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Jeff Birch's 'DESTRO' Mask Project
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 front view of the mask sculpture.
 A side view of the mask sculpture.

A side view of the mask sculpture.
 The back view of the mask sculpture.

The back view of the mask sculpture.
 Rebound® 25 is applied in a thin layer for a detail coat.

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.

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.

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.

Layers of Rebound® 25 are applied until the mold is approximately 3/8'' thick.
 A clay shim is built over the cured Rebound® 25.

A clay shim is built over the cured Rebound® 25.
 The shim will divide the support shell in half.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 finished casting is a 2-piece construction.
 The fiberglass pieces are primed.

The fiberglass pieces are primed.
 A coat of gloss black paint is applied.

A coat of gloss black paint is applied.
 Finally, the piece is painted using a chrome spray paint.

Finally, the piece is painted using a chrome spray paint.
 The resultant casting reflects every detail of the original sculpture.

The resultant casting reflects every detail of the original sculpture.

                   
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