Monday, August 23, 2010

Arkham Asylum Batarang: now THAT is what I am talking about, sir!

They say the third time is the charm. Who says that anyway? And who uses the term "Charm" colloquially nowadays anyhow? Wouldn't "Third time for the win" be more appropriate these days?

These, and other philosophical questions will not be adressed on this blog. Mainly because I find blogs about people's inner musings to be self-serving and inept. And yet here I sit, being self-serving and inept. The internal contradictions are both amusing and perplexing, and yet I persist.

This may go down in history as my most obtuse blog post to date, but the good news is that it is intentionally so, and on-purpose ironical. (yes, I am aware that this is not a word)

With that beastly preamble out of the way, please allow me to introduce the latest additions to my prop collection, two BEAUTIFULLY made batarangs from the Batman video game, "Arkham Asylum":

Ignoring the low-hanging fruit of an opportunity for a sloppy homage to the 1960's Batman show by saying something like "Holy machined metal, Batman", I will simply say that these are stunningly gorgeous, and bring to an official close my search for the perfect Arkham Batarang.

It's funny, because one of the recurring themes on my blog goes something like this: I am used to disappointment when it comes to fan made props I purchase on line, but this piece really breaks that cycle. I've been saying that A LOT lately, which probably means it's time to re-assess that position, and perhaps reverse it. In the past year and a half, I have acquired some really nice pieces. Perhaps it is because my maturity as a collector has grown. Or perhaps, and possibly more likely, I have just had a run of good luck, and only tend to deal with trusted dealers who post detailed pictures.

No matter what the cause, please let me go on record as saying that these pieces are just stunning. They are made of machined aluminum, from a cad model drawn up by a fellow prop enthusiast. These were machined by an online pal of mine in the UK, who goes by the name Russrep. Very talented guy with access to some amazing equipment.

I think my only negative comment about this piece is that there is some TINY wear to the otherwise flawless anodizing. No doubt caused during shipping, which is odd seeing as how well they were packed. No worries. I shall consider it battle damage, and not let it detract from the overall quality of the piece.

If you'd like to check out my other Arkham Asylum batarangs, here you go:

Comparison of Two Batarangs
Metal Batarang
Plastic Batarang

As you can probably tell from the pics, each has its own merits. Though overall bang for buck goes to the two new ones featured in this post. Thanks Russ!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Random Boot Work

Today I did some work on the patterns for the boots. Long story short, I now have it within my grasp to make wildly accurate boots, as far as the leather parts are concerned. The soles are still something in progress, but I'm feeling good about it.

The hard part for me so far has been wrapping my head around how the different panels of the boot fit together. There are three different types of leather involved in the boot. One has the micro-s pattern in it, the other has a female pyramid pattern (which is the inverse of the cape) and the other is just regular leather. My plan has always been to duplicate the micro-s and pyramid sections in urethane or latex, thus allowing me to reproduce the boots in a way that they will fit me, using techniques that I am familiar and comfortable with. Also, it would be cost prohibitive for me to generate roller dyes that could emboss the leather in the same way that it was done for the movie.

And as I am fond of saying, it will take a very knowledgeable observer to differentiate my boots from the screen used ones.

I am also on the final stretch of the micro-s pattern panels. Now that my boot pattern is coming together, I have very precise measurements, meaning I can change my drawing to suit my needs, and cut cost. My original drawing was about three times the size of what it is currently, seeing as how I did not know the exact dimensions of the boots. I've also found a few solid sources for the etching, and I'm pursuing that right now. Once I get the laser etched leather, it will be a simple matter of making a mold of it, pulling some "fabric" from it, then cutting out pieces based on my pattern.

The next step for me is really finding a good base boot. My original plan was to use my CABoots, but I am really not satisfied with the overall shape of the toe. It's very different than the SR boot, and I don't like it. I am going to buy a couple cheapie halloween boots with the hopes that one of them will have a more accurate shape. Most cost about 40 bucks each, so I can certainly afford a little trail and error. I beleive that the entire boot will be re-skinned with the stuff I'm making, so it's original color or material is not really a barrier. However, the overall shape is. I just want to do it right.

Again, going this route will also allow for a degree of flexibility and repeatability. And at a much lower cost. CABoots run about 250 to 300 bucks. Big difference.

I don't really have anything to show today, though once I get my boot pattern all squared away I will certainly show that off. I am also looking forward to posting pictures of my first mock up, which shouldn't be too far off, as all of the pieces are really coming together.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Laser Etched Goodness

Our man Philip Wise over at Rebelscum sent me another sample of what his laser cutter can do, this time demonstrating his skill with etching.

Next step is to email Philip and ask for him to cut the full size sheet that I need in order to do the boot panel. Thanks Philip!

Supplies and Pigments Ordered

I placed an order from Micro-Mark today. Here's a link to their pigments page. I actually have no idea if this stuff will suit my needs, but I am willing to give it a try.

If you've been following along lately with my urethane tests, you will have noticed that I'm having trouble getting a good shade of red. I'm hoping that a different brand of pigments will be able to get me what I want.

ALSO, of interest, is an item on that page linked to above. There's some stuff sold by micro mark that is billed as a catalyst based TIRE making system. You can make your own tires! I am of course thinking that this might be a great solution for making the soles of the boots. I already have a product ear marked for this task, but I thought it might be worthwhile trying an alternative. Who knows, it might be perfect. And it seems to be formulated to take those pigments I purchased.

Since I'm on a roll, I also emailed the folks at this website, and asked them what I need to do to purchase a few ounces of some of their opaque pigments. I will let you know as soon as I hear back from them.

Leathers, Lasers, and Molds

I have a few tiny updates today, most of them boot related. But first, some cape stuff.

This is a test I did with my new brush on urethane. I applied it with a spatula, and it went on very thin, and did not pull back from the silicone. The color is all wrong, but I was more interested in testing the properties of the urethane than its coloring abilities.

My pal Philip Wise over at did a couple of laser cut samples for me. The idea is that when properly sized, these will be used on the bottom soles of the boots. These are just samples, but came out very well.

RMS laser sent me another sample of the pattern I sent. This time they got it right, and cut four different depths for me. Or was it five. I guess this is an interesting lesson in the process, as it took me about 2 months to get this sample from them. Yikes. Hard to do things quickly on this project.

I used my Body Double from Smooth-On to make a quick mold of the leather.

And then brushed in some urethane. This will help me determine which depth setting is right for me.

One of the things I really like about the body double molding compound is that it cures in just a few minutes. I don't have to wait overnight to demold, and then run urethane. Good stuff.

I also wanted to share a little product that I have found to be very handy in this type of activity:

Though they are a bit more expensive than your typical plastic party cups, what is great about them is how shallow they are. With party cups, it can be a pain in the rear to mix the stuff up properly, especially when you are only dealing with tiny little amounts of the stuff.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HUGE Boot News!!!

But sadly, I cannot disclose much of it!

What I can say is that I am now in a position to make VERY accurate boots. I have some great reference material, some measurements, and a paper pattern taken from an amazing source. I am EXTREMELY excited about this, as this really resolves a whole ton of pending questions that I had about the boots. As of right now, I pretty much have it ALL figured out. All I really need to do now is just go through the motions of putting them together. All of the guesswork is totally gone.

The tough part is that I still have to scuplt the soles, but since 75% of it is not even seen, I'm not too stressed about it. I'm sure I will be able to pull it off pretty well

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Boot Sole Details

I did a little bit of work today on the details that go on the underside of the boot today. Based on some new reference material I acquired, I figured it was finally time to get this rolling.

The interesting thing about the soles is that all of the S symbols on it are slightly different. It might be due to wear, the casting process, the angle of the photo, or a million other things. To simplify my life, I picked one that I thought looked the best, and used that as reference for my Adobe Illustrator drawing.

Here's a rendering of it:

This is actually a very "cleaned up" version of what is on the boot sole. I straightened a few lines, made a few things symmetrical, and made the outer border a consistent thickness. It turned out to be non-trivially different than the ones on the underside of the boot, but I prefer it the way it is here.

So I guess at this point, I'm veering from screen accuracy into the realm of "idealized" or "perfected", which is just fine by me. Besides, it's the bottom of the sole. Like anyone is ever going to see it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Smooth-On Product Tests

Today is a pretty technical blog posting, so if the gory details of the Superman Returns cape build bore you, I suggest you take your droids and move along.

I called up Smooth-On tech support a while ago, and they recommended this stuff to me.

Brush On 50. The "50" is the shore strenght, so this stuff is pretty flexible.

When I called smooth on, what I really wanted was something I could brush into a silicone mold without having it "pull back" from the silicone. This is a problem I have with almost everything I brush into my mold. The guy on the phone recommended this stuff. When the sample kit arrived, I did some experimentation.

I brushed a couple of samples onto my 1630 positive of the cape material. One of the applications was done to a prepped surface, the other application was not. The prep was basically a few blasts with mold release spray.

And also some directly onto the cape mold. What was REALLY nice about brushing it into the mold is that it did not pull away AT ALL, which made me really happy. Even when I brushed it on very thin, it still kept in place.

Here are the results from the cape. It's kind of hard to tell what is going on here, as the brush on has fused with some previous tests that I never peeled off the cape. The punchline is that it's VERY nice. There are NO bubbles. It really took to the mold really well, even on the thinnest of brushings. This makes me very curious about what can be accomplished with this stuff. I believe further tests are in order.

Here are the results from my 1630. Again, ZERO air bubbles. Both turned out VERY nicely, however, for the section that was untreated, the urethane bonded just a little too much, and it was damaged when I tried to remove it. The lesson learned here is that I will need to spray rigid molds with a release agent prior to brushing the stuff in. The good news is that this product works REALLY well.

I only have a few nits about this particular product. From the one time I used it, it didn't take pigments very well. I squirted in a bit of So-Strong tint, and it didn't really penetrate very well. I thought it would have made it much more "red", but instead it kind of turned pink. I also dropped in a bit of black, which served to make the stuff look brown. Which is also an interesting lesson. The stuff becomes a bit too thick to work with after about ten or fifteen minutes, so if I do anything of size, I will need to work quickly. Not a big deal really, as I believe I could do multiple brush-ons and they would fuse together well.

Also of note to other hobbyists is something new I have started doing. I picked up a college rule composition book from Target, and I'm using it sort of as my R&D bible. All of the lessons I learn from my various experiments are going to be logged in this book. It is great that I have my blog to refer back to, but it would be nice to have detailed, precise, and boiled-down information all in one place. I have a separate page for each material that I experiment with, and a separate page for each part of the suit I am working on. It's kind of like a recipie book, so that I don't have to keep doing the same experiments over and over again, and so I can keep track of my lessons learned. It seems like a good idea to keep track of this stuff, and it's already proven pretty valuable.

It Belongs In A Museum!!!

This is a fan made Cross of Coronado, as seen in “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade”. This prop was seen briefly at the beginning of the movie, when Indy was onboard the sinking ship. Though this prop was not pivotal to the central plot of the movie, it welcomed audience members back into the world of Indiana Jones after an extended hiatus.

The replica itself is stunningly beautiful. I dare say this may be one of the most finely crafted fan made replicas I have in my collection, and perhaps that I have ever seen. The attention to detail is just nuts. At the time of purchase, there was a discussion thread running over on the Replica Props Forum that documented the work and research that went into the creation of this piece. Regular readers of this blog will know what a fan I am of research and precision, which is one of the things that drew me to this prop. The maker detailed step by step the process he went through in making the master, and producing the replica. It was a great journey to follow, and very interesting to watch.

An interesting tidbit about this prop as it relates to my collection is that it’s not something I would normally be interested in. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Indiana Jones fan, and own a number of replicas from the franchise. I personally believe that the Hovitos Fertility Idol is one of the most iconic props of the 20th century, though I could easily be mistaken. I have in my collection a wonderful gold plated replica, along with an ACME magic headpiece to the staff of Ra. Both excellent pieces, and very recognizable. With that said, over the past few years, my collecting habits have changed, and I have become very focused. I tend to only acquire pieces that are both very well made, and also play a pivotal role in the plot of a movie or TV show. This helps me stay focused on what is interesting to me, and lets me avoid z-list props such as the Parker Jotter that was used in the James Bond movie GoldenEye. (that’s sort of my go-to example of a z-list prop, as it’s such a non-event that there’s no use having it in my collection.) I don’t my collection to look like a yard sale of discarded household items. I want it full of iconic, recognizable pieces that someone who has only a passing familiarity with the franchise has a good chance of recognizing. Who would mistake a whip and a fedora sitting on an end table for anything other than an homage to Indiana Jones?
But I digress. (but then, isn’t that what blogs are for? Aren’t they really nothing but a formalized forum for digressions???) Oops, did it again.

The point I’m trying to make is that under normal circumstances, this is not a piece I would want in my collection, nor is it something I would normally show interest in. it’s just a little too esoteric when it comes to the Indiana Jones universe. Give me a good grail diary, or a holy grail any day. THAT’s and iconic piece from the movie. What made me had to have this piece is the fact that it’s just so beautifully made. Combined with the fact that I saw the creation of it unfold online really adds a lot to the overall piece, in my opinion.

The real question on my mind right now is this: to weather, or not to weather. I have seen a few folks online who have done some amazing work in making their crosses look more “battle worn”. Stunning results. Truly beautiful. A well done weathering takes this prop to the next level, and makes it look like a genuine artifact that was dug up recently and is being transported to a museum. As it is today, it looks almost too pristine. Too perfect in its execution.

The dilemma for me is twofold. First, I’ll probably never get around to actually doing it. So why queue it up, only to have it never done. I’ve got a million other projects on my plate that are much higher on my radar, and I fear that adding it to the list will just give me one more thing to be frustrated over not finishing. The second is my fear that I would do it wrong, or in some way damage the piece. I don’t have much experience with weathering, and I’m not convinced that this is the piece that I want to cut my chops on. It’s just so nice, I would hate to screw it up by using a caustic material on it that could damage it. Or knowing me, drop it while going through the process and take a big chunk out of the corner. So I think for the time being, I will leave it as is.

That’s about it for this piece. It’s a really great piece, very well made, utterly beautiful, and I’m completely stoked and proud to have it in my collection.

Below are a series of pictures that were taken by the maker of this prop. The one pictures is not the one I own, but is one from the same run. Amazing pics!

A comparison between the replica and the screen used piece.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Supplies Arrive

Not a terribly exciting Blog post here, but I'm doing this for consistency.

My swatch of gabardine arrived that I ordered the other day. It's nice, and might even make for a good fit, BUT it takes dye REALLY poorly. Not sure why. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's the RIT. But after two soakings, it only took on a SLIGHTLY pink tint. I will do a little bit of investigating to see if there is a dye better suited for this type of fabric.

My order of wide velcro also showed up today:

Sadly, the SECOND after I clicked "purchase" on this stuff, I found a place that had SIX inch wide strips of the stuff, which would be perfect. I will find a use for this, but next time I will be getting the six inch stuff for any future cape work.

Smallville Daily Planet ID

This is a project I picked up about a year ago, spent a few hours on, then abandoned for some reason. Don't even know why. I guess it's just my nature.

It was about 90% done at the time, but I wanted it to be JUST right. I'm thinking I may take this with me to DragonCon this year.

Here is the front of my replica:

And the back:

And some screen captures for comparison. Note that the first one was digitally "straightened" by me so I could trace it properly.

I owe a big debt of gratitude to a gent who goes by the name of Cmdr.Kerner on the interwebs. He pointed me in the right direction of the font used for the "Daily Planet" logo, and also provided a first draft of the ID in vector format that I built on.

I ended up redrawing the Planet logo, though I kept his original sphere and latitude lines. Other than that and the words "Daily Planet" on the yellow ribbon, it's all new.

I picked up some heat free lamination pouches at Target, and they appear to be the PERFECT dimensions for my badge. Good luck, I suppose, and I'm very happy with how it turned out.

Smallville Book of Rao

In a moment of weakness, I just HAD to buy this!

This is a replica of the "Book of Rao" as seen in season 9 of Smallville. It was sort of one of those instrumental plot devices that never quite became instrumental. It played a good role in a number of episodes, but I get the feeling that the original plot-line that they had in mind for this device got lost in the shuffle of everything else going on for this season.

Overall, I would say this is an EXCELLENT quality replica. VERY nicely made. Looks like it's all CNC'd, and hand polished. The company that makes these has had a bunch of hands-on encounters will Smallville props, though I cannot say with certainty that this was modelled after a screen used piece, or just off screen captures. If I find out more, I will let you know.

If you're interested, here's a link directly to the product if you would like to order one of your own.

And on the off chance they change thier website layout and that link goes dead, you can visit them at and check out all of their cool Smallville props.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cape Material, Again?

Exciting news here from FOS:R&D. (that’s code for “Fortress of Solitude: Research & Development” –ed) I have what appears to be a VERY strong lead on the original source material used in the making of the Superman Returns cape. I’m talking about the pyramid pattern used in the outer shell, mind you.

Historically, I have constrained my searches to a certain type of material, but the other day I had a brain storm that led me down a different path. I did a little google-fu, and found a few places online that seem to deal in the type of material I am looking for. I sent out a few emails, and included a close up scan of the cape material.

Today, ONE of them replied saying they had a match for this pattern! I have requested a sample of the material, which they are going to send out asap. Based on previous experiences, my expectations are low. BUT, I cannot help but get a little excited about it! If I can find this material, it will make my life A LOT easier. One of my main concerns is transportation of the giant mold I made of the cape. If I find the source material, I can just throw out that mold when the time comes. Having the original material will also allow me to remaster the cape mold. I can make them in different sizes, and also correct a number of the imperfections that are in my current mold.

Also, and perhaps most importantly, it would allow me to remaster the mold in different materials. If I wanted to make a stone mold, I totally could. A rigid mold from 1630 could also be done, which would make some aspects of construction much easier.

So yes, very excited!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Perma-Flex Shout Out!

Just wanted to give a quick shout-out to my new friends over at Perma-Flex Molds, my local distributor of Smooth-On products.

A very friendly bunch of folks, and also very knowledgeable. Which is a great combination. They have TONS Of Smooth-On stuff on hand, and naturally it saves me on shipping charges. I get the stuff right away, and it's cheaper. What could be better?

Check out Perma-Flex on the web!

If you're looking for a local distributor of Smooth-On products, check out this page on their website. It's SOOOO much cooler than ordering online!

Body Double Tests

With my order of laser etched leather just about to be placed, I wanted to do some final experimentation with Smooth-On's "Body Double" silicone. It's a brush on silicone that cures in just a few minutes, and based on ALL of my tests so far is just fantastic.

What I wanted to determine is the best application technique, in order to make sure I minimize bubbles and maximize detail retention.

To that end, I applied the stuff to my leather sample using three different techniques. I used a stipple technique on one sample, a "goop on" strategy with another (meaning that I applied it in heavy brush strokes), a thin brush strokes approach.

As of this writing, I have not yet peeled the tests up, so I cannot give you the results. However, based on previous tests I ran, it seems not to matter which application technique I use, as all of them seem to yield great results. Which is really fantastic, by the way. I will post the results when I have them.

Also, some VERY exciting news on the horizon, though I am loathe to post it until it is confirmed for sure. But it could literally be a "game changer" for this project, and will definitely eliminate a lot of guesswork in some upcoming efforts. I'm very excited, and hope to know more within a few days. Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Urethane Recommendation

I called the good folks at Smooth-On today and talked about the trouble I'm having with getting a thin layer of urethane to work in my 1630 mold. The helpful chap I spoke to recommended their "Brush On" line, which makes a whole ton of sense and I'm sorry I did not think of it myself, or sooner.

Here's a link: Brush On Series

I'm going to order a sample kit to play around with, and see what kind of results I can get.

Thought I would throw a little terminology out at you too. If something is low viscosity, that means it's more like water. If it's high viscosity, that means it's more like syrup.

I was told that the brush on urethane can be thinned with isopropyl alcohol, by the way.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cape Fabric Revisited

With the outer skin of the cape REALLY coming together, to a point where I think I've pretty much got it nailed, it's time to turn once again to the question of the inner fabric.

I found some stuff that works pretty well, but it's a bit heavy, and I'm not perfectly happy with it. I think if I used it, I would have to build some kind of internal mechanism underneath the body suit to support it. That may not be all that bad, but I'm going to take another shot at finding the right fabric.

I really think it's some sort of gabardine, which fits with the research I've done and the swatch I have. I guess at the end of the day I'm more concerned about function and weight over accuracy. I want the cape to flow properly, be light, and be colored correctly. The weave isn't really going to bug me. So I'm looking at gabardine online.

As with my search before, the real bummer is that there's not a lot of fabric available in bolts over 65" wide, which is what I need. I found ONE place online so far, and ordered a swatch.

Here's the link.

Boot Pattern Test

This will be my last update for today, and should get me almost completely caught up on my blogging.

I am doing a test to see what the best way is to replicate the surface used on the boot. This test has me doing a thin layer of brushed on urethane using a rigid mold of 1630.

I start with the rigid mold, and spray some mold release on it. My previous research shows that the urethane reacts no differently if you brush it onto a treated surface or an untreated surface. The difference is that it comes off MUCH easier if you have the mold release sprayed down.

I then taped off a section. This was really just to help me peel the edges up when the time comes to remove it.

I mixed up a small batch of urethane and brushed it on. I had to keep chasing "lift off" points as I brushed. This continued for about ten minutes, until the stuff started to kick and it didn't pull back as much. Even then, after another ten minutes, a few spots developed. That was certainly not good news.

A day later, I mixed up another batch of urethane. This time I made it more opaque, but didn't bother getting the right shade of red. No big deal, it's just a test.

Interestingly, the two layers of urethane did not work well together. The second layer tended to pull back from the FIRST layer. I did not expect that at all. I expected the opposite: that they would work very smoothly together. Interesting stuff.

I will post a picture of the finished piece later.

Latex Tests On Cape Mold Cont'd

It seems like I am always messing around with this cape mold, trying to figure out the best techniques and materials to use in order to get the best results.

I TRULY believe that I am a lot closer today than I have ever been before.

Check out these patches of test brush-ins that I did just the other night:

There are a number of factors which make these tests interesting. First is that the latex is BARELY lifting up from the silicone. It actually went down VERY smoothly, VERY thin, and is not behaving AT ALL like the rubber I got from Burman Foam a while back.

For the record, I used a dense foam four inch roller brush I got from Lowe's, along with the latex Rubber I got from The Motion Picture FX Company. The pigments I used are from GM Foam, Inc.

I think the type of brush is key, as is the latex.

I need to run a couple more tests, but I REALLY think this is going to be the recepie for success. This new rubber I'm using is just great. The only remaining piece of the puzzle is opacity. I need to figure out how many layers I need to do in order to get the opacity I need. If it's more than three, I will do some experimentation with Kilz to notch up the opacity on the latex. I would prefer NOT to have to use Kilz, as that complicates the coloring process, in case I need to repeat it.

Primer In Mold Test

The other day, when I was thinking outside of the bun, I put some primer down on the cape before brushing in latex. It looked like it was going really well. The latex did not pull up at all from the silicone, and seemed to go on smoothly.

I brushed in another layer of latex, then backed it with some fabric.

When that dried, I peeled it up.

After running under some warm water, and a little scrubbing, I got to this point:

I would classify this as "mixed results". Granted, I needed to spend a little more time and elbow grease getting all the primer off, and that's sort of part of the issue. The final piece looks nice, and there are no bubbles. But for the time it takes to scrub off that little piece of cape, it gets me worried about how long it would take to do the ENTIRE cape. I mean, it's a big thing! I'm also not sure how the scrubbing would effect it. I might damage the pattern or material as I go.

I think for the time being, I will keep this technique in the back of my head, and file under "if all else fails". I did get some good results, but for the labor required to get them, I'm not sure it's worth it.

Etched Leather Tests

This post actually covers a few days worth of stuff, but since it's kind of all part of the same story, I decided to consolidate it.

I received in the mail the laser etch samples from MK Engraving, and they are great. Katie sent me three different tests, showing the varying depths that their laser can etch.

The next thing to do was to test out my planned process. The goal is to have a big sheet of this etched, the mold it, then cast it, and use the castings to build up the boots. The reasons are many. First is that I am not good at dealing with leather. Second, having molds of the stuff will allow me to make as many copies of it as I want, without the expense of having leather etched each time I want to take a stab at it. Third, it will allow me to offer the materials to other enthusiasts who may want to build their own pair of boots.

I'm going to use a Smooth-On product called "Body Double" to make a mold of this leather. It's a two part, very rapid cure silicone product. I have never used it before, but I have heard very good things about it.

Here's a link to the Body Double product on the Smooth-on Website.

The Body Double mixes up very quickly, brushes on nicely. I'm not really sure what the work time is, though I hear it's pretty short. Just a few minutes. Here's the leather after I gobbed on some silicone. Accuracy wasn't really at stake here. All I really wanted was to be sure that the three little samples were covered.

I let it cure for about an hour, though I'm quite sure it was ready for de-mold after five or ten minutes. Here's the mold!

I then poured up a little batch of urethane, just as a test. It didn't really matter what the color was, and yes, this is too pink.

That's where things stand as of right now. The goal here is to have a urethane sample that will represent what the final product will look like. From there, I will choose which etching depth is right for the project, and place an order for a large sheet of the stuff.