Here is a test of the rear gear, tail wagging mechanism. This is the last big element of our dragon we still have left to resolve. The push rod will be routed through the back haunches, represented in the video by those two black plastic clips. So this works! …in theory. There are still a lot of details to work out.
Today our friend finally got ears! We’ve had cardboard placeholders on from time to time, but today we had a community art day, and our friend Abby came and sewed some ears for MAL out of the same upcycled vinyl advertising banners I’ve used in my work in the past. Her whole face is improved! (The dragon’s that is- Abby’s whole face has always been lovely.)
MAL gets her painted-lady on…
Thanks to generous help from many friends and community members, MAL is ready for her final decorative painting. All panels have their base coats – teal on the outsides, purple base coat on the tail; the interior faces of the panels have a base of yellow, topped with a shiny, shiny metallic gold. Why put so much energy into painting the interior sides of the panels? Wait until you see her with lights..!
Here’s MAL all disassembled while getting her base coats of paint.
Progress at this stage of a project can sometimes be hard to see. Today’s major milestone was that now the bolts in all four legs line up correctly and fit. Some had to be pulled out and re-drilled to get here. Some hardware had stripped out and needed to be replaced, and we needed to re-engineer some parts of the back haunches to resist warping.
Several pieces got a first of two coats of paint, too, which is important progress but doesn’t photograph well. I think I want to make her ears soon, just to make the photos look better. 🙂
Look at this shiny, shiny gold paint we’re using on MAL!
Ronan Aqua Leaf, FTW.
After a lot of testing and experimentation, we’ve come to the conclusion that we either have to make the tail a lot shorter than we want to, or we need to add a support in the middle. We’re going with adding a support and then swapping springs out for door hinges on the portion of the tail before the support. The end segments of the tail should still be more fluid and floppy, like a cat’s twitching tail, and the part closer to the body will be more stable. Here we’ve added some thickness to the tail pieces to hold the hinges. These will get cut out to work visually with the cut-outs in the tail, but we wanted a successful test on it holding the weight first.
It’s so nice to have finally had the chance to make the cut-outs from the neck and chest. They’ve been drawn there in charcoal for a long time, and it felt great to do them. The cut-outs serve dual functions of making the overall piece lighter and easier to move and assemble, as well as also making the flat surfaces open to wind passing through, so she doesn’t become a sail or take on excessive side force. We also wanted the cut-outs to give her some “visual texture,” and to repeat a decorative shape in various ways across the body.