Friday, May 22, 2009

SHIPS week 4 - Flea Ship

Shel here with Flea Ship progress:

made some big jumps this week and am super excited.

THIS IS A PRETTY TECHNICAL POST so just scroll thru the pic if you're not interested in what kind of glue i used!

and TAKE NOTE: i've been at this for 4 weeks and Set Master Jeff has been around alot less the past two weeks as other work calls him, so i'm BY NO MEANS an expert at this......none the less here's my process this week.


For Flea Ship I started last week with a 1/2" PLYWOOD base structure for foundation. I used ELMERS GLUE with HOT GLUE reinforcement to put together the base box and then glued (Elmers again) 1" BLUE FOAM to the box and shaped the main engine compartment which will support the rest of the ship

and then i made a smaller 1/4" wood frame for the top of the fusilage, and glued 2" BLUE FOAM onto it for shaping (shown drying above). [warning: i made my box a bit too tall though and am now having to sand through wood to get the curved shape i want--not ideal.]

then i shaped the top of the fusilage into general roundness and built a 1/2 " WOOD frame for the ships "jaw" and started attaching 2" FOAM for the bottom of the fusilage.


after my first pass of shaping i wasn't so happy with how "boxy" the ship was looking so i started rounding more foam is very much fun to sculpt cuz it's so flexible in it's response to the SCRAPER.......i scrape and it seems to say "did you mean sort of like this?" it doesn't matter that there's not much room for going back, because it takes it's form so gently, it's pretty intuitive. until i get impatient and start in with the BOX CUTTER (razor blade) and even the JIG SAW......then i have to be careful! but as long as i peel little tiny bits at a time (not much my style i must admit) it goes great.

below, left side still boxy, right side getting rounder.....

CANNED FORCED AIR is very useful for getting the blue foam dust off my face, mask and glasses (when i forget to wear the glasses, the foam dust irritates my eyes)
Starting to work on the ship's Brow......and using my beloved DREMEL (a rotary tool with tons of attachments for carving, sanding, sawing, buffing, and many things i don't know about yet.....very useful for miniature work!). here i'm using it to carve out an indent in the foam for my box structure (takes a steady hand cuz it carves through foam like a hot knife on butter).
making the 1/4" PLY box for the Brow (the wood extends further back than the foam so i can HOT GLUE it to the top of the fusilage frame). jeff continues to stress the point that in STOP MO you want EVERYTHING SECURELY ATTACHED to the main frame and the main frame able to be securely attachable to the ground. (so a foam brow without a wood frame attachment would not be secure enough....and i need the ships to be extra strong because justin is not a light handed animator! he works the puppets and sets HARD for all that beautiful squash and stretch!)

this time i used LIQUID NAILS instead of ELMERS GLUE to attach the box because the foam surface is so uneven and the Elmers is too thin to connect, whereas the thick pasty Liquid Nails substance can fill in the' not so good for attaching foam to foam if you want to sand though (as it turns out) cuz Liquid Nails dries rubbery and doesn't sand well.

eventually we will glue/with hot glue the top of the fusilage to the foundation wood structure--but for now we are keeping them seperate for ease of shaping.


it was pretty scarey carving into my fusilage (it's been fun, but i'm SO not interested in making a new one!)......Jeff keeps saying it's the Z axis that gets you!! but with his encouragement i dug in bit by bit and was really pleased with how well it worked out.

ATTACHING THE AFTER BURNER THINGYS (these are made from 2"BLUE FOAM glued together and shaped down)

imaging the cut......taking the plunge..... it fits!!!


Gregory Sesma said...

Awesome, what's next, what's next?

Shelley Noble said...

Looks fantastic, Shel Bell. You guys would be great at industrial design like they do for real life vehicles. That craft looks ready to go.

Way to go!

ratrp said...

wow that's brilliant

Duane said...

Love it love it love it!
The more technical, the better as far as I'm concerned ('course, this coming from someone who might go a little TOO technical with his blog sometimes...)

After reading your blog for a couple weeks I feel like I know you guys - we both spend copious amounts of time tinkering with the same materials! haha Still need to get some blue foam though..

amoebaboy said...

i love using blue foam its so easy to work with.
how are you going to skin it, its going to be interesting working with all those gorgeous curves.

rich johnson said...

wow. the curves are perfect. And this is your first one!

handmadeheroes said...

hey is the butt, then fix some issues with the winshield frame in front, then figure out the window!!!, then take over the world, much to do!

thanks shelley, i love justin's designs, they are so fun to give shape to. (my friend in college used to call me shel sweet!)

gee thanks ratrp!

brother duane....i think you're going to love the blue foam!

amoebaboy.....that's the question! joint compound is the answer, but i have to wait and see how set-master jeff does it....i'm wondering if patch and paint spakle will work to fill cracks? and i've heard it's good to paint glue on it before the joint compound cuz paint can eat the much to learn!!! but you know i'll be posting about it when i figure it out.

thanks rich.....i have to say, it's SOO satisfying to make those curves!

Darkstrider said...

Excellent!!! Thanks for the tech info Shel!!!

I can't believe you're just gluing the plywood... that's awesome!!

The ships are so sexah... like classic Impalas with fins!

And they're HUGE!! You guys must have unlimited set space to work in....

Edwound Wisent said...

(^ speaking of adhesives and such:
blue foam :shudders at the air eWE breathe:
(^ i found PINKfoam was close enough once coated in scupltorcoat.
(^ I loved seeing the shurform rasp in hand. brought back massive memory of never going anywhere not static clinged to styrofoam particles.

you ever played much with hairspray and styrine? or touchNfoam ( aka greatstuuf: a foam insulation in a can product)

first ran into it when John mathews was making caves for Stanley and the Dinosaurs.

ok maybe it was joel and Nicky:
point is , it fakes te texture of the foam to a certain extent:
liquid nails is yummy. i still like it a bit too much than is healthy.

some time I'll take pictures of candle holders I made using the left over bottom of the tubes.

you'd never guess they started off liquid nails.

(^.. I sure hope you folk got a massive shop vac with a micro attachment on it to suck up all the blue sno tho..

handmadeheroes said...

--darkstrider: yeah, the glue thing was surprising to me's really impressive how strong they are once all glued together!

and we don't have as much space as i'm afraid we are going to want, come shooting time......the scale sort of got away with us.....but we're determined to make it biggest concern is how to fit Dick Kaneshiro and his big ol' moco machine in there!!! i might be taking some of my cool shelves down for a while!!

--hey edwound, sounds like you have lots of foam experience. i have many questions, here's some:
1. is there a less horrifying on the environment material i could be using? (what's pink foam? what's sculptorcoat?)
2. do the little white cloth nose/mouth coverers keep the particles out well enough, or should i be using a resperator? or maybe the white ones for the big chunks and the resperator for the fine sandpaper phase?
3. that's funny i picked up some touchNfoam at home depot cuz it looks awesome....haven't had a chance to use it yet, but i'm planning on testing it on my set.....just wondering it sandable? would it work for filling cracks?
4. would you use patchNpaint (drywall filler) to fill foam cracks?
5. i haven't used styrine yet, we have some cuz jeff told us to get it....but we haven't gotten to that stage yet....but now i want to know what happens when you put hairspray on it?
6. i'd like to see your liquid nails candle holders
7. i SHOP VAC every day (sometimes twice!).....i'm SO not into the foam dust and it's impact on the world and possibly my/my families health.....

Alonso said...

It's looking great, very exciting to see it, makes me feel like anything is possible. I'm afraid of the health stuff, hope you're taking good care

Ryan McCulloch said...

I wants to see this movie now

bRYEnd_of_the_schtick said...

(^ sigh.. ok. NOW it's time to talk.
maybe even get John Clark mathews to start talking.
I'm not sure.. maybe Nicky would go morein depth with a female who has children:
but there is this delema with bringing up my actual name n a lot of older circles.

lots of trajic memories left over from first devorce. but let's see what I can say: #1: the little white mask is a lot like expecting cheesecloth to get rid of the smell of Limburger.

(^ might change size of the inhalents but the solvents are the things gonna git yah..

I liked trying to make something out of the vacuumed up bits..
I started a whole slew of experimental tiles made with all the dust/wood shavings: 1800-G0PINK ? grrr.. hold on
(^ need take kid to school. more later.

Cheeks said...

yooooooooooooooooo!!!! very cool blog, Justin!!!! imma keep my eye on ya, mang!

bRYEnd_of_the_schtick said...

(^ #1 sculpt or coat =
".>..Sculpt or Coat is Ideal for:
Scenery, Costumes, Props, Puppets, Sculpture, Arts & Crafts

Foam Coating - Sculpt or Coat creates a protective tough coating that stops breakage, keeps pieces from drying out and prevents solvent based paints & spray paints from eating away foam. See Directions...."
((^ presumably non toxic? so says the advert:
Sculpt or Coat®
An Easy Working, Non-Toxic Plastic Cream For All Your Construction Needs "

(^ the pricy stuff, but hey.

(^I ran into it while working for Thistle Theater making these 4 foot tall frog ballerinas.
((see all FROG LAKE puppets. I'm admitting to doing the raw sculpting of the heads, hands and feet. all of em.))
(^ but I'm no painter. that's all the boss'es work.

(^ i loved FLOAM as well. made interesting texture:

. seems it's used by a LOT of marionette makers.

>obligatorial blurb from old boss:> Thistle Theatre is the only puppet theatre in the NW specializing in the Bunraku-style of puppetry.

(^ I'll see what data I can glib down on foam etc. but i tend to go on and on in directions few care to follow.
:shrugs: just my way.