Statue honoring slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle a work in progress

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by Jim Douglas / WFAA.com

WFAA

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM

ARLINGTON — In a small garage at an Arlington industrial park, a craftsman meticulously dabs thick, white liquid rubber on the clay face of Chris Kyle.

Filling in the eyebrows and beard, it's the first step in making a lasting tribute to the former Navy SEAL who was murdered with his friend Chad Littlefield while trying to help a troubled veteran.

Florida artist Greg Marra sculpted the life-size clay model. Now it's up to craftsmen at Schaefer Art Bronze Casting in Arlington to get it right.

"If it's messed up here, it's messed up the whole way through," foundry manager Tommy Ladd said.

On Wednesday, they applied the first of several coats of urethane. When it dries, they'll cut the statue into pieces... create molds for wax filling... make a shell from silica sand... and bake out the wax at 1,800 degrees.

Ladd said it could take up to three months before the pieces are cast in bronze and reassembled — a 14-step process with no room for missteps.

"The handgun wasn't the correct handgun, so they've replaced the handgun," Ladd said, pointing to the replacement pistol in the clay holster.

Kyle's family also had the artist add stitching on the belt last weekend.

There are a couple other final touches, too. Chris Kyle's two children placed tiny clay teddy bears by his boots.

His widow left a message engraved on a heart, as if it had fallen at his feet. It reads: "My love. My life. I love you always."

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