OK, so yesterday was a long frustrating day.
After thinking it out for a while I decided to just use the heat gun and manually cook the Munny. It seemed that the only reason I wanted to use the oven was to make sure I thoroughly baked it and the only reason why I didn't want to is cause I was afraid of it caving in and not being able to monitor it. I decided if I hand baked him first I could then throw it in the oven and finish it off. In hind sight that would not have worked either. So here's what happened.
I spent 5 hours with the heat gun slowly baking the Mega. I have a oven thermometer I purchased specifically to adjust the heat gun to optimum temperature. So after a few minutes I finding 200° F from about 3-4 inches away I began and immediately learned my first lesson. Don't stay in one spot for too long. BUT, I also learned how to create an interesting texture. So as I was saying, I learned that if you keep to much heat on one spot, the sculpey will start to bubble. SO, my Mega has what looks to be a rash on his belly. That's cool though as it looks very organic looking. So on I went, baking and baking. I decided to use that bubbling technique on the feet, to make them look kinda warty. SO far, SO good. Then I started getting to the chest area and here's where the problems started. The warnings I had heard from another artist were true. The head is to heavy for the neck and chest to support it. The first sign I saw of this was the crease between the head and neck on the back side stared opening up. At first it was only about 1/16 of an inch. But over time it separated up to about a 1/4 inch. The vinyl heats up so much through the baking that the head weight makes the chest droop. Even while spot baking. The heat transfers so much through the vinyl that there's no avoiding it. If I had baked this in an oven and the entire Mega vinyl was equally soft, it would have been destroyed I think. So, in the future, if I even do a Mega again, I'll definitely take the time to reinforce the inside before I start. More on that later.
On I went, and as I continued I found cracks happening. Mostly on the chest due to the flexing of the next. Eventually I finished baking the entire piece. It took as I said about 5 hours. When I was done though I had to address the few cracks that had occurred. And the now permanent gap in the back side of the neck. SO I got the sculpey out and did some touch up, baked him some more. I thought I was done now and made the mistake of moving him around to inspect the piece for more cracks and in turn created more. More touching up and more baking.
After discussing with a friend about my troubles he made a suggestion which I think is pure genius. I had mentioned that someone on the KidRobot forums had claimed there was foam in the head and he said that if there wasn't it would be a great way to add support. "Why don't you completely fill the entire inside with spray foam so that when it hardens there's no way for the vinyl to flex?" Me..."Where were you 2 weeks ago before I started sculpting?"
So I ran to the store and purchased me some spray foam, drilled a hole in the back of the body and sprayed that Mega full of foam. Now, I don't know if this particular foam will greatly help my cause at this point now that the Mega is cooled down and the vinyl is strong again but I feel that had the foam been in the from the start it would have saved me from the flexing and cracking during the baking process. And for those of you who may be worried about the foam getting too hot during baking, they sell heat resistant foam spray as well.
So anyways, now that I was done baking and I patched the hole in the back I took the Mega outside and applied some gray primer. After an hour I polished the primer will an old face cloth and finally I was done for the day.
Soo, it does seem like baking a Mega Munny is possible and now that I've got my first one out of the way I think that if and when I do another it'll be a breeze.