Resin Gun Prop Sculpt

Posted in Design, General, scifi, sculpting, Uncategorized, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2018 by Jim St Ruth
Hey folks!
This is my current piece, which was meant to be a quick project but, as I’ve started it, I’ve realised that there’s a lot I want to do…
The first image is just a couple of renders from the ZBrush concept, which I pulled together in about half an hour. It’s not very detailed, but I just wanted to get the forms and masses worked out.
The second shot is of the core of the actual sculpture.
I printed out the side-shot render from ZBrush, scaling the width of the hand grip to 4cm in Photoshop (that’s the distance between my right index finger and the base of my thumb), to make sure that the prop ends up being the correct scale. I then used some spare modelling foam (dense but very light weight to keep the weight of the sculpt down), traced out the outline of the weapon and cut it out with a craft knife. I then sanded it with my trusty mouse sander to try and get it roughly into shape.
The third shot is my current progress, with Monster Clay added over the foam core and sculpted, then buffed smooth with my *amazingly advanced* tools… which, as you can see in that image, is a small pot of white spirit, a scouring sponge, a hog bristle brush and another very fine brush to get a good polish in the tight spaces where I can’t use the back of the sponge.
The final piece will be moulded and then cast in resin, with LED lights inside and a power switch that will act as the trigger, but…
I need the piece to be hollow, both for weight and so that I can add the lights, wires and batteries inside. To give me reasonable access to the hollow innards, I need to cut the sculpt into two pieces, mould and hollow cast them separately, then slot them together when they’re both complete.
This is taxing my mind-brain.
In my head, I can visualise the structure that I need to do this, which looks like a ‘groove and slot’ arrangement in foam or wood, and I’m planning to use magnets to lock the resin cast pieces securely together.
I don’t want to have to cut it up, though, lol. My anxiety is running at volume 9. I think a hot wire foam cutter should be able to do the job smoothly, as long as I’m careful working along some cut-in seams that I still need to add.
This is a lot of fun. I’ve never sculpted and cast a weapon before, and pushing myself to get a good machined look feels really good. It’s going to look damned fine… I hope 🙂

Grey Head… Done!

Posted in Design, General, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 6, 2018 by Jim St Ruth

He’s finally done!

Sculpted in Monster Claw, then moulded in Platsil Gel 10 with an Easyflo 120 resin mother mould that was thickened with Polyfibre II. Then slush cast in Easyflo 120, primed and airbrushed, with two acrylic spheres for the eyes that have white LEDs hot glued into their backs.

The electrics are comprised of 4xAA batteries in a battery pack, two super bright white LEDs, and a resistor, with the LEDs soldered onto small PCBs.

It’s taken me six months to complete him, but I’ve got a lot of other projects on the go, and so overall it’s only a week’s worth of work, most of which was evenly split between sculpting and moulding. The final piece is also my first full head-sized bust sculpt and cast that I’ve completed, and with some help from my partner, my first lighting project too.

I’m so proud of him.

I think I’ll call him Bob.

Grey Head: WIP

Posted in Design, Fantasy, General, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, Tutorials, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 23, 2018 by Jim St Ruth

A quick update on one of my projects, which is going to be a lamp!

It’s a full-sized bust in Monster Clay, with a clay wall around the base to contain the silicone and resin that I’ll be using to create the mould. I’ll eventually cast it in polyurethane resin, paint it in grey tones, with the eyes formed of acrylic hemispheres that will be filled with Platsil Gel 10. These will then have LEDs mounted behind them, to create glowing eyes!

The eyes have been a bit of an issue for me. I really struggled to work out how to mould and cast them so that I could fill them with silicone to back light.

The options and issues were:

  • Mould over smooth acrylic forms under the sculpt, then cast in resin and drill out the spaces for fresh spheres with a Dremel. This is a really problematic approach, as the eyes tend to be spaces where the resin pools. On a test piece, it took ages to drill out the excess resin, and it was extremely difficult to conserve the eyelids without accidental damage, or ruining the slight interior fold between the eyes lids and the eyeballs. It was also impossible to drill out exactly the right volume for the acrylic hemispheres to then fit inside.
  • Sculpt and mould as above, but then when casting place the acrylic hemispheres in place and pour the resin in around them. This was a nightmare, as although the hemispheres were held in place, it was extremely difficult to slush or paint-cast the resin into the mould without contamination of the hemispheres. Additionally, reaching inside the cast to pour the correct amount of silicone into place was just too tricky.

In the end, I followed so expert advice from the The Moldin’ Years: Rubber and Resin group on Facebook:

  • Sculpt a key onto one of the blank acrylic hemispheres.
  • Mould in silicone and cast in resin, making two copies.
  • Sculpt around these on the main bust.
  • When it comes to moulding, just mould over the whole piece in silicone.
  • Cast silicone copies of the keyed eyes.
  • Insert the fresh silicone keyed eyes into the silicone mould and cast in resin.
  • This should allow me to simply pluck out the silicone eyes from inside the cast, creating empty eye forms that should require very little clean up.

The busts just needs a final polish up… and then it’s onto mouldin’ time!

ZBrush Sculpt: Super-Secret Project

Posted in 3D, Design, Masks, scifi, Uncategorized, zbrush with tags , , on October 18, 2017 by Jim St Ruth

For an upcoming something


??? … Click to enbiggen…

This will be one of my next physical sculpts in Monster Clay… but the reason shall remain a mystery, perhaps for some time…

Decorative Mask in Resin: How To!

Posted in Design, General, Halloween, Masks, sculpting, Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 12, 2017 by Jim St Ruth

I’m really proud of this.

It’s been a work in progress for a couple of months, but I finished the paint job today!

Note: As when using all powders or chemicals that might get onto the skin, in the eyes or lungs, please use adequate precautions! Look at product data safety sheets (easily found on the net) for anything that you use, familiarising yourself with any risks!

Step One – Sculpting

The piece was moulded in Monster Clay on a full-face life cast of my own noggin. The details were then smoothed out with small amounts of white spirit/ mineral spirits using two small, cheap paint brushes; one very course, and the other a fine sable brush, both bought from the 85p paint brush bin at Fred Aldous in Manchester. I made sure not to make the surface too smooth, so that there’s some variation in the fine detail; I wanted it to look a little rough when it was done.


Partially-sculpted Monster Clay on Plaster of Paris face cast

Note: if you want to get Monster Clay really smooth, then using the end of a dish cloth that’s been dabbed in white spirit can help a great deal, but you might need to make the sculpt pretty smooth first with a sculpting tool, to save you time later on.

Note: If you do this, you’ll need to make sure that the white spirit evaporates before taking the next step. White spirit can, if you use it in any volume, turn Monster Clay to complete mush, and you don’t want the moulding process to ruin any forms or detail. I’ve also no idea if, since the moulding is done in silicone rubber, whether this will prevent curing of the mould. I’ve never had a problem if I leave the white spirit to evaporate.

Note: You’ll need to use white spirit in a well-ventilated area. For me, this is just working with the window open and a fan on. Be cautious. Make sure that you can breathe fresh air!

Step Two – Moulding

I used Tinsil 80-15 to mould the piece, applying a relatively thin detail-capturing layer first. The ’15’ in Tinsil 80-15 relates to its shore hardness, with ‘0’ being the most soft and therefore the most flexible.

Tinsil is very runny, and pretty viscous. Applying in thin layers and letting it cure in between applications means that the rubber won’t just run off all over your work surface (and onto the floor). This method gives you a dome-like mould, which saves rubber too.

Note: You can create a box mould, which means you can just pour the rubber over the piece in one go. This does use more rubber, however, and you can quickly find yourself using a full £35 tin up in one go.

The ‘dome’ method used less than half of that, built up into an overall thickness of around 1.5cm. I left it a full 24 hours to cure, then built up a support jacket make of modroc, to keep the rubber relatively well-held when the final casting took place. This only took around half an hour to be dry.

Step Three- Casting

First, I shook some sintered copper powder into the silicone mould, brushing it around with a cheap make up brush from Poundland. I made sure every bit of the mould’s interior surface was covered, then shaking the rest off back into its bag.

Note: You’ll want to use a decorator’s dust mask for this step, so that you don’t end up breathing in the copper powder.

I used Quickcast resin from Trylon, with a black casting pigment, applied in several layers. The working time was around five minutes on a warm summer’s day in north-west England, and this may vary depending on the temperature and humidity where you live.

Only a small amount of pigment was used, well-stirred into the resin after parts A & B had been mixed. I then just slush cast it into the mould, trying to make sure there were no air bubbles, and that every part of the mould’s interior surface was covered.

This step was then repeated, building up the layers of resin. The final piece is only about 2.5mm thick around the edges, but much thicker around the details of the eyes, chin and nose. This stops it cracking when pulling the piece from the mould. I stopped slushing the resin around when it began to cure, turning into a tar-like substance.

The resin doesn’t take long to cure. It’s a heat-accelerated reaction, so the thickest areas of resin will cure first. It’s strong, but you might find the edges can be brittle. Just de-mould with caution, and you should be fine. I let the piece rest for half an hour after my final layer, just to be sure it ha cured before de-moulding.

Step Four: De-Moulding

Just do this with caution, after removing the plaster support jacket from the silicone. You should be able to just peel the mould off, but be cautious around any sharp or fine edges on the resin; using a low shore hardness rubber for the mould really helps.


De-moulded resin cast piece. The sintered copper powder is dull, and looks almost the same as the Monster Clay

Step Five: Buffing

The sintered copper powder is only a thin surface coat to the resin, and looks very dull and non-metallic after de-moulding. I polished the piece with some very fine grade steel wool, being careful not to scratch any of the sintered copper away. This leaves it looking pretty good. Using the back of a metal teaspoon on highlight areas can really help.

I then attempted to polish with Brasso… and this was not a good move. The fine pits and streaks in the mask allowed for the Brasso residue to build up, and no amount of research could give me a good solution for completely removing it. More Brasso just made it worst. With hindsight, I should have just then buffed with the buffing pads of my Dremel and an old sock, but I didn’t…

This did, however, make me go off and think… and that produced the final step: painting!


Buffed-up piece, with an second cast with sintered aluminium for reference. You can clearly see the unwanted Brasso residue.

Step Six: Painting

I bought some metal, Humbrol enamel paints, and some more cheap, wide paint brushes. After mixing the paint in their small tins, I dipped a brush in, wiping off most of the paint onto a clean sheet of paper.

This left a very small amount of paint on the brush, which I then used to paint highlights.

Et voila!


Final, Painted Piece

Reptoid Sculpt

Posted in 3D, Design, Fantasy, General, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2017 by Jim St Ruth

Part of a series of Zbrush concept sculpts that I might turn into a silicone mask.

The upload quality of the turntable video is pretty awful. It was recorded at 720P and the file on my PC is absolutely fine. Something I need to look at in more detail for the future, I think.


Fishy Sculpt: ZBrush Turntable

Posted in 3D, Design, General, Masks, scifi, Uncategorized, zbrush with tags , on August 29, 2017 by Jim St Ruth

This might be a long-term project to sculpt and mould into a silicone mask. I guess that the accessories would be made in resin, perhaps with a sintered mental finish that I can polish up. I’ve got another project to finish first, however, and I want to pull more of my focus back to writing.

So, I might never actually make it… but as a mask, I think it would be awesome!