Making An Extremely Realistic Rattler Using Dragon Skin® Silicone
This Snake Won't Bite You...Maybe.
Silicone allows extreme realism, due to its translucency and ability to mimic actual flesh. On a recent job, Blair Benjamin from Rendering Realism (Niagara Falls, NY) needed to reproduce a rattlesnake for an independent film project. The piece had to be realistic enough to produce the level of detail captured by the High-Definition filming techniques used on the project and to appear 'alive' under studio lighting.
Blair chose Dragon Skin® silicone, because of it's translucent nature. A mixture of Silc Pig® silcone pigments was used to give the casting a fleshy base color. The piece was cast into a Rebound 25® platinum silicone mold, Ease Release® 200 was used to release the casting from the mold with a minimum of release build up.
It is crucial to remove any release agent residue using a solvent to wipe down the casting. Blair demonstrates this technique as well as his unique painting style which creates a snake realistic enough to scare the neighbors!
1 - Rebound® 25 brush-on mold with a 2-piece support shell.
2 - Mold is flexed inside out to make applying release agent much easier.
3 - Ease-Release® 200 is sprayed evenly on to the mold surface.
4 - Due to the extreme detail of the scales, the release agent was then brushed into the nooks and crannies of all the scales.
5 - The mold is then seated properly back into the support shell.
6 - Part A of Dragon Skin® is dispensed into a convenient graduated clear container.
7 - An equal volume of Part B is dispensed.
8 - A combination of SilcPig® color pigments are combined to yield the desired brown tone of the rattlesnake.
9 - A small amount pigment is added to Part B. This will base tint the rubber casting a light beige color.
10 - Pigment is pre-mixed.
11 - Dragon Skin® Part A is dispensed into a larger container for mixing.
12 - Pigmented Part B is added.
13 - Dragon Skin® is mixed.
14 - Material is dispensed into a 5 gallon bucket for double mixing and vacuum degassing.
15 - Care is taken to scrape the sides and bottom and thoroughly stir the material again.
16 - Dragon Skin® is placed in a vacuum degass chamber.
17 - The Dragon Skin® silicone is de-aired at the proper measurement of 29 inches of mercury. After the rise and fall cycle, the rubber is ready for casting.
18 - Pouring the material into the mold in a thin ribbon minimizes air entrapment while dispensing into the mold.
19 - Material is allowed to cure.
20 - The cured Dragon Skin® lifts easily out of the Rebound® 25 mold thanks to the Ease Release® 200 release agent.
21 - The casting reflects perfect detail of the mold.
22 - Solvent is used to remove residual release agent that may have transferred on to the casting.
23 - The surface of the casting is wiped down and solvent is allowed to fully evaporate before painting details.
24 - A small amount of Psycho Paint® Part A is dispensed.
25 - An equal volume of Part B® is dispensed.
26 - Psycho Paint® is combined and mixed thoroughly.
27 - A very small amount is dispensed into another cup.
28 - Solvent is used to thin the Psycho Paint®. Using solvent resistant cups is necessary when working with any solvents.
29 - Solvent is mixed in thoroughly. A very thin consistency is made in order to create a 'wash' or stain effect.
30 - The same Silc Pig® combination is used again to pigment the thinned Psycho Paint®
31 - The Psycho Paint® is then brushed onto the surface of the Snake casting.
32 - The entire surface is covered. The thinned Psycho Paint® goes a long way so not much is required, even when applying the paint in a liberal amount.
33 - Excess is wiped off with a clean, dry cloth. This technique is very similar to staining bare wood.
34 - 'Staining' is complete.
35 - A small amount of Psycho Paint® is mixed with the same brown, and a touch of black Silc Pig® added. This time very little solvent is added. The pattern of the rattlesnake is 'mapped out' using the pigmented Psycho Paint® and an artists brush.
36 - Several layers of black brown and white pigmented Psycho Paint® create the details that bring the rattlenake to life!
37 - Finished Dragon Skin® Rattlesnake painted with Psycho Paint®
38 - The ability to achieve variations in color and opacity with silicone rubber and silicone paint, enables artists to achieve highly realistic effects.
39 - The eyes on the rattlesnake were made from Crystal Clear® 202 and Cast Magic® powders.