Sunday, February 20, 2011

Son of The Ghoul Goes West, part 2

Welcome, welcome.

I trust everyone's been enjoying their mid-Winter.

I think maybe Punxsutawney Phil's shadowless sojourn from a few weeks ago might be behind the recent (and truly beautiful) warm spell most of the country has been enjoying after endless weeks of snow and ice and bitterly cold temperatures.

I know it has brought us back to life here in the Ozarks; suddenly we slugs have become animated, stirred to activity and enthusiasm. Windows are open during the day, the sun has come out to play... and most importantly, some fine projects are under way.

Foremost, of course, is the 2011 Monsterpalooza Museum's animatronic avian, our own  
Nevermore the Raven.

He's getting a bit of a makeover (decent talons and finally some tail feathers!), and a brand new perch. 

Just a few days ago, my cousin Goober (you'll recall him from this post) helped me tremendously cutting the piping, drilling holes to hide the wiring trunk for all the innards and welding things together for me. He's the one whose birthday IS Hallowe'en, so maybe he just felt obliged?

Innards? Oh you bet there are. Here's a shot from an angle as you've never seen Nevermore before...

Oh boy, robotic bird guts. The chassis from an old R/C truck, a servo controller, and wires galore. Most of the servos are in his head and in front of him (on the other side of the chassis), but the one you see at the bottom controls his wing/shrug. Hidden just below it is the servo that controls his leaning. Just above that little green controller board is where I'll stick the 9v battery to power his green LED eyes.

Yes he's wingless for the moment, because I need to make somewhat better-looking wings. If this guy's going to be presented among the works of Brent Armstrong, Mike Hill, and dozens of other luminaries, his wings gots'ta have a bit more umph to 'em. Call it an artist's insecurity.

Even so, he's looking good, like he's going to really enjoy hanging out on that little perch.

Also, I figure since you're seeing so much of my messy Hallowe'en laboratory in these shots, you might wish to see an angle of it I've never really shown anyone here at the S&P before. 

Here's the other side of my workstation...

The computer is my old but very capable multitasking darling. She plays music and internet radio while I'm working, helps me record, compile and edit all of the audio I need for my figures (and all my music and numerous other sound-related projects) and of course is the programming and editing brain for all of my animatronics. Uncle Forry, to the right, has been in love with her for a few years now -- if I move him too far from that spot he grows petulant and uncooperative.

To the left of the monitor there's my longtime workhorse Sony MiniDISC recorder/player, which helped me put together the audio for my first Hallowe'en displays years ago and provided servo and audio playback for the Great Pumpkin for many years.

You'll also see, at lower left, the core of my sound system -- a truly minty Kenwood KR4600 FM/AM Stereo Receiver from 1977. Everything audio I play in the lab goes in, out and through that beautiful beast.

FM only sounds good when it looks like this. 

What I really love is that it has the old flywheel tuning that you spinnnnnnnnnn and the speakers go  phthpthpppthhhtttpthtphtttphtptphttt! and the needles bob around and the warmest, richest sound comes floating out. 

There is nothing like hearing Boris Karloff telling ghost stories through this baby -- I swear to God you feel the voice in your feet.

In love.

By the way, just now while I was looking for another picture of this receiver on the web, the very first image I saw was on a blog about vintage '70s stereo gear -- the picture of the blogger's own KR4600 was posted on October 31st, 2009! How much do I adore that coincidental bit of Hallowe'en love?

But enough about vintage audio. I could go on about that all night long. Vonnetta will attest to that.

So, Nevermore is on his way to becoming what I need him to be come Monsterpalooza. He'll get new wings, myriad accessories for his little parlor table, and a new (but very familiar) voice. More on that in future updates. I think you'll appreciate it.

Ah, Raven of mine...

I think we're going to have some fine times.



  1. This is just!


  2. Stumbled on your site at random. I must say Nevermore is HANDSOME as all get out. I would love to have him sitting in the corner all grumbly and mussed and glaring at anyone who walks by. Thanks for sharing his bits and bobs!