Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Lunatic-Like Persistence

Sometimes, I wonder to myself if I spend too much time obsessing about the details. I go round and round, doing trial after trial, experimenting until I either get it perfect, or until I run out of steam. It looks a whole lot like this project is going to be no different... but I REALLY think it paid off today.

I've been spending loads of time lately experimenting with color and consistency of the latex that will form the outer shell of the cape.

I ordered a big supply of pigments from Burman foam, along with two different types of latex. I went through a variety of brushes and rollers to see which one produced the best results. After weeks of never quite getting the color right, I switched gears and started to explore latex paints. I got some from Aaron Brothers, but the pigment was too faint. I recently got a couple of colors from Michael's, which actually turned out very nicely.

I don't recall the exact time line, but I think the same day I got the paints from Michael's, I ordered these pigments online:

They just arrived yesterday.

In my head, I had pretty much committed to using the balloon rubber with the Michael's pigments. I was getting good results, though the color match was not perfect. Still, I was willing to sacrifice "perfect" in the name of finishing the project.

But then these pigments showed up.

They mix VERY easily into the rubber, and they are very bold in color. My first test involved the use of some red, and a couple of drops of black.

I don't know how much more clearly I can state this, but the color match was PERFECT. And I mean perfect.

All of the subtle tones of the original were there. It's like a deep, dark red with traces of blue and burgandy. I suspect that these may have been the exact same pigments that were used to make the screen used cape. It's just that good.

So I am VERY very very excited today to have gotten such great results. I know I posted before that I had "Nailed It", but that was kind of a "Good enough" nailed it, not a "perfect match" nailed it.

The other funny news is that while I was experimenting, I think I've really decided to switch gears and go with the slip casting latex.

It goes down a little nicer, and tends to fill in the diamonds better. I didn't notice until later how many bubbles I was getting at the tips of the diamonds with the balloon rubber until I really got a close look at it.

So in short, my final recipe for the outer shell of the cape is the Burman Foam Slip Casting rubber, and a mix of red and black pigments from GMFoam inc.

Here's a link to GMFoam. They do not sell directly from that website. I will post the link to the site I ordered from in my next post.

In other news, a shipment arrived from Smooth-on yesterday. It contained some more urethane that I will use for the belt and chest emblem. I'm not in a big rush to get to those right now, as I really want to finish up a working cape. As of this moment, everything is in place to generate a cape. I have a good match for the fabric on hand, and I feel that I've really locked down the techniques and materials for doing the outer shell. So all is good!

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