Epoxy Glass? What does that even mean? Basically it is fiberglass done with epoxy resin (instead of the common polyester resin). And why might a figure maker choose to use Epoxy Glass to build a ventriloquist dummy? Because it is SO STRONG and DURABLE! Because of its great strength and durability they build high end sail boats and speed boats out of Epoxy Glass.
Do a lot of figure makers make their figures out of Epoxy Glass? No, not many really and those who do so have been known to reserve its use for special projects, like a custom one-of-a-kind figure or similar. They know that a figure constructed with Epoxy Glass will take a lot of abuse and hold up really well over time.
Why is it that not many figure makers use this high quality material? Well, it costs more than some other materials. It is time- intensive to hand lay up fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. And finally, it takes some special skills to fabricate a quality figure out of Epoxy Glass. If it were easy, probably many more would be using it. Fiberglassing is a skill set that takes time to master.
Have I built any figures out of Epoxy Glass? Yes, a number of them over the years. I learned how to cast fiberglass about 25 years ago, and learned how to work with Epoxy Glass about 18 years ago. Here are a few Epoxy Glass figure building projects that I particularly enjoyed being involved with.
Randy Malick's Leprechaun Figure
This project was a collaboration with performer Randy Malick and noted figure maker Brant Gilmer, and myself. Randy created a brilliant one of kind sculpture of an ‘Old Man’ Leprechaun. He entrusted me with making a high quality silicone mold and then in turn I created a high end, heirloom quality Epoxy Glass casting (as shown above) of his prized artwork. Brant then did his usual ‘stunning’ Gilmer mechanics on the inside. It was quite an honor to be involved with this fun collaboration.
By having a good working knowledge on Parting Lines, Undercuts and Draft (see my book ‘Figure Making Can Be Fun‘) it was possible to make just a 2 piece mold of this head. Quite the challenge with all the undercuts on that intricate face and those huge pointed ears. I saved myself a lot of trouble by not having to cast and attach the ears separately. Here’s a couple of photos of the mold I made (and the model that Randy had sent me):
All of this while doing no damage to Randy’s original sculpture. I also shipped the high quality mold to him so that he would have a back-up in case anything ever happened to the completed figure. But with a high quality Epoxy Glass (almost bullet-proof!) head casting as the foundation for this unique creation, it is quite likely that it will never suffer any significant damage. Built to last!