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Wookie Skull Steps Clarification
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was wondering what color everyone is using when "pigmenting" their Dragon Skin or EcoFlex right before making their mask?

My assumption is most of you will do a light brown or a tan, but I thought it would be good to ask. Also I assume you paint the mask around the eyes, the lips and the nose with silicone based paint afterward.

Anyhow just getting an idea of what you guys are doing.
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi guys (& gals). I'm going to attempt to finish my skull and face skin this weekend and I had a question about the foam skull.

I'm going to use Foam-iT! 10 from smooth-on. I've used Foam-iT! before, but only in small molds.

My question is what is the best method for doing the skull? As you can see from my pic, I have a two piece mold (front and back). Is there a preferred way to get this to cast in one piece or am I just going to have to do it in two pieces?



^^^ Of course you are going to have to imagine my life-cast in the above mold and I'm trying to fill the "void" around the head between the mold. I'm guessing I dump the mixed Foam-IT in the mouth and forehead area and lay it face down, then if I'm lucky some will reach into the back of head cavity. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to add the foam and position the mold during the expansion process.
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GotWookiee (Matt Pfingsten)
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to do it two pieces, then used epoxy clay to join them.

I drilled holes in the holes of my lifecast's eyes and neck/upper chest that lined up with the the same holes in my mold. I used bolts and wingnuts to secure the lifecast in place. I also used bungee cords, too.

My first cast was a disaster. The foam was glued to the lifecast and I destroyed both getting them out. I had a second lifecast (silicone mold) and covered in saran wrap.

In the future I am going to experiment with different release agents to keep the foam from bonding to the stone. Perhaps a thick coating of vaseline will work.
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GotWookiee wrote:
I had to do it two pieces, then used epoxy clay to join them.

I drilled holes in the holes of my lifecast's eyes and neck/upper chest that lined up with the the same holes in my mold. I used bolts and wingnuts to secure the lifecast in place. I also used bungee cords, too.

Yeah, I did the same. I drilled holes through to the life-cast for alignment purposes

GotWookiee wrote:

My first cast was a disaster. The foam was glued to the lifecast and I destroyed both getting them out. I had a second lifecast (silicone mold) and covered in saran wrap.

In the future I am going to experiment with different release agents to keep the foam from bonding to the stone. Perhaps a thick coating of vaseline will work.

I have Ease Release® 2831 which is formulated for urethane foams, but I'm still skeptical and definitely don't want to destroy my molds. I was thinking of using PVA mold release and carnuba wax. I use it for my fiberglass molds and it works great. But I have no idea if it will work with urethane foam. I guess I can do a test.

So Matt, when you did your (successful) cast, did you do it face down then do the back later (with it face down)?
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GotWookiee (Matt Pfingsten)
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, face down.
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I know I can be "O.C.D" when it comes to different stages of the wookiee build, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I'd rather annoy a few of you with dumb questions instead of messing up my build Wink

I'm at the part of cutting the jaw in my foam skull and it's been ingrained in my mind that the jaw pivot is CRUCIAL!

We know the jaw pivot should be on your actual jaw pivot, but my stupid question is I can't seem to detect where my jaw pivots! LOL! I've been pushing and poking on my jaw for an hour now and I think I've found it.

But better yet I just googled a picture of a skull:


This looks like where "most humans" jaws pivot ^^^ . Seems like about an inch infront of the ear and an inch below the eye level.

I guess my question is this about where all your wookiee jaws pivot at?
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Wookiewannabe ()
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pivot point is in front of the ear. You are correct.
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed!

For those who have not made this mistake... it's one of the most common ones, to place the hinge to far forward.

Just missing the mark on the hinge even a little bit will bind the hinge when you try to use it.

The key is to make sure the wookiee hinge is behind your natural hinge... not in front.
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been a while since I posted progress pics, and I've received a few PMs on my progress and what direction/method I'm using to make my wookiee skull. As a disclaimer I'm a noob that has yet to complete a wookiee costume, so take my methods with a grain of salt until I get my Chewie completed and Legion approved Wink

Even with all the great instructions and assistance from the wookiee vets here, nothing beats "hands on" work. I've had a lot of trial and error and so far almost everything I've done, I've had to do at least twice (with the exception of the fiberglass mold and foam skull thank goodness!!).

A warning up front, this will be PICTURE INTENSE.



I finally settled on this sculpt. For how I arrived to that point please see the other thread: My Chewie Sculpt & Fiberglass Mold. The sculpt is made out of Monster Clay, but the "barrier wall" is made out of water based ceramics clay. I got 50 pounds for $12 at a local Blick art supplies.


A few people asked me what I used to to make this mold here is the list breakdown:

These items I got directly from Tap Plastics:
TAP Gel Coat
TAP MEKP Liquid Catalyst
TAP Premium Opaque Pigment (black)
TAP Cab-O-Sil
Surfacing Veil Mat • Ultrathin

From Home Depot:
Gallon 3M Fiberglass resin
Bondo Fiberglass mat
Various Masking Tapes

From Smooth-On:
Ease Release 200 - Aerosol Can

Supplies:
Tons of chip brushes (Harbor Freight)
Various sizes of disposable cups: 2oz up to 16oz (Smart & Final)
Box of disposable gloves (Sam's Club)

!!!Always use fiberglass resins in a a well ventilated area and wear a heavy duty respirator!!!

I liberally sprayed Ease release to the sculpt and let dry (also did a few more coats). I used a TAP Gelcoat for the base layer. I pigmented the resin black before mixing it with the catalyst. Then I added pinches of Cab-O-Sil until it got slightly thicker. Brushed it on and let it dry until it was still a bit tacky. I then gently pressed on the Surfacing Veil Mat to really get the contours. Next I worked in 4oz batches of 3M resin. The first batch went directly over the Surfacing Veil Mat, then between each batch I used regular Bondo Fiberglass mat:




I learned a valuable lesson, reenforce, reenforce, reenforce. Then reenforce some more. By the time I got to the back of the mold I was getting tired and started to rush.

Bad move. I didn't put enough fiberglass mesh around the mold seal and as you can see, I shattered a lot of the mold prying it apart:


In the end I went back and glued the pieces back with CA glue a Zip Kicker. Like putting together a 3D puzzle. Then I reenforced the edges (of the back and the front) with a LOT of fiberglass mat and about 24oz of fiberglass. Also I used fiberglass tape. It's the yellow type you can buy in the paint section of Home Depot. It's slightly sticky, you can cut it to length and it will stay in place until you fiberglass (or epoxy) it.



For the Ecoflex mouth I used about 1/4" thick of Monster Clay to fill the surface of the mouth and nose area. With the clay still warm I jammed my actual face into the mold (lining up my eyes) and made sure the nose was right (you can see the nose indention). Also ignore the "line" that's in the mouth area. That was my first attempt, my next (successful) attempt did not have the line, but I didn't take pics of that step.


A lot of folks have talked about the best "release agent" to use when fiberglassing and I went back to my old school way of using wax and PVA mold release. I used the Ease Release above and didn't really like it (ended up breaking parts of the mold).

The trick to using wax and pva is to do SEVERAL coats. I also use 100% Carnauba wax and do 10 COATS!!! Mainly getting the the fiberglass areas and lightly going over the clay. But try and avoid the clay as the Carnuba Wax actually dissolves it a bit. And it's just like waxing a car: buff on the wax, let dry, then buff off. 10 times..


Once that is complete, you then spray on (using an automotive paint sprayer or mini sprayer, I've also heard of using airbrushes) the PVA. Here was my setup: (I do 4 to 6 coats and let dry.)

With the PVA dry you can start the gel coat process. I basically followed the same process I mentioned above ^^^: Gelcoat, pigment, Cab-O-Sil over surface veil, regular resin alternating with regular mat.


When fully cured, with a little bit of prying, the mold should pop right out:


For the rubber mouth I used Ecoflex 0030 tinted brown. I drilled a main hole to insert the "Harbor Freight oil pump gun" and little "breathing holes" around the outer edge of the mold. I sprayed both sides of the mold with Ease Release. Once I started filling and the Ecoflex started pouring out of the edge holes I plugged them one by one with regular oilbased clay.


After the cure time passed, the mold popped out like butter:


On to the foam skull. Materials used were:

Smooth-on Foam-it! 10
Smooth-on foam pigment (brown/tan)
Carnauba wax
TAP PVA Mold release
Masking tape
Generic oilbased clay to fill holes

Here we are spraying the PVA mold release to the life cast AFTER it had been waxed 10 times. Also not seen is the two sides of the mold. Both sides were waxed and sprayed with PVA.


We actually cast the foam skull as ONE piece. THis is risky as you most likely wont be able to remove the life cast with out cuting the foam skull you just made. But that's ok because you can CA glue it back together and it should be a perfect fit (if you cut cleanly). Here is the mold after the foam cured (foam was poured in a hole in the top/back of the mold):


As you can see the PVA and wax makes the separation pretty clean. DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF MECHANICAL LOCK!! Even though the wax and PVA did it's job and made it so the foam didn't stick to the mold, there is a vacuum inside and it will take a lot of prying, including possibly destroying your life cast. It took me about 30 minutes total to pry it apart. This is where a lot of free disposable Home Depot paint sticks come in handy.


Again the PVA forms a plastic bag/cling wrap type film:


Here is everything separated. You can see the flaw in my life cast being hollow in the mouth and cheek area. It was crushed in under the extreme pressure of the expanding foam (also that didn't make it easier to remove either). You'll also notice the "green film" of PVA residue on the foam skull:


Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and water on your foam skull and the green PVA slime comes right off:


To get the jaw hinge right I experimented by gluing Popsicle sticks to my foam skull to test the angle. After a few placement tries I found the perfect angle that allowed me to open my mouth and open the wookiee mouth with ease..


With the perfect angle in place I used 1/8" ABS plastic (left over from my clone trooper build). I CA glued it on and reenforced it with the yellow fiberglass tape I mentioned above. However this time I did not use Fiberglass, I stuck to layers of 5 minute epoxy resin.


I used Evercoat bondo (more leftover supplies from my clone trooper build) to smooth the skull over. Granted this is probably not necessary because it will be covered in hair. But the point is "I KNOW IT'S THERE". My motto is always "the craftsmanship is in what you DONT see, not in what you see". Anyhow, I used 1/4" aluminum post bolts as the pivot. The post bolts are 3/8" long, the two pieces of ABS jaw are 1/8" x2 so with a thick washer it was perfect.


Next the teeth. Basically modeled them out of Monster Clay. A good tip is make each tooth individually and then FREEZE them. Then get the gums shape layed out (using soft warm clay) then jam the frozen teeth into the gums and you should get a natural looking set of teeth.


When I was happy with the shape and look of the teeth I poured a mold using Smooth-on mold star. Prying the dentures out, I lost a few teeth LOL.


I then used Smooth-on Smooth Cast 300 Urethane Liquid Plastic to make set of dentures. I'll smooth out the tiny holes with Magic Sculpt later and a fine hobby file:


Here are the teeth after being filed and sanded to fit together, and placed in the wookiee skull:


Once happy with the teeth placement I used 5 minute epoxy to attached them to the skull. I used two part Magic Sculpt to blend the gums into the foam skull.


The inside was sanded and dremeled out. Instead of using springs I used rubber bands. I can change the tension by adding more or less bands. Also I can carry spares in my "trooping repair kit" if one happens to break.


The aluminum post hinge in action:


On the Ecoflex mouth I used Silpoxy to glue in strips of "Power Mesh" fabric. This should help to prevent tearing at the corners of the mouth.


Mask with mouth in place:


Open mouth:



Anyhow, that's as far as I've gotten. I'm going to work on the snarl cable, then it's on to painting the silicone mouth and nose. Also the teeth and gums need their paint job. I'll also be drilling holes in the top and back of the mask to assist in ventilation.

As always feel free to critique and comment. Obviously it's too late for me to make certain corrections, but I'm always down to learn. Also any new wookiee builders that follow can learn from updates or suggestions.
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Fuzzball ()



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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh thank god you posted this . Great stuff !
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With this set up... your intention is to glue hair around the eyes I take it?

I can see how this would be a very economical way to do things if hair punching is not the way you want to go, well thought out... can't wait to see the final mask.

Bob
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoloYT1300 wrote:
With this set up... your intention is to glue hair around the eyes I take it?

I can see how this would be a very economical way to do things if hair punching is not the way you want to go, well thought out... can't wait to see the final mask.

Bob


10-4 Bob!

I'm going to go "The Marty" route for hair on the mask:
Wookiewannabe wrote:
I add hair directly to the underskull. I don not use dragonskin for the face. I only use a nose and mouth appliance made of dragonskin. I them hair punch only the very last 2 rows around the nose and mouth.

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Wookiewannabe ()
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks really good.

The gluing of the hair on the face works really well. It allows you to really angle the hair in any direction and the hair lays down much easier than punching. I dont even use hair spray to hold it in place. Not only being much faster to lay it on the entire mask.

Contact cement is the adhesive I use. Once dried the hair is there to stay. It will not come off, no matter how you groom it or brush it.

I would recommend trimming your silicone muzzle down a bit. I only have a little extra under the lip and around the nose. Maybe a half inch. I would remove the silicone bridge of the nose too. That is much easier to glue in that critical area than punch or silpoxy glue.

Good luck, Cant wait to see your progress!
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Marty. I'll look into trimming the silicone. I definitely can see where it would make the nose bridge easier to work with. The only issue though would be I would need to fill in the areas of the mask that I have left after cutting the silicone. For example if I cut the nose bridge, I would have to build it up with Magic Sculpt or something. Also I'm pretty paranoid with cutting Eco Flex. One bad cut and I'm back to making another muzzle.
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also Marty, is your nose bridge hair full length (like the length of the hair used on the whole head)? Or is it just a few inch patch just to cover the nose bridge?
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