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Despite my grumbling yesterday, I was able to fill in the gap behind Link One’s shield by lengthening his hair AND add in the sword sheath that was lost over the weekend. It now nestles quietly into one of the Little People chairs.

I have to fill in some other areas and perhaps add some fine details to Link’s belt before I work on adding his facial features.

Because I like how most of the elements are suggested and not etched in, I think I’m going to sand away portions of the face where Link’s eyes and mouth will go to place them later. The one exception may be the sword, unless I find success on the face and decide to repeat the process to embed the Triforce into the blade.

Time invested into Link One to date: About 16 hours, including extension of hair behind the shield and reapplication of the sword sheath. Had 11 consecutive days before break, now on 12-day streak for 23 total days.

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Despite rebuilding my consecutive daily streak on Link One, I lost some significant progress this weekend.

More than ever, this model is built to work in most Little People playsets, including swings and seats.

I had inadvertently built Link One’s adventure pouch and sword sheath without testing how or if he could sit in most Little People “furniture.”

He didn’t.

The sword sheath was far too thick to allow Link One comfort at the Little People dinner table, and the adventure pouch made turning a chore.

So, I hacked both off and moved on to building his hat over a period of about four days. Dwelling on problems with this sculpt has not been my style.

I crafted the hat to scoop around Link’s left shoulder and fill what had been a serious bit of negative space in the Link Zero sculpt. Shaping the hat to a happy medium of flowy and flat was difficult as I’ve had to keep the molding and casting process at the forefront of many decisions.

Finally, after recovering from a friend’s Friday wedding in New Jersey over the course of the weekend, I had gotten the hat to a respectable point. I carved the seam and placed the “stitches” on Memorial Day.

Later Monday, I added the adventure pouch back to Link’s right side, careful this time to tuck it closer to his arm and flatten it while keeping some light detail.

Whether or not the sword sheath will return hasn’t been decided. I have essential gaps to fill between the shield and Link’s right side and some facial features to add before I figure it out.

Time invested into Link One to date: About 15 hours, including addition then removal of sword sheath, removal and re-addition of adventure pouch, and full sculpt of hat. Had 11 consecutive days before break, now on another 11-day streak for 22 total days.

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Despite my lack of updates, I’ve continued to put in about 20 minutes a day at least on dumping a bottle of fairies over this toy making project to revive Link One.

Since last week, I’ve completed the Master Sword with etchings, built the left arm and hand that wield it, began the process of completing the leather straps that hold the sword sheath, and successfully (this time) reattached the Hylian Shield to the right arm.

Light details on the left hand’s fingers and right hand grasping the shield helped flush out the little things I really want to accomplish with this. I’m debating on adding a belt buckle or a loop to the strap around his shoulder.

Next, I have to complete the straps and the sword sheath. Then comes Link’s famous green hat. After that, I may have to creatively fill some gaps behind his shield, perhaps with some extra Hylian hair.

Time invested into Link One to date: About 11 hours, including completion of Master Sword, adding Master Sword and Hylian Shield (and arms) to body, and adding adventure pouch. Had 11 consecutive days before break, now on five day streak for 16 total days.

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Thursday’s night shift was preceded by a successful sculpt of Link’s left shoulder and sleeve.

A quick follow-up Friday gave me the base for the blade of the Master Sword, followed by Saturday’s hilt - or at least the start of it.

I took two days off for Mother’s Day and my son John’s birthday to celebrate with our family. A little momentum gone, but I hope to pick it back up tonight by finishing the Master Sword and possibly adding the hand that wields it.

Time invested into Link One to date: About nine hours, including left sleeve and beginning of Master Sword. Had 11 consecutive days before break.

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It’s really hard to offer up the full scope of disappointment I’ve experienced with the Link One sculpt in the last two days.

Tuesday, I struggled and barely succeeded in applying the white lapels to Link’s outfit, gently poking them out of the freshly carved tunic. After baking the clay, the left lapel fell off.

Feeling uninspired to add anything else after fixing the lapel, I carved out some more detail on Link’s boots. Not too many issues there, but they’ll need more work before they’re done.

Wednesday, I first attempted to add the left sleeve for the hand holding the Master Sword. After getting a good sculpt in place, I inadvertently squished the sleeve while working with the Hylian Shield for the right arm.

Speaking of the shield, I attempted to attach it to Link’s chest with super glue, filling in the negative spaces with clay (as seems to be common practice with the Little People figures). After building what I thought was a decent base to keep it in place, I baked it, removed it from the oven, placed it on the dining room table, and hear the tiny clatter of the¬†indestructible¬†defense item as it fell onto the tabletop.

Two days, at least two and a half hours, and barely anything to show for it. I guess heroes have to fall a few times before they rise to triumph.

Working night shift tonight, so I’ll try to add the left sleeve again before I leave the house.

Time invested into Link One to date: About seven hours including errors with lapels, sleeves, and placement of the shield. Eight consecutive days going.

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With about another hour added to sculpture time on Monday, I added Link’s belt (which will later hold his adventure pouch and serve as a means to carry his sword sheath) and the first details of his shirt.

I’ll have to add the white lapels later, but the base of his traditional green tunic is there.

I’ll be adding Link’s arms and hands next, likely sans gauntlets (just how much detail do you think I can fit in this thing?!), along with the Master Sword in his left and Hylian Shield in his right.

That will allow me to place the strap around his shoulders for the rest of his adventure garb and, perhaps more importantly, let me place the hat correctly around his shoulder.

I’m taking more care with the redesign to observe all of the failures of Link Zero.

Time invested into Link One to date: About four and a half hours including belt and basic tunic shape. Six consecutive days going.

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This toy don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!

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Despite a busy weekend of yardwork and getting the family to a communion party for my cousin’s daughter, I was able to squeeze in about 90 minutes of work on Link.

Face added to Link sculpt in progress

It may not look like much, but sanding down the excess “body fat” to allow the model to fit into most playset elements took more time than I would have liked.

Marking up the body, I took time to mark where Link’s belt would fall to keep him compatible with the Little People universe and still have access to his adventure pouch.

Once I determined where I would place the face, things started coming together quickly.

I’m debating if I want to add small details to the ears now that they’ve been baked and hardened. I’ve found it tougher to soften those finer elements once the piece has been back in the oven.

Time invested into Link One to date: About three and a half hours including basic build, important sanding, and facial features. Five consecutive days going.

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With about an hour of work last night and another 45 minutes tonight, I’ve made quick progress in rebuilding Link to fit the Fisher Price Little People Style.

From left, existing Fisher Price toy, base model created in less than two hours, and completed but faulty Link model that I built

The Little People characters are terribly disproportionate, so I had to readjust the feet and what are basically the hips/bottom of character’s pants. Using a chair and playground swing from the Little People universe, I built a decent start. The hips were too big at first, but the Dremel made short work of that.

The new model will be closer to the toys than my original as Link Zero (as I’ve JUST named him) wouldn’t fit in some playset elements, like the aforementioned swing.

As a final goodbye to Link Zero, I hacked off his right arm and reclaimed the Hylian Shield from the first model. (In the original games, Link wields his sword with his left, which I believe is an homage to creator Shigeru Miyamoto.)

The shield is painstakingly detailed with what I can only describe as bas relief for children’s toys. It’s modeled essentially after the LoZ: Skyward Sword version and originally took about a week to perfect. It survived three different silicone molds which proves, as the game claims, that it’s unbreakable.

I’ll build a new Master Sword, sheath, and adventure pouch, but NOTHING was going to convince me to ditch that shield. The hat will also be scaled back a bit, and the mold will have to include different sprews to eliminate those dastardly air bubbles.

I’m going to try for some very highly detailed elements without killing myself. Let’s see how that goes…

Time invested into Link One to date: About two hours of simple sculpture work. Two consecutive days going.

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Well, it’s been more than four months since I started building a Legend of Zelda-inspired figurine for my son in the style of Fisher Price’s Little People characters.

I’ve poured three different molds, cast several modestly successful copies, and even painted one in full despite the prevalence of air bubbles that ruined the cast.

For a while, I couldn’t see the Kokiri Forest through the trees of the Lost Woods.

It wasn’t until last night that I decided Link - and I - needed a fresh start.

So, I’m abandoning the Hero of Playtime for an updated model that will fit better with the playsets offered by Fisher Price and be easier to cast and remove from my silicone molds.

That said, I’ve learned a lot:

  • When making children’s toys, tuck the extraneous odds and ends close to the body. They’ll survive the molding process much more easily that way.
  • Build a system of airways from the surfaces you think could develop air bubble. Far fewer headaches will occur.
  • Keep going. When I was essentially following Jerry Seinfeld’s rules for productivity, I felt great about myself. Getting started again was much harder, kind of like walking during the mile run in high school.
  • Have fun. Crafting these little buggers has been a good time, and the excitement from friends and even complete strangers serves as a welcome pick-me-up.

Here’s to more progress (in as short an amount of time as possible).

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Bought my first starter kit for a pourable silicone mold today. I’ve been sculpting a variety of pieces to try and test out, namely some Pokemon for my daughter. There have also been some really inspiring posts featuring some of my favorite characters online lately, so I’m optimistic I can take the time each night to perfect some of these ideas floating around in my head. Here’s hoping!

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The brush-on rubber ripped terribly as I removed the modeling clay on the other half of the Moono sculpt tonight.
I’m going to test some SmoothOn Oomoo pourable silicone moldmaking materials once I get some more bills paid.

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I cleaned out a cottage cheese container and cut out the center circle on the bottom of the container with my Dremel. I then filled what was the top with modeling clay and pressed the Moono in to leave an impression. I will put a few brushed-on detail coats to be sure it looks its best before pouring the mold builder into the container in several layers to build a stable half mold (first detail coat shown before drying).
Then, I’ll clean out the clay and repeat the process on the opposite side (being sure to add a spout to pour in the casting material).

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I painted the Moono sculpt with enamel paint normally used on model cars that I found at a local hobby shop. It took two coats and sealed and smoothed some of the imperfections I was concerned about.

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Here is the original Moono sculpt I made. I sanded the feet down with the help of a wooden block to make sure it would stand.