Have a Chicken Sam Figure?
If you have a Chicken Sam figure that I do not have or a background I do not have, contact me! I will either buy it or trade you something for it or if you do not want to part with it, I can make a duplicate using photos and will give you a duplicate in exchange for providing the photos needed to create a duplicate or just pay you to take photos of your figure and sending them to me. Has anyone offered to pay you to take photos of an arcade figure before? Contact me at support (AT)-Mechanicalarcade.com I am only looking for figures I do not have and I am especially looking for rare Ray O Lite figures and backgrounds in any condition.
There were many conversion kits available for the Ray-O-Lite Chicken Sam game by Seeburg. Many of these are lost to time and even advanced collectors have not seen some of the conversions that were not advertised in major magazines. However, some figures which are considered politically incorrect today are almost never seen. This includes the Black Sambo type figures. There were various conversion kits for the Seeburg Ray-O-Lite Chicken Sam game which included figures that would, today, be considered racist or inappropriate including Black Boiler and African Splash as shown on pinrepair.com
It is unfortunate that these figures are hidden away for fear of someone seeing them and making wild assumptions about the owner or worse they are even destroyed. This means a piece of history has been destroyed or that history is re-written and altered by hiding evidence of times past when values and attitudes were different. I believe it is important to preserve history. People who have these figures are so caught up in political correctness that they hide them and will not show them which is akin to historical revisionism in my estimation. I wanted to make sure this figure was not lost to history or swept under the political correctness rug.
I have recreated a number of figures for the Chicken Sam game but one type of figure I had difficulty finding was a Sambo figure. Finally, I found a collector who had one. He sent photos and quoted me a price. I accepted and PayPal'd the money. Thirty minutes later he refunded the payment with an excuse about not being able to sell it. I really think I got screwed here because we made an agreement and I paid but then he backed out even when I paid the price he said he wanted without negotiating. That was the first and only actual Sambo figure I had ever seen even in a photo. Three years went by without me seeing or even hearing about another such figure. I had thought of re-sculpting the figure but knew it would be hard to match it exactly from the photos and an approximation was not what I wanted. During this time 3d printing technology reached a point where it as available and affordable and so was software that could convert photos to 3d image files.
I finally decided it was time to start this project and save another piece of history.
Normally you can create a model with 20-50 images but I only had three so needed an expert to manually work on it. I did not have enough photos to use automated software to create a 3d file so I hired a graphic designer to convert the images to 3d. I then had a 3d printing company print it out and from that solid figure made my own castings.
Here is the story of how I did it which shows how you can cast figures. I used some different techniques this time which were better than my previous casting projects too. If you need more details on casting and sources for materials, check my other figure projects.
Here is a photo of the old mold I made for the original chicken Sam figure. You can see it used a lot of silicone which is expensive. For this project I tried to use some better techniques to reduce my silicone usage. You can find discussions of these methods on youtube by searching for Mother Mold Casting.
I wanted to stretch my plastic resin as far as I could. alumilite sells a powder that you can add to make it lighter and it will take up to a 50/50 mix with the power which doubles the number of figures you can make. I looked for an alternative that I might have around the house because I was running out of the filler powder. It had to be inorganic and it has to be dry. Do not use anything that is not dry. Microwave it while it is spread out if you are not sure to remove moisture. I considered quickreet but previously used sand and that was not a good idea. It made the figures very heavy and if you tried to drill it would ruin the bit so I did not want to repeat that with quickreet. I had plaster of paris and it was locally available so I used it. It makes the figure heavy and if you need to do a lot of tooling you will dull your tools when they are used in the plaster impregnated resin.
Here is the figure produced by a 3d printer.
First, I tried getting it printed at cubify.com. From their store the prices seemed reasonable but after I uploaded the image they wanted from $700 to almost $3000.00 depending on the material to produce this little 9 inch tall statue which is outrageous. They also only had a handful of material choices. I found their online pricing to be very confusing. They list lots of items for $2 to $30 but my model which was only 9 inches tall was over a thousand dollars? That made no sense to me and nothing on their site explained why there was such a big difference between the cost of my model and the ones they were selling which other people had uploaded.
I then found MakeIt at makeit3d.com and submitted my file to get a quote. The owner Michael Masterson responded with some options including making the figure walls thinner. This made it much more fragile, but I was going to cast it in plastic and I could also fill the figure I received with plastic resin so it did not matter if it was fragile. The price of these 3d prints is not set by the size but by the amount of material used. By reducing the thickness and therefore the material my printing price dropped from $1500 to under $200 by changing it from a solid figure to a shell. Michael was also very easy to work with and helped me adjust the model thickness without charging plus gave me advice to help in the process. I will definitely use MakeIt3d.com for my next 3d printing project.
I did not know that the material was so expensive or that I should minimize the use of material. I thought the overall size determined the cost.
The model was changed slightly by the graphic designer. The chickens were originally paper cutouts glued on the figure but to get the sizing and shape right my modeler made them appear as a slight relief and part of the figure. This gives me a shape and size to use for paper cutouts to be placed on the figure. The 3d model is missing the cap brim but the original was damaged so I had to recreate this manually after I received the figure. It was not worth asking my graphic designer to spend time or pay for the time to add a cap brim when I could easily fix it in the real world.
I cut a piece of plastic and left tabs. I cut slots in the forehead and inserted the brim and glued it in place. I filled the gap with two part putty and smoothed it out. I planned to slush cast the figure to strengthen the insides anyway and knew that this would lock the brim in place.
For my new mold making process using a mother mold, I cut some cardboard to match the outline of my figure.
I also painted the figure black so it would have a smoother surface which would be more friendly to silicone casting.
An unexpected byproduct of the 3d printing process was these concentric lines in the figure. I could sand them out but thought they looked like wood so left them in place. By the end, they were mostly covered by paint but where they show it looks like a woodgrain effect.
Figure in a molding box with clay to control the silicone.
I bought some silicone thickener which allows me to pour thin silicone over the figure creating a thin skin to capture the details, then brush on a thicker silicone solution to create structure. By doing it this way and not filling the mold with silicone I was able to cut my silicone usage in half.
I also cut up an old silicone mold and reused the silicone in it. Silicone sticks to itself so I could put the scraps on the still sticky skin to give rigidity and further reduce the amount of silicone needed to give a rigid mold.
OK, I messed up and the above mold failed. It was part of the learning process. I was out of mold making silicone so had to order again. alumilite is where I have been buying but they are expensive. I found a source on ebay which sells silicone for half the price of alumilite's RTV silicone. It is in the links below. I bought their gallon size which was a good buy compared to alumilite's price. The new material was purple(just their choice of dye) and it was stiffer than alumilite's and did not release as easily but worked for my needs.
Alumilite on eBay
I covered the silicone with aluminum foil to create a clean barrier between it and my mother mold and to make sure I could separate them easily and separate the two halves of the mold later. I then used expanding foam from a spray can. The two part foam would be a better option and is available from alumilite so I may use it next time. I had some cans of expanding foam sitting around so it was best for me to use them before they aged beyond their useful life.
The reason I used expanding foam is because it is cheap, it is rigid but slightly flexible. I have seen people use plaster of paris for the mother mold but when I tried this it was unworkable for me. Maybe for some applications it may work better but I found foam to work the best.
The foil before applying foam.
Final foam mother mold. There are some issues with using foam from a can. It does not cure when applied in a thick layer. I should have applied a thin layer, waited, then another layer. Instead I put on the full layer all at once. This meant the outside which was exposed to the air and moisture cured quickly but the interior stayed mushy and did not expand correctly. It took days for the inside to fully cure and then only when I punched some holes in it. Using A-B foam would not have this issue. Also, it is important to leave can foam spray in the mold box. I took my mother mold out and let it cure but this caused it to expand and distort so when I tried putting the two halves of my mother mold together they were different sizes. I had to cut one piece in half and "glue" it with more expanding foam. It was a mess but my first attempt using this method.
Flip the figure over and repeat.
Here is the final mother mold using canned expanding foam.
I picked up some cheap ratchet pull-downs to use as belt clamps and hold the mold together for the casting process.
Here is the opened mold.
Here I used slush casting to create a thin inner layer by rotating the mold manually until the resin set. I should have made in interior mount and insert it at this point but was already familiar with solid casting and I had some aging polyester resin I wanted to get rid of so I used my regular method of using cardboard to define the interior space. One problem was that my slush casting left the walls too thick which meant I had to make adjustments to make my interior tube fit. I inserted the interior tube and poured the rest of my resin.
Here is my cast figure.
I only made six total figures.
I spray painted the heads and coats. This gave a nice even paint job and was easy to work on top of with other paints.
I did not have 3d models made of the legs. The original legs were similar to those used on other models but I did not have those to copy and did not want to sculpt them. I did have some chicken sam legs so I cast those. They seemed appropriate and it is even possible they might have been used on some of these figures since they were so common.
Here is the partly painted figure.
Originally I was going to paint the cover over the boot white like it is with chicken sam but the red, green, white, brown looked too Xmas'y so I took out the white.
The covers are called Spats and were commonly used in the early 1900's by men and women to cover boots. Read some history and some lies on wikipedia about them here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spats_(footwear)
They are still available on ebay.
Final painted figures.
Strangely enough, the original figure did not have birds painted on it but had paper cutouts glued to it. From the original photos I could see the heads extended below the coat and they were broken off. Not a good design feature but I kept it because I wanted these to be as original as possible. It was much easier to print one bird, stack it in a sandwich with cardboard around my sheets of card stock and cut them on a bandsaw rather than try to cut six pairs of birds with scissors. The result was great. I then filled them in by hand to match the originals as closely as I could. I am not sure if the originals had open eyes as I drew or if they might have had X's for eyes. Since the heads were torn away from the original figure I do not know what the actual heads looked like. I made small eyes so they could be redrawn if in the future I find out what they really looked like.
Gluing them in place was easy enough but I will have to be careful with the heads.
Final figure with chickens and legs.
He is now ready to go in my Ray O Lite Chicken Sam cabinet with my CS background. Visitors are already used to seeing strange things at my house so it is not a big deal to discuss this considering I had a Hitler and Hirohito figure on display prior to this one.
I kept as many imperfections as I could to match the original which was not perfect itself. I tried to match the hand painting as closely as possible too.
The figure is a bit larger than chicken sam and larger than other figures but from the photos he is in proportion so I am confident he is the correct size. His size does match other figures I have which were original too.
I do not know what the background looked like but I suspect since he is still stealing chickens the figure was meant to be used with the original chicken sam background and may not have had his own background.
If you need more details on how I cast this figure, see my other casting projects where I go into more details or just do some youtube searching for resin casting videos.
If you have a Sambo or any other ray o lite figure I do not already have, contact me even if you do not want to sell it. I will either pay you to take photos of it or ask you to take photos in exchange for a replica of the figure(or any other figure I have available). This means if you have a figure you want to sell I will buy it if the price is right or if you do not want to sell, I may pay you just to take photos or you can get another figure or a copy of your figure.
I have several figures already and I am not looking for those, but please contact me if you think I might be interested or if you have a variation or even a custom figure that is vintage. I am also looking for backgrounds I do not have and can make a similar offer for those.