Jeff Birch from Santa Clarita CA recently undertook a large moldmaking and casting project, a tribute to one of the main villains of the GI JOE® franchise. Jeff's research into moldmaking and casting materials, along with the help of one of Smooth-On's distributors, went a long way towards making his project a huge success.
Jeff describes the project: "This project was one that I have wanted to do since I first got into Sculpting. I am a huge fan of GI JOE® and have never seen a mask of Destro that did the character justice, or one that was just cool to look at. I finally got around to it as a personal project. I did a lot of preliminary design work to get the look that I wanted, did several sketches and research of all the looks of the character. I finally decided on a design and started sculpting. I did my research online about materials, then talked to the guys at the Los Angeles Smooth-On distributor - Reynolds Advanced Materials, and got the products they recommended.
The Smooth-On products made the molding process extremely easy. I started with a sculpt in Chavant non-sulfur clay. Smoothing the clay took a lot of work but the result in the mold made it well worth it. I molded the sculpt in Rebound® 25 because I wanted to do a one piece glove mold that I could pull off in one piece and all the seams would match up perfectly. The nice thing about the Rebound® 25 is that it made it easy to pull and stretch it to get the mold off of the head. I backed the Rebound® 25 with Plasti-Paste® II, as a 2 part keyed shell. I had never used either of these products and they came out perfect the first time
After the molding process I laid the 2 halves of the mask up in fiberglass cloth and polyester resin, trimmed and seamed them so that they fit over each other. Then I dry sanded the parts patched them then wet sanded them. I primed and painted them using the Alclad® II chrome paint system. It came out great. Thanks for making this possible."
The following images, provided by Jeff, outline his sculpting, moldmaking and casting process.
A front view of the mask sculpture.
A side view of the mask sculpture.
The back view of the mask sculpture.
Rebound® 25 is applied in a thin layer for a detail coat.
The thin layer helps reduce the risk of bubbles on the surface of the mold.
Rebound® 25 is thickened with Thi-Vex, and a thicker layer is applied.
Layers of Rebound® 25 are applied until the mold is approximately 3/8'' thick.
A clay shim is built over the cured Rebound® 25.
The shim will divide the support shell in half.
Plasti-Paste® II is applied to the surface of the rubber to create the front of the support shell.
After the clay is removed and release agent is applied, Plasti-Paste® II is applied to create theback of the support shell.
The Plasti-Paste® II shell is allowed to cure for 90 minutes.
Fiberglass and polyester resin is laid into the mold. Here you can see the thickness of the casting.
The finished casting is a 2-piece construction.
The fiberglass pieces are primed.
A coat of gloss black paint is applied.
Finally, the piece is painted using a chrome spray paint.
The resultant casting reflects every detail of the original sculpture.