Friday, August 22, 2014

Cosplay: Zoidberg Mark 2 Mask Part 2

Greetings again. It has been quite a busy week between the mask and work, but some serious progress has been made.

Things I used for this part of the mask:
Drywall patch
Rotary tools
Rough and Medium grit sandpaper
Spray paint primer/paints/sealer
Latex rubber
Acrylic paint

When we last met, I showed how the mask was drying and waiting for me at home. When I got back, it still wasn't totally dry, so I was unable to patch up the face right away, a setback of about half a day since I needed sleep. I was, however, able to apply another layer of patch on the rest of the mask so at least I salvaged part of it.

You can still see the damp spots on the chin/neck guard.

I started finding that if I slathered the patch on, it would make it easier for me to sand it down afterwards. I highly recommend getting a can of compressed air. I got a little light headed from trying to blow the sanded off dust out.

When I awoke, the patch material had dried and the face had dried enough so I could attempt sanding. I took the rough grit sandpaper and got what I could on the face. Then I took my rotary tool and cleaned up the eye holes and gave them a gentle slow instead inward instead of a sudden stop. This is to A) help me see out of the bottom, and B) help hide how imperfect the circles are. I finished up by using my medium grit sand paper on the rest of the mask.

I couldn't get the eyes to stop being so wall eyed. I know he is a bit, but this is too much. 

From here I filled the face in with patch material and played the waiting game.

Rather ghoulish...

While I was waiting for the patch to dry, I decided it was time to work a bit on the eyes. I had picked up some Krylon spray paints at the craft store along with some other supplies I'll mention later. I took the eyes outside and sprayed the primer on both, giving them a bit of a heavy coat to cover up the green. 

I had to use a pen to pick them up so they wouldn't stick to the paper.

I also gave the back of the mask a test spray. The bad part about white on white primer is that you can't really tell if you're painting the mask properly. This paint dries pretty quickly, so I brought the eyes and mask inside. This made the apartment stink and me feel a bit light headed. I ended up taking a nap while everything dried. (awesome plan btw)

A few hours later, things were starting to work out. Before I started the next part, I decided to see how everything would look, which means I needed tentacles. I had bought a pair of gloves from Lowe's that were coated in PVC so I figured it would look really good once painted later. I cut the middle and ring fingers from both gloves and taped them together, much like I had down with the Mark 1 mask.

Not to shabby! Totally could go with the blue alternate universe Zoidberg if I hadn't sunk this much money into red.

I stuffed some cotton balls down each finger to hold the shape. The only tape I had was packing tape and I could tell it wouldn't hold the gloves together. I decided to take the latex rubber I had bought from the craft store and fill in the seam on the front to bind the two gloves together until I could paint. Latex rubber contains ammonia so if you can, use it outside or ventilate your workspace. It gets really smelly.


While that dries, thin coats take like 8-10 min, thick coats can take hours, it was time to sand the face.

As you can see, there were a few blemishes that I would need to take care of. Not all of them could be just sanded down as it would create an uneven surface. So I decided to do some spot repairs.

Tell me I'm pretty, Mommy!

While this was drying, it was now time to paint the tentacles. The main problem here is the tentacles are floppy and I want to be able to kind of pose them in certain shots. This eliminates most paints as they will crack when bent. However, I read many articles on mixing acrylic paint with latex rubber. The two will bind and create a flexible coat. The only down side is I couldn't find a red that matched the one I had bought. My friend suggested adding just a minor amount of black to the mix to darken it. I did just that in a small amount and went to town.

This color was waaaaay too dark for what I wanted, but the fingers all moved and no cracks in the paint. I was frustrated, but decided to just worry about that later.

From there, the patch dried, I sanded the face and got it to about where I wanted it. Then I took the helmet outside and primed the face/top of the mask. I took some of the red as well and painted the back to see how it held. I left the mask outside to dry, no fume induced sleep this time. Although it was 4 am, and I forgot to take photos.

I woke up later that afternoon and decided to try something new for the tentacles. I figured if I put some latex rubber down and then spray painted over it, maybe the latex would hold the paint together. I left this out to dry and then started painting the mask. I knew I would have to do a few coats so I wouldn't be having my paint run down while drying.

The color was varied, but overall I really like the look of it. A few more coats and it would be ready for completion. The tentacles, however, were a different story.

Of course my idea of spray painting over rubber didn't work. It cracked and looked like crap, though the color was right. The good thing about painting with latex rubber, is that when things go south, you can rip it all off and start over. I left the mask to dry and headed to work to get more paint containers with a new idea in mind. 

For my third test, I thought that if I sprayed the paint into a small cup and mixed it with latex, it would get the color I needed. I did that, but noticed it started to gel up so I tried to thin it with some water. The result was a very clumpy paint with specks all in it.

Looks horrible

I thought that by mixing water, I had caused the spray paint to break down. So I stripped down my mistake and took my gloves and paints with me to work to try again, only without water.

Trial 4 didn't go nearly as planned either. Turns out you need a water based paint to mix well with latex rubber. The color looked good, but I couldn't paint with it, as much as glop it on and hope for the best. It took a lot of work to strip that down. I came home knowing I'd have to go back to the craft store for a different color paint.

In the meantime, I was reveling in my helmet, sans tentacles.

From here I sprayed the eyes with a glossy crystal clear spray to try to seal in the paint.

I tried one more time mixing up the previous paint I had purchased, only this time without the black, to see if maybe I could luck out. I set it outside to dry while I took a nap. The result was not too favorable.

It looked close in low light settings, but it was not what I needed. Also I had noticed that the tentacles were too loose. I stuffed more cotton inside and went to the craft store with a friend. We decided on a color, I gathered my supplies and went off to work, ready to paint in my down time.

I mixed up the latex and the new paint and applied it to the back of the tentacles to see if it would work. It looked bright enough and what I was looking for. After the first coat, I put them in a blanket warmer set at 115 degrees for about 15 min to speed up the drying process. After 2 coats on the back and 1 on the front, I finally had my tentacles.

They're still a little dark, but I'll compare them to the mask when I get home. I might go and by a brighter red still and see if I can match, but if they're close, I won't mess with it. While doing my last coat, I decided that there was too much cotton inside the tentacles so I ended up removing all of it. They still have their shape and are more flexible. I may put a few pieces in before mounting it to the mask, but I'll wait to decide on that.

What remains of my mask?

I need to mount the tentacles on the mask itself, apply some pulp to smooth over the area where the top flap is secured to the mask. Sand and paint that area. Attach the eyes and secure them in place with glue. I think this mask will be done and ready for packing by Sunday!