Chief Bagnell Restoration Update #6

This is the final update episode in the Chief Bagnell Restoration Series. After 5 months of hard work the restoration comes to an end on August 12, 2016 when the Chief was set back up on his former footprints on the Bagnell strip. This update covers the moving of the giant to the airbrush show and we get to meet Kurt Robinson who did all the detail work on the Indian. The update covers the packing for the trip home and finally the set up and unveiling of the giant. We also dug up some old pictures of the Muffler Man over the years that he has stood at Two Bit Town. A big thank you to everyone who helped with the restoration, the local community who was such a support to us, and Iguana who has just been great to work with on this restoration. Hope you all enjoy the final update!


Chief Bagnell Restoration Update #5

Update #5 covers the final priming of the giant as we lay down 2 coats of primer on the entire indian. We hung the giant from the roof of the shop so we could get around and under him better without having to move him during priming and painting. After the primer dried and was wet sanded we started laying down the base coat colors on the shoes, legs, torso and head dress. The head dress took the most work with all the different colors that needed to be layed down. This took a lot of prep time to tape off each section before and after painting. In the end we put down the clear coat and took the giant down to be moved to the detail shop for his final detail work, all the shadows, highlights and details to the face, head dress and eyes. Update #6 will cover this detail process and Update #7 will be the final update and will be about his return to Lake of the Ozarks and setting him back up. This has been a ton of hard work but a very rewarding restoration for the American Giants team!

Chief Bagnell Restoration Update #4

We are approaching the end of this restoration in the update #4 video. We have completed the sanding process and moved to the internal structure assembly phase of the restoration. While Joel has been working on wet sanding the primed torso the rest of the team have been installing in internal structure into the giant. It is important that the Indian can free stand when he returns to the lake without using cables. Small imperfections in the surface are also fixed in this update. We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Chief Bagnell Restoration Update #3

We have been busy here at American Giants plugging away on the restoration of Chief Bagnell. As always with these restorations, the more you restore, the more you find that needs restoring. The extent of restoration on this one has been greater then we first anticipated when we first got him but we have rolled with his punches and the extra patching is almost complete. As this update explains, he had more spider cracks in him then we ever could have imagined. We have completely resurfaced his back to cover them up and will also have to do the same for large portions of his upper legs before we put down the first coats of primer. The huge job of sanding down his face and head dress is over and this coming week our focus will be on building the internal support structure so he can free stand when we take him back home. Our next update #4 will cover the details of installing the internal structure.

Chief Bagnell Restoration Update 2

Week 2 has been a busy one and we are happy with the progress we are making. Although not completely done sanding, we are nearing the end of that process. This week saw the completion of sanding the front side of the indian. It was a bit of a challenge pulling him apart and getting him flipped over but everything went well. The pants were almost completely sanded during the week and more then half of the giants back was finished. The end of the week saw us starting to repair cracks and body damage and work on paint colors. Our graphics department kicked it into high gear sketching out the indian so we can plug in any color we want to test out different color schemes. Hope you enjoy our second update of the  Chief Bagnell Restoration!

Chief Bagnell Restoration Update 1

American Giants is happy to release the first video update of our current restoration of the Lake of the Ozarks Indian Muffler Man. We are one week in on this restoration, and already have a large portion of the indian sanded down to the first layer of paint and gel coat. Next weeks video update will feature the completion of the sanding process, and also the disassembling of the Indian. We want to thank everyone for your support and encourage you to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more updates as we help restore a piece of Missouri and American history! – Joel

Lake of the Ozarks Indian Restoration

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.44.13 PMFor 5 years now, American Giants has been tracking down Muffler Men, and bringing you their history. We started out with the website, and then the youtube episodes, depicting our adventures. Last year, after completing the Mortons Gap Restoration, we decided to continue doing restorations, to help keep roadside americana alive and well. We thought it fitting, that our first project of the year turned out to be the Indian that has stood for almost 50 years in Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

IMG_4720Chief Bagnell or Injun Joe, is one of many fiberglass giants made by the International Fiberglass Company from 1964-1972. Today these giants are known as Muffler Men, and almost 200 still stand across America today. The International Fiberglass Company started out making the Classic Paul Bunyan version in 1964, and over time they started modifying the mold to make Indians, Pirates, Cowboys and a goofy country bumpkin looking character, that we now call a half wit. The Indian version came in two different versions, a indian brave with a feather or two, and the war chief that had a full head dress. Many of the first Indians made were purchased by Pontiac dealerships across the country. The giants were shipped out on trailers and set up at the various dealerships to promote the new cars and promotions.

SnerdAround the mid 60s, DogPatch found out about International Fiberglass and ordered one of their half wit versions to stand in front, and advertise the mini golf. He was a unique half wit because he was ordered special with a unique arm position. Most muffler men have both arms down and are designed to hold an axe or some other tool. The DogPatch halfwit had one standard arm that held a golf club but the other arm was raised to greet the visitors. He is the only half wit known to exist with this unique arm configuration. Shortly after his arrival the owners of Two Bit Town decided they also needed a giant and opted for the Indian version. He was a good match because he also had a raised right arm, and he was placed directly across the street from the half wit.

IMG_1117The two Muffler Men stood for the next 40 some years greeting residents and visitors, until the half wit was taken down in 2013 because the internal support structure was coming apart and a wind storm might bring the giant down. Chief Banell managed to hang on a few more years until recently purchased by the Iguana Group and taken down for restoration in early 2016. American Giants got involved shortly after and we are super excited to be working with Iguana Group on this project. Not only is the chief an original Muffler Man, but he is also a special and historic icon of Lake of the Ozarks, and nothing could make us happier then to see this giant restored and set back up for visitors to enjoy once more.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.55.00 PMThe Indian arrived at American Giants Restorations in March and we have moved him into our shop for sanding and disassemble. As soon as he got off the truck we realized we needed to take his right arm off in order to fit him in the door. Thankfully the bolts were not entirely rusted and we were able to send one of our guys up his leg and into the torso area to unbolt the arm from the inside. Now that we have him safe inside, work will begin. We have broken this project down into 10 stages that include, sanding, fiberglass repair, painting, airbrush and art work as well as an internal structure that will support the Indian so he can free stand at his new location.

IMG_1143We hope to upload videos each week marking our progress and adventures as we restore this roadside attraction, and we are just as excited as all of you, to see what the final product looks like! Keep an eye on this website, Facebook and Instagram feeds, for the latest news and pictures.