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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
1. Introduction.

I'm writing this in case anyone wants the details, and writing it under the notion that not everyone is at the same level of building. If you want neither, just skip to the pics below.

This isn't a tutorial or article or anything else so formal. When I build, it's largely OOB with minor alterations. This time the alterations will not be quite so minor, but the kit wll still be mostly the same when it's done. More to the point - I don't have a real plan, I'm making up each step just ahead of implementation. The first thing that was discarded were the instructions! As yet, neither my skills nor my improvisational (read: haphazard) method justify a tutorial...call this an experiment in progress. I still haven't solved certain elements yet.

This is my second build of this kit. The first was just a few years ago when PL repopped the Bellringer (thank you, PL!) , and that was done with no alterations. The paint job is pretty good - the shirt is too clean and bright, but otherwise it's a paint job I'm very happy with. The seamwork, otoh, is only approaching adequate.

This build is intended to be part of the series of thirteen Aurora longbox monster kits I'm doing in black and white. The inspiration was simple: how good could I make the longbox kits look in black and white? To that end, changing the kits so much that they are unrecognizable defeats the purpose of the excercize. At the same time, each build develops skills that enable me to both do a better job and to better see what I can - and desire to - alter to improve the final build.

It's a stroke of good fortune that all of the longbox monsters were taken from black and white films. Had the series included, say, The Fly or some other color film, it would have thrown the whole project. Or perhaps to be more precise, I should say that each character is best known from black and white films - the sculpts for Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Creature, the Mummy, etc. are more or less inspired by the classic Universal films, while other sculpts are apparently taken more from other sources: The Phantom from "Man of a Thousand Faces"; The Hunchback from the film with Anthony Quinn; the Wolfman is generic while the Bama artwork reflects Oliver Reed in "Curse of the Werewolf". None of the kits are slavish to accuracy in either likeness or in the details of the diorama bases (some are designed from scratch, reflecting the feel of the films while not taken from any scene that ever appeared in them).

The only two kits that don't follow are the Witch and the Prisoner, both of which I'm omitting from the series. Neither are from films, and there are already a number of Prisoner builds in black and white.

To date, I have only done five of the twelve planned kits (I'm adding Dr. Moreau to the list). The most recent was King Kong, completed in 2001. It's time I make a push towards finishing the series.

(More to follow, with pics - I'm still typing it up.)
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
3. The Build

Wait, what happened to 2?

That would have been the bit where I list all the tools like sprue cutters, files and sandpaper, epoxy putty, mention basics like washing the kit parts, all that stuff. Most of you don't need it. There are a few here, though, new (or newly returned) to the modeling fold. I'll try to mention tools used as I go. Besides, I'm hardly the one to lecture about washing your kit parts to clean away mold release agent - when it comes to plastic kits, must admit I never bother with that myself!

So, the build started with test-fitting and seeing which details are least convincing...like the way the table on the base has no bottom, or the belt that has no buckle, the shackles that don't open, or the folds of the shirt that don't line up or have no depth. Most of the real work is in the imagination: planning out your build, seeing each detail as it sits physically before you and imagining what it should look like...visualizing each step of the process of fixing the details. Everything else is just manual labor as you carry out steps you've already done mentally. If you planned it out well enough in your head, the rest should not be a big challenge. (Therein lies the best reason this...record of the build...should not be looked on as a blueprint: already I have glued parts together that possibly could better have been altered or detailed had they been left apart for the time being. I simply didn't decide on an alteration of some things until work was under way! Hence, "winging it". My usual style.)

First up was the table. To give the table a bottom, I made a loose frame of supporting styrene strips inside the table to support sheet styrene circles of the right diameter. Care was taken not to obstruct the space where the pedestal will be glued on later. The strips were taken from the model RailRoading section of the hobby store: a sheet of styerene for roofing, .1mm thick with slats .5mm wide (it's just what I already had handy). The slats were broken off from the sheet and became strips. At .5mm wide, this allows clearance space for two circles of plain sheet styrene (.1mm thich each) to be placed just inside the bottom edge of the table piece. Prior to placing, a hole the diameter of the pedestal top was cut in the center of each, and test fitted to the pedestal and table piece to ensure both a loose enough fit for free movement and to check that it was centered correctly.

The circles were glued inside the outer edge of the table piece rather than glued straight to the bottom and then cut. Importantly, this allows the new bottom to clear the triangular support blocks on the pedestal. It's also easier to plot the center hole and the outer diameter at the same time prior to cutting.

Next was adding the wood details. The first step in that was to line up the wooden beams from the top with the bottom, and cutting them in with a straight-edge and a scriber, deepening them with a triangular needle file. Next, making a pencil rubbing of the top and transferring it to the new bottom for engraving with a Dremel. Yes, that means the same woodgrain pattern top and bottom - but who's gonna notice? With a new pattern, I would have risked not matching exactly the style of the original sculpt. After that I used a Dremel, needle files, and hobby knife to splinter the edges of the table. Seamwork done before that would largely be undone, so it was kept until late.

Once the preliminary seamwork was done, the piece was primed (Krylon grey - too dark for this project, I'll have to buy a lighter grey primer), a brush-tipped black ink pen was used over the seam and splinters to better show what still needed work. The whole thing was sanded down to the white on the surface of the sheet styrene to better estimate how well the woodgrain pattern worked. Seams still showing now have CA glue drying for another run.

That blob in the center hole for the pedestal is a tissue to keep the inner plastic free of primer (clean for gluing later).
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
4. Pantsing the Hunchback

Upper and lower torsos have been glued. The seamwork on the legs is done. Here's a nifty trick someone once posted long ago: That subtle surface texture that's lost when you do the seams can be restored using Testors liquid glue (the kind in the jar with a brush built into the lid). Brush just a little on the plastic that has been sanded smooth, let it get tacky moment, then dab at it with the brush as the glue dries. The tips of the bristles want to stick to the glue, pulling at it and the plastic as you pull the brush away. Repeat as needed - it leaves a surface similar to what was lost.

There's that shirt, though. In the Chaney film, Hinch (I call him that, we've become familiars) has a shirt that seperates down the front. On the kit sculpt, it's a one-piecer...and yet the lower torso pieces have shirt-tails. This won't do. Either the top has to change, or the bottom does.

Make the shirt match Chaney's? I could, but that means losing alot of the front torso piece and gets away too far from the original idea. Heck, Chaney's table was a stone slab, not wooden. To match the film precisely would be to replace everything. Do that, and there's no point even using the Aurora kit at all!

No, the shirt will remain mostly as it was sculpted, but fine-tune the details. So the lower torso needs to be altered. That begins with shaving away the shirttails.

The red lines in the pic are where I have removed one shirt tail and shaved the pants away from the belt.

The green represents where the belt buckle and end of the belt will be added wiith putty.

The blue indicates where the shirt will be restored, stretched over the lap and is riding up over the belt.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
5. Point of No Return

The carving has commenced!

take a serious look at the shirt's folds, and the way the shirt bunches up at his shoulders and sleeves. It's necessary short-cutting for a styrene kit, but it isn't convincing. First, check out the ragged line in back where the shirt has been ripped to pull it down over his shoulders. Use a marker to trace the line of the top hem of his shirt, starting at the back and going towards the front to the center of the chest. The lines don't meet up, do they? Nor does the bunching up at the sleeves work.

All of that is being excavated/carved. I will refill excised areas with Aves epoxy putty, and sculpt them back in...I wish I hadn't glued those pieces yet, as there's gotta be a better way than I'm approaching it, but if it comes down to it I can split the darn thing back open. How I'm going to recapture the shirt's texture, I don't know yet...it will have to be with a brush, similar to doing the same with the plastic.

All of that has begun and is in progress. I will also have to rid Hinch of Shatner's wig, which he has clenched in his right armpit.

The closed bottom of the assembled upper torso has been Dremeled open for easier access to the interior. The folds at the bottom of the piece, where it meets the belt, have been carved and filed to better look as if the shirt really is folding under the belt.

That's it for this installment.

 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The shirt is coming along nicely. The solution to doing the folds easily was to remove the bare shoulder/chest/back from the shirt and do them seperately. The bare body will tuck right into the shirt believably when finished.

The orange, glossy discoloration at the neck is Gallery Glass, a kind of paint for doing "stained glass" windows found at the craft store. it makes a nice mask for keeping seams clean while priming parts, just peels back off.

Trying a few things with the nameplate, maybe make it soon to a craft store to check out chains - but not today, as it's going to be over a hundred degrees out there. Maybe tonight, if it cools soon enough.

Please let me know if there's any interest in this project here.
 

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Looks good so far Dreamer....I think that your ideas will enhance the details quite a bit! There was a replacement head somewhere for this kit...I just don't remember where...it might be from Diceman Creations but I just can't seem to remember.

Good Luck!

MMM
 

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Cult carries one that makes him look like the 1930's silent film version.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Whew! Thanks for the encouragement, guys, I was starting to think I had a bomb here.

Hey, Cult does have a replacment head! I'm not sure if that was there last time I looked. I've already got started on doing one of my own, have to learn eventually, but if it doesn't pan out I'll keep it in mind. OTOh, I see the Creature head is back in stock, and that's one I'm definitely not gonna try to sculpt!

I'm about to reprime the table, looks like the seams are gone now. I'll have to leave it unpainted until Quasi is finished and painted.
 

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Steve CultTVman Iverson said:
That would be the 1923 silent version.
Ok, I was close. I knew there was a 3 in there somewhere.
 

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Steve CultTVman Iverson said:
That would be the 1923 silent version. Sound came along in 1927 and they quit making silent movies shortly after that.

Steve
That's true... generally. However, some existing theaters weren't expediently equipped to run sound films for quite a few years later. So, studios which were now making sound movies, also made alternate silent versions of these films. The Bela Lugosi classic DRACULA from 1931 ( 4 years after 'talkies' were introduced ) is a good example. It's basically the same movie that we see today with the addition of title cards which supply the dialogue.

Then, of course, we also have to remember Mel Brook's SILENT MOVIE. It was a silent film which was made long after sound films became the standard. 'Guess there always has to be an exception to the rule, huh?

- GJS
 

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Can anybody give me a hint what's wrong with my computer since I can't seem to view the attached thumbnails on this or any other thread?
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thanks, FB!

On silents, a great movie to study is Hitchcock's "Blackmail", England's first talkie. Hitch had it partially filmed already as a silent (I've seen it disputed whether he had already been asked to film it with sound), and it shows. What's more telling, and fun to watch, is how Hitch shows his distrust of the sound medium. EVery important piece of communication between characters is relayed visually, while the spoken dialog for the most part is not only inconsequential but often obstructive to resolving the dilemma. In this film, the spoken word cannot be trusted for either truth or clarity.

Progress report: Are you kidding? It was ninetysix degrees out there!

Did not find any decent chains at stores today. Probably won't as that size chain will almost certainly not have closed links. Now, twine...that presents possibilities. Check out the build on Cinorjer's site:
http://hometown.aol.com/Cinorjer/hunch.html

That stays in keeping with the look of the kit while allowing me to give both restraints uniform lengths. It bothers me that the arms have different lenghts of rope tying them. With chain, I'd have to be more exact as to arm placement to allow very little slack. Big plus, they won't be so darned fragile!

The table is done, I think. Check the surface of the kit piece, it has the same subtle texture as the shirt and pants. I used the method above, dabbing at it with liquid glue. All that's left is a final priming and set aside to wait. Seams are done.

Speaking of which, I've discovered the joys of permanent ink to show up seams and details. Every now and then, someone says "use a permanent marker" instead of primer or paint pen. Good advice, as I found out last night. The ink is shiny enough to really show every little detail, plus won't add layers as primer or paint will.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Zorro said:
Can anybody give me a hint what's wrong with my computer since I can't seem to view the attached thumbnails on this or any other thread?
Dunno. You've been seeing attached pics before now, right? So far, you're not missing anything on this thread. Just a lot of hacking around. Just wanted to be thorough about an "in progress" sort of thread, since some people have been talking about how few figure kits are being discussed lately.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey, thanks! i should have some progress in the next few days, heat permitting. Maybe not more pics yet until next week, or this weekend earliest. With luck, the nameplate will work out, and I'll relay that. That and the lower torso are up for tonight.
 
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