Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kotetsu's Wild Tiger mask!

Hey Hey Blargaroos!
This month's post is my recreation of Kotetsu's Wild Tiger mask that he wears under his armor and out in public.
I, and many others, anticipated this to be a rather simple build, and if it was anyone other than myself making this mask, it probably would have been. But if there's anything to be said for me, it's that I'm a bit of a different duck, and if there was an easy way to do things, not only do I avoid it, I go thirty miles in the other direction.

I started out simple enough. Using a mold of my head that i had kicking about, i made a plaster cast, and then sculpted out the basic shape of the mask with some air dry clay.

after some sanding i gave it a like coat of primer, and started to fix up some of the more minor areas. 

My favorite photo so far
then came a nice coat of paint. what was supposed to be a mat black came out looking rediculously shiny and smooth. all in all it came out very well.

Then i got tired of looking at my ugly mug, and thought i'd dribble a bunch of rebound 25 all over it to make a mold. what most would consider the most difficult part of the build was over. all that's left is casting and painting. I thought, easy peasy, right? how wrong i was.

resin cast on the left, dragon skin on the right
after casting a straight resin version to see how well the mold worked, i started in with the smooth-on product, Dragon Skin 20. Although it's very similar to other silicone based product that i have worked with, i have never actually worked with this stuff before and was interested in how well it would preform. i wanted the mask to be flexible allow for the wearer to express emotion and not have to worry about the mask digging into their face. all in all, i was very pleased with the first attempt, not perfect, but proof of concept at least. 

I instantly began on a second version of the dragon skin mask. the cast turned out really quite well. so i began painting, with a silicone based paint, again provided by smooth on, called Psyco Paint. this stuff is really quite remarkable. It stretches and flexes with the dragon skin doesn't crack or fleck off like most paints. i love the how the colors turned out, and it can be painted or air brushed on. The paint has a super nice sheen to it, but that will disappear with any kind of dust or smudges, even when its fully dry. if there was a way to keep that sheen. i would be absolutely in love with this stuff. 

as anon pointed out, the edges were a bit sloppy, both in the paint job and around the inside edges of the mask. admittedly, i was really anxious to finish this project, and i did begin to rush things. So i attempted to clean up the edges with a small pair of scissors and a razor blade, and this is where things started to fall apart for this project. because i used varying thicknesses for the layers of silicone when i made the mask, the razor blade would dig in unexpectedly taking chunks out of the sides of mask, ruining it entirely. after going through several copies of the mask, and playing around with multiple different layering possibilities, i began to loose hope and sanity.
All ruined masks.
after stepping back from the project, for a bit, and working with some other things i had a few ideas on what would be best to attack this project. the first major change was changing up the content of the dragon skin i would use. after whipping up some really quick scars and stuff for halloween, i found that adding slacker into the dragon skin mix made the dragon skin far more flexible and more receptive to movement while maintaining shape. the next major change was that i originally started making the masks as one solid colour, and then painting the mask with psyco paint to match. Instead i poured (or rather brushed on) the mask in two different colours matching the corresponding area. This cut painting time down immensely, not to mention saved me from the frustration of trying to paint the masks while trying keeping things smooth. Although the airbrush worked good at keeping the paint smooth, it meant that coats were rather thin and opaque, requiring a lot of coats to get a nice solid color. by doing it this way, i cut the amount of coats of paint down drastically. the real trick was trying to ensure the paint was smooth, which sounds trickier than it sounds when using silicone based paint. In the end, it finally looked something like this.

After having so many troubles with this project, i honestly don't think i'll be doing any silicone masks for a while, despite having many grand plans for the future projects. 

Thanks for tuning in blargaroos! Sorry for missing last month. I'll try and make up by having two done this month.