Friday, September 14, 2012

The Corpse Head prop

This isn't so much a "how to" post so much as archiving or for curiosity. The Corpse Head prop was one I wanted to make early on, but because we had to start shooting before we had any money it was scraped in favour of a cheap paper mache one. Well, since then our lead redneck villain had to drop out and those scenes all need to be reshot (as well as rewritten) so I got my chance to do this bad boy up and I have to say I'm really happy with the result so far. And yes, I believe I will be offering this up for sale online, but it won't be cheap.

So, I had the idea of what I wanted to do early on and how I wanted to do it too. I have a medical skeleton skull so I used it as my base. Kind of cheating, but it did help speed things up and remove a lot of guess work in making it look alright.

I start by slapping clay onto the skull and getting the basic shape. Leaving the teeth exposed because I didn't feel like sculpting them, especially with everything else I'm sculpting these days I'm willing to cut corners where it works.

After a few hours of sculpting I ended up with this, not too bad looking. I gave him some wounds and whatnot that will match up with a corresponding silicone mask that I'll be making soon.

I used Rebound 25 to make the mould, I decided not to make it a 2 part mould since it will be a somewhat soft(ish) final piece. So I just coated the whole thing making allowing that it would be split up the back of thead.

I don't recall how long it took to do the mould, but since I started in the evening I guess it was at least another day. Here's the final silicone mould with a Pasti-Paste support shell. You can see what looks like a bit of a ridge here along the back of the head, that's there I split it open.

Here's the whole thing pulled apart. It was a bit of a struggle getting the clay and the skull out, but it eventually ripped out. You can see the silicone mould flipped inside out here.

And the poor skull afterwards. The lower jaw was originally attached with springs, they got stretched and destroyed. Ah well, it finally served a purpose after all these years. I got this in a thing called "20 lb Bag of Bones" years ago, you can no longer get them, only 10 lbs bags now. That's the way things were in those days.

Wasn't much to see until this point. But I used Vytaflex 40 to do a slush casting in the mould, which was tricky since I've never used the stuff before and it's pretty runny. I did one layer at a time, letting it thicken up a bit each time. Not a perfect method, but it did work. I have a nice urethane skin filled with flexible foam inside. I even attached a pvc pipe with a hole drilled it in to attach it to the corpse body.

It's not done, it need to be all painted up. That's the next step in experimenting. I've never painted urethane, but I'm well aware it's a pain in the ass. My plan is to use another Smooth-On product called Brush-On 40 that can be tinted and thinning out and supposedly makes for a good urethane paint. We'll see soon enough.

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