Monday, August 19, 2013

Likeness Sculpture Prop Head

I just finished (a few months ago) one of the most challenging and fun prop jobs ever. I was asked to

replicate the lead actors head with bullet hole exit wound trauma.

 Normally, I would have life cast the actor and done a re sculpt, but since the actor is

Swedish, upon wrapping principal photography, he went back home. Leaving me with

the task of sculpting his likeness using just a few stills as reference.

As always, I was working within a time constraint. I thought it would be faster to sculpt in

WED clay. After a day of sculpting and a blob of mushy clay on my armature (a piece of

PVC pipe set into a PVC flange screwed to a board) I scrapped it and started over in my

stand by clay, Chavants Le Beau Touché.

The sculpture took about 14 hours. I worked on getting the features right before moving

on to the trauma area. The trauma itself is very exaggerated, as per notes from the

director. The main note was to make it gross, as there was not enough gore in the film.

After the sculpture was approved it was time to make the mold. I made a rubber and

resin and Fiberglas brush up two part mold. I used Dragon Skin 10 Fast as the mold

rubber. I do not recommend this for mold making, but since I had a day to make the

mold I needed something that would cure really fast. I tinted the rubber with silc-pig

pigments by Smooth-On. For the resin, I used Aqua Resin, a material I haven't used in a

long time. I forgot how easy it is to use. I reinforced it with chopped Fiberglas and tinted

it with Tints-All pigment.

I tint each side of the rubber and each side of the mother mold in different colors as it

really helps in the demolding process.  You can see each half of the rubber and resin

more clearly.

The mold was cleaned out with some soap and water and dried. As a mold release I

used Vaseline. After brushing a thin layer in the mold, I used a heat gun to melt away

any brush marks.

The mold strapped together and ready for casting.

I used Dragon Skin 10 Fast for the casting as well.  I was able to pre tint my Part B of

the rubber with Fuse FX intrinsic pigment.  Working in small batches I built up a 3/4 inch

skin inside the mold. A heat gun really helps to speed up the curing time. After each

batch of silicone I was able to rest the mold in a tub and force cured the silicone with

high heat.

After a sufficient thickness of silicone was built up, the rest of the cast was filled with two

part foam. For this I used Flex Foam V by Smooth-On. As the foam was expanding, I

held a piece of 2" PVC pipe in the mold so I would be able to place the rubber head  in

the armature flange.

The head demolded easily and was placed in the armature stand. I cut away any

silicone flashing and filled my seams with a little 3rd degree silicone mixed with pigment.

Fuse Fx pigments and skin Illustator paint splatter are my go to coloring system . Then

a dusting of baby powder to mattify the finish.

The hair used was human hair in two colors. I started with the eyelashes and eyebrows.

Then on to the bulk of the head. I used a larger hair punching needs for the back of the

head where the hair could be thicker and a finer needle for the top and sides. I bought

some amazing punch needles at    

The beard was done with crepe wool in the same fashion. After punching the hair, I

used a regular beard trimmer to shave the hair. I felt it was too sparse and went back

and added more hair. Again, shaving with a clipper.

As for the hair styling, I brought the head to my friend, colleague and amazing hairstylist

Monet Moon, She cut and styled and added the finishing touches

to the hair.

On set blood and gore was added to the trauma area.