Thursday, July 31, 2014

STOLAS! My first resin toy project is almost complete!

Thought I'd share my first major resin project with you guys.

First a little background info... (okay, maybe a lot.)

My obsession with vinyl toys didn't really blossom until early this year, when I started stalking the #designertoy tag on Instagram. I soon found myself discovering the whole underground DIY resin toy scene, which intrigued me because it could be done by just about anyone. Having some prior experience in sculpting through a Ceramics course in college and churning out polymer clay jewelry crap on Etsy, I was really excited to jump on in. Up until that point I had sculpted what people wanted rather than things that I actually wanted to make.

I started planning out my first resin toy back in late March. I wanted to make something obscure yet familiar, and remembered something I had found about a year ago. I was making an "evil" character in a video game and wanted to use the name of a historical demon for their last name. After searching through an online "demon encyclopedia," I found a name... but not without discovering this little fellow.

This... this silly-looking owl, is Stolas.
According to mythology:
"Stolas is a Great Prince of Hell, commands twenty-six legions of demons (twenty-five according to other authors), and teaches astronomy and the knowledge of poisonous plants, herbs and precious stones. He is also known as Stolos and Solas. He is depicted as either being a crowned owl with long legs, a raven, or a man."
Yes, this innocent little owl with a crown is supposed to be a commander in the legion of hell.

I thought that was absolutely hilarious, and was instantly drawn to him as a character. I set out to design a possible resin toy of him.

Here's an early concept drawing (made in glorious MS Paint, I might add) of Stolas and possible colorways. You can see that I was kind of influenced by more cartoony sculpts at the time. This was before my attention shifted more towards Japanese vinyl.

Fast-forward three months, and I still didn't do any actual sculpting. College and other personal projects got in the way, so when summer finally came around I was thrilled.

Three weeks ago I started sculpting Stolas. I'm no professional sculptor and it was soon evident that I couldn't possibly translate my previous concept art into clay at my current skill level. I had to make several adjustments and just make do with what I could accomplish at the moment.

An early head-shot. 

One of the most frustrating things I faced with this project was the constant breakage of parts. The ear-tufts and side-tufts broke more times than I could count. I'm not sure if it's because of the material (super sculpey normal and firm), because I didn't cook it long enough, or I just manhandle my sculpts, but I broke more pieces than I could count. Repairs were a constant thing to deal with throughout the project. I had to cook the piece after each little addition just so I wouldn't mess up the whole thing.

I had to do a lot of reinforcing of the tufts. Here you can see a little indentation where I planned to put a magnet for head articulation, because I honestly have no idea how to make a joint.

Sculpting and filling the wings so I wouldn't have to deal with too many bubbles with casting. I don't have a pressure pot, so it's going to be just pour-and-poke to get rid of the bubbles.

Trying to get an idea of what it will look like finished. I honestly was lazy and only made one leg. Planning on just casting the leg twice and gluing them into the holes I made in the upper leg.

The final photo before molding. I primed, wet-sanded for about an hour and a half, and left it to dry out for 24 hours.

...aaaand here we are at present day. Last night I molded all the pieces (head, body, leg and crown) and will be demolded at 1am tonight. I'll be making a test-cast and depending on how that goes, I'll be grabbing a respirator and dremel to start self-production casts in August. 

I'll keep you guys updated with how it goes.