Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Orc Horn and Other LARP Stuff

These past two weeks I have been exhausting myself (always an interesting experience) by making a bunch of stuff for an upcoming local LARP event. In other words, lots of people dressed up as orcs, elves, etc, running through the woods. Among the things I built was this orc horn, something I hadn't done before. The people arranging the event couldn't find a big imposing-looking horn, so I volunteered to build one.

My idea for the horn-construct was a traditional one, as far as prop-making is concerned. I built up a basic smooth shape using Chavant clay, and decided to cover it with paper and glue papier maché style.

However, I opted to use latex instead, since time was suddenly of the essence, and latex would set up faster that the wallpaper glue traditionally used for this kind of work.

I tore up small bits of newspapers and fastened them to the clay horn by painting the latex over the paper with a sponge. When the first layer was finished..

..I added another using tinted latex, so I could see if I missed any spots.

 When these layers had set up I cut a slit all the way down the latex/paper skin with a scalpel, and simply peeled it off like a banana skin. Liquid latex was used to seal the split.

Of course, the horn as it was so far was far too soft, so I reinforced it by pouring SmoothCast 325 into the horn, and slather it around by turning the horn. The plastic was tinted a dark brown to cover up the newspaper printing on the paper. I did this two times to add sufficient support.

The next trick was to add exterior support too, and a smooth bone-like surface. For this I used another type of plastic called Epsilon Pro, which is mixed up and painted onto a soft surface to add a hard shell around it. Two layers of Epsilon Pro created a very smooth and durable surface for the horn.

As I had also tinted the Epsilon plastic a dark brown, the resulting look was quite nice, I'd say.

But to make it an Orc horn we also need to adorn the horn with some crude metalwork. I built up a clay shape around the opening of the horn using Monster Clay soft, which is very quick to work with, and fine if you don't need very complex details in your sculpture.

The white surface you see here is the bottom of a paper plate, and it's there for a good reason.

 Onto the paper plate surface I poured DragonSkin Pro silicone to create a base for the silicone mold that would go around the sculpture.

One truly indispensable tool in my workshop is my little turntable, on which I built up a Monster Clay base for the mold making process.

The horn sculpture was turned upside down and placed onto the clay base, and clay walls were built up around the sculpture to contain more silicone that was poured around the horn.

The final layer of silicone was thickened with a special chemical agent and smeared on like butter. This was done to quickly build up a thickness of the silicone. Trying to save that ever away-slipping time again..

A middle section was created in pretty much the same way, using clay containment walls and DragonSkin silicone.

Finally, the mouth piece was sculpted and a small wooden button added at the very top to create the desired look.

This time, again to save time, I simply used a roll of soft carton to create a containment wall for the silicone.

All these sculpted bits were cast in SmoothCast 325, using silicone molds that had been dusted down with aluminum powder. This powder stuck to the darkly tinted plastic, and created a dull metal surface that would never rub off.

The final horn was sandpapered for a more organic, dull look, and the "metal" bits were weathered using black airbrush colors. And how does this magnificent instrument sound? Well, when I blow in it, it either sound like a distant breeze or a smattering fart. I hope the Orc who'll be wearing this can make more noise with it. You can possibly make out that two metal rings have been added to the top and middle sections. These are points where a leather strap will be added.

I also cast 16 latex Elf ears, and 11 Orc and goblin latex masks, some of which are shown below. 
It's quite a lot of work hauling big plaster molds around, and I don't plan on participating in any such project again. I started making LARP masks and props way back at the start of the 2000's. A big LARP boom was occurring in Sweden then, and although this hobby isn't practiced by as many anymore, there are still ambitious fantasy role playing events popping up in the Swedish woods around this time of the year. 

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