Phauntleroy’s finally finished! Almost. Mostly. Not really. Never mind.
Even for a pickled fetus Phauntleroy’s not looking his best with the featureless freaky melted face that results from a freshly skinned head.
Cutting out his eye sockets and gluing in his mouth flaps helps. Bits of black felt give the illusion of nostrils, which were all but lost with the fleecing.
Here’s his mouth’s interior with a quarter and lighter for scale. The bits and pieces are glued together with a vinyl-based glue which should hold up well underwater.
The glue is quite liquid in its initial stages so a number of pins are needed to hold it all down while it emulsifies, bonds and transmogrifies into rubber.
The eyes are the windows to the soul. Granted, it’s not entirely clear if Phauntleroy’s got one, but that’s exactly why we’ve gone with pitch black pools in place of bright irises punctuated by pupils. Still, matte black will never do. I like my fetus eyes like I like my coffee: black as midnight on a moonless night.
Which is why I covered them in three coats of high gloss oil-based artist’s varnish. This will also (hopefully) help seal the Spackle that is their base from disintegrating in the faux-formaldehyde in which he’ll be swimming.
With eyes popped in and teeth — Sculpey and oil paint, as is the style of the day — glued into his lower jaw, we’ve arrived at our design. However, the oval eyes, sharpened teeth and skull-style nose make him look like an alien salamander, or Salamalien. A solid look, a reasonable representation of our initial design, but not entirely suitable for James’ twin brother.
Apart from his hungry eyes and forlorn frown, James’ primary features are his over-sized ears, schoolboy locks and furrowed brow. We decided to give Phaunt the lot. The ears were easy enough to stitch on. Here he is with his hair laid out, ready to be test fitted and vinyl-glued in place.
I laid out his hair and eyelids in advance to make sure it was all looking shipshape. Instead of a worried brow Phauntleroy got antagonistic eyelids. They heighten his resemblance to James and make him look less surprised and more angry. You’d be angry too if your brother stole all the nutrients in the womb. Nobody likes a placenta hog.
After the ears and hair were in place the resemblance got substantially stronger. Who wants a hug?
I couldn’t glue in Phauntleroy’s eyes until after I shoved him into his jar or they’d have shattered like so many black eggshells. Given the tight fit I decided to glue the eyelids directly to his eyes so as not to have to struggle getting their placement right inside the glass.
Looks done enough, so what’s the troubles, Bubbles? Well, it seems to me his legs hide his body a bit too much and make it hard to distinguish his arms. Is it a stillborn monster baby or a disembodied head with a jumble of fleecy digits? The plan is to embed armature wire in his legs so I can bend them up and out of the way. Once that’s accomplished, and I’ve made assurance double sure that the hole which his control cable runs through is utterly water tight, I’ll fill the jar with food-colored water and — with no small bit of luck — I’ll finally have the stillborn fetus puppet I’ve been dreaming of since the summer of 2006. Barring any unforeseen catastrophes, I’ll post a video of the little lad wiggling underwater and screaming accusations sometime next week.