Friday, April 20, 2007

Birth of the Kraken

Simultaneous to the Roc workings, Chris and I were constructing a 28 foot long plaster mold in which to pour our sucker shapes which are the liveliest visual portions of the Kraken's four
enomous tentacles. We fashioned some template suckers by placing a stick into the middle of a slightly overflowing cup of two part expanding foam as it hardened. We made about six of those
in a couple of graduated sizes. They were then pressed at varying angles and depthes into wet plaster poured in segments along the tapering expanse of a 28 foot long wooden trough. When dried this became the negative mold into which we poured a two-part expanding flexible foam
which we then backed with muslin as it cured. Popped from the mold this soft and pliable giant
black nightmare was quite believable and ready to be attached to the styrofoam tendrils.

The tentacles were fashioned out of circles of six inch thick foam cut on the bandsaw in diminishing diameters. With a hole cut in their centers, these discs were then stacked upon each other by sliding them down the length of the bent aluminum piping which formed each tentacle's basic shape, rather like beading a necklace. During this process each segment was bonded to the other with a foam adhesive. A wire brush and rasp was then taken to the overall form to smooth
out the whole tendril. Once the shape were pleasing the whole expanse was covered with "erosion cloth" which is similar to a very large weave type of burlap in order to give the Kraken's skin an undulating veiny texture. And finally it was coated with tinted "SculptorCoat" to which some sawdust was added to give some extra surface variation and provide help in making the dry-brushed paint highlights.

The head of the Kraken was built out of successive layers of four foot by three foot slabs of six inch thick foam. These were cut first to the rough outline of the figure and then detailed and smoothed by a combination of reciprocating saw, wire brush, razor knife, and rasp. The horny, gnarled appearance of the eye-ridges was achieved through a controlled application of spray-foam shot onto quarter inch plywood templates that were inserted in the foam above the eyes. The eyes themselves, once they were shaped and smoothed with sandpaper, were coated
with "Magic Smooth" a water based hard coating that can be further slickened with a wet sponge during the cure time. Finally the same application process of erosion cloth and SculptorCoat was used to finish the skin texture.

And then it was on to the painting...

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