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Sleep with One Eye Open

The greatest monster maker of all time . . . with a few possible exceptions like Jack Pierce . . . is probably Ray Harryhausen.  After seeing KING KONG as a teenager, Harryhausen embarked on a career that would not only produce some of Hollywood's best monsters but also inspire some of the next generation's most talented directors, producers and special effects people.


Perhaps the single most iconic creature created by the master was the Cyclops seen in the MGM film, THE 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD.  In this installment, we take a look at how to build perhaps the ultimate beginner's kit . . . Geometric Design's bust of the Cyclops sculpted by Mick Wood.  Originally released as an independent kit about a decade ago, this creation remains one of the most accurate renditions of the subject available . . . and fortunately, Geo reissued it in 2011!

The "kit" is just one piece, so there is no assembly, though you may wish to sand the surface a little before beginning here and there.  Okay. . . the first three steps are always the same:

STEP 1: Wash your kit in warm water with dish soap and allow it to dry to remove oils and mold release agents can cling to the kit.  Washing kits makes it easier for primer and paint to adhere.

STEP 2:  Do a spot check for holes, gaps or problem areas and apply putty to fill them.  In this case, I used Testor's tube putty for the few holes to fill.  When the putty is dry, you want to sand it with fine sand paper and brush away the excess.

STEP 3:  Apply a primer coat.  I use FW Inks Cool Gray sprayed through an Iwata HP-B airbrush at about 20 psi, but you can use a spray can and get good results.

STEP 4: The first picture shows the first stage of painting.  Using my Iwata HP-B airbrush, I sprayed on a base coat of Badger Pale Flesh, which I have found to be the perfect Cyclops skin tone.  The horn and teeth are base coated by brushing on Americana Buttermilk.  This is a acrylic craft paint, which in general, are very useful in modeling.  Finally the eye was base coated with Createx white.  It is an airbrush paint, but I frequently apply it with a brush, as I did here.

STEP 5:  The next step is to start giving the figure some character with tonal details.  The lips and recesses on the cheeks, chest, nostrils and around the eye get a coating of Life Tone Bronze Flesh.  Where the Pale Flesh in step for is very pink, this tone is more orange.

The eye is painted in with a 00 size brush (very, very small tip).  The eye is actually sculpted into the bust so it is really easy to do, generally speaking.  I used black for the pupil and around the outer edge of the iris.  The iris itself is done with Life Tone Chestnut. 

To be honest, I have not figured that paint out . . . it is not marked as a transparent but it behaves that way.  Anyway, it is one of my absolute favorite colors.


Let me take a moment to clarify that this part of the process is still rather imperfect.  It should be!  If you are just starting out, or even if you have been building for a while, it is easy to get a little frustrated here because you feel like you are close to completion, but it does not quite work yet.  Don't sweat that . . . that feeling is normal, and in fact, it can take me several times (including final touch ups) to get details like eyes or skin tones where I want them.

STEP 6:  I added two little paint details before sealing the kit.  First, I applied Lifetone Transparent Leather Tan to the horn with a brush.  I dipped it in a tiny pool of paint and pulled it up from the base of the horn around the entire structure. You only want to cover it about 2/3 from the bottom, easing your stroke as you get toward the point.

Secondly, I sprayed a light coat of FW Ink's Flesh on the cheek bones, shoulders and other ridges to add a sense of dimension.

When I was happy with the basic paint job, I sealed the kit thoroughly with Testor's Dulcote sealer.  It protects the paint job and prepares it for the finishing phase in this construction, the oil wash.

The oil wash will bring the kit together, blending the skin tones. An oil wash is made by mixing oil paints with thinners. I mixed up about 3 ounces of mineral spirits with a 1 cm. tab of Burnt Umber oil paint by Windsor & Newton (aka Winton) artist oils.  This solution was applied to the entire kit beginning at the top and working my way down.  A lot of times, I will wipe the wash off the top, but in this case I think it helped to keep it as a top coat.  (To learn more about oil washes, you can click here.)

The eye gets one more treatment before completion.  I touched up the lines, and when I was happy with that and the paint had dried, I put a couple coats of Future Floor Wax on the eye.  It is a great gloss coat.  When it dried, I mixed a small drop of Tamiya Clear Red with a 1/2 ounce of Future and ran it around the edge of the eye to create a red/pink tone to the eye . . . a little bloodshot quality in other words.

This is a great kit whether you are a beginner or pro.  If you'd like to buy this kit, I can help you out there ($70 total in the USA unbuilt.  Built up is $140).  Just contact me at writesjk @



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