and gouge.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Rubber Balls Promos

Last week I made a sort of promotional 'poster' for the Twitter using Ed Miliband. Having finally finished the Clegg puppet today, I decided to do one for him too.

The slightly odd 'letterbox' format is because Twitter shows attached images in a preview in exactly those proportions, so if the image is more square, it cuts the top and bottom off and you have to click 'expand' to see the whole image. So as to maximise the impact of these 'posters' on Twitter, I formatted them so that the whole image appears in the preview.

Sunday, 14 September 2014


Here's what the rubber heads look like after being removed from the mould (this one has been tidied up a bit, having had the 'flashing', the excess latex around the casting that seeped in between the mould halves, trimmed). This example is a puppet head of Benjamin Netanyahu.

The liquid latex was tinted beforehand, as the natural colour is a slightly translucent pale cream which makes seeing (and correcting) surface blemishes very difficult. By tinting the latex so it's darker and more opaque, tidying up the surface is made far easier.

As you can see, it is merely a rubber 'skin', albeit fairly thick, such that it can just about stand up without any internal support. Later, it will be turned upside down and soft foam will be poured in roughly half-filling the head, as described elsewhere on this blog, leaving the mouth downwards empty but enabling the upper half to keep its shape.

One Ed is better than, er, I'll get back to you...

In all his glory...