Thursday, October 04, 2012

Silicone Zombie Mask

So here's the "Uber-Jesse Zombie" mask that was to have been used in the BZK! web series. I wouldn't say I'm terribly experienced in making silicone masks, in fact this is the 2nd one I've attempted. The other was years ago and was done wrong, as a result it was very expensive (too thick and used way too much silicone) so I never really went back to try again.

I had the idea of going thinner and to re-enforce the entire head, that than just the eyes, mouth, nose and ears - that way I'd be sure it was tough enough. This was confirmed by a couple awesomely helpful guys I met at the CHAC back in April, who really knew their stuff. I wished to hell I could remember their names offhand, but I suck at names.

When BZK! came around again and I was applying for an FX grant I decided to give it one more try and after putting it off several times I finally got it sculpted, I was really happy with the sculpt and finally took to making the mould. Here's where things when slightly pear-shaped. I was using a material called EpoxAcoat Red, which is actually not too bad to work with and pretty fast overall - however, it calls for two thin coats and then you apply a backing materials. The problem was in experience with the Red and it tend to draw up a little in random spot causing holes - which you can fill in on your 2nd coat.

The surface of the mould was great, and fairly easy to clean out. I used Monster Makers clay and about 95% of it just pulled right out. That last 5% was a bugger, but using a head gun and mineral spirits took no time at all.

The problem I mentioned before was the edges of the mould, where the two halves meet. Since it's a bit of a 90 degree angle, in some places the Red just refused to settle in properly and left some open spots. And upon applying the backing, it left other open spots just under the surface. As a result the edge, right were the two halves meet was broken and shipped and just poor in spots. My thought was to just do a 3rd and 4th coat along that seam to really thicken and re-enforce the mould where it needs it most. Next time.

And man, was this thing a bugger to demould. Removing the halves from the original sculpt took 3 hours and there was some damage done to the mould itself. While I hated using Shell Shock (the material I used on the original silicone mask attempt years ago), it was tough and sturdy. I might try it again, not sure yet.

I poured it last night, demoulded (about an hour) this morning and was kind of pleased with the results. There were some air pockets in places where the re-enforcing material didn't allow the silicone to flow around it properly, but overall it turned out well.

I was able to identify problem spots where I'll be re-enforcing for the next one and it should be good enough to sell maybe. I'll be using the original to do a paint test.

Here the bugger is though in all his undead, fleshy looking glory.
 If I do offer them up for sale, it will hopefully be very soon, in a very limited edition (10 maybe?) and at a very low cost. I'm thinking $250 each. These things normally retail around $500-$600 if you've ever seen silicone masks before.

That's it. I've got ideas for a 2nd one, not a zombie, I might attempt at some point in the future, but I don't think I'll get too heavily into doing silicone masks just yet. Maybe another year or two.

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