Thursday, March 19, 2009

AUTOMATA: "Uncle Icarus"

Here's another "toy" I made for myself. It's loosely based on the Greek myth about a guy who tried to escape Crete by making wings...and then unfortunately flew too close to the sun. I decided he would be an eccentric uncle who was constantly making weird inventions...I suppose it's a bit of a self-portrait, now that I think about it.

Originally, this piece was going to be a polymer clay sculpture, and not automata. The sketch in the upper left corner below shows "Icarus" jumping off the edge of a barn. I'm not really sure why I changed it into a crank-toy. As always, it went through several variations in sketch phase.

Here's an early stage of the figure. I used Super Sculpy to model the head and hands...carving the level of detail I wanted into the wood became too difficult. You can see that the legs are still very simple. I was able to use my dremel tool to grind out the shapes. I also redesigned the skinny arms into something more substantial.

When you crank the handle, the wings go up and down, his legs tilt down as his rear goes up.

Here are a few more detail views. I wanted the wings to look like they were made from pieces of lumber. I also chose to paint this toy in somewhat of an "antique" feels like an "old fashioned toy"...and it also covers up a lot of imperfections in my craftsmanship!

That's it for today...


Mike Adair said...

Ah, those planks are nice!
Reminds me of Those Daring Young Men and Their Flying Machines. Very fun.

mjmaloney1950 said...

Hi, my name is Mick,and I live in Wales. I have just seen your "uncle icarus" I really like it, would it be possable for you to send the plans, so that I could make one for myself. I have not seen one like it. And being retired I have lots of time on my hands. here is my e-mail
many thanks. mick..