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TOOLS + MATERIALS
REPAIRING LO SCRICCIOLO FIGURINESFrequently LO SCRICCIOLO figurines have some type of damage or breakage due to their delicate construction and mishandling when being shipped. This damage can be repaired at home with some simple tools and materials. TOOLSTWEEZERS - used to handle the repair pieces when being glued. The most useful type are the ones that hold without being squeezed (reverse-action handles). Try to avoid ones that exert a large force on the part being held since extremely small parts tend to break.X-ACTO KNIFE SET – used to trim the ends of repair pieces. The small blades also can be used to apply drops of glue to small parts. DREMEL TOOL – along with a set of 'Diamond Dremel bits' this can be used to shape large repair parts. It should not be used on extremely small parts because they will break easily. NEEDLE FILE SET or NAIL FILE – used to trim or file repair parts to size. A regular file should not be used unless it is very small and fine.PAINT BRUSHES – try to find extremely small brushes with as few bristles as possible. Used to paint repair parts with Acrylic paints.WATERCOLOR MIXING TRAY – used to mix various colors of Acrylic paints.CLAY EXTRUSION GUN – used to make hair, ropes, or cords. The standard set of extrusion disks produces threads that are much too large for hair. It is possible to make special disks out of thick plastic by drilling pin or needle holes through the plastic.CLAY SCULPING TOOLS – used to help form the repair parts or to hold them while being glued.HAND DRILL – used to drill tiny holes in plastic dies for making hair.CUTICLE SCISSORS – used to trim pieces of replacement hair.MATERIALSSCULPEY – Sculpey is a brand of artist's modeling clay that can be hardened in a conventional home oven. It comes in small blocks in various colors, but since the repair parts need to be painted select a neutral or flesh colored color. If it is anticipated that some of the repair parts would be very small (small fingers or hair) then Super Sculpey should be used since it is a bit stronger than regular Sculpey.ACRYLIC PAINTS – used to color the repair parts. Most varieties are water soluble. A large selection of colors is available in artist supply or craft stores. Bottles in 2 ounce size or smaller are relatively inexpensive. Buy at least three or four shades of flesh color as well as primary colors (red, green, blue) to facilitate mixing. Grays and blacks are also useful.SUPER GLUE GEL – used to attach repair parts to the figurine. Small tubes are relatively inexpensive. Once opened the tips tend to clog easily. A small drop is all that is needed to attach a part; however the part must be held steady for at least 30 seconds to make a good bond.MAGIC SMOOTH – This two-part epoxy compound can be used to fill in small cracks or seams where a repair part is attached. Once mixed this creamy white paste can be applied with a sculpting tool or knife. It sticks to almost anything except silicone. A silicone flexible clay sculpting tool can be used to smooth out the seam or void. The Magic Smooth hardens very slowly and flows a bit to make a smooth surface. Once hardened it can be filed or shaved with a knife or Dremel bit. Magic Smooth can also be used as an adhesive or to fill in small voids in a surface. It isn't as strong as Super Glue, but it sets up very slowly which is an advantage because the repair piece can be adjusted while the adhesive hardens. A small quantity of Magic Smooth and the silicone clay sculpting tools can be bought on eBay from seller 'morezmore'. It should be enough for many repairs. METHODS FINGERS – these are the most frequently damaged parts of a figurine because they are very small, delicate, and exposed. Roll out a small strand of Sculpey (or Super Sculpey if the finger is very small) on a smooth hard surface such as wood or marble. You could use your fingers or the flat side of a knife blade. Bend the finger at the joints if needed. Use your own hand as a model for a natural looking bend. Cut off tip end of the finger with an X-Acto knife or sculpture tool. Leave the other end of the finger longer than needed so that it can be easily held for trimming after being hardened. Make about a half dozen pieces for each finger to be replaced, and harden them in the oven. The instructions for Sculpey say 15 minutes in the oven for each ” thickness of the part. Try about 5 minutes oven time for an average finger. A nail file can be used to smooth or further shape each finger. If the finger is large a Dremel tool may be used, but use extreme care because they can be easily broken. Apply a coat of paint to the finger if it would be difficult to do so after it is glued to the figurine; otherwise paint after gluing. Check the finger for proper length by holding it up to the rest of the hand with tweezers. If the finger is very small or delicate then apply a small piece of soft Sculpey to a sculpting tool and push the fingertip into it rather than using tweezers. Cut the finger to proper length with an X-Acto knife. Apply a drop of Super Glue Gel on the end of the finger and glue it to the figurine. You must hold the finger very steady for at least 30 seconds to make a good bond. Use tweezers or a sculpting tool to hold the finger. Steady the tweezers or tool against some part of the figurine if possible. An alternative is to build a small temporary scaffold to hold the part to be glued. This is possible only if there is a nearby solid piece of the figurine to build upon. Sculpey is a convenient material to use for a scaffold. Once the glue has hardened fill in any cracks in the glue seam with Magic Smooth. Apply with a sculpting tool or knife edge. Allow it to dry then carefully file smooth with a nail file. Then mix a tiny amount of Acrylic paint in a mixing tray with some water. Use a fine artist's brush to do the mixing. Use multiple colors of paint to get the right shade. Apply some paint to a scrap piece of hardened Sculpey or scrap paper to judge the color. The paint should be fairly thin so that it can be painted on smoothly and apply with a fine artist's brush. Multiple coats can be applied to obtain the correct color, but remember that each coat adds to the diameter of the repaired finger.WHEEL SPOKES – Some of the Lo Scricciolo antique car figurines have wheels with many delicate spokes which are subject to breakage. The repair technique is similar to finger repair. First roll out a long strand of Sculpey and cut it a bit longer than the length needed. Bend the spoke if needed; otherwise leave it straight. Harden a few of these spokes in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Cut the spoke to the correct length with an X-Acto knife and shape the end with a Dremel tool if needed. Most wheel spokes are painted with multiple colors instead of just one. Paint at least the back side of the spoke beforehand if it would be difficult to do so after gluing. Apply a drop of Super Glue Gel to each end of the spoke and glue in place. Paint with Acrylic paint after glue has dried. Use the surrounding spoke colors as examples to arrive at the correct colors. HAIR – A reasonable substitute for broken off hair can be made using Super Sculpey extruded from a Clay Extrusion Gun. However the standard dies that come with most guns have holes that are much too large for hair, so you must make a special die with very tiny holes. It is difficult to drill tiny holes in steel, but it is possible to do if the piece is thin enough. However a satisfactory die can be done using plastic, but it tends to blow out of the extrusion gun. Pill bottle tops or soda (Coke, Pepsi, etc.) bottle tops or other similar plastic pieces can be used. Holes can be drilled using a hand drill and small pins or needles. Most sewing needles make holes that are too large for hair. Try different sizes of pins to get the right size of hole. Cut off the head of the pin and put the shank of the pin in the chuck of a hand drill, then drill as many holes as possible in a piece of plastic. If using steel allow only about 1/8” of the pin extending from the chuck. Cut the completed die to fit the Clay Extrusion Gun and extrude the hair strands. You must use a great deal of force because of the small size of the holes. A vise or drill press can be used to make the extrusion easier. Once a sufficient quantity of hair is extruded then harden it in the oven. It may be necessary to make a mold of the contour of the area of the head to be covered by the hair since the pieces of hair will harden flat in the oven. The mold can be made of hardened Sculpey, and the hair will not stick to the mold. Shape the mass of hair with an X-Acto knife or Cuticle Scissors, or arrange the individual strands with your fingers or any sculpture tool. Mix enough paint of the appropriate color in a Watercolor Mixing Tray and thin it with enough water so that the hair can be dipped in the tray to color it after hardening. If the paint is too thick it will tend to clog the spaces between the individual strands. Glue the hair to the figurine and touch up the color to match the original hair.PHONE CORD OR ROPE – Roll out a long strand of Sculpey (or Super Sculpey if the diameter is small) and bend to approximately the correct shape. Experiment a bit with the baking time to get a slightly pliable part rather than one that is completely rigid. Cut the repair part to the proper length and paint before gluing if needed. Glue the part to the figurine and paint afterward if needed.SHEET OF PAPER – Flatten a piece of Sculpey on a smooth surface with a kitchen knife edge or small dowel. Cut the piece to the appropriate size and glue to the figurine. Fill in with Magic Smooth and paint.PIECE OF CLOTHING – The method is similar to a sheet of paper but the repair part must be bent or curved before it is hardened. Sculpey won't maintain a curved shape without some sort of reinforcement. Stick a piece of aluminum foil or paper such as thin cardboard to the flat Sculpey sheet. Cut the repair piece with its reinforcement to the appropriate size. Bend this assembly to the correct shape and harden it in the oven. The paper or foil can be easily removed after hardening. Attach the repair part to the figurine with Super Glue or Magic Smooth. Fill in all seams with Magic Smooth and file or cut away the excess after hardening. Repeat if necessary.PAINTING A REPAIR – Mix a small amount of Acrylic paint in a Watercolor Mixing Tray. Thin it with water if necessary. Test by brushing onto a piece of paper or some scrap piece of hardened Sculpey. Correct the color with another shade until a test looks right. Allow paint to dry and repaint if necessary. If the repair is large, such as a jacket or robe, then it may help to paint it with many different shades. The Lo Scricciolo artists usually used many colors to paint large areas, so imitating this technique makes repairs look more authentic. CLEANING A FIGURINE - Figurines are often very dirty because they have been displayed in the open rather than inside a display cabinet. Also smoke from cigarettes or cigars can coat the pieces with a dull reddish film. Most of this dirt can be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol applied with a Q-Tip or small artist's paint brush. Of course extreme care should be taken cleaning the small, delicate parts (fingers, spokes, phone cords, etc.) of the figurines. If alcohol doesn't work a mixture of water, vinegar, and baking soda may be used, but the baking soda leaves a residue that must be cleaned off with water or alcohol.