Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Silicone Meincke Mask

First off, I'd like to show you some pictures, but I have a self imposed blackout when it comes to showing any images of the character until the movie has been shot - so you'll just have to imagine it.

I posted some images of the mold making a while back, check here, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out, a few little air bubbles (I've now learned  how to avoid most of them I think) and I was ready to go. I just needed some silicone.

This is the part I don't like. I've no clear understanding and I've never read this anywhere reliable - how you figure out how much silicone is supposed to be just enough. I saw a ratio somewhere once, but it didn't work. Luckily I made too much and it was almost just enough.

Another thing is that silicone isn't cheap - so if you screw up, it ain't cheap. I screwed was expensive.

So the first thing, once I got the silicone in, was to prep the mold. I got some funky stretchy material to reinforce the silicone and laid it in around the openings. It's a little tricky since the material is nylon, it doesn't saturate well and does stick too well, you have embed it into the silicone on the positive mold. Takes some time to perfect, at least I hope that's the case.

Then I locked the mold shell together over the positive mold. I also had to make some air holes since I forgot when I was making the mold. Mixed up the silicone and began pouring, the type I use is made by Smooth-On and called EcoFlex 30. Shortly into pouring I realized the pour hole wasn't large enough and I wasn't going to get enough into the mold before the 45 minute pot life was up (for anyone unfamiliar with the term "pot life", it just means how long the silicone remains workable before it begins to cure).

I finished as much as I could, wasted a good chunk of silicone and ended up with a weird monster turtleneck looking thing. It was encouraging to see it would've worked really well otherwise though.

I redrilled the pour hole - worked much better. I thought I was done but found an area on the top backside of the skull had some air trapped in it. Luckily I was able to remove the mold from that area, drill a new hole, close the mold and keep going. Worked pretty well.

In the end it came out pretty damned good. The eye hole felt a little off on the mask, it was fixable with some trimming though and I'll know better for next time. It's pretty heavy and silicone doesn't breath so it gets pretty sweaty quick.

It worked though, worked really well for a first time experiment. I'm hoping once Breath of the Dead is shot to get these bad boys on line for sale. Normally you see them online selling for around $500 up to $1000, and now I understand totally why. I'm probably going to sell this a little on the cheaper side. We'll see.

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