Finally, here it is everyone! I'll try to explain as many details as I go through each step, but if you've got any questions about anything please feel free to post it up. Ready? Good. Let's do this...
- I HIGHLY recommend replacing the zipper on the back of the Mr Incredible suit with a better zipper made out of much stronger material than the cheap plastic type which comes already installed on it!!! I'd forgotten to do this on mine & when the time came to get suited up, the damn zipper broke immediately! I used safety pins to hold it together, but that made it a real pain in the ass to get on & off.
DUCT TAPE DUMMY
- The duct tape dummy I'd made was made in two separate parts, the upper torso & the lower legs. I also made an internal "skeletal" structure for it using pvc pipes & pvc pipe connector pieces. Doing it this way, I was able to glue certain joints together so they'd stay there permanently, such as the knees, hips & inner shoulder joints, while other parts were left unglued, such as the waist & arm pieces. Therefore, it allowed me the ability to pull certain areas apart once I needed to remove the Mr I suit from the dummy. It still wasn't exactly "easy" by any means to separate the latex suit from the dummy, but these features did help out a great deal. As I recall, it took both, myself & one of my good friends about two hours to fully remove the latex suit from the dummy w/o causing damage to the finished suit. Although, much of that time was spent cracking jokes & laughing hysterically throughout the suit-dummy separation & removal process!
Mr. I suit on Duct Tape Dummy................CHECK!
Space to work uninterrupted.....................CHECK!
Table (protected w/ plastic cover).............CHECK!
1 gal of Monsterroom Latex..........................CHECK!
Plenty of different materials to experiment.....CHECK!
Although, I quickly learned these types of homemade sponges I'd made w/ pieces of foam cut into blocks (used for winterizing a/c units, found at any hardware store), textured by ripping out small bits w/ a pair of pliers & then hot glued pieces of a wooden dowel as a handle worked out BEST for stippling on the latex. Cheap & easy, since each sponge is only good for maybe 1 hour of use & then has to be tossed into the trash.
Lay suited Duct Tape Dummy onto the protected table surface. Keep a list of general notes & tips nearby for reference.
Here's the text form of the list which is seen on the table in the pic above. I got them all from researching as many posts as I could find here in the Lair & also directly from a few members. It's a random collection of all the tips & helpful info I'd thought would be useful to me along the way. I didn't need all of them but it was nice to see another's perspective & methods. So, absorb what is useful for you & more importantly, don't ever be afraid to try something new!
***MISC LAIR NOTES & LATEX TIPS***
LATEX APPLICATION TIPS
Cut some custom sponges from some 2" upholstery foam. Make the sponges about 2" x 3" so that you can cover the suit faster.
Make a duck tape dummy of your self and put the suit onto it. Latex will shrink and it is good to have some behind it. This will give it something to shrink to. I lay the dummy and suit on a table. Then I pour a pile of latex on the center of the chest area and pull or roll the latex up and down the suit with latex coated brush or roller (not Dry). I like the roller better then the brush, I find it gives a more even coat. You can give the suit texture by slapping the foam brush up against the latex to stipple it. I do one side at a time while it is lying down. When standing up straight I find the latex likes to roll down or drip and make drip patterns down lower on the suit.
I just got an air gun for latex yesterday to apply latex into molds and body suits. I wanted a more even coat and less brush and roller marks.
You need to put the suit on a dummy or stuff it. Latex will shrink and you don't want the suit to wrinkle and warp. You can put the latex on with a brush, roller, or sprayer. You only need a few coats, the more you add the harder it will get to move in it.
I think the sponge/stipple paint application method is going to be the most workable method for your first skin. It's a little more time-consuming. But, by the time you get from one end of the skin to the other, you'll be able to start the next layer. When you cut the sponges, make the working end uneven and rounded off by tearing little bits off of the end so you won't have straight edges. That will be invaluable when it comes to the seams!! Brush strokes can be seen. Sponge blotting cannot.
I'd suggest at least 5 layers for a decent skin that would be almost 1/8" thick. You might do some basic pattern colors or muscle shading between layers with some tinted latex as well for more depth in the skin. Veins and spots would be good to do in between layers. The extra colors would end up diffused by the successive layers to a degree that the skin will have a very realistic depth to it. The more you cover any extra tones, the more subtle and effective the overall look will be in the end once you take an air brush to it for the top layer patterns. Think of each layer as a piece of tissue paper. Each layer, laid up on it's previous layer, has different features that show through in different ways, but combines to make a finished piece that has more than just a 2-D painted look. That's how most airbrush artists do their painting. They think about what's underneath before they think about surface colors. It can be done that way with pretty much any kind of paint or technique. Just a matter of deciding how something is going to show through the next layer.
I'd do a basic layer of latex, untinted, first. Then go for a tinted light tan or off-white for the next. After that, you can do some veins or spotting that will be barely visible through the successive layers, depending on how dark you make them.
Dark spots will show through more than light spots.
So, definitely take advantage of the layering technique and give your skin some real depth that will make people go "ooooooh" and "ahhhhhhh"!!!
Get rid of the bristle brushes. I don't want to see you have to constantly pick bristles out of your predator skin every 10 seconds. LOL ~DangerDavey
I'd highly suggest the first couple of layers be tinted with some white or beige acrylic to start painting over the red of the M.I. suit. You can mix it in a ratio of 25% paint to 75% for a very durable, thick under coat. That should be enough to start subduing the red. You can also take advantage of the red by using it as a subtle under-color where patterning will go. Just don;t cover it completely in the first and second layers and the successive layers will subdue it to nice degree. ~Dave
First off you have to have some form to put the suit on. You want this form to be your body size or close. You need to stretch the arms and legs and tape them down, because latex shrinks. If you have a sprayer you can spray the latex on this will give you a smooth skin. You can use a roller but this gives you a bumpy texture. Let the first layer dry and then add on the next layer. 3 layers is good any more the suit gets heavy and harder to move in. It is good to tint the latex with an off white tint to help hide the red color and give you a base for you to paint on. I like to mix my latex 50/50 with distilled water it helps in a smooth finish. ~TMI
My suit after first layer of latex.
I used cotton pads to create better Predator-like abs. I found cotton pads were easier to work w/ than cotton balls.
I'd added in some polystyrene beads to create a better look, but then later on it just didn't look right to me. So, I removed most of them w/ a razor blade & it left a bunch of small, cool looking recessed/dented in bubble-shapes that was unlike anything I'd seen before, but in a very VERY COOL WAY! *Check out what I mean by scrolling down a few pics!*
I also added some craft store pom-poms & more polystyrene beads to the back area and to the area around the leg muscles.
I spent a lot of time just staring at it, which helped me realize that I needed to get it as far away from the original look of the Mr. I suit as I possibly could. So, I then decided to make even further changes on the chest & abs to enhance more Pred-like features. I achieved this by adding pieces of cotton batting I'd cut into specific shapes & continued adding a few more thin layers of latex onto the entire suit.
I then added pieces of yarn & small lengths of thin rope to create the appearance of bulging 3-D veins.
I painted the veins w/ a deep bluish purple before adding the final layers of latex which gave them a neat "under the skin" look. Although, after I'd been experimenting a bit, learning what I could do w/ my airbrush on a 3-D surface, I later white washed the entire suit & began a whole new paint scheme.
When I'd finally reached the painting step, I had still not fully decided on any "one" particular style or color pattern. So I'd sought out some tips & advice on painting from two of the best Predator painters I knew of, The Mortal Immortal & mangrasshopper
(Joe D). Per their advice, I pretty much just continued spending many, many hours staring at it & every now & then I played around w/ a few different color shades & patterns until I discovered the "one" that it was meant to be. After that, the painting process seemed to fly by like nothing as the suit's pattern grew & soon became it's very own new skin. Thanks to everyone here in the lair who helped me out & kept me going throughout the entire process! Enjoy the rest of the pics!
All of those many steps above, inevitably led me to what you see here below...MY FIRST FULL LATEX PREDATOR SKIN!!!