If you have read the previous post about the creation of Sack from Creep Creepersin’s book series Slasherton already, you’ll be familiar with this awesome little character, but if not, he’s basically a little freaky murderer with a bag over his head and a penchant for the ladies.
Creep really would like a full range of merchandise to run alongside each book character that comes along so we put our heads together to decide what kind of products we wanted to produce. We decided upon key chains, fridge magnets, collectible resin figures and tees.
The easiest to make were little key chains so I set about those first. After testing some various designs we decided to do each one in the same design as each book that comes out as each will be a different colour scheme. Again my ridiculously limited computer abilities made this a bit of a test but I got there in the end.
This is the final product …
They look quite cute right? 😀
So the collectible figure was a bit more complicated obviously … We couldn’t decide how to go about this at first. Creep originally wanted a plain fleshy colour, small pocket sized figure, reminiscent of the M.U.S.C.L.E figures that were massively popular in the 80s but I’ll go into that in more depth when I get to the casting stage. Firstly, I had to sculpt the figure of Sack himself.
We eventually decided we still wanted a small cute figure designed like the final book design but we went through a few designs first before we reached this decision which we might be able to release as limited editions or something at a later date if they are popular.
The first was a larger, more detailed figure which I made with Super Sculpey over a basic wire armature with the same process I described in the making of the grotesque figure in a previous post http://wp.me/p1CvJl-Q (if you want to check it out).
Once he was baked I was able to paint him and was really pleased with the result but the time and materials needed made this figure impractical to make in larger amounts if necessary.
Here is the process, briefly in pics.
And the painting …
So I went about making a smaller, more simple version which turned out to still be too big as it turns out.
So started again 🙂 These last two didn’t require an armature by the way.
You can see the size difference between the two figures. This final figure was much closer to the book design and much cuter too so all good.
The next stage was to make a mold so that I could make multiple casts of the original figure from resin.
I did loads of research about how to make the mold so I could make multiple casts from the original sculpt. There was so many different versions of basically two methods that I felt I could do, one of which was a single silicone mold that you cut open to remove the sculpt. The other is a two part mold, which was the one I decided to do as I felt it would stand up better to being used over and over.
This technique was actually very similar to the type of mold I’ve made before for other mediums. This time I would be using silicone for the first time though so I was excited to mess around with that.
The first stage is to half bury the sculpt on a flat clay base, and to smooth the clay right up to every contact with the original so there is a little flash as possible. This takes a bit of time if you want to make it really neat, especially as this figure is quite small, but it’s worth it for the end product.
Once this is all neat I needed to make the keys so that when the mold is finished, the two parts fit closely together. You can use all sorts of things to make the keys for example ball bearings, beads, pegs, anything that creates a smooth connection really. Unfortunately I had none of these things to hand when I started so I improvised with balls of clay. (This method didn’t exactly work well at all because the silicone sort of leaked around the irregular edges and I had to trim around the edges so they’d work ok).
Once this step is complete the next stage is to create a wall tightly around the clay so you can add the silicone. You can use all sorts of materials for the wall. A lot of people who are regular figure/toy makers etc use laminated wood pieces and clamps so that the clay doesn’t stick to much and ensures regular edges. Also a lot of people use Lego apparently because again to get the regular, clean edges and you can build the mold exactly to size.
I decided to go for the cheap, disposable option which is cardboard that I have kept especially for projects like this, partly because I was experimenting and wasn’t sure it would work but mainly because I have very little money and it’s a perfectly workable material, particularly for smaller figures. I used a hot glue gun to seal around the base.
Pic 1. shows the loose cardboard wall around the clay base and sculpt.
Pic 2. shows is a more detailed view of the base to show the keys. You can see how I’d made them wrong so there was an overhang that caused the flashing.
Pic 3. shows the wall connected together, (I used masking tape for this because it’s easily removed), and also I filled the edges up to the wall with clay also to prevent the silicone leaking.
Now the mold was ready to add the silicone.
After a lot of deliberation I decided upon buying Polysil F25 Silicone rubber which was recommended for this type of project from eBay. It thankfully has a fairly simple mix ratio of 10:1 rubber base to catalyst. I had to estimate how much silicone I’d need which was a bit tricky but I decided upon about 200ml of base so I’d need 20ml of the catalyst. It’s really important to measure out the amounts really carefully which I did and also was careful to mix in the catalyst thoroughly but incorporating as few air bubbles as possible.
I had learned from various videos that it was a good idea to pour the silicone from a height, in a thin stream, in one corner of the mold until the figure was covered, again to eliminate air bubbles so I tried that as best I could. Bit tricky. I had marked the inside of the mold about a centimetre above the highest point of the figure so I’d know how much silicone to pour. It’s very expensive so it’s useful to use this method to use as little as possible.
This is how the mold looked with the silicone poured. Different brands of silicone have different curing times and the Polysil has a range of 12-24 hrs so I just left it overnight to ensure it had sufficient time. I was really anxious if it would work or not because there are all sorts of factors such as temp and humidity (as with a lot of materials I have used throughout the course), that can affect curing but thankfully when I returned the next day I was relieved to find it had worked fine!
This is how the first half of the cast looked once de-molded. I removed the cardboard and cleaned all the clay from the back of the figure. I also had to trim the keys as I mentioned because the balls of clay I had used were too rounded causing flashing, so the silicone ran around the back of them which closed the holes if you understand? Once trimmed though, I thought they would be ok. Once all cleaned I had to repeat the process with the cardboard mold, filling the edges and using a hot glue gun round the base to prevent the silicone leaking.
I marked the mold and sprayed the silicone with a lubricant to prevent the two sides sticking together before repeating the silicone mixing process and pouring it into the mold.
24 hrs later I was able to de-mold. It wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped because some silicone had run down the edges and cured so the two edges of the cast were difficult to see to separate them. I managed in the end though and this is the result.
As you can see when the two pieces are together there are two extra holes on either side of the main pouring hole. These are the air vents and HAVE to be included at the lowest points, (or highest when it’s upside down in the mold), to allow air to escape because as you pour into the main hole, the arms will fill upwards and if there isn’t a way for the air to escape it creates huge bubbles in the extremities. This is really important with any extremity that is pointing downwards on the original figure you want to cast.
It was also recommended to me from an expert figure maker when I posted pics of this on Instagram that it would be better if I extended the bottom of the mold on both sides so the feet were totally included in the mold and therefore the main pouring vent reduced in size. This would’ve cut down the introduction of air bubbles again and make it easier to get a uniform shape to the feet too. But, as I’d already got so far and was only experimenting I decided to bear this in mind for the next mold and see how it worked as it was.
Once the mold was all trimmed and tidied up, it was ready to be used to cast the figure in resin.
I’ll discuss the resin stage in the next post 🙂