"Living mouth conversion"

Question: I've got this great idea for my Lovik "living mouth" character. Problem is, the living mouth isn't all that swell a thing. Now...looking at the way it's set up inside the head, I'm beginning to wonder if I couldn't do a slotted-jaw conversion myself. I used to build hand puppets and marionettes in my youth, and for awhile I made a living as a tech director at a theatre, building all kinds of things for our children's theatre division (I sure miss Celastic, pulled from the market because it was a carcinogen). What do you think? Could I do a conversion myself? Any tips? Can the hinge apparatus inside be adapted, or would it be wiser to start from scratch? Philip
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Answer: I have never converted a "living mouth" to slotted jaw although I've spent many hours with both types of figures. So I can offer a bit of conjecture. I believe I would start by removing the leather and then somehow build/fill the space between the upper lip and the chin (fill with wood, auto body filler, molding mache, a combination, or ???). Only after completing the rebuilding of the chin and shaping of same would I cut the side slots and the horizontal cut on the neck under the chin. I believe those mouths used a cabinet hinge as the axle. I would cross my fingers and hope that original hinge could remain as positioned, because if not, you'll have to drill a hole into the area you just rebuilt in order to remove the screws holding the hinge to the headpost and then remove the mouth. After that it would be "make it up as you go" (my favorite method)because I can't foresee the next steps. Good luck! Clinton

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