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 Post subject: Days with Clays: Scratch-building a Vader Facemask (ROTS)
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:20 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA
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6/8 Update - Based on where the project is headed -- successfully, that is -- I have decided to announce that "Casper" (the project name, because of the build's initial similarity to the old cartoon character Casper the Friendly Ghost) is my attempt at and tribute to the ROTS Vader. For those of you new to this thread, what you are about to see is a painstaking uphill climb to achieve a certain degree of symmetry without the use of 3D scanning and CAD (3D computer-aided design) as LucasFilm did. Just the old-fashioned way: eyeballing it with a mirror!


Foreword

So while I went off the deep end trying to fabricate an ANH Stunt Stormtrooper from scratch with photo references and little else, I momentarily got distracted and wondered if it were possible to do a Vader in clay.

Of course it is! Others, I'm sure have done it. Vader was originally sculpted in clay. However, with the various modifications I've done over the past 5 months, I needed to creative challenge. It's been raining intermittently here in California, and due to remodeling by the landlord, I lost use of the garage as my shop, but I managed to set up a small outdoor bench under the overhang of the roof on the side of the house. I also built myself a new glovebox using a Dell computer box (nice THICK cardboard) and this time I cut the arm holes smaller so that the dust doesn't come out of the arm holes as easily. I also began wearing a raincoat and rainpants to keep the dust from getting over me.

I initially did a very, very crude armature out of air drying clay. It took four days to dry, which in my lack of patience was difficult to endure. The result was -- can you believe this -- UGLIER than ol' Ugly? Also the clay started to sag here and there under its own weight while drying, so by the time it fully hardened, it looked nasty.

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I began applying some "A+B" type of clay. Now the following photographs will show the initial stages. I know they are crude. I know the eyes, nose and mouth shape are wrong. It will take time and careful comparisons to get it "right". Let's see how far this goes. I'm not making any promises that it will look good in the end, but then again I am going to look so bad if this doesn't look right. So I know beforehand there is no way this is going to look like an original prop because it's an amateur first-time scratchbuild, so please go easy on me!


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Fri Jun 08, 2007 6:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:22 pm 
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These photos are not quite the beginning. I was a little timid at first if I wanted to share this. After all, it looked downright rediculous. And I'd hate to document my own failure!

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But if I didn't start posting to show that this was a scratchbuild, then later down the road people might not believe me and accuse me of being a recaster! That would suck! :hehe-err

So here are the results from this morning's sanding.

The nose is oversized and will be addressed later.

The neck is narrow due to the way my armature formed but I intend to pad this.

The sanding to the neck looks okay. It's not going to be perfect the first time round -- the sanding process sometimes requires a first pass, then addressing any dents/depressions with anything similar to Aquamend or a suitable "A+B" epoxy clay.

There's way too much stuff in the mouth but it was necessary because of the droopy nature of the expoxy clay. But I can fix that later, in consecutive stages.

The mouth and most likely the eyes are going to have to be dremeled out more.


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Fri May 04, 2007 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:28 pm 
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So here is the facemask looking down. If a Vader facemask looking down doesn't look cool, then something's wrong. So here the skullshape will need further padding to make more bulbous. The tusk tubes are going to be added in the final stage. This gives me the unprecedented opportunity of trying to establish the flow of the surfaces from the back of the facemask (yet to be completed) to the front. With more padding, I can make the cheek lines a little more trapezoid so that if you extrapolate their lines, they'll eventually meet. I'll also try to make the two sides more symmetrical for this particular project.

"What style of Vader are you building? ROST? ANH? ESB? ROTJ?" Honestly I have no idea here just yet. Let's let the "sculpture" speak for itself and see how it develops!

Again, the eyes and their eye sockets are not yet by any means the right shape, but I wanted to get an initial foundation going.

Here you see some initial sanding of the forehead and the eyebrows .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:31 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA
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If there was ever a shot that showed the humble beginnings of this project, it's this one. This angle shows me how much work needs to go. As with any sculpture, the facemask has to be studied from all angles. And right now it looks hideous and disfigured, like it was made out of wax and left next to a radiator.

I didn't have a Don Post facemask next to me while I was doing this, so I was going mostly from memory. After a suitable foundation is achieved, then we'll begin refining.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:34 pm 
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The saving grace of this project is that the sides are kinda looking okay.

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The sanding from this morning has made the forehead and the eyebrows look good from this angle, but the eyes still look small for some reason, but I'll dremel that out and get back with you guys.

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This left cheek might have too much material and needs to be sanded down. Well, we'll see!

That's all for today!


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:37 pm 
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Good start, but there is definitely something wrong with the lower part of the mouth. It looks almost as if you made the mouth vertical on the face, from nose to tusk tubes, whereas is should extend more at the bottom - angle out. You need to add at least 2 or three centimeters more to the bottom mouth line and make the line from the nose to tusk tubes line up with that new angle.

Looking forward to seeing more.

And don't worry about recasting - if you got the pictures of the build-progress there is no forceable reason to post prior to you really wanting to... you can always show build-up pictures if people begin to question your work.

Good luck with this! :thumbsup


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:42 pm 
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Location: Norwich UK
Looks like you have the master mold for the rubbies supreme there :lol :lol :toothy :toothy :toothy :lol :lol


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:55 pm 
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NoHumorMan wrote:
Good start, but there is definitely something wrong with the lower part of the mouth.


Heh! You have no idea! :toothy


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:09 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 4:37 pm 
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To address NHM's comments on the mouth: the entire facemask is disfigured and you only notice the mouth? :blah

Anyways, the eyes, nose and mouth are actually not meant to be accurate but meant to be placeholders. Due to the fact that this material is sag and a little difficult to control (and yet requires 24 hours to fully cure) I have to pack just enough material for an approximate shape for now and go back and refine after the entire mask as a whole has assumed a suitable shape.

Adding correct detail now would not work out. The face is a byproduct of a natural and organic flow of lines and surfaces. I'm packing quite a bit of material bit by bit -- not all at once.

Last night I spent time building out the left side of the face, and I covered some of the right. Later tonight I'll thicken the right side more, and then possibly also the neck.

The goal here is to have enough padding so I can get the basic head shape down with sanding.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 4:40 pm 
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So last night I got busy.... I was watching a few episodes of Enterprise on iTunes while working on the left side of the face.

Image

I bulked up the skull. Once this has had a chance to cure a bit, the neck will also be thickened. Also, when all this has fully cured, I hope I can break or melt the underlying air drying water-based clay off.

One of the reasons why I'm not completing all this in one go is because I do not know to what extent this epoxy material relies on air. If the application is too thick, it might not cure properly. However, from experience, expoxies hardenen due to a chemical reaction when you thoroughly mix the A and B constituents. AquaMend can even cure under water. But it doesn't hurt taking precautions.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 4:42 pm 
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Here's the right side of the face.

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I've just basically covered over all of the original air-drying water-based clay.

Despite this coverage, this side of the face needs more padding. That'll hopefully happen a little later on tonight.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 9:05 pm 
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More padding....

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 9:38 pm 
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Very interesting project Mac....

Just think, afterward you can sell the "Mac ANH helmet" and cover some of your labor! :)

I really appreciate what you bring to this forum and all of the projects that you've taken on and now this sculpt.

It is just very inspiring to watch you go at these different things and it gets me motivated to get working as well. And you do great work!

My hats off to you man. :as2


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 4:05 am 
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Vadermonkey wrote:
Very interesting project Mac....

Just think, afterward you can sell the "Mac ANH helmet" and cover some of your labor! :)

I really appreciate what you bring to this forum and all of the projects that you've taken on and now this sculpt.

It is just very inspiring to watch you go at these different things and it gets me motivated to get working as well. And you do great work!

My hats off to you man. :as2


Thanks! That just made my whole weekend, Monkey! Coming from you, that means a lot! Arigato!


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 4:05 am 
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Vadermonkey wrote:
...you can sell the "Mac ANH helmet" and cover some of your labor! :)



Who said anything about ANH? :toothy


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