Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Nightmare Before Christmas: Lock, Shock and Barrel Masks

The masks for Lock, Shock and Barrel have really accentuated features that dont look like any mask I know of.   I could not figure out a way to adequately modify a readily available mask to create the correct features so I needed to make the masks myself.  To do this, I decided to make clay bases and then form Worbla over the bases.  I will try to show how this process worked here but feel free to ask questions.  This is only the second time I have used Worbla so it was quite the learning experience for me.

So I would have a rough placement for nose, eyes and mouth, I bought cheap plastic masks from the hobby store.  To prevent the clay from deforming the mask shape, I cut hard foam to support the mask base and duct taped it into the form.  I also used this foam to alter the depth of the mask forms as the cheap forms sit very far forward on the face.  I then used cheap flexible foam to alter the face shape as needed and again attached this foam with duct tape. You can see the basic alterations on the mask to the left.

Once the base was ready, I began to add the clay.  In this case, I used Celluclay.  Celluclay is a cheap recycled paper mache which I often see referred to as paper clay.  It mixes easily and dries overnight.  It is chunky when first applied but can be easily smoothed out with a wet finger.  Here is the paper clay right after addition and before smoothing.  As you can see it is pretty rough, but easy to shape.  Another advantage to this stuff is that you can sand it.  It does dry really hard so sanding is not easy, doing as much smoothing as possible while wet is much easier.

Here are the finished mask bases for Lock, Shock and Barrel.

I let the clay dry overnight and the next day I formed the Worbla.  In this case, I decided to use Worbla Black Art.  This is the newest Worbla and it is supposed to be smoother in finish than the regular Worbla.  I have never used the regular Worbla but was I thinking smoother would be better.  This stuff is pretty easy to use, you just heat it with a heat gun until it is soft and then shape it over your form.  The Worbla can be reheated repeatedly so you can keep applying heat and smoothing until you get the shape you
want. I used some of my clay tools to help smooth the worbla.  I did learn not to press too hard, the worbla can rip easily when it is warm. Once I was happy with the base, I added details.  The teeth for both Lock and Barrel were cut separately of Worbla.  For Barrel, the teeth were then heated and pressed onto the mask base.  I used a dental tool (purchased cheaply from a flea market) to carefully indent between Barrel's teeth.  I also used the dental tools to carefully indent the 2 nostrils.

Once the Worbla was cool, I popped it off the clay and used an exacto knife to cut out the nostrils and the eyes. 
Here you can see the completed base, the excess around the edge was cut of with scissors and saved for future use!

Once the base was cut out, I used scraps of Worbla to attach D-rings to the masks as a way to allow elastic to be attached later.  This method worked pretty well, but you really need to press hard to mold the scrap to the base.  Since the elastic is under some pressure, we did have 2 fail and have to be glued back into place.

Lock was completed in much the same way as the Barrel mask.  The mouth was indented using the same clay tool and the teeth were cut out and place in the mouth.  In this case I heated the teeth in place rather than heating them first and then applying them.  There were just too many teeth with too precise placement to add them one at a time.

Once the masks were formed, they were coated with a primer and then spray painted for a base color.  The spray paint was allowed to dry overnight.

After drying, the details were painted with acrylic craft paint and then sealed with a spray sealant.  You can see the D-rings on Lock in this picture. 

While the Lock and Barrel masks went pretty well, Shock turned out to be a real pain. The very big nose caused a bunch of rips in the Worbla while shaping and the thinned out Worbla from fitting around the nose tore both near the eyes and around the mouth.  To repair this, I added a reinforcement piece of Worbla to both the mouth and the nose.  Doing this really affected the smooth shape, since the reinforcement was readily visible.  To smooth this out, I used wood filler.  This stuff can be smoothed onto the Worbla and dried overnight.  Once dry, the wood filler can be sanded down to make a smooth surface.  You can see all the repairs I had to make on this mask!

Once the repairs were completed, the mask was finished just like the other 2.  Here is the final image of the Shock mask and one taken at an angle to show how really big that nose is!


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