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Clockwork Droid Version 3? 4?

January 12th, 2012 admin No comments

I’ve pretty much moved to Google+ for posting my updates on stuff, but I noticed this morning that people still find this site somehow, so I decided to throw a quick and dirty recap for my new new Girl In The Fireplace mask. I really learned a lot while doing the last one, and applied it this version, including better sculpting, molding, and much better crackle finish.

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One step too far

January 21st, 2011 admin No comments

Ok, so now I know what NOT to do. Since I am still considering this a prototype, I decided to experiment with pushing the antiquing a little further, and applying a really thick coat of the crackle glaze. I hoped it would produce a more prominent craquelure pattern. What actually happened was that a lot of it ended up pulling away and flaking off. I applied the dark wash anyway, just to see what it would look like. You can see the results – it looks more dirty than antiqued. Now I know!

Dirty.

Scary, but not the look I'm going for.

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Prototype trimmed, painted

January 16th, 2011 admin No comments

I’m calling this first mask a prototype, as I’m trying out paint colors, techniques, trim lines, etc. After trimming with a dremel, I had to slightly widen the mask by softening in hot water, reshaping, then dipping in cold water to set.

Then I added trim along the edge by splitting an old cable, stripping out the wires inside, and using Gorilla Glue to adhere it.

As far as paint, I’m going to darken the blue next time, and maybe add some metallic gold to the yellow. The crackle glaze worked, but again, the cracks are smaller than I’d like. I THINK it’ll work better if I can get a thicker coat down, because the crackles were perfect where the glaze dried on my palette.

Please excuse the distortion in the photos – these were taken with my phone.

bright colors, they'll darken with the glaze and washes

a view of the inside, showing the trim

a view of the inside, showing the trim and proving it can be worn

after several washes of black and brown - trying to bring out the cracks and weather it

I like this view for showing the dimensionality of the cheeks

The cracks are much smaller than I wanted - I don't think you can even see them in pictures.

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First pull from new mold

January 10th, 2011 admin No comments

First layer of oogoo down.

I was somewhat worried about taking a mold of my cracked sculpey mask. I patched the cracks with fresh sculpey so hopefully the silicone wouldn’t flow into them (maybe I should’ve used an epoxy, but I was anxious to get the silicone down during a brief warm-spell last week). As it turns out, they didn’t pose TOO much of a problem, but I’ll address that later. I was able to get a couple layers of my modified oogoo silicone down while it was warm enough to work in the garage (this stuff stinks).

Once that cured, I added a mother-mold of plaster bandages, and finally peeled everything off to see how I did. The silicone did flow into a couple of the bigger cracks, but it wasn’t too bad. My worst mistake was cutting out the eyes from the clay. This created a problem when trying to release the mold from the master, as the deep sockets grabbed on tight and didn’t want to let go. Patience and persistence won out, though, and after cleaning any clay bits from the mold I was ready to slush some resin in there.

Second oogoo layer down

I’m using a white, 1:1 ratio casting resin from Alumilite. Since my test casting from the old mold came out with a ton of bubbles, I wanted to be much gentler this time around with my slushing. The resin came with little 2oz Tbs cups for measuring, so I used 3 4ozTbs batches which seemed to build up a decent thickness. I’d mix up a batch, pour it into the mold, and slowly roll it around, trying to cover the entire surface evenly. My biggest fear was that the nose would collect all the extra resin from each layer, and be filled up entirely at the end. With each layer I was very conscious of not letting it collect there, and I think it worked out. I let it cure for about 30 minutes before de-molding. As you may or may not be able to tell from the image, there were NO bubbles this time! The worst problem is a “crack” in the chin area that was present in the master, and was deep enough that it didn’t get covered with resin in the mold. Hopefully it will be trimmed off when I decide on the final trim line. I’ll try to correct this in the mold before I take the next cast.

Mother mold

This weekend I also stopped at Michael’s and picked up a couple different “crackle” mediums. Lynette had tried a spray version on her first mask, which did not give the desired effect. The ones I picked up were acrylic. One was to be used between two paint layers, where the top layer would crackle, revealing the base color. The other is a glaze or varnish, where you then apply a wash to bring out the crackle detail. The glaze gave the best results, looking more like aged porcelain, whereas the one that goes between layers looked more like paint chipping off antique wood furniture. I’m optimistic about the glaze, even though the cracks are smaller than I would’ve liked.

First pull from the new mold

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Baking the master mask

December 28th, 2010 admin No comments

The best it ever looked.

Yesterday, after printing out my new reference images, I finished up the detail work on the mask. Now it was time to bake. I did a ton of reading on how to best harden the sculpey without cracking it, and popped it in the oven at 225F for 1 hr, then 170F for another hour. After that, I turned off the oven and let it cool down with the mask still inside. This was all supposed to minimize cracking. No such luck, it turns out. I am going to chalk this one up to the fact that the plaster base is still inside there, and there’s probably a difference in the amount of expansion/contraction that happens in the plaster and the sculpey. Anyway, I got a big nasty crack across the nose, cracks from the corners of the eyes going outward, a crack down the center of the nose, and a crack from the nose down through the mouth. You can see the one across the nose in the pic – the others hadn’t formed yet.

Visible crack across the nose.

It is possible I pulled it out of the cool oven too soon, but I honestly think there’s probably not much I could have done to avoid this besides just molding the uncured sculpey instead of trying to bake it. Either way, I’m fairly sure I’ll still be able to salvage a good mask from this by patching the cracks before molding/casting.

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Clockwork Droid Reference Pics

December 22nd, 2010 admin No comments

Screen-used Clockwork Droid masks

Lynette found an amazing source for images of screen-used masks, as well as great reproductions:

http://www.aqpa87.dsl.pipex.com/scifihelmets/millennium_fx_clockwork_droid_ma.htm

This is INVALUABLE to getting this mask right, and I’m seriously freaking out right now. Looking forward to figuring out how to get that craquelure effect.

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Sculpting a new master

December 20th, 2010 admin No comments

First things first, be sure to check out the new movie forum.

Now for some mask progress. I took a few hours yesterday to sculpt a new, larger master out of Super Sculpey. It’s built on the same plaster cast of Lynette’s face, but I built up the base another inch or so, and used a thicker layer of clay as the mask (to try to account for shrinkage). Work-in-progress photos follow:

Looking pretty creepy.

Still a little lumpy.

Need to make some of the detail lines thicker.

Hipster photo filter.

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Second Pull – Droid Mask

December 16th, 2010 admin No comments

First real pull. Some distortion due to camera, some due to poor casting.

After picking up some white casting resin, I cleaned up the mold from our first disastrous pull (with the wrong type of resin) and tried again.

Success!

Lessons learned:

  1. Use thinner silicone for the first coat of the mold, to avoid bubbles/pits. We have some nasty ones, as you can see around the mouth and chin in the image.
  2. Use different tints for different layers of silicone to avoid thin spots.
  3. Make the master bigger to account for shrinkage. It seems like the plaster probably shrunk a little, the silicone shrunk a little, and so on. It’s not obscenely small, but it is noticeable.
  4. Make the sides of the master higher/deeper to allow trimming of final product to where we need it. Also, create some walls around the sides so we can slush the resin right up to the edges without worrying about pouring it out.
  5. Sculpt the master in super sculpey and harden it before taking a mold.
  6. These are probably all things we could have read in any casting book/tutorial, but doing it yourself is way more fun.

From here, I think our next move is to sculpt a new master, as painful as that might be. Overall, I’m very happy with how this is going, mostly because I don’t have a deadline forcing me to cut corners or live with things I’m not completely satisfied with.

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Silicone Casting part 3

November 24th, 2010 admin No comments

We started trying to take a resin cast yesterday. It was probably too cold for this, and I’m pretty sure it will be unusable. Either way, pictures!

Mold pulled from clay mask

Slush Casting test 1

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Silicone casting part 2

November 23rd, 2010 admin No comments

So we skipped the large scale tests, and moved directly to the real thing, mostly because we’re running out of time (we’re shooting to have this done by Saturday – this molding takes place on Monday). So far, we have applied two layers of the silicone mixture (3:3:1 – silicone:mineral spirits:corn starch), the first layer tinted so it can be cleaned of the white clay more easily. This was all cured after 4 hours (probably less, but we played it safe), and we peeled it off to check how we did. Not bad! We found a couple air pockets that were probably due to not mixing enough goop for the first layer, and thus having to do it in two batches, but I think those will be easily corrected on the casting with a little sanding. Then we put the mold back on the master and applied a few layers of plaster bandages to make a mother mold. More pictures to come.

Mask sculpted by my amazing wife on a plaster cast of her own face.

First batch of tinted silicone goes down - a little short of full coverage!

Two full layers of silicone down

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