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Modelling Moulding

If you are making a life size model

You will definitely need to build an armature that can support the weight of the model.

It is handy if you know a blacksmith or someone who can weld metal together.

The armature that I used for the greyhound consisted of a metal manhole cover for the base, and metal pipe that is used by electricians to run cable in.

The pipe was welded to the manhole cover then bent and shaped to form the legs, which of course had to carry the total weight of the clay. More pipe was welded to these to form the backspine, the head, and the tail.

The chest was formed by shaping chicken wire suspended from the backspine with fencing wire and small pieces of wood attached, these are called butterflies .

The total amount of clay used was five bags, each 25 kg. so the total weight on the armature was 125kg.

The mould was made by covering the completed model in a thin layer of silicone rubber which had the addition of a liquid which gave it thixophropic (none-slipping) properties which allows you to paint on a vertical surface without it sliding off and ending up as a pool of rubber on the floor.

These products are available from the suppliers of silicone rubber, and I have always found that they are very helpful with advice and recommendations.

After the rubber has set, plaster is then applied in separate sections to the model, rather like a piece mould in ceramics.

This is to support the thin layer of rubber inside the mould so that it can be used to make a wax original for bronze casting.

My Studio at the
Sir Henry Doulton School

The Greyhound Sculpture was made in clay on an Armature.It was then cast in Bronze for a Greyhound Racing Stadium near Brighton      in Sussex UK.

Anything that can be utilised to make an armature can be employed - Chicken Wire - Pipes - Nails - Screws etc.. It is up to you to find the most appropriate method that suits the model you are making.

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