fixing mcfinney 2

i was back at mckenney’s for another couple of hours today.  this time i took off all the plastic i was holding the glued bits on with until the glue set and dried.  it didn’t fix the right hand side as well as i would have liked, so i have to make up the difference with the epoxy putty. this shot shows 5 places that need building out with putty.

and this shows the putty once it was put on.  this is two-part epoxy, which i used gloves to mix up a quarter-sized lump of parts A and B, and then applied a little bit here and there, and smooshed it all flat with my gloved fingers.  then i dipped my fingers into water and smoothed the putty out.  it’s not entirely flat, but as you can see with the silver bits, there’s not much in the way of flat and smooth.  i wasn’t going for the absolutely machine-made look anyway, i wanted the pipes to look hand done.  which is just as well, because i couldn’t have been more precise without a great deal of trouble.  i had to get to the smoothing with water part pretty quickly, because the putty only has a short working time when you put it on this thin.  this took about 45 minutes.

next came the helmet.  it took over an hour to scrape it.  i had put a couple of coats of acrylic medium on it as required by the people who made up the rules in preparing these sculptures.  the whole statue was supposed to have gotten a final urethane topcoat like you find on cars, but for some reason this didn’t happen, and so the topcoat of acrylic we all put on the dolphins yellowed and started cracking in the sun.  since the topcoat never went on, i felt it would be better to remove the acrylic topcoat from the helmet, which is made of hard plastic and doesn’t need protection.  i had thought that if it was going to get a final topcoat then it might as well have the same surface as everything else.

this is what it looks like with most of the acrylic scraped off.  there’s only a little left on the rim at the bottom of the picture.  you can see acrylic flakes all over the place.  they should be clear, but the sun has yellowed and aged them, and actually changed the color of the entire dolphin.  this shouldn’t have happened if it had been coated with a urethane uv coating like what was recommended by the designers.  but oh well.  took me awhile to clean it all up so the cleaning staff doesn’t have to do extra work.

the georgia tech engineer’s pin that i put on was not a real pin, but a printed-out image of a pin, with a layer of rolled-flat putty underneath it.  unfortunately the inks seem to be not at all lightfast, and everything but the black faded.  so i started in with cadmium yellow light, and will go over it with a glaze of cadmium yellow dark, and then add some flesh color.

the next time i go in, next week, i will be able to start painting.  how much i need to paint is something i will have to decide.  the sun, as i said, has already damaged the paint, but unless i want to completely repaint it i’m going to have to be satisfied with it.

at least the folks at mckenney’s will be putting a topcoat on it themselves after i’m done fixing it.  they’re engineers; engineers do it with precision.


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