Hello Readers,
Yesterday I drew up a monster design for a wip film of mine. I drew the idea as a mixture of a Japanese Gamera and the Tarrasque from dungeons and dragons.
I'm wondering how best to add the outer shell on the back. I am unable to do foam latex and silicone casting just now, so I can either cast it in latex OR I can sculpt it in clay or epoxy putty, then anchor it to the armature skeleton. My main concern is the mobility. Any suggestions?

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Clay or epoxy putty might be quite heavy and incredibly rigid. I would go for making it in latex. Have you seen bluworm's youTube videos?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gtRP99oQf8&list=PL36E8E1B91054...

At 4:29 he shows a simple plaster mould for slush moulding latex horns. You just fill the cavity with the latex, leave it for 20 mins, then pour out the excess and leave it to dry thoroughly. If you want stiffer horns, you can add an extra layer, or it is possible to pad out with little bits of nylon tights.

I think I would make up a clay sculpt of the outer shell, with horns etc. Maybe flatten it out a little. Then cast in plaster, simple one part mould. Then slush mould in latex as above. You can always add more stiffness later. Attachment could be simply done with latex onto the body, as per bluworm's method. 

It should be fairly light and mobile, and you might get the plates/horns to shift a little against each other, which could look good.

Hope this helps.

I had not seen that video, though I am acquainted with much of bluworm's work. Thanks for sharing the link.

I suppose I could cast a latex shell and perhaps reinforce it with cotton or newspaper. I'm thinking of something close to a "Latex mache". This way it retains the sculpt shape, but it solid enough to hold.

Thoughts?

I've done a couple of turtle shells in fibreglass, so it's a thin shell and not too heavy.  I sculpt the shape in clay, make a plaster mould, and lay it up in resin and glass fibre matt.  It is the material most like an actual turtle shell.

I also cast one (a prehistoric horned tortoise in 1:6 scale) in liquid latex, but also with fibreglass matting in it so it was semi-rigid.  I guess that is easier, you don't need lots of release agent on the plaster mould.  Same slush moulding technique that Simon described, except you press some fibreglass matting (rather than nylon tights) into the skin of thickened  latex and dab some more latex on to soak through the matting. You could say that was like a latex-mache kind of thing, it's the same principle of a liquid goop and fibrous reinforcing.  

The tortoise is pretty small in these pictures, but that's all I have to show it.

With either the latex or the resin, it behaves like a rigid shape, just as a tortoise shell does.  If you wanted to articulate it you might need to make several overlapping plates, more like an armadillo.

Yes, a latex mache (!) might be the thing, and glass fibres would be good, must try it sometime. I have used tights quite a bit in the past as a way of strengthening latex for masks and such. They still allow stretch and flexibility, so you have to decide whether this is something you want, or whether rigidity is the key thing.

The creature I'm making will have a large upper shell on the back that overlaps with a smaller lower back shell, this way I am guaranteed *some* mobility, but I like the idea of adding something to give rigidity. I may have to make a few practice shells using different methods. 

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