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Discussion Starter #21
Looking really good so far!
Thank you very much, kind sir :)

Decided to do some gum work for the teeth out of model magic, and I ended up REALLY liking how it turned out! I went in and coated all the model magic with wood glue, but it's still pretty pliable. Will have to hope that the sealer coat will further strengthen these bits, as most of the teeth are fairly soft round the middle, too. (The tips of most of the teeth are razor sharp, though! I've cut myself at least twice now on them....will need to find a way to idiot-proof them before this gets installed into the haunt).







I knew I wanted there to be a bit of build-up wherever a horn is present. I had started to use Celluclay, and HOLY CRAP I don't think buyer's remorse was ever so present in anything purchased before. It was just awful...maybe because I was using glue as the mix-in rather than water, but ICK. It was sticky, messy...just horrible. I saw Allen Hopps use Aves Apoxie Sculpt once, so I ordered that. I've constructed some of the other finer details out of it that would probably be subjected to harsher wear-and-tear. This stuff is awesome, but not cheap. I went a little overboard in places, which is really a bummer because the Apoxie Sculpt dries ROCK HARD. I will probably have to take a dremel to it at some point if I want to make any redactions later on.





Really not sure how I feel about the added flare to the nostril here, as I've also added it to the eyebrow area. I just didn't want everything so rounded-off.



I also ordered some Magic Sculpt, which should be here next week. I'm eager to see how it performs compared to the Apoxie Sculpt!
 

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Celluclay secret:

IGNORE the package directions, it produces the most annoying pile of snot mache I've ever seen.

Go get yourself some drywall mud. I think my recipe was Mix 1 part mud to 2 parts celluclay, and SLOWLY add water till its a nice clay. (It's in whatever thread I made Mother, I'll go looking) I mix it with a crappy mixer and bread hooks. Pretty easy to work, and very sandable when finished.

I look forward to your experience with Magic Sculpt.
 

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I saw Allen Hopps use Aves Apoxie Sculpt once, so I ordered that. I've constructed some of the other finer details out of it that would probably be subjected to harsher wear-and-tear. This stuff is awesome, but not cheap. I went a little overboard in places, which is really a bummer because the Apoxie Sculpt dries ROCK HARD. I will probably have to take a dremel to it at some point if I want to make any redactions later on.
I'm sure it will fall on deaf ears, because I never listen to others when they give me the same advice, but as you're making your dragon, don't forget that what you see isn't what others will see Halloween night. Some of those areas you think you've gone overboard won't even be noticed by those gawking at your dragon. But the hard work of using a Dremel tool to sand areas down might actual weaken your structural integrity just a bit.

Looking at the dragon, I can truthfully say that if you asked me to point out where you need to fix things and what needs to be hacked at with a Dremel tool, I wouldn't have a clue. You took Allen Hopps' advice to use Apoxie Sculpt; try your best to take the advice he gives time and again not to sweat the details. The man makes his living creating professional haunts, and his stuff is pretty amazing. If he says the details get lost in the dark, I'm thinking he knows what he's talking about. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Celluclay secret:

IGNORE the package directions, it produces the most annoying pile of snot mache I've ever seen.

Go get yourself some drywall mud. I think my recipe was Mix 1 part mud to 2 parts celluclay, and SLOWLY add water till its a nice clay. (It's in whatever thread I made Mother, I'll go looking) I mix it with a crappy mixer and bread hooks. Pretty easy to work, and very sandable when finished.

I look forward to your experience with Magic Sculpt.
I'm having so much fun with Magic Sculpt (MS) and Apoxie Sculpt (AS), I doubt I'll ever use the paper clay stuff for this project. However there are at least 3 other things that will likely need such a recipe, so thank you for chipping in that bit!

As far as how I'm liking Magic Sculpt, it has 1 great advantage over the Apoxie version: MUCH easier to mix together by hand, and it goes much faster, too. I feel like 1-2 minutes of work gets MS to its ideal state, where as there's at least double the physical strength required for AS, and for another minute usually. This could just be room temperature fluctuations, but I've been using MS exclusively for the last few nights and I'm loving it.

Another difference I've found is that MS has a shorter open working time, which I've clocked in at about 30-45 minutes before it starts to harden. AS has a much longer window before it begins to get to this point, easily well over an hour. My first night with MS, I mixed a larger-than-normal batch and ended up having to very quickly use the last 1/3 of it because it was getting unpliable. I ended up making a small dish to put some coins in since I couldn't manipulate it for my dragon scales anymore :eek:

And the last difference isn't really all that big of a deal, but MS dries matte, whereas AS has a semi-gloss finish once cured. It's an issue for me only because I'm jumping around all over the place with this part of the project, and I'm having trouble finding out what MS hardened from the night before and what is still fresh. I have to basically tap pieces to see if it makes an indentation when I forget where I left off... hehehe

I'm sure it will fall on deaf ears, because I never listen to others when they give me the same advice, but as you're making your dragon, don't forget that what you see isn't what others will see Halloween night. Some of those areas you think you've gone overboard won't even be noticed by those gawking at your dragon. But the hard work of using a Dremel tool to sand areas down might actual weaken your structural integrity just a bit.

Looking at the dragon, I can truthfully say that if you asked me to point out where you need to fix things and what needs to be hacked at with a Dremel tool, I wouldn't have a clue. You took Allen Hopps' advice to use Apoxie Sculpt; try your best to take the advice he gives time and again not to sweat the details. The man makes his living creating professional haunts, and his stuff is pretty amazing. If he says the details get lost in the dark, I'm thinking he knows what he's talking about. :)
Thank you, thank you, thank you for that reminder. I may have a hard time with remembering things, but I always listen to what people say! Ok, not always....

I grew up in community theater (10+ years), and much like in the movies, you don't need to paint every side of the scenery. You'd think that would have resonated at some point when I was stressing over the tiniest of details, but alas... Allen has been a huge inspiration to me in the last few months. I have watched almost all of his tutorials and tried to adapt things for my own needs. The eyes of the dragon, for instance, and his tutorial on home-brew LED lighting inspired the lights behind said eyes.

I've started on the scales for the dragon, and I fear for how much time I will end up spending putting them on. I'm sure there's a much faster way of doing it, but I am absolutely in love with how they're turning out. I get so lost in spotting one by one that I often forget that some places where I'm detailing will never be seen by patrons, and I hunker back to what chubstuff said about these things not being visible anyway.

From the first night of scale work:




The individual scales (which look more like rocks) are Magic Sculpt, and the "growth" around the horns is Apoxie Sculpt.

And progress from the 2nd and 3rd nights:




Thanks again for the kind words everyone. I still don't have a haunt for this, but I'm told we're less than 4 weeks out from getting contracts. Time will tell...
 

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I've been using MS exclusively for the last few nights and I'm loving it.

I grew up in community theater (10+ years), and much like in the movies, you don't need to paint every side of the scenery. You'd think that would have resonated at some point when I was stressing over the tiniest of details, but alas...

I've started on the scales for the dragon, and I fear for how much time I will end up spending putting them on. I'm sure there's a much faster way of doing it, but I am absolutely in love with how they're turning out.
The work looks fantastic, and we'd say you've hit upon a perfect ration of how much effort you put into your dragon to your satisfaction in how it's turning out. We think this, because you're telling us how much fun you're having and how happy you are with the results. That pretty much clinches it in our book. If we're having fun, we're doing it right. If at the end of the day, we're happy with the way it looks, we did it right. From just about every perspective, it looks like you're doing it right. Good luck finding a home for your beast. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I have been SO bad with working on this poor dragon...I think he sad idle for a good 3 weeks before I resumed any work on the scales. But over the last few nights, I have put in a few hours here and there to try to get him all scaled.









I've also started to mess around with how I'm going to join the 2 pieces of the head together, and it's going to involve some intricate PVC piping work. A couple of bungee cords will keep the mouth more-or-less closed so all the actor/operator has to do is make the mouth open, and it will just naturally spring back closed.

I've decided to suspend the entire head, once complete, from a chain on a track that moves back and forth. It will need to be cantilevered, and I've worked with Gore Galore a little bit on the logistics of this. Basically going to use part of their "actormatronic" mechanism to make my dragon move back and forth. Getting all of this connected together eventually will be the hardest part, but I think that's what I'm most excited about!
 

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Looking AWESOME! You obviously have an enormous amount of patience. Can't wait to see what it looks like after you paint it.
 

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Looking AWESOME! You obviously have an enormous amount of patience. Can't wait to see what it looks like after you paint it.
Thank you so much for that! I hope to start painting next week. I do have some patience, yes...it's a passion project, though.

So awesome!
No, you're awesome!

Chuck looks incredible so far! Amazing work.
Thank you kindly <3

I think I finished putting on individual scales. I didn't bother to count, but easily a few thousand pieces of Apoxie & Magic Sculpt.


Special thanks to @chubstuff for reminding me that not ALL sides, faces, or surfaces need to be immaculately detailed. You easily saved me several hours of work! I plan to get some spray on orange peel texture to finish the back half of the head and rear parts of the lower jaw. This dragon is going to come roaring out of darkness towards guests in sync with a programmed lighting effect, so I really doubt anyone will notice where the hand-sculpted scales end and the spray-on ones start.
 

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This dragon is going to come roaring out of darkness towards guests in sync with a programmed lighting effect, so I really doubt anyone will notice where the hand-sculpted scales end and the spray-on ones start.
When Chuck comes roaring at them, I'm pretty sure most folks won't be checking out the details of the dragon so much as the condition of their undergarments. He is a remarkable piece of work, and light years beyond the manufactured prop that inspired you.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
When Chuck comes roaring at them, I'm pretty sure most folks won't be checking out the details of the dragon so much as the condition of their undergarments. He is a remarkable piece of work, and light years beyond the manufactured prop that inspired you.
Oh my gosh, thank you so much!! I think even I can admit that my dragon is a skosh bit more intimidating than Scamfactory's :D Its final range of movement should be more than the original's, as well, which is neat.

I started painting! The top half is currently outside drying from it's first coat of paint. I used Design Master Basil colored spray paint, over which I will do a generous amount of dark brown leather dye and then wipe away the excess. I've seen many a haunter do this to distress props, namely Allen Hopps.



I taped off the eyes and horns (Frog Tape also happens to be green). The horns are covered in a specialty concrete finish from FolkArt. That should give them a different texture than the dried shop towel grain, and they will be painted a bone/ivory/yellow color with some brown. Gonna just wing that when I start painting them.

On the lower jaw, I started experimenting with the teeth and gum coloring. I probably should have sprayed both halves of the head at the same time, but I'm not that practical of a thinker...

The teeth are painted an off-white mixed with light brown, and then yellowed toward the base of each tooth. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the gums, so I just started with a coat of flesh-color.


Then I went over the flesh color with a mix of pink, dark red, ivory and brown. It ended up just looking like dark-ish pink...sometimes you gotta mix 6 colors before you realize the same result can be achieved with just 2. I also took a brick red color and made it appear as though the poor thing had gingivitis.


And to give the whole thing a glossy, slobbery look, I generously applied Triple Thick over everything once dry.


I'm working on this thing full-steam now! I have a meeting regarding the status of our haunt, and whether or not there will even be a home for Chuck once I'm done. If not, he'll be auctioned off to the highest bidder....wish me luck!
 

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Thanks for posting the pics - George is looking awesome! Can't wait to see the finished product.

And to give the whole thing a glossy, slobbery look, I generously applied Triple Thick over everything once dry.
IMHO, there is not enough of the glossy, slobbery look in Halloween props these days. Thanks for keeping it real. We need MORE SLOBBER, PEOPLE!
 

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This might be something you already have planned,
I started painting! The top half is currently outside drying from it's first coat of paint. I used Design Master Basil colored spray paint, over which I will do a generous amount of dark brown leather dye and then wipe away the excess. I've seen many a haunter do this to distress props, namely Allen Hopps.

I'm working on this thing full-steam now! I have a meeting regarding the status of our haunt, and whether or not there will even be a home for Chuck once I'm done. If not, he'll be auctioned off to the highest bidder....wish me luck!
Poor Chuck. He just gets it together and he's out of a job. We really hope that doesn't happen. You deserve at least one year of watching him in action before letting him go.

Just a suggestion that you might already be contemplating. Paint the horns and the spikes coming out of his head a different bone color. They appear to be jutting up from the flesh, so looking a different color, the way bone or antlers in real animals look, will add depth and realism to the dragon. Ask Allen; I bet he'd agree. :)

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Discussion Starter #35
Thanks for posting the pics - George is looking awesome! Can't wait to see the finished product.

IMHO, there is not enough of the glossy, slobbery look in Halloween props these days. Thanks for keeping it real. We need MORE SLOBBER, PEOPLE!
If I ever make another dragon, its name will be George! But yes, SLOBBER IS GOLD. Though I am grateful this dries! I have enough paint on my clothing, rug, stereo equipent, etc....

Poor Chuck. He just gets it together and he's out of a job. We really hope that doesn't happen. You deserve at least one year of watching him in action before letting him go.

Just a suggestion that you might already be contemplating. Paint the horns and the spikes coming out of his head a different bone color. They appear to be jutting up from the flesh, so looking a different color, the way bone or antlers in real animals look, will add depth and realism to the dragon. Ask Allen; I bet he'd agree. :)
I know it wasn't pictured, but I've coated all of the horns with a couple of different products. In the picture where everything is green, the horns are covered with Frog Tape, which is green, so it only looks as though I've sprayed them the same color as the face.

On the top horns, Chuck has gotten a treatment of FolkArt's Dark Cement painted finish. It essentially dries to look and feel like concrete. It's expensive (retails for $7.50, 4 oz where I work), and doesn't cover very well. It did NOT cover up the shop towel grain and texture underneath, so that was a bit of a let-down. It dries fairly quick, though. This is definitely more of a mixed-media scrapbooking or crafting finish, not intended for larger applications.

On the lower jaw, I used Design Master's Color-Tex in Quarry (clearance for $3.99, 12 oz spray can). A significantly better texture and coating, but DAMN is this stuff volatile. It comes rocketing out of the can at a million miles per hour, and it lays down a THICK coat of granulated concrete texture. However, it comes out so forcefully that you could literally blow away the last pass you just did if you're not careful. I also found the stuff sprayed all over my sliding glass door a good 3 feet away, so beware of overspray...it's essentially projectile spray texture :eek: I realized that you could gently depress the nozzle for easier, close-up control, but it takes 3 times as long to do anything, and has a several-hour dry time. I hope to have enough left in the can to re-coat the top horns!

As of this moment, all horns and spikes are gray, but they will be painted to be a bone color. I did some dry-brushing on the scales with a couple of progressively lighter shades of green last night, and my dark brown leather dye from Fiebings arrived today, so I hope to have some practice in with that this weekend.



Thanks everything for staying tuned and chiming in! <3
 

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I know it wasn't pictured, but I've coated all of the horns with a couple of different products.

As of this moment, all horns and spikes are gray, but they will be painted to be a bone color. I did some dry-brushing on the scales with a couple of progressively lighter shades of green last night, and my dark brown leather dye from Fiebings arrived today, so I hope to have some practice in with that this weekend.
I was thinking that you would be on top of the game when it came to his horns, and I'm right. He's looking so good. Like everyone else, I'll be watching patiently to see him come to life. He really is amazing.
 

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following along that is one fabtastic dragon!
Thank you so much! I hope to have it all joined together in the next couple of weeks. I'm taking some time off of it until I know for sure if I have a haunt for him to go to.

I was thinking that you would be on top of the game when it came to his horns, and I'm right. He's looking so good. Like everyone else, I'll be watching patiently to see him come to life. He really is amazing.
A million thank yous for all the encouragement and advice you've given me these months!

I have finally finished painting...


Next steps are sorting out the rigging that will connect the two halves together. I have already dabbled with some PVC pieces, but I think it will need something beefier. May have to look into having something made from metal, but time will tell! I still have no confirmation of a haunt, despite 15 (F I F T E E N) months of planning...I will dive back into this full time once I have that go-ahead. Until then, I'll probably go back to making my witchy swamp lanterns.

I will keep this thread updated when there is something new to report on. Thank you to everyone who followed along and chipped in advice, encouragement, and well wishes <3
 

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I have finally finished painting...
It's a great job. The brown stain added some really nice depth and helped make all that hard work detailing the dragon really stand out. I sure hope he finds a good home. This is like waiting to find out what happens to a dog up for adoption at a shelter. Only, you don't have to neuter him or have him chipped. :)
 

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It's a great job. The brown stain added some really nice depth and helped make all that hard work detailing the dragon really stand out. I sure hope he finds a good home. This is like waiting to find out what happens to a dog up for adoption at a shelter. Only, you don't have to neuter him or have him chipped. :)
Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry I didn't mention this, butI didn't even end up using that brown stain! It was horrible.... I tried a small amount on an inconspicuous area and attempted to rub it in and then wipe away, and it straight up painted that section brown. There was no coming back from it, and I wasn't about to completely change my color plan. So I had to repaint that spot green and start over! I chucked the brown stain aside and will use in on some funkins later on. I specifically ordered Fiebings Leather Dye in Dark Brown.

What I ended up doing instead was just watering down some black acrylic paint and using that to help establish some contrast between the scales and the "skin" underneath. It worked MUCH better. Where each horn is jutting out of the face, there's a build up of "scales" that were painted in a satin black/green color and then blended into the rest of the area around it.

This $35 bottle of dye is just staring at me from across the room, taunting me. It's like "hehehe you loser" but I will find a way to use it!
 
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