First Practical Long-Grin Phase 2, Neck and Throat


In the photo (left), the head is already in the mould. BIlly had turned it over to work on the neck, its all-important voice box and air bladders, designed to inflate (with a soft hiss), whenever Long-Grin was about to speak. The "wattle" in the vicinity of what might be considered an Adam's apple in a man, is actually the dragon's voice box, and was intended to move as the dragon speaks and forms his words. The two air bladders were properly placed on either side of the wattle. Billy's realization of my concept was nothing short of inspired, and although none of these elements would actually function in the model, it was clear how they would be utilized and operated by the puppeteers, once servos and wires were in place. This upside down view took a minute or two to get used to, but ultimately made sense -- although how he would ever get it into and out of a mould was baffling to me.

Billy explained how he would construct a 17-part mould, to allow the plaster-like mould material to harden, then take it all apart and dig out the clay. Sincerely interested, I paid close attention, but I think baby Tyler understood it about as well as II did, and he didn't even pretend to be interested. Tyler seemed to have complete confidence in his father, which might have been more reassuring if he had been awake, but In the end, it didn't really matter if either of us understood the process, as long as Billy did,