Clockwork Automata

So here’s a new piece that I’m making for the Steampunks in Space event I’m taking part in later in the year.   The idea is that it’s an ancient race of clockwork automata that have laid dormant under the ocean for years.   As the event is taking place in a museum I want this to look a little like an exhibit.  I need a space theme, however tenuous, so I’m thinking these robots were perhaps an ancient race that came to Earth millenia ago and are the forebears from which all modern steampunks are descended.  Exactly how that works?  Well, I dunno, use your imagination 😉



This started off as a chavant oil clay sculpture.  I made a plaster mold and then cast it up in resin and fibre glass using a fine gold metal powder.  This is a technique I’ve used previously.  It works quite well. Because the chavant is an oil clay it doesn’t stick to the plaster, so you can easily remove the clay from the mould and it leaves it nice and clean.  A layer of vaseline acts as a separating agent to stop the resin sticking to the plaster.

Once the resin and fibre glass cast is done you have to do a little ‘percussive maintencance’ and smash the mold to pieces to free the cast 😉  The fibre glass is quite tough so it doesn’t damage it.

Here’re some pics of the mould.

20151010_111653 20151010_111626

I then poured in the resin with the metal filler mixed in.  Using metal fillers is generally referred to as ‘cold casting’.  Once you’ve poured the resin in, you just slush it about the mould so it covers the interior as it dries. This is referred to as ‘slush casting’, so I guess I was ‘cold slush casting’ here 😉   I did a few layers and then backed all that up with fibre glass which gave me quite a tough cast.

20151010_114842 20151010_120710

Here’s the cast out of the mould.  I cheated slightly as I gave it a coat of paint using the same metal filler.  It was a little duller when it came out of the mould.


I also made some eyes out of old deodorant bottles and plastic christmas tree baubles.  The interior will have a bunch of cogs and mechanisms showing.


I also used some chipped paint techniques detailed in my previous post.  These aren’t too obvious now I’ve started covering it in green corrosion but they do give it a degree of texture 🙂

DSC_7613 DSC_7609

Green Automaton

I’m working on a mask and accompanying costume for this years Asylum.  This is partially inspired by the motorised patriots from Bioshock Infiite, but also by my previous Lady of Pain sculpture.

The final piece will be an all over head piece which I’m currently making from craft foam and include a green coat that I’m going to either buy or make.  Not sure if I’ll include a gatling gun like the patriots 😉

I created the mask by making a plaster mold of a chavant clay sculpture.  I then poured resin mixed with a brass metal powder in and slushed it about until it set.  This was laminated with further layers of fibre glass.
The corrosion is a mixture of real corrosion created with Scopas Cupra (a patination agent) and plumbers flush.  I also painted on some of the brighter corrosion – because this is isn’t real brass it doesn’t corrode in quite the same way.  The cog details are laser cut pieces from Cog o Two.

Here’s a video of the resin before it set.  It really does look like liquid gold!  Because I was using a plaster mold (it’s cheaper than silicon!) the final finish wasn’t quite as bright as it could have been.  Of course I’m messing it up anyway, but I’d like to experiment further with this to see what sort of results can be achieved.

Here’s a pic of the initial sculpture.  The cardboard shapes will be brass sheet in the final version, probably with some metal flowers soldered on as detail.

I sculpted this over a generic polystyrene head, making sure the sculpture would actually fit me by using calipers to measure the dimensions of my head.  Once I got the final version cast up I was pleased to find it fit perfectly 🙂

I’ve also taken to sculpting up quick sketches to try and visualise what the final version will look like.