1:1 T-Rex Skull Build (advice needed)

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bbranit

New Member
I am about halfway through my build of a full size T-Rex skull. I set out to make an accurate sculpt of the "Sue" T-Rex in the Field Museum, Chicago after watching the documentary, "Dinosaur 12", and seeing Adam Savage's cast of said skull. But then I found some better references and decided to opt for a more aggressive look over accuracy.

My method has been cardboard structure covered with expanding foam and carving it back. There will be a time lapse of the complete build. It's great so far.

Some Pictures of the progress:

Photo Jan 14, 6 57 58 PM.jpg Photo Jan 14, 7 12 43 PM.jpg Photo Jan 27, 4 51 40 PM.jpg Photo Jan 27, 4 51 51 PM.jpg

I am nearing the end of my rough sculpt and could use some advice on the finish. I want to find a way to coat or spackle this to fill in the gaps (most of them at least) and leave a finish I can do some fine carving with a Dremmel and sanding. Any suggestions?

The final finish will be a dark black/bronze look like most museum pieces.

Bruce
 

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PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Bondo seems to be the go-to for these kinds of things after the foam, but that's only from what I've seen from other builds; I personally have never used the stuff. It's far too intimidating for me.:lol

Should I ever do a skull myself, I would look into something like and epoxy coating on the surface or something, just to keep the weight down.
 

bbranit

New Member
I'll probably steer clear from Bondo.

When starting, I was actually thinking paper-mache, but I've moved beyond that.

I've read on other threads about poly-urethane coating, but don't know what product that would specifically be.
 

BLACKULA727

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm going to recommend smooth on free-form air. Look it up and see if you would like it. It's pretty easy to use. It's a tad more expensive then bondo, They sell gallon kits of it through Reynolds and it runs around $90 shipped. Just a thought!

-Tony

- - - Updated - - -

Oh yeah, the sculpt is looking fantastic!
 

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tdl84

New Member
I'm going to recommend smooth on free-form air. Look it up and see if you would like it. It's pretty easy to use. It's a tad more expensive then bondo, They sell gallon kits of it through Reynolds and it runs around $90 shipped. Just a thought!

-Tony

- - - Updated - - -

Oh yeah, the sculpt is looking fantastic!

I use that for my mother molds, it would be a good product to look at. They have a few varieties of it now, and I think one may be used to sculpt with.
 

Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
Free Form Habitat is going to be a slightly better option. It has a longer working time than Free Form Air, and holds detail a little better IMO. Also pick up the folding powder. It makes the epoxy less sticky and lets it hold a vertical a lot better. If not epoxy putty, go Bondo.
 
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bbranit

New Member
Free Form Habitat is going to be a slightly better option. It has a longer working time than Free Form Air, and holds detail a little better IMO. Also pick up the folding powder. It makes the epoxy less sticky and lets it hold a vertical a lot better. If not epoxy putty, go Bondo.

Looks like I will go with the Habitat. Is the final workable, cured surface similar to bondo or a softer, carve-able foam?

Assuming the photos I posted are 5' nose to nape. 3' wide and about 4' tall is there any chance a gallon would cover this and fill gaps, thinly applied?
 

tdl84

New Member
A gallon may be enough if all you want to do is fill gaps and cover it in a thin layer, but if you want to sculpt into it, I wonder if it would crack or chip being so thin? I have only ever used it as a mother mold.
 

Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
I'd try to sculpt as much as you can into it as you worked, but it's absolutely machinable after it cures. Bondo is a little softer than the epoxy, which I prefer for doing fine details with files and dremels.
 

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bbranit

New Member
So the scale of this is messing with me. I want to keep it lightweight for hanging and for the jaw attachment/support.

I think the habitat is going to be a little to putty-like. Is there a foam I could trowel into the gaps. I'm wishing I could use more of the expending foam but it just collapses when you try to work it.

Any ideas?
 

tdl84

New Member
I can't say for sure about the Free Form Habitat, but the regular Free Form Air is very light, I would guess the Habitat stuff is too.
 

Rocky1972

New Member
Hi
In my experience of making these, any original piece is going to end up weighing a lot just due to its size and volume, I've just built one myself, I used clay, and the only option I had was to cast it using silicone rubber so I ended up with a lightweight polyester resin cast - just a thought. Detail wise, plaster of paris is superb for carving, you can easily achieve the variety of bone textures with it quite easily and inexpensively. A smearing of bondo also works, with just a couple of passes with some sandpaper, gives a superb texture also. Superb work by the way, beautiful texture.
 
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