Monday, June 6, 2016

Make and Re-Make... Our Neighbor Totoro

This isn't a re-make of the movie Our Neighbor Totoro, this is about our stand-up friend from the Miyazaki classic animated film, My Neighbor Totoro. Our Totoro's first appearance was for a birthday celebration, and he's lived with his Chibi companions around our yard for two and half years since. Unfortunately, this last winter was too much for the wood cutouts, and they suffered a lot of damages. After completing work on version II of the Laputa robot, William decided to rehabilitate the friendly wood spirit, too.

Before we share the re-make, let's look back to the first making of our Totoro...

To begin, William developed an original illustration of the animated character. He did this at the computer, and when his design was completed we set up a projector, so we could trace the image on 3/4" plywood.

Next, with Totoro's outline sketched on the wood, William cut out the shape with a jigsaw, right down to those six whiskers.

Gray, black, and white... time for the paint. While William finished this wood spirit, Alex began work on adding some smaller spirits to the party.

A finished Chibi Totoro, and Alex sketching the Chu Totoro.

Chibi Totoro has already visited San Diego Maker Faire, but we want to bring all of our Miyazaki inspired creations to the North County Maker Faire, so here is some of what William's done to get ready...

Let's call this triage... an assessment of all the damages. Plywood splitting, whiskers shorn off, paint worn, base loosened. Poor Totoro does't have much to smile about.

He spent days glued and clamped together, had his whiskers removed, got sanded, then taped up for a fresh coat of paint.

William designed then cut new whiskers. Made of aluminum, the new and improved whiskers are epoxyed to Totoro's face. It should be a stronger finish. They definitely look good.

Intensive care.

Sometimes things look much worse before they're all better. Totoro is on his way to recovery.

Here he is! Our neighbor and friend, restored, and ready for Maker Faire!

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