Friday, July 27, 2012

Sesame Street Figures "Palisades-Style" Grover and Oscar

So there was this great company called Palisades Toys. They made some great collectible toys including the Muppets before they went out of business in 2006. I have many of the figures in my office, except for several hard to find figures or way unbelievably expensive figures (they have all gone up in value). One of the Muppets I didn't have was part of Dr. Teeth's Electric Mayhem band, Zoot the saxophone player. Back in January I decided to make one. I looked online for some ideas and found a light as air modelling compound that air dries called Cloud Clay. So, I embarked on making one, I even took pictures of the process. After I sculpted it, I painted it using acrylic paint. Unfortunately, I had a file issue that corrupted all the photos between January and March on my tablet. But here are a couple photos of the finished product.




The problem was when it dries it sort of puffs up, softening any detail you have sculpted into it. So, while I was somewhat happy with Cloud Clay "Zoot", I wasn't ready to make any more figures. That is, until I ran across a post on Lance Cardinal's blog. I found his blog awhile ago and loved the Palisades-size Muppet Theater he designed and built. You can see all about it here. Every once in awhile I'll go check out what he is working on, great artist, great maker of cool stuff.

That's when I saw Wembly. His post, here, of how he created a Palisades-style head of a Fraggle, one of the "Muppet" extended family Palisades hadn't gotten to yet. After reading his process using Polymer Clay, which I had never heard of, I was inspired to say the least.

I decided I would try to make Grover. About the time Palisades closed, they were planning on doing a run of Sesame Street figures. They had however made a Super Grover which they released at San Diego Comic Con. You can see a photo of the figure here at Muppet Central. You can still find Super Grover online at eBay and others, but he runs about $200. Too steep for my wallet, but I had always wanted one. That's why I chose him.  His construction went so much smoother than I thought, I started immediately working on an Ernie head and Oscar the Grouch. In just a few days, I finished both Grover and Oscar, painting them both. Polymer clay is sort like moldable PVC and then you bake it for it to set. Then you can paint it with acrylic paints. What follows are several photos I took of the process.

Grover's head takes shape.

I used 20 gauge wire for some stability in Grover's legs, arms and neck/head.


It took little effort to get him to stand correctly, with no assistance.


Grover's Cooking!

I really like the unpainted sculptures....a lot!

The start of Oscar's head, no detail.

Ernie has gotten shelved, since I think his head is too wide and his nose should be rounder.

I baked Oscar's trashcan separately.

I started baking Oscar with his trashcan, but there seemed to be some wisps of smoke, so I removed the previously cooked trash can.

Oscar and Grover baked and ready for painting.

These are a couple Palisades Toys (Gonzo and Beaker) which I used for sizing and comparison.

Grover's base paint was dark blue, filling in all the cracks I detailed.

Oscar wants in.

Oscar's in his can and ready for his close-up. I eventually worked more on his pupils.

Here they both are and ready to go up on my shelf.
So, I am very happy with Polymer Clay and how it doesn't change size when it bakes allowing great detail to be made in my sculpts. I am going to probably work on Ernie and Bert next, and someday work on Big Bird, The Count, Snuffleupagus, Harry the Monster and Cookie Monster! As for Ernie, I also plan on doing two versions, one regular and one in his tub with his rubber duckie and bubble overflowing.

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