Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Introducing: My Brother

This seems like a very good time to introduce ye who may be reading this to my brother, Derek, because he will be appearing in the news locally and online today and on radio stations this week.  And not for horrible crimes or anything, either.  For those of you who don't know, my brother is a robotics expert (as in worked on U.S. Defense Department tentacled robots, seriously cool stuff) with a special interest in animatronics who started his own company called GOLEM WORKSHOP, to which I have contributed some work.  Anyway, he's getting some local news exposure this week that is pretty cool.

(edit: you can see his interview, with some cool footage including the big monster above, here)

This is called the Crackerneck, which you may have seen over in my 'Portfolio of Fun' section.

Crackerneck concepts above, and the finished lil' dude below.
The crackerneck operates as either a hand puppet or with the Pup-Bot, which is essentially a 3 fingered robotic device that can operate inside the effect to make the puppet seemingly operate on it's own, either moving in pre-recorded patterns or being puppeteered in real time by remote control.
Hand Command
 Above is a rendering (I don't have a physical example) of the the remote control he invented, called the hand command.  The 3 shapes on top are finger harnesses, so your finger movements can be recognized and recreated by the pup-bot or any robots, even large ones like what is in the big mamma-jamma below.

The Brute Golem, a.k.a. 'Arkus', work in progress.  expression kind of reminds me of the Gorilla Armorvor head... Notice I designed the eyes so they seem to follow the viewer, which I thought was necessary so he would always seem to be roaring at you and not past you.  Eye contact is skeerrrry.

Undoubtedly, the biggest project I did with Dirkle was the Brute Golem, I was shocked to see that although the Crackerneck is in my portfolio section, I had apparently failed to put any images of the Brute Golem there.

The Brute Golem could be used for lots of purposes, even as a costume, but was primarily intended for haunted attractions.

This morning, Wednesday, he can be seen by people in the Kansas City area on KSHB 41.  For those of you who don't live around town (I figure most people who read my blog don't) he can be seen online by going here.

If you live in the Kansas City area, you can also hear him in the morning, probably around 9:00 or later Thursday on 94.9 FM (KCMO) and 9:00 or later Friday on 710 AM (KCMO) and 980 AM (KMBZ).  It sounds like there isn't really a definite time, unfortunately.

You can get more info and follow his tweets at

The finished 'Brute Golem', about six feet tall in a severe crouch and maybe 8  if it were to stand straight up.  Derek designed it so it could be controlled in real time, 'on the fly', with a futuristic hand interface called the 'hand command'.  This way it could either perform live movements or pre-recorded routines in haunted house attractions and similar situations.

Also, not to ignore the Glyos universe, I will show a new head that Marty will be molding soon for you Armorvor collectors, so check back soon!  There is a hint hidden somewhere on this page, but it is pretty cryptic.

In the future, I may divide up my blog into sections that are related to Glyos and the Armorvor, Personal sculpture, GOLEM related projects, etc.  What do you think?  Good idea?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gorilla head complete

 I started making a kind of panel on the side of the gorilla head, and it kind of snowballed.
  there is a metal bead at the end of this wire.
I guess these aren't totally finished photos, because I added an element that the wire was connected to.

 There are 2 wires, the bottom one is styrene rod and the top one is just rolled up clay.  These photos are kind of washed out, unfortunately.
 There are a few tiny watch parts, beads and stuff worked into the clay technology.
The hole is a casting of a glyos piece with a hole, that I dremmeled down into a little can shape of just the hole as a little cylinder unit.  I thought this would be an interesting touch, and the Octovor breather elements work well in there.  Spymonkey parts may work well too.

Reminds me of monkey science experiments, like McFarlane's Cy-Gor (which I believe was invented by one of the Four Horsemen).    I sent this to Marty to mold, and if you want one for 15 dollars, you need only go to the October Toys forum and ask to be on the Gorilla Head list.

Hope you guys like it!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sculpt-an-ape part 1

From lump to almost done.

It gets better.

I'll post more later, I've got to go to a movie.

Concept Doodles of Gorillas

Got another head coming up.  Thought I'd kick things off by showing some preliminary sketches.  I don't always do this stage, but I went out to dinner and brought some paper with me.

The first step with almost any of these heads is to first look up a little reference (This isn't always the case, the bat for instance began with pinching out a 3 pointed shape that wasn't very accurate to nature, but I liked it anyway).   I did a little sketching just from memory, but then looked up some pictures on my phone.  These pictures came from googleing 'angry gorilla' and 'gorilla roar'.

you may notice some of my sketches, manly the ones on Armorvor bodies, are from before I looked up reference so they are less accurate (nostrils wrong, for instance -- sloping up and inwards like a skull nose instead of downward angles.).  I also was interested in the very flat, dented in nature of the nose.

Yup.  More to come.

Interested folk need only go to october toys and ask to be "put on the list".  Hopefully you will like the sculpt, which I will show soon.   $15 bucks?  Cheap!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Octopoid Part II: Tentacle and Beak

Boy, that sounds like a horrible 'Sy-Fy original' movie.

I hope you guys didn't suffer too much from the last post's amazing cliffhanger ending!

And now, the exciting conclusion....
Okay, here we have me basically messing around with the clay, 'doodling' ideas for how to handle the cyber parts of the octopus.  At this point I was wondering if little brackets spanning across the left and right panels of his armor would be interesting.  You can also see me experimenting with vents and panel lines on the cyber parts.  Also note the skin; there is a spiky nature to certain octopi skin that I wanted to capture.
These two shots show how I extended out the funnel, as I suppose they are called.  The funnel is believed to have evolved from the  'foot' of a snail-like early mollusk.  I wanted to balance an interesting design with a functional Glyos joint.  The flatter holes above were more parallel to each other, and the flat area might have matched larger attachments better, but they just didn't look like or imply octopus funnels.  
I also debated keeping the face completely flesh around themouth joint.  I like that look with mouthparts fit into it, but I don't like it when it is just an empty hole.  I also thought (and this might be overthinking) that it made the anatomy 'wrong' and more like a foreign, Cthulhu character than an octopus, because an octopus wouldn't have any seam or lip between its eyes/face and the tentacles in front of that face.  Right or wrong, I decided to make a little mechanical element that frames the face/mouth hole, as you can see on the image of the finished head on the right.

It is also on a really cool black-with-red-core body I got from Marty at TGB Customs.

Here I'm messing around with a seawater-scuba device idea.  I figured he would need to supply himself with seawater as he roamed around on land.  Or, a high-tech beer-hat type device.  Notice there are details throughout these photos, like the double holes on the side of his head here, that are discarded.  The whole hose leading to a backpack idea was just too ambitious for the time and money involved here.  I played around with the idea of using shoes from another figure as backpack tanks, and it works pretty well.  A long hose option may be possible to add to this head later, but I think Marty is already stressed out enough with how complicated I made this particular head!

Here I considered making the little brackets on the top of the head into a solid piece connecting the sides of the octopus head armor.  I ultimately decided it was confusing to have the flesh of his face and the flesh of the back of his head separated by tech.  It made the visible section of the back of his head seem like a weird island, kind of like a bald spot that just seemed purposeless.  Typically a good design, particularly involving practical technology (as opposed to decorative or cultural or supernatural elements) needs to look logical and purposeful.  Although I'd say that rule is pretty loose with these fantasy heads, when compared to, say, the power loader in Aliens or the T-800 endoskeleton, which have hydraulics and structures, etc. that are much more concerned with being believable than these.  Really I am primarily making shapes that I think look 'cool' to me, with deep lines to match the Armorvor body and the Glyos world.

 Lots o' Fun.

By the way, the clay I use is called Casteline.

To get one of these guys, go to New York Comic Con!  They look great in the colors marty is making, like gleaming crystal candy.    He should be able to make more after the convention too, and you would get them here, just by leaving a message saying you want to  'add yourself to the octopus list', or by sending him an e-mail saying you want one.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Making of the Octo Head:  part 1
    This was my favorite animal as a kid -  the octopus.  They have goat eyes.  They have 3 hearts. (when I was 7 or something I made a cartoon of an octopus in love, and above his head was an arrow through 3 hearts.  Obviously I was a Far Side reader.)
   It is practically an alien, with color changing and texture changing skills, puzzle-solving skills, ink-squirting skills, squeezing-into-anything skills, water-jetting skills, nun-chuck skills, computer-hacking skills...Geez, it's like Napoleon Dynamite designed him, if Napoleon Dynamite was cooler than the Fonz.

 This one might actually have computer hacking skills, since he seems to have the most cybernetic elements of my heads so far, although that wasn't the idea early on.
 A kind of Cthulhu like tentacle mass was in my head, and Marty (TGB) had a beak idea, so I started thinking about having a swappable mouth part, fitting in a glyos hole.  This led to me making this octopus head WAY to complicated (partially out of respect for my favorite martian, and also to try to top the cybergator head)  My mental image of an octopus told me that their jet-orifices could make two more glyos holes that would fit the design logically.  I collected some reference images from the internet in a folder to use, as well as made some quick drawings based on the idea that they would be mechanical tubes.  Most of my designing happened in the clay on this one.
one impressive drawing. 
you'll also notice i have the goat-eye, the hyphen-pupil sculpted in at this point.  I decided people who wanted it could paint it on and people who like the blank possessed look could leave it off.

This beak was too small.     
 I wasn't sure how to make the beak, which is centered underneath the octopus, poke out of the face in a way that seemed natural.

                                                                     overcorrected, too big.

 gave up on beak, went back to tentacles.


Find out next time, in 


spoiler:  I make a middle sized one.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Outlandish Mini Figure Guys (O.M.F.G.) !

I had a last minute whim to submit something, here it is!  I just liked the silly pun too much.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CyberGator is the latest Frailey/Godbeast collaboration

It's my Cyber-Alligator head, soon to be made into castings by the Godbeast!

There were a few good guesses, (and the rough clay really could have become many types of animals) but as you can see it is a ferocious, cybernetically enhanced alligator, a little reminiscent of He-Man's Trapjaw.  And the best part is that it is hinged.

 By using a needle to create a fulcrum and carefully making the halves fit into each other, I ended up with a fairly seamless (or hidden-seamed) joint, fitting into the armor design.
 The 'teaser' image from the last post was actually the bottom half of the two-part head, because I knew from the beginning I had to make his jaw hinged.  After all, he's an alligator, how could I resist?

I will be posting some step-by-step images of how the alligator and his hinge jaw were made later, so check back!  And buy some heads when the God beast makes them soon!  They should be available eventually on October Toys.  I actually probably put way too much time into this head for the amount of money that will come back to me, but if a lot of them sell, I may feel like I can get this crazy on more heads in the future!  In the meantime it is an awesome deal.

Speaking of awesome, congratulations to Matt Doughty , Marty TGB Hansen, Nate, and everyone involved in making the Armorvor happen.   Thanks guys.