May 18, 2015

Madame Vastra: Part 1

Comiccon is in two weeks so I am working like mad to get everything done in time.  I got my friend to agree to be the Jenny to my Vastra for the Phoenix Comicon Masquerade.  Of course I missed the sign ups...but I hope to get on the list first thing on Friday.

I already have all my Victorian undies:

So I just had to make the blouse, two skirts, gloves, a string of beads, and a latex mask.  JUST.  And I budgeted 2 and a half weeks of time to make all this.  I'm insane.  It's official.

I drafted a pattern for the blouse first on my dress form, then on me with my corset to perfect the fit.

Something odd happened to the trim though??  So I had to rip that section out and redo it.  I also have finished the first of the skirts, but I will include that in the next post.

This was my first time working with latex.  It has been a process.  A messy, messy process.  After doing an insane amount of research on how to best create Vastra's prosthetics, I decided to follow this guy's instructions.   Let me just say that this guy makes it look easy.  IT ISN'T.

I took a mold of my face using plaster strips.  I sat in a chair watching, then listening to Quest for Camelot.  When it came time to get it off I literally was crying inside the mold.  Getting it off hurt so badly.  Every hair on my skin was ripped clean.

Lesson learned.  When it says put Vaseline on your face.  PUT VASELINE ON YOUR FACE.

The next step was to press clay into the mold, close the two parts of my face mold, and create a clay version of my face around a styrofoam head.  This took me three tries to get right which was frustrating.  But finally I had my face.

Looking at screen shots and attempting as well as I could I sculpted the general shape of Vastra's head.

Then I added the details of her reptilian skin.

I have this thing.  My mother calls it "Kelsie knows best".  Sometimes this thing gets me in trouble.  I looked at my scupture and thought, "Why do I need to put plaster on it and ruin the sculpture I just made.  What if the mold doesn't come out right and I have to start all over again?! My brain told me that I could just paint latex over the sculpture, since the prosthetics are supposed to be in three parts, like this.
(Picture from BBC making of Doctor Who)

I did a bunch of internet research trying to figure out why the guy in the video did one extra step.  There HAD to be a reason.  But the internet gave me no answers.  So I decided to move forward with the process.

I have learned why there is this extra process.  All the detail I had crafted went on the inside of the prostheic.  It was this huge DUH moment.  I have no idea why that wasn't obvious to me before, but it makes perfect sense now.

So I sprayed it with cooking oil (rather than mold release) and smeared plaster alllllll over it.
When the plaster is dry you are supposed to be able to pull out the bottom of the styrofoam head  and then everything else should come out easily.  Nope.  I spent all of Fellowship of the Ring, extended version using a serrated knife to hack out the styrofoam.

Then the next day I spent 2 hours scraping out the clay with a spoon.  I had three huge blisters on my fingers.

But finally.  FINALLY.  I had a clean mold.  I prepped my latex, adding in some acrylic paint and water, and poured the mold.

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