A few weeks ago I had half an hour to kill at my local craft store, so I started wandering around the store, aisle by aisle. Usually I am looking for new materials to use in dioramas, but since I currently have everything I need for my new dioramas (more info coming soon 😉 ), I thought I would explore some new customizing tools. In the clay aisle, I came across what looked like a solid metal syringe (pictured above). It’s called a clay extruder, and it’s main function is to (surprise!) extrude clay. It was packaged with a large square end on it, which would be of no use to me at all. But then I noticed that it was packed with other attachments of all different shapes and sizes, including a tiny circle hole about the size of a minimate hand peg. However, this seemed to be the only useful piece for minimate customizing in the set, and with a $9 price tag I passed on it and headed for a different aisle.
As I was walking away I started to think about one major use for the clay extruder: sculpting minimate hair. Being able to produce perfect little rolls of clay hair could really help speed up and improve the hair creation process. I also thought of the 40% off coupon in my pocket, and that sealed the deal.
The extruder sat in my desk drawer for a few weeks, as I didn’t have a good project to use it on. My chance finally came when I got Doctor Who fever and started making a ton of customs from the new series. The 10th Doctor (David Tennant) has some rather unique hair that doesn’t quite match up with any existing minimate hairpiece. His hair is a little bit crazy, making it a perfect test subject for the extruder.
I started by forming a small ball of white Apoxie Sculpt and put it in the end of the extruder, with the smallest circle attachment securely in place. I slowly pushed down on the plunger until small tendrils of clay began coming out the end. I could make each one as long as I wanted, and it came out very smoothly.
Despite being a very small opening, the diameter of these tiny rolls of clay was still thicker than I wanted. They would need to be slightly thinner in order to look correct on a minimate. I rolled the clay on the table evenly until each piece became longer and thinner. Even though I had to do this by hand, it was still easier than starting from scratch, as I had perfect little rolls of clay to start with. You can see in the image above the slight different in diameters between the clay coming out of the extruder and the clay on the table that I had thinned out.
To make the Doctor’s hair, I started with the emo Peter Parker hair from Spider-Man 3 and cut part of his bangs off. I attached each strand of clay hair at his part line, and then folded it across his head, making it look as loose as I could. I did my best not to leave any fingerprints, but for the ones that I did end up leaving, I smoothed them out with a tiny bit of water. After the clay had cured, I also sanded it like crazy. You can see the finished product in the group shot here:
Clean-up was easy, as I just had to pull out the syringe and attachment and rinse everything off in the sink. I will definitely be using the clay extruder again. Even though it doesn’t do all of the work for 2″ minimate hair, it definitely speeds up the process. And I think if you were doing hair or grass at a slightly larger scale, the tiny rolls would be the perfect size. At the current scale, I could see this working really well for some tendrils for Carnage. I will add that to my to-do list, and post my results here in the future. 🙂