Monday, November 11, 2013

Becoming a Halloween monster

So, I know i'm a little late posting this since Halloween has now past, but I still need to show how my costume turned out. In the last post, I left off having begun making the mold of the mask sculpt. I'll get back to that but first I need to show how I made the rest of the costume. The vision I had for the costume was for it to be intimidating as a large hulking monster. It didn't exactly come out a big as I wanted But It was still good enough. So, what I did was I bought some 4 inch thick sheets of upholstery polyfoam (the kind you use for couches and pillows). I bought it at hobby lobby because it seemed to be the cheapest place to get it, though it still was about 30 dollars in total. Anyway I bought the foam in order to create a "muscle suit" to make me closer to the imposing size of the character Kurse. So I found an old tight fitting longsleeve shirt that I cold glue the foam pieces to. I also bought a cheap electric kitchen knife to cut the thick foam with, since it can be difficult to cut with just scissors. So you can see the progress picture below of the chest and abs cut from blocks of foam. They were glued to the shirt with 3M spray adhesive.

muscle suit

So after I cut out some more muscle pieces out, my brother helped me glue them to the arms and this is what it looked like.

After starting the foam suit, I continued with the mask mold. I finally bought some more plaster and finished layering the front half. I didn't get any pictures of this but after it was done I pried the two plaster halves apart with some screwdrivers stuck in the wedge holes I had made in the edges with clay. I had no problems taking them apart after some careful prying, thanks to the vaseline mold release. So once they were apart I was able to easily remove the clay and styrofoam head and was left with two decent looking mold pieces. That is the face half in the picture below, and it came out pretty clean with only a few minor air pockets.

So the next step was to cast the mask with silicone rubber. Unfortunately It isn't too cheap but I bought some PlatSil Gel 10 silicone rubber from BITY Mold Supply. PlatSil Gel 10 seemed like the best choice because it had high tear resistance and also was translucent. This was most important because translucent meant it could be dyed different colors. So I was able to mix it up with some black acrylic paint which surprisingly doesn't cause and problems with the curing of the silicone. One of the feature of PlatSil Gel 10 is that it has a very fast cure time (only 30 min) but this means the working time with it is very fast (6 min). This can be a bit of a problem if you have to spread it out over the entire surface of the mold and you don't have any to waste. It took a couple coats of slilicone on each of the two halves of the mold and then also another coat along the seam once the two halves are closed and pressed together. Again, I should have taken more pictures of this process but hopefully you get the idea of how it worked. This picture below shows the first coat of silicone in the back half of the mask mold.

Somewhat to my surprise, the mask turned out very good with very few problems! I used the entire 2 pounds of silicone but the mask was still quite thin. Fortunately, this type of silicone is very strong and durable so despite some thin spots, it retained it's shape and held together very nicely. The neck could easily be stretched over my head to put it on and there was decent air flow space in it since it didn't fit extremely tightly against my face (unlike my previous red skull mask). So all in all I was extremely pleased with my latest rubber casting project. You can see me wearing it below along with the foam costume which I made more progress on.

The mouth of the mask didn't match up with mine exactly and it stuck out quite a bit in front of mine but I could still open and close it slightly with mine.

Unfortunately, Halloween only a couple days away at this point so I had to work very fast to get the suit done and the mask. Sadly I was not able to completely finish the costume in time but this picture below is as far as I got with it on Halloween night. After finishing carving the foam muscles and gluing them on, I glued some cheap greyish black fabric over the whole suit. Also I forgot to mention the shirt was cut open in the back and then had vel-crow attached to close it. This allowed it to be taken on and off easily. The suit was acceptable, but it wasn't as done as it was supposed to be. I wanted to make the shoulders bigger and put some foam spikes on them. Also I wanted more detail and color in general, to make it more accurate to the actual Kurse look, but I didn't have the time. As for the mask, it also was not done since I wasn't able to attach the foam horns that I had made. I was able to paint it a reddish color on the face which turned out ok. The most disappointing thing I have learned about silicone is that the only thing that sticks to it is more silicone. The only reason this acrylic paint worked was because I airbrushed it as a very light coat so it wouldn't end up cracking and peeling off. It does still rub off if handled too much. The reason I wasn't able to attach the horns was that the glue I used wont even stick to the silicone rubber. So the only way to attach them was to stick them on with more uncured rubber and let it dry to secure the foam to the mask. Since I didn't have any silicone or time left I just had to go without them.
thor the dark world kurse

Heres a picture of Kurse from the movie "Thor: the Dark World" for comparison. Not as acccurate as I wanted it to be I guess. The horns would probably make it look better though.

So take a look at the rest of the picture taken on halloween night and decide for yourself if it was a success. It didn't creep out  as many trick or treaters as my red skull costume did last year but oh well.
kurse mask

predator costume

Here are the horns that I made and wasn't able to attach. the are coated with latex and were supposed to be shaded with black spray paint but some of them got a little too much color.

This is after halloween, I just placed the horns on it to take a picture of what it should have looked like. They still will have to be cemented on once I get more silicone, but who knows when that will be.
kurse face

So all in all it wasn't at all a failure but it just wasn't the level of greatness I hoped to get when I originally had the idea. In hindsight, i should probably not try to be a character from a movie that hasn't been released yet since there aren't many good reference pictures to use an I should also start a project like this even earlier in the year, like the beginning of September. So with that said, Happy late Halloween I guess...

More posts to come next year, in the mean time check out Wrightworks on blogger!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My next Halloween costume

This year for halloween I have decided to go bigger with my halloween costume than last year with the Red Skull mask. I will be making a new silicone rubber mask as well as a full body suit based on the character pictured below.

This is Kurse, from the new movie Thor the Dark world, which is being released on November 8 in the US. The problem with making a character from a movie that hasn't been released yet is that there are very few actual pictures of him, so until a few days ago when the above image was released, all I've had since I started this project at the beginning of October were action figure pictures to use as reference. This is one of those pictures of the action figure to give you a better view of the full character.

So with these pictures I was able to make a 3d model visualization of the mask I planned to make, just to see the general size and shape in real life.

So this picture below is me with the image of the 3d model over my face.

Now that I had an idea of what I was going to do I got started on the mask sculpting process. This was done the same way I had done it last year, except for a few improvements. First I bought a $10 styrofoam head, which was much better proportioned than the one I used before, and taped some plastic wrap all around it. By doing this the clay won't stick to the styrofoam when pulling the mold apart which would just make everything easier.

Next I stuck some clay on the front and used this plaster gauze mold of my own face (see earlier post for more on that) to press the clay into the shape of my head. This is very important for creating a sculpt accurate to my head size.

I did that for the front and back, but The clay layer didn't need to be too thick since the styrofoam head was already close to my head size. All I needed was a general shape to sculpt the features from.

Next I started adding more clay to build up spots on the face and begin making it look like Kurse.

I plan on making the horns separate parts and attaching them later so I just made the spots where they would grow from.

Here I realized the head was shorter than mine so I cut some clay off the top and put some tin foil filler underneath and then stretched the clay back over it.

The facial features were coming along well, so I stuck some tin foil horns on the head just to give a representation of what the whole head would eventually look like.

Once I was happy enough with the sculpt, I began preparing it for mold making. It was going to be a 2 part mold (front and back) so I used some stiff foam board to create a dividing wall. I did this by cutting out the sillouette of the middle of the head and then cutting the board into a left and right side so the board could be easily stuck around the head.
Also I taped a tin foil wall around the base of the back half in order to have something to contain the plaster.

Here are some close ups of the final sculpt so you can see the detail better.

I would have added more detail if the movie image of Kurse had been released before I began putting plaster on, but I guess the likeness is still good enough, despite the fact that it was based on an action figure.

these are picture of the back half just before I started putting plaster on.

And that is the plaster I use, before it is mixed with water.

The best method for plaster is to pour the plaster dust into the water and mix it evenly as it is added. The ratio is about 1 part water to 2 parts plaster but I just estimate it with my eyes. Also the ratio must vary slightly depending on the consistency it needs to be. ( the first layer should be thin and watery in order to fill all the detail areas while the later coats can be thicker.
An important detail in this picture is small lumps of clay I stuck to the foam board right next to the head. these are called keys and will allow the two halves of the mold to realign correctly later.

After I covered all the clay with the first 3 or 4 coats I began putting pieces of burlap in to strengthen the mold. It would be very bad if it snapped in half while prying it apart later so the burlap is a vital part of mold making at this scale.

Eventually after more burlap and plaster I had a back half that was about an inch thick all the way around so now I could lay it face up and begin the front half. before putting plaster on the front, there are some other very important steps of adding some mold release (I use vaseline/petroleum jelly) all around the inside edge of the plaster mold. This must be done if you want to be able to separate the two halves, otherwise the plaster will stick to itself. Also I stuck some wedge shaped clay pieces in 3 places along the edge. these are necessary for prying the mold apart because those spots are where you can stick a screwdriver or some other prying tool in between the 2 halves. Once all that was done I started pouring more plaster on.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

More Red Skull

       I finally have some good pictures of my silicone rubber mask (see last post for more) of the character Red Skull, however the mask is now a year old and unfortunately it hasn't survived completely since last halloween. Originally it's main flaw was the terrible paint job of red spray paint which apparently doesn't stick to this silicone well since it all peeled off, but in these pictures it has been given a new layer of paint with an airbrush. Though it was never completely finished it looks a lot better than it did at first. The reason it is pretty much unusable now is that there is a rip going all the way from the back of the neck to a spot behind the brow. This means it cant stay on my face well without assistance. I actually stitched it up with some string hoping that would help but that will only tear it up even more eventually. I intentionally didn't take pictures of the back or side because I was trying to hide the rip, though I think I should have so I could show a picture of the damage in this blog post. So anyway It looks good from the other angles.
It is flexible enough that the mouth moves with mine. It would work better though if I used prosthetic adhesive to stick the mask to my lips, that way I would actually be able to show my top teeth.

silicone mask

So the next step is to recast the mask, this time using a different type of silicone rubber. The reason it ripped in the first place was that I had to cut a slit up the back of the neck and glue velcro on it so the mask could be easily taken off and on. Unfortunately this idea did not work at all because the silicone just kept tearing past where I had cut the split to. The velcro also would not stick even with superglue so the whole thing just kind of fell apart in the back. All of this could have been avoided if I had known  that I would need a much stretchier and more tear resistant type of silicone because I now know the best way to put on a silicone mask is to just stretch it over your head. So, with that said I am now going to do it right this year for halloween and buy a better type of silicone rubber.