Ok, I've got a few more pics of the progress with the arm-building, having gotten as far as being almost ready to apply the resin. To form the arm's musculature, I started with the chicken wire armature, then paper-mache'd it until everything was covered. Then, I went to Home Depot and bought the following items: 1-18 lb. bag of GreenFiber brand blow-in Natural Fiber Insulation &
1-18 lb. bag of Sheetrock Lightweight Setting-Type Joint Compound. The insulation is simply recycled, shredded paper pulp which is, along with plaster, the basic ingredient of claycrete.
You will see in the pics that I started with a couple of scoops (the kind that come with a box of laundry detergent) of joint compound, mixed it with some warm water and stirred it until it was smooth. I intentionally made the mixture thin because I would be adding insulation, which would thicken it. I just grabbed a good handful of insulation and kneaded it into the plaster mix until it was well blended. I experimented with the consistency and found that I liked it when it was about like squeezing ground beef between my fingers.
So, I applied the claycrete by hand, slathering it generously along all available surfaces. I made a point of filling in anywhere the hexagonal pattern showed, and adjusting the shapes of the muscles as I went along. The joint compound was fast-setting, so I had to work fairly quickly. I would keep making small batches, applying the claycrete and making a new batch immediately until I covered the whole of the paper mache. At first, it didn't look much like an arm, but with subsequent layers of claycrete, I built it up to where it started looking more realistic. I have fans blowing air across the arm so the claycrete will set faster. Later tonight I plan on applying a 'finish' layer of joint compound to smooth out details and when that is dry I will give it a light sanding and prep it for the resin. More to come...