My fake 1/4 scale Aliens Sulaco floor tile build


Active Member
A friend of mine gave me a casting from a mold he made from a real 1/4 scale Sulaco tile. I could have just sprayed it silver and been done, but I have one of the real 1:1 Sulaco tiles so I thought it would be cute to dress up the 1/4 scale version to look similarly real and hang them together.

Also, in case anyone freaks out about me making a fake prop look like a real prop: I didn't. If you look closely there are several ways my fake one is clearly a reproduction. Most obviously because it was cast in opaque white resin, not the translucent orange resin of the originals. So hold mine up to a light and it's obvious. Also, this is why mine took a lot more work to make it look passably real.

I did a lot of Googling to find reference pics from prop auctions. I didn't use one in particular, as the pics varied in white balance and also it seemed like the darkness of the orange resin varied too.

Step 1: Make the face straight. This was an old, and quick, casting and it was thicker in the middle and bowed a little. So 30min of alternating heat gun and 1-2-3 blocks and I made it pretty straight on the face side.
23,08-07, heat bending Sulaco tile  to straighten face (1).jpg

I chose not to address the bow on the back side, because that's another clue that this is a reproduction. And because shaving it down would have ruined the back side flashing. All the real props had a ton of flashing within the beam pattern. Thankfully, because I was not looking forward to cutting all that out. Apparently neither were the OG prop makers - so they didn't. All the film shots using these tiles were low angle, so you can't see the flashing anyway.
23,08-07, heat bending Sulaco tile  to straighten face (2).jpg

Step 2 was airbrushing Tamiya Clear Orange to haze a light orange color over the whole back side, and then go back and build up a more saturated orange where the casting was thicker (the beams). I theory this would make it look translucent.
23,08-13 (3).jpg

Step 3 was applying salt for chipping (my first time doing this) and then spraying the face and sides with Tamiya X-11 - making sure to not get proper coating inside the holes or gaps between the beams because the prop tiles were not thoroughly sprayed there. In this pic I had already started removing some of the salt.
23,08-13 (5).jpg

The face, after brushing off the salt.
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A side.
23,08-14 (3).jpg

Rear+side. The real prop tiles had a wide variety of wear. This pic and the one above are representative of the most and least, respectively, that I saw.
23,08-14 (6).jpg

Step 4 was using a thin flat brush to apply more Clear Orange to the thicker beam areas. The airbrush was necessary initially to give then areas a soft edge, but the way light shines through the OG tiles the edge is moderately sharp. Hence the use of a brush here. Unfortunately you can't brush on a translucent color as evenly as you can airbrush it, but I'm fairly happy with how this turned out.
23,08-20 (3).jpg

Step 5 was using a small point brush to build up variety in the darkness of the orange within the chipped areas. This was a subtle change but gave it a lot more depth.
23,08-20 (5).jpg

Step 6 was clearing the back side to unify the sheen. Tamiya Clear Orange is gloss, which stood out more in the areas with heavier application. And that killed the illusion of it being a unified material. Initially I used Tamiya XF-86 (Flat Clear) but this left white blotches. After researching the problem online it seems that it comes from it being applied too heavily. Rather than take more chances, and since I didn't need high durability for this clear, I switched to Liquitex Matte Medium (thinned). This worked fine, and I touched up the few remaining white spots by brush.
23,08-20 (15).jpg

Some pics of it finished, under better lighting.
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And hung near my 1:1 tile and related other Alien props and/or replicas.
23,08-21, hung.jpg
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