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.

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