Saturday, 31 January 2009

1 Part Down - 9 to go....

The body sculpt has been competed, it has been textured, smoothed but not baked off (as sculpy usually is) The reason being, modifications can be made easily if the mould fails, and the bottom jaw will probably break off when de moulding ... But can easily be blended back in.

The mould

To begin the body mould was made using a standard condensation cure silicone. So that fast cast replica's can be used for the following reasons.

-Base for sculpting additional limbs and parts.
-Painting tests
-Casting tests
-To be used when moulding with Transil 40

The oils from the sculpey may inhibit the platinum silicone, so a lacquered fast cast version will be used to prevent this contamination.

Mould Studs
I attempted a new moulding method. The mould studs (from mould life) are used within the silicone to perfectly locate two part moulds. The image shows a piece of plastic being used to created the split line with punched holes containing the studs. The plastic covers the entire seem up to 5mm away from the shape.

-problem - My original intention was to have the split line running around the seem of the spiders body where the top meets the bottom. thus easily hiding any flashing. But when pouring the clear plastic lifted slightly, and the split line is now across the spider eye cluster..

Other than that it was a very quick successful mould, we will see on Monday the extent of the split line. But it should be easily hidden.....

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Sculpt Update

The basic shape of the carapace (top) has been finished , and the details of the underside are near ready for texturing. It currently looks rather odd, but will look more even when textured.

Also using a piece of clear plastic is very useful when sculpting, as details can be sketch from photographs then looked through. Making scale and proportion easier to achieve.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Hair idea's

After attending IMATS this weekend I have a few methods of applying dysdera's various hair types. The main issue being the scale creates hair with a translucently.

-Sculpted, then cast from opticlear 31 in the same method as the main body.
-Sand thin acrylic rods , then either airbrush or dye.
Thick Hair
-Bristles taken from cheap laminating brushes, or similar brushes
Thin Hair
-Human or animal hair
-Synthetic hair
-possibly finer brush hairs
Wide area's of tiny thing hairs
-Sparsely flocked, if possible tests and samples are needed.
-Same as 'Thin hair' but one at a time.

Friday, 23 January 2009

sculpt and the maquette...

Roughly finished the foam maquette and began to pose the spider and a defensive pose will probably be the most likely. But 'hurray' I received a live specimen of dysdera today and she is now in her enclosure. I will give her a few days before photographing her as she will require time to settle in. (so photo's comnig soon)

Began the final sculpt a few days ago, the foam test became very useful. The image above was taken very early, showing the styrene outline taken from the foam....

BAD NEWS--- the core I built for the sculpt was too big, half needed to be dug out and cut in half.... all is better now...

--Off to IMATS this weekend, for talk models and source useful materials...

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Base Idea's

After some discussions today, a few idea's came to mind about the base. Does it need to be of wood or stone? Perhaps not, possibilities are...

Wood / Stone - Represent the natural environment, requires sculpting and carving to mimic texture. The uneven base would give a more dynamic a-symmetrical pose.

Bathroom Tiles - Thought of putting spider in defensive pose. Something which would occur when encountered in the home. Would give less dynamic stance but polished floor would reflect details.

Scaled city scape - Treated as a comical city, i.e. B movie spider. Would be amusing and would give an area to create an interesting contrast but also show other skills. But this would move away from the museum style of display.

Fabric or material - Scale up fabrics etc that might appear in the home, would be a usefull way to easily communicate the scale.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Welding and Poly-Problems

Monday 19th Click image, to see better....

Welded a stand to hold the sculpting armature, with improvised clamps to hold various bars. Image above is hold a foam machette of the body. Produced core for body scultp, which will begin tomorrow.


Began by making white urethane pigment solution. Ration of 50parts 'opticlear 31 part B' to 1 part white pigment.

-Test 1, 30 grams opticlear 31 - 1 drop red TRIA ink - 0.1ml pigment Solution
-Test 2, 30 grams opticlear 31 - 1 drop red TRIA ink - 0.5ml pigment Solution

-Result 1, Slight has but not effective enough, the surface did not cure correctly and remains sticky. Control mould worked fine, there still seems to be some cross contamination from something. Possibly the sculpy.
-Result 2, Cleaned the moulds with IPA 'Isopropyl alcohol' and fast cast, opticlear still in mould will find result tomorrow.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Current Plan


The shape of the base is still undecided. A building decision needs to be made so the basic shape may be decided. Currently Foam experiments have been produced…

-Hand carved from blue foam

-Coated in poly filler

-Then painted with plaster Shellac

The idea is to make the base from foam because of it light weight. But unsure if the spider should crawl along stone or wood. (below are some samples made)

Original sculpt (Scale 20:1)

Note- Armature will be built tomorrow.

The majority of the spider will be sculpted from Sculpey firm. This will give me plenty of time to accurately modify sculpts. Once baked this will be sprayed with a cellulose lacquer and polished. The lacquering process fill in any micro cracks for repair fracture and even out textures. But more specifically it will give a shiny near wet look to the spider.

Casting and moulding

The final model will be cast in ‘Opticlear 31’, this material was used throughout my last project and its clarity will be very useful on creating the spiders overall translucent opacities ‘especially on the legs’…

-Polyurethane pigments will be used to remove the complete transparency, but they need to be heavily diluted. A solution of ‘Opticlear 31 part B’ and pigment will be used at a ratio of 50:1.Tests are required

The final moulds will be made from Tinsel 40, to prevent the Sculpey leaching oils into the mould surface (which can inhibit the opticlear’s reaction) the original sculpt will first be moulding using a condensation curing silicone. Fast cast version will be made, cleaned and then moulded in the Tinsel.


-Spider body and jaws can be sculpted, as base will not modify there shaped.

-Need to source some synthetic hair.

-Have produced tests mould from above shape. Will be used to test resin colour solutions.


Specimen Found

I was recently contacted through the BAS, by Helen Robinson who found Dysedera Crocata running across here bathroom floor. She has named the spider 'Deirdre' and has agreed to safely post her to me. Using various source's of information 'mainly the BAS handbook', I've set up a nice enclosure for her, plus a separate one for her pray.

I will use her to obtain an accurate colour match and also to pick a nice dynamic pose.


The pose is still something I'm yet to decide. Without building a woodlouse an defensive/aggressive pose would accurately display dysdera's species specific details.
(You tube video 1) In the research list to the left, (30 secs in) has a nice image of the spider in such a pose. The video itself is terrible....

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Micro fun...


bought this microscope, only played for a few minutes, but am slowly building a library of dysdera images, to aid in my sculpting. The microscope works ok, but the images quality is slightly lower than expected but a £50 was a fair prise.

The magnification is enough to figure out the required details but the shaky base make focusing difficult. I will machine a heavier stand in the next few days...
-The images above were my first successful ones but poor light conditions are giving a very yellow image...

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Specimens and pose


Hello there, I received a pair of specimens today, kindly sent to me by John Partridge from the British arachnological society, below are some of the images I quickly took of them.

-These were taken by combining my currently basic microscope.
-With this compact camera

Scale and pose

I've decided on a rough scale of 20:1 which should make the body of the spider around 300mm long, currently building a very basic scratch model, to test the poses so tune in for more photographs.