Another Blinker Experiment. . .

As in a previous post on Blinkers experimentation, this little experiment from the archives was quite interesting to me personally, because of the challenge. Sometimes I like to do these little experiments to see first of all if the idea will work, and second to see if it has any practical value. Also, I am a big Paul Winchell – Jerry Mahoney fan, and I have always been fascinated by Jerry’s metal shell blinkers (blink in tandem, but do not wink separately), and have often speculated on how they might have worked. Jerry Mahoney’s head is very tight and narrow around the temple areas, especially inside the basswood head, leaving little or no room for winker pivot support. In other words, there is no room on the right side of the right eyeball, and no room on the left side of the left eyeball for winker pivot support frames. I’ve had the theory that maybe that’s why Winchell did the tandem blinkers on Jerry, as there wasn’t much if any room for individual winkers. Well, in any case here is what I came up with:

There were several challenges with this project. First and foremost were several solder joints (I use a small torch for soldering), as it would be easy to undo a previous solder joint when going on to the next one. Also, I had to figure out a way not to accidentally solder the horizontal singular pivot to the vertical pivot frames. Typically if something is close to another solder joint, you can use ‘White Out’ to prevent the solder from flowing into unwanted areas (I do this all the time on my regular winker frames), but that was not an option in this case. The solder joint is right where the singular pivot rod connects to the blinker shell, which……, is right next to the vertical pivot frame! Here’s another shot of the unit where you can see the actuator arm better and the difference in lighting helps reveal further details:

Besides the above mentioned challenges, the most critical part of this was that the blinker shells be perfectly positioned ever each eyeball! Success! At the time, I was hoping to get some kind of award or something for all this, but alas I was the only one in the shop and the only one who noticed. (grin) The other dummies in the shop didn’t say a word! But the unit worked flawlessly and I was excited about it at any rate.

So was it practical? Yes, I proved I could do it, but was it useful? I did put that unit in a figure that a customer had ordered with one-control tandem blinkers. Here’s a pic inside the head and a couple pics of the finished figure (customer wanted a Goth figure):

It really worked sweet! I also have a figure that I’m building for a customer that is a replica of a vintage figure that like Jerry Mahoney, has very limited space for winker pivot frames, and I will be installing something based on the single pivot blinker unit above. I will most likely simplify it somewhat however. Yes, I know you can fit leather winkers easier in tight spaces, but I again want rigid shell blinkers for that project. I really like the look and the satisfaction when its all done. A bit more work and precision for sure, but that’s what rigid shell winker and blinkers are all about! (grin)

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2 thoughts on “Another Blinker Experiment. . .”

  1. Hey Dan, thanks for all the kind words. Much appreciated. Yes, blinkers will try your patience for sure, but they are worth learning how to do. Hopefully something I post will be of help on that for you and others! Mike

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