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Wookie Skull Steps Clarification
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GotWookiee (Matt Pfingsten)
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kallabeccani wrote:
After reading all this I am scared lol. It doesn't seem that hard but knowing me.....

It sounds more complicated than it actually is. I was a bit nervous making my first fiberglass mold, not knowing if I was really doing it right and worried my layers were going to delaminate and I would have to start over but it all came out pretty well.

Fiberglass is a bit more challenging than stone molds (which I had made before) but there is something to be said for having a mold that doesn't weigh as much as a toilet and even has some flexibility to it.

But in bear in mind there are many different ways to make molds. Bob uses Shell shock with plasti-paste. Some people prefer stone. Others like urethane rubber molds with plastic or fiberlgass shell. Some do silicone molds, too.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After thoroughly letting all the information everybody posted here sink in, and with even more googling with that info, I found this step-by-step process on the smooth-on site: Creating a Makeup Prosthetic Mold Using Shell Shock & Plasti Paste.

It seems closest to the process Bob used (Plasti Paste and Shell Shock), but also the steps Matt used, just not injection molded.

I went through this whole thread and I'm mapping out my steps.

1) Make my life-cast up to the ears (using Body Double and plaster bandages)
2) From that, cast 2 positive faces of my head using Plasti Paste and Shell Shock
3) Begin my monster clay building of my wookiee head on one of my positive life-casts. Making sure to go deep on the muzzle and nose area.
4) life cast the finished wookiee head with either fiberglass or Shell Shock and Plasti Paste.
5) In the mold of the wookiee head, lay down 3/8" of clay (act as a temp skin stand-in) to cast the other side of the mold for the actual skin.
6) Cast the backside of the mold that will be used for the injection mold.
7) clean out the clay and injection mold with either ecoflex or dragon skin
8 ) With the skin left in the mold but covered with saran wrap, create the skull by injection molding foam (10lbs) through my OTHER life cast face (air holes drilled)

In the end I should end up with a foam skull (dremmeled out) and a skin to fit it. However I highlighted #6 in red because I know Matt made his skin using his lifecast as the back of the mold, but the lifecast is going to be a different size then what the skull will be. I guess that's the missing puzzle piece, is how do you cast the back of your skin if you don't have a skull yet.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would imagine you cast the hard skull first, dremel out an area that you want the skin to lay... then inject the mold with echo flex... using the same mold that you used for the hard skull.

I have never done it before, but that is how I would do it.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've almost got it, I'll go ahead and make corrections to your list.

Todzilla wrote:
1) Make my life-cast up to the ears (using Body Double and plaster bandages)
I would do a full head lifecast, front and back. To save money you can just do the back half with plaster bandages and the front with silicone and plaster bandages. If you slush cast the finished cast and reinforce it with burlap or hemp it will use less stone/plaster than a solid facecast.
When you are making your sculpt you want to go past the very top of your head to the back so you finish the curve that makes up the top of Chewie's head. It's also helpful to have an underskull that rests on the top of your head; it will prevent it from sliding down and will always ensure a perfect fit.
A hollow lifecast will also lend itself to removing the clay from the mold. If its hollow you can stick your arm or a metal pipe up in through the neck hole and get some good leverage to pry it out of the clay. It will then be much easier to remove the clay.

Todzilla wrote:
2) From that, cast 2 positive faces of my head using Plasti Paste and Shell Shock
I would just use Ultracal 30 for the stone positive, and I would only make one. If you mess up your lifecast during the skull making process you still have a silicone mold so you can always make another.

Todzilla wrote:
3) Begin my monster clay building of my wookiee head on one of my positive life-casts. Making sure to go deep on the muzzle and nose area.
Also make sure that the entire sculpt is at least 1/2" thick or so. You have to have a enough room between your face and Chewie's face to accommodate the 1/4" thick skin, the underskull and any mechanisms you might use like a hinge.

Todzilla wrote:
4) life cast the finished wookiee head with either fiberglass or Shell Shock and Plasti Paste.
Correct, although the process is simply referred to as mold making. Technically speaking the lifecast is actually the positive you make from the silicone, alginate, or plaster bandage mold.

Todzilla wrote:
5) In the mold of the wookiee head, lay down 3/8" of clay (act as a temp skin stand-in) to cast the other side of the mold for the actual skin.
That's awfully thick. I went with a 1/4" thickness. I used water based clay for my skin sculpt. Remember to leave the eyes and a small part on the neck exposed and uncovered by the clay. These will be your key points that will allow the core to align with the mold.
Once you have layed out your clay layer put the lifecast in the mold, using the eyes and the neck as key points. Remove the lifecast and see the areas of the clay that were touched and pushed down by the lifecast. These will probably be around the eyes and the neck. You need to thin clay a bit to make sure its not touching the lifecast. If you don't, the finished skin will be too thick in that area and will get distorted when pushes up against your face.

Todzilla wrote:
6) Cast the backside of the mold that will be used for the injection mold.
This part is referred to as the core.

Todzilla wrote:
7) clean out the clay and injection mold with either ecoflex or dragon skin
Yep, just remember to drill those air holes first.

Todzilla wrote:
8 ) With the skin left in the mold but covered with saran wrap, create the skull by injection molding foam (10lbs) through my OTHER life cast face (air holes drilled)
I didn't use the injection gun with the foam. I just poured it into the open cavity between my lifecast and my chewie skin.
You also don't need saran wrap on the skin, as the silicone won't stick to the foam.

Also be sure to put some clay around the back of the nose of your lifecast, around the nostrils, the lips, and the eye lids to prevent any undercuts.

Todzilla wrote:
In the end I should end up with a foam skull (dremmeled out) and a skin to fit it. However I highlighted #6 in red because I know Matt made his skin using his lifecast as the back of the mold,
. No, the lifecast only became part of the mold when I made the skull. The skin was created using the regular mold and the core.

Todzilla wrote:
but the lifecast is going to be a different size then what the skull will be. I guess that's the missing puzzle piece, is how do you cast the back of your skin if you don't have a skull yet.
You make the core first, then make your skin, then make your skull. The core and underskull will look exactly the same, except the core will be thin and made of fiberglass, and the skull will be foam and thick enough (with the inside surface matching your face).
In fact, if you were making a fiberglass underskull, you could actually use your core for this. This is what Ryan Ricks did.

I personally recommend picking up this video: Movie Animatronics: Building a radio controlled mechanical mask
Although there are a number of differences between this mask build and Chewie, I found the mold making, lip wire, and teeth sculpting, molding, and casting to be very instructive.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you guys for going back and fourth on this thread . It's helping me
Alot . But I have a question . When making your Skin for Chewies face using dragon skin . Do you have to use Plasti Paste and Shell Shock ? Do you have to have a non flexible cast ? Can I use body double to make the silicone skin ( Chewies face ) ?
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Todzilla could you make a post with links of what videos you have watched on the Smooth on Site ?
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fuzzball wrote:
When making your Skin for Chewies face using dragon skin . Do you have to use Plasti Paste and Shell Shock ?

Generally speaking, it is best to use a rigid mold when casting something flexible, and best too use a flexible mold when casting something rigid. It is not required, however. It is possible to cast a silicone skin from a silicone or urethane mold. All flexible molds require a rigid jacket or mother mold to retain their shape.

Fuzzball wrote:
Do you have to have a non flexible cast ? Can I use body double to make the silicone skin ( Chewies face ) ?

Your cast has to be flexible, but your mold can be rigid or flexible.
Body double is intended as a mold making and life casting silicone. It is not soft enough for a chewie skin and its pretty expensive, too. I think it costs more than ecoflex.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt, was it your wookiee skull that was at CBVI at the Fringe Panel? The one with fans and batteries installed? Or was that Bobs?

I was wondering if you had a picture of it. I should have gotten my own pictures but I packed up my camera gear by the time that panel started.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, that was mine. I'll take some photos of it tonight and post them.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much clay should I buy to sculpt my wookie face/skull ?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With my mask, I found I needed just over 5lbs of monster clay. Monster clay is sold in 5lbs packs, so two should be enough.

When you are done, I find that a crock pot is best for melting the clay down.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GotWookiee wrote:
Yep, that was mine. I'll take some photos of it tonight and post them.

Don't get mad Matt, but did you ever get a chance to take some pictures? Smile

No rush, I don't plan on starting my skull until next month. Just gathering materials and methods right now.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW this answered a lot of my questions... still have bout a million more Laughing

I will be referring back to this when I understand more of the process
but this was a big help!
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GotWookiee wrote:


I personally recommend picking up this video: Movie Animatronics: Building a radio controlled mechanical mask
Although there are a number of differences between this mask build and Chewie, I found the mold making, lip wire, and teeth sculpting, molding, and casting to be very instructive.



does this cover the whole mask making process?

how different is it from a chewy mask build?

anyone have a used copy for sale Embarassed
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the techniques you will need will be covered in this video. The main difference is that he us using a water based clay (you want to use oil based) and he used motors abe servos to control all movement. Your jaw will be mechanical, and the lip wire will also be mechanical.
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