Friday, February 18, 2011

Carving "Thunderbolt" -Almost ready for paint!

I’m starting to get close to completion. I got the base finished and made a few adjustments to the mechanism. I got the hat on the cowboy, which is an interesting little process. You basically take your beautifully carved little head and slice the top off with a bandsaw! A disc sander then helps you get it nice and flat to fit in a recess carved in the bottom of the brim, which is separate from the crown of the hat. You might be able to make out the buttons and end of the belt that have been added. The buttons are small wire brads inserted into the burned button-holes on the shirt and the end of the belt is a piece of copper that was bent and sanded to shape to give the impression of the end of the belt flopping out (they will all be painted).

Here are some views of how it will look over all, finally giving you some idea of the size and such. I decided to try and keep the colors of the top similar to the base and ended up using the piece I cut out of the bottom. I wanted it to be shaped similar to a base used with the mechanical horses and I wanted to expose the gears and cams as part of the visual effect. This seems to be sort of a Japanese Moon bridge type effect…with kind of a mirrored image thing. I am able at this point to do some motion testing and I ended up adding a piece of leather to dampen some of the sound and vibration when the dowel the horse rides on returns to the rear down position. Since nothing is glued on the figure at this point, I have to be very careful when operating it, so that little cowboy body parts are not flung across the shop!
I have sealed the horse, applied a coat of gesso, and sanded it a bit before starting the woodburning of details. I use a pyrograpic pen for several purposes… adds shadows and details and it also prevents paint in one area from bleeding to others. I use a very light touch for some areas, like the face and clothing, and different types of hair. But I also use it like a hot carving knife, to define certain shadows and depths on the mane and tail. I will put another coat of gesso on the horse and over the elements burned on the mane and tail, but will probably over-burn those details again to add realism.

Thanks for looking!

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