For the pumpkin man I have made the arms but I am concerned about the strength in a couple of them and there are signs of splitting so I might have to remake them.
I have also tried adding a layer of white paint as a primer/undercoat to see how that affects the finish when finally painted up.
To make the arms I used my new razor saw which is good for very fine cuts.
For my Turtle and the Hand model, I have moved the cam for the hand movement but I moved it too far over so it was hitting the inside of the frame. I first tried sanding the cam down to fit int he space but then I realised that this affected the movement. In the end I cut out a hole in the side of the frame for the cam to move. I will have to remake the cam to get the movement that I want.
I have also moved the spring for the hand so that it is attached to the top of the lever, pulling the lever up, rather than having it on the underside, pushing it up. The movement seems cleaner.
I found a website called crankahead.com and they have an automata making competition. I'm not sure what the prize is but it might be good to enter and see what I can do. Unfortunately, the rules prohibit me from talking about the model or putting up any pictures until it has been submitted so I would have to keep it a secret if I did enter.
Most of the models I make are made out of used or second hand pine. This is OK for some applications but carving in pine is quite difficult as the wood can split easily. I have found some lime wood on ebay (also call basswood in America) and is apparently very good for carving. I managed to get 20 blocks for under £12 so I am quite happy with that. They were also selling 64 blocks for £30. If it hasn't sold by payday I might also get that for the future.