Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mottled Modeling

Working on the Space Helmet.

The insignia went well -- drafted up the shape, laser-cut it in 1/16" acrylic, heated it with the heat-shrink gun an shaped it over the helmet itself, then superglued a supermagnet to hold it on.

Filling the eyeslits is not going as well. Tried cutting and bending 1/2" acrylic bar. Yes, but the stuff is tough and neither filing nor sanding is really working to remove material at any speed. Tried cutting and bending 1/8" strips; that worked, but when I applied more heat to touch up the fit the welding glue between the layers bubbled. Plus it was slow.

Tried carving dense foam to fit. Yeah, okay...but as usual, an endless round of spot putty, primer paint, and sanding to try to get a nice surface. At last tried smearing the helmet with mold release and pressing Apoxie Sculpt into the gap. That's great, and is taking only a little more work to smooth out for casting...but my last can of 'sculpt is going and I'm worried about it bending before I can pull a good mold out of it.

And I have no idea if any of my latex is still useable. Or the clear casting acrylic. Perhaps I can make this work with a plaster cast?

The oxygen mask is similarly doing a "this method holds promise, but the first use of it wasn't so smooth." Made a duct-tape dummy of my own face. It wasn't quite stiff enough to model on so I tried backing it with plaster bandages. Those are only so-so. The duct tape is bubbling a little and I need a cleaner surface than that, but went ahead and started sculpting on top of that. Except I have only scraps of clay left (plus this really calls for a hardening clay, like FIMO) so instead I dug out the big can of Bondo.

Which really doesn't sculpt well. None of the usual wet-fingers approaches work for that stuff. You pretty much have to glob it on and sand it down. Which is going to be a pain...but at least it seems to be setting properly (I had worried when it took a long time for the batch to start heating up).

If I was building more props more quickly it might be a little easier to keep my stocks up. But I am in a position now of having a lot of my basic materials and raw supplies -- clays, casting compounds, brass rod, etc., etc. -- running short and no funds to get anything other than what is absolutely necessary for the specific project at hand.

(And, well, heck, not even that. I don't dare pick up the electronics for the Raygun until I see a little more money in my bank account. And hearing that last week's work may pay when they get around to it does not help.)

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