Hey everyone SKS Props here with another build!!
Ok, so I am getting to be pretty well known throughout the cosplay community for making full size props / replicas of famous video game characters. Taking this into consideration I really wanted to start pushing more into other markets and I though gaming jewelry might be kind of cool. I figured there are tons of fan girls out there that love games and Borderlands in particular. So, I created some custom Borderlands Psycho heads that can be used for earrings, chokers, and charms. This Instructable will be an overview of how I designed, built, and finished these resin cast pieces.
Before we begin let me say some of the products that are used in prop building can be bad for you :(
So read all warning labels and be safe!!! Always wear eye protection, wear gloves, and use a respirator when needed. Lets get started!!!!
Step 1: 3D Sculpt and Design
Through a past Instructable contest I was fortunate enough to have won a pretty awesome 3D resin printer. When I went to school we didn't have 3D design classes we sculpted everything by hand. So the first thing I had to do was teach myself how to operate ZBrush. I really like this program for organic design because it works hand in hand with my Cintiq tablet. Using the Cintiq I am able to draw out the character I want to create using computer based clay. I made a basic zshpere guy and imported that into the bulk of the program so that I could start refining and sculpting the details for the finished piece. After a couple of hours I had created a very stylized version of a Borderlands Psycho Bandit and I was ready for print.
Step 2: 3D Printing and Finishing
So I have my 3D file ready for print and I send that over to my resin printer. The biggest difference with this type of printer is that the model continually gets dropped into the liquid resin. The print is made by a laser solidifying a layer picking up the model dropping it back down and repeating until the model is complete. A resin printer is incredibly accurate but prints take a very long time to build.
So after the print was complete I had to clean the model with alcohol and trim away any additional supports. The main body is fairly smooth but you still have some striation just like a regular printer. I cleaned this up with some various grits of sandpaper and then sprayed the model with some Krylon Rust colored primer. After this wet sanding continued on the primer until it was extremely smooth and ready for the final coat. For the last layer I sprayed the model with a gloss paint so that the silicone mold would pick up the detail and the casts would come out nice and smooth.
Step 3: Molding and Casting
Here is where we get to the messy and hazardous part of the build. So be sure to wear gloves and a respirator when dealing with silicone and resin.
I now need to mold my resin printed model so that I can make duplicate copies. By using legos I am able to create a box mold that is the perfect size for the model. I fill the box mold with monster clay to a certain height and work the figure in to the melted clay. Once it starts to solidify I use marbles to make registration keys so that the two halves will line up properly. I very slowly pour Smooth-On OOMOO over the model making sure that there are no trapped air bubbles. When one side of the silicon mold has setup I flip it over, take off the clay, and brush the silicone with sonite wax. This will keep the two halves from sticking together. I Build my lego wall to full height and pour in the second part of the silicone mold. When this half had cured I was able to take them apart and cast up a few figures to test out the mold. I used Smooth-On Smooth Cast 300 to create the figures and individual heads. To cast just the heads for the earrings I just measure and poured out the correct amount into the body cavity. Once I had the heads I took off the additional resin on my belt sander and then hand sanded the bottom and back of the earring.
Step 4: Prepping and Painting
The heads are cast so now it is time to move onto the fabrication and functionality of the earrings. Using a 1/16 drill bit I was able to drill into the head a set a loop that had been cut to size. Before I attached the upper section I sprayed the Psycho heads with Krylon Gold spray paint. I then gave both the heads a black wash using Liquitex heavy body acrylics, to bring out more of the details. Then I used a dry brush technique to hit some of the highlight areas with Liquitex Heavy body Bright Gold.
Step 5: A Little Something Extra
Once they were painted I just felt like they needed a little something extra. So to spice them up I added some glow in the dark powder I picked up on Amazon. This powder is very fine but glows better than any paint I have ever used. To get the powder to stick to the eyes I used a very small brush and painted Mod Podge into the eyes. Then while the Mod Podge was still wet I sprinkled the powder over the face and pushed it down into the eyes to make sure it seated properly. Once I felt it had dried enough I tipped the heads back over the baggie and brushed away any excess powder. The rest of the earring was assembled using a jump ring and a couple of metal beads for decoration.
It does have to be fairly dark for the powder to glow enough to get a good pic. I apologize for how blurry these pictures came out but the shutter speed became an issue. In person I am still pretty amazed with how nice they glow after just a brief charge.
Step 6: Finished!!
The final images were taken by me using my wife Denise Smith as my model for one and my Psycho cosplay pants for the other (almost seemed fitting). All in all I am pretty happy with how this whole project came together.
I always enjoy the chance to work with different mediums and in different genres. I hope that you enjoyed this build and please feel free to follow my work on multiple social media sites!!
Instagram and Twitter - @SKSProps
You can also check out all of the creations I sell in my etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/SKSProps