Introduction: Mask of Darth Nihilus - Star Wars
"He is a wound in the Force, more presence than flesh, and in his wake life dies… sacrificing itself to his hunger."―Visas Marr
Another more easily recognizable Sith Lords of the Star Wars franchise is Darth Nihilus, and I wanted his mask (for me and some others who would pay). This is a fairly simple thing to make, it's actually pretty similar to my Half Skull Mask where it can be sculpt out of clay, molded and cast in a polyurethane resin, and painted up.
Step 1: Materials
I didn't have to use too many materials for this project, I could reuse older supplies and thanks to some experience/practice I cut costs with not messing up. You need:
1. Base/mount to work on. I got my hands on a decent-sized mannequin head off ebay, not needed for this but helpful
2. Sculpting medium. Once again using my Monster clay, love working with this stuff. Also you may want to grab some rubbing alcohol or artists turpentine to smooth the clay (it 'dissolves' and softens the clay while it evaporates).
3. Casting resin. Using Easycast again, local supplier had it cheap and works well.
4. Molding Silicone. I used Pinkysil and CloneFX again, look up what alternatives work best for you.
5. Paint and Sculpting tools. I used crimson red acrylic paint, Stainless steel spraypaint, and tested something with silver paint on a second cast for the details. The tools are very helpful in shaping everything correctly, rather than just using your fingers.
Step 2: Sculpting Nilihus
Same process as the last few projects, heat up (or wet, depending on the clay) and start blocking out the basic shape. Then you can start carving and shaping out the actual details of the mask. I plopped on some more clay on the forehead and shaped out the 'metal'. While doing all this I saw that the surface wasn't super even, so here's a helpful hint to fix that. Grab some higher grit sandpaper (I did a little bit with 180, then 300-600 sheets) and very lightly sand the clay to shape and smooth it out, with the clay clumping up into tiny balls. Then grab some of the rubbing alcohol and brush in on over the clumped up clay. It will start to dissolve the small clumps, smooth out the scratches in the clay, and you can just wipe it off with you fingers or lightly rake it away with a loop tool. Once that's all and you're happy with the quality of your mask you can start the molding process.
Step 3: Molding and Casting
Same as last time, I started by building a surrounding dam around the mask so the silicone would be thicker/stronger along the edges. The Pinkysil and CloneFX are 2 part silcones that are mixed in a 1:1 volume ratio, so I did the thin coat of Pinkysil and a strength coat of CloneFX over that. I also made up some silicone pucks to act as registration keys (so the mold goes in place in the shell) and stuck them on. After that I got some cheap plaster bandage from the dollar store and slapped that on it and let that dry. Afterwards I pulled it all apart and got ready to cast it.
The Easycast is also a 1:1 ratio by volume, so I mixed up a small batch and poured it into the mold, making sure it got everywhere. I did about 2-4 thin coats before leaving it to cure and harden for about 1-2 hours. Once it finishes curing you can pull it out of the mold, clean it up with a rotary tool/sandpaper, and do some last minute sanding to make everything nice and smooth (I used 180 grit once it came out of the mold, and went 240, and then 400).
Now we can move onto the painting process.
Step 4: Painting and We're Done!
I used a coat of Flat White Primer as the base colour, and did some testing to work out how to do the metal forehead piece. Now with Nilihus I wasn't actually sure which colour metal to use and how to apply it. I first poured another cast so I could work with 2 at once, and sprayed it a steel colour. I then masked the forehead strip with some blue painters paint and sprayed it again with white, while with the other mask I painted the strip with some silver acrylic paint. Over all I found the steel paint worked best (my friend likes the silver better, but whatever), but I messed up the masking on it so I had to sand it down and redo it.
Once that's done, you just need to glue some elastic straps to the side and there you have it, your very own Sith Artifact of legend and power.
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