Friday, June 21, 2013

So, You Need a Mask to Frighten People

This is a great introduction to foam building. Foam is an easy medium with which to work, cheap, and requires few tools.

This mask uses EVA foam. It can be found at various retail outlets and automotive retailers. I buy the interlocking 24" square floor mats.

You will need a hobby knife, a hot glue gun, and a heat gun. A wood burning iron or solder iron is useful too.
The finished mask.

 I shaped the borders into a head piece to fit my head. This will hold the mask in place on my head.

I used paper to help determine shaping, but you are welcome to jump right in. Once I determined a shape, I cut the top to taper and curve to my head. I cut it so that there is a 4" wide stripe that runs along the top of my head. I then cut the sides to curve and glued them to the center strip.
You could also cut 4 triangle shapes for the dome of the head.

Hot glue holds foam very well. Attach the start of your mask to your head piece.  Cut out eye holes.

The inside of the helmet.

Using the heat gun, seal the foam. The foam will darken. Be careful and quick, the heat gun could melt your hot glue, unraveling your mask. You can see in my pictures portions of the foam are dark gray and sealed, while the lighter gray portions are unsealed.

I used the textured side of the foam panels for the body of the helmet to give it more depth. It's up to you which side you utilize.

I applied a separate overlay of foam to make up the facial features.

I used the heat gun to shape the mask to better fit my head.  You can shape foam when heated, and it will retain the shape. Be careful, the foam will get hot. You're using a heat gun after all.

This may be the most fun part. I used a wood burning iron to create battle damage. You can do as much or as little as you prefer.

As you add battle damage, imagine how damage would actually occur.

While I didn't, you could paint the mask.  Use Plasti-dip, then paint and weather as desired.
I did not Plasti-dip or paint this mask. It wasn't necessary for the result I wanted.

Plasti-dip is a rubber coating that will achieve a smooth finish while still maintaining flexibility.

With paint, you could start with a dark base, spray a lighter layer, and then sand areas to reveal the paint underneath for a weathered look.
You could reverse the color order for more of a steel look.
Use acrylics to highlight the battle damage marks, using a dry brush technique.
In a future post I will discuss different painting and weathering applications as I perfect my techniques.

If you make a mask, be sure to leave a link to the image in the comments section!
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