Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fabric Search For Briefs

My attention has finally turned to the briefs. Yes, not the most appealing part of the costume, and probably one of the lamest parts of the overall look that has managed to stand the test of time and a number of attempts to remove them. From the costume design, I mean. Not to say someone has tried to remove Superman's briefs.

You know what... nevermind.

Anyhow, I went online and did a little browsing around, and found this webisite:

I ordered a yard of everything burgandy they had on their site, in the hopes that I will be able to find a "close 'nuff" match for my liking. I'm told that dying this type of fabric is an entirely different creature, one that I am not interested in tackling. My plan will be to find a decent match for the burgandy, then find someone online to actually sew the things up for me. While the idea of sewing the cape together is not intimidating, sewing stretch fabrics is just something I don't have the patience to learn right now. It's a skill that would probably come in handy eventually, but I fear that the learning curve would complicate the project to a point where I would be dissuaded.

Pattern Work Progress

Another productive hour or two were snuck into this sunday evening's festivities. Tonight my goal was to finalize the pattern for the stabilizier.

Here's what the old pattern looked like after I had cut it up. The idea was to make sure it was uniform and mirrored. I folded it in half down the center line, did a little trimming, and cut off one of the "wings" entirely and just duplicated it.

Here's the final version on paper. I made some notes when I took my original pattern, and I incorporated the notes into the new drawing.

In the mean time, I ironed out all of my dyed fabric. As mentioned in earlier posts, I'm going to use the dark burgundy sample for this test cape.

That's all for now. The next step is to cut out the pattern. By then, I'm essentially at a point where I can't go much further on the cape construction without a heavy duty sewing machine.

Fabric Dye Results

After an evening of drying, here are the results of my dye tests so far:

The panel on the bottom is the white fabric dyed in the "wine" color. The fabric in the middle is white fabric dunked in "scarlet". The fabric on the right was dunked once in scarlet, let to dry overnight, then dunked in wine the next day.

That last piece is the one I'm going to use. It's very nice. I'm sure it's not an exact color match, but what I was going of was a dark red, and that is certainly it. Either in display or actual use, this part of the cape will not be seen at all, so I'm not too concerned about making it a perfect match. A deep red will be totally great.

So this officially ends my foray into dying for the stabilization panel. Seeing as how I'm still only building up my prototype cape, I'll have to repeat the process soon, but I feel that I've gotten it pretty well nailed down.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Laser Quoting Fun Continues

Both of the laser cutters I have contacted got back to me with quotes yesterday, and they are roughly the same price. However, I have since made some changes to my drawings, and have added the requirement that one of the pieces be cut in styrene a little thicker than the rest of the pieces.

So I have sent out the new drawings and new reqs back to the cutters for a new quote. I suspect the quote will probably remain the same, as I removed two pieces from my drawing.

I had originally added in duplicates of the lower "arms", since one picture I have makes it look like there is a contour to it. I figured that could be accomplished by stacking up the styrene a little higher, then sanding in the contour. But when I look at OTHER pictures of the pass, I don't see that contour. The best picture is the one of the pass sitting on Korben's dresser, and there is clearly NO contour to it. I think it may just be an artifact of the process that was used to get that photo into the book it was scanned from. For all I know, they cut and pasted two different photos, and it just looks weird in that one photo. I'm not going to let ONE photo dictate the course of this project, especially when every other reference shot I have of the thing makes it look different.

Ombre Testing

I was in the middle of cleaning up my home office when I got a bug to take another stab at the ombre dying. I cut up a strip of fabric, and actually mixed up a bucket of of Rit's "Wine" colored dye. The plan was not only to do a couple more test dyes of the stabilization flap, but also to play around with the ombre. The one I did last time was nice, but didn't quite give me the right color I was going for.

Here's the dye I am using.

And here's how it turned out!

Though the fabric is still a TINY bit damp at this point, it is essentialy PERFECT. The color on the dark end of the fabric is REALLY nice, and turned out great. It's just the right color that I wanted it to be. In the final piece, the ombre will run a little farther into the length of the fabric, but this was just really proof of concept.

I'm very happy with the results so far.

Anothing thing I've learned lately is that getting good results from dye is really NOT that hard. I think it might be tough if you're trying to color match pefectly, but getting a nice color evenly across your fabric is not that hard.

The reason this is interesting to me is because it gets me rethinking my fabric strategy. Point one is that the dry cleaner did NOT manage to get the crease out of the fabric I took in. It's ALMOST gone, but it's still there. That got me thinking that I might want to re-assess my choice of fabric. But that's a giant pain, and the stuff I have is REALLY darn good. But if I'm not limited to off the bolt RED fabric, but can also look for whites, that might really open things up for me. I think I might take another stab at finding a better match for the fabric in a wide bolt size, but this time go for white, then just dye it to the color I want.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Laser Cutting Quotes

I heard back from my friends at RMS laser tonight, and they gave me a good quote on getting the pass kits cut.

I have worked with them in the past, so I just need to make sure to get them the right format drawing, and know they will hit it out of the park.

More to come.

Korben Dallas Multi-Pass

For reference, here is a picture of a NEARLY complete build up of one of my multipass kits. It's missing the little red rod next to the LED, and I don't think I had installed the flourescent rod yet.

Here's the screen used one:

But this should give you an idea of what the kits build up to look like.


Since I had so much luck with Rit the other day on the stabilization flap, I headed out to JoAnn's and got some more. The idea is that I will be able to use this dye in various combinations to get the ombre I'm looking for. I may also re-visit the idea of dying the entire piece of fabric to be a better approximation of the red I'm after.

I also stumbled onto this stuff which I am going to experiment with on the flap. Might be a good way to get it the color I want quickly.

Boot Expenses and Musings

Quotes have been coming in for some of the boot components, and frankly, it is quite daunting. By my estimates, start to finish, for me to get a VERY CLOSE to 100% screen accurate boot, it will run me over 5,000 bucks.

And while I am dedicated to making this project good, I'm not THAT dedicated. If there was a chance I could see some return on that money, like if I could copy the boots and crank them out cheap and sell them, it might be interesting. But that's what it's going to cost to make ONE pair of size 11 shoes. I could probably sell castings of the soles that I make, but those two pieces are going to comprise about 3,500 bucks of the overall cost.

With that said, I am on the verge of abandoning my current approach. Now don't get me wrong: if other opportunities present themselves in the future, I will pursue them. But I am going to OFFICIALLY abandon my current avenues of pursuit at this time.

Now, if I get a copy of a matching pair of soles that I can play around with, this may all change.

But for now, I'm going to modify my approach as follows:

I'm going to hire someone to make the boots, but not use embossed leather for the Micro-S's. They will build them without the soles. Once I get the boots, I will sculpt a sole onto them, mold it, cast it, then attach it to the boot. For the Micro-S pattern on the boots, I am thinking of getting a stencil plotter cut that I will then use to paint on Micro-S's in a color darker than the leather. it won't be embossed, but the Micro S pattern will be there.

I was considering having the S's laser etched onto the leather, but seeing as how the results will be almost identical to my stencil idea, I think I will skip that.

I MAY pursue separately a much more inexpensive option, which I discussed here earlier. I could just buy a pair of CA Boots, modify them a little, paint them, build new soles, and call it a day. That would be the most inexpensive solution, with the total cost probably being about 300 bucks. They may not be terribly accurate, but I believe that the casual viewer will not know any better. And, don't get me wrong, they will still look REALLY nice. I think I can do a good job on them. They just won't be AS trick as the ones I could have made offshore.

Still, my current plan is to have someone make them, and I will take it from there.

Another Laser Cutting Quote

I have submitted another request for quote to my old friends at Polou Laser. They did a bang up job for me about a year ago on a different project.

Check them out here if you are curious:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dye Experiments

Somehow, I have managed to go my entire sweet, short life without having experienced the process of dying fabric. Well my faithful readers, those days are over!

Today my task was to dye a few cuts of fabric to use as the stabilization flap on the inside of the Superman Returns cape. Since I've never done this before, I did not have very high hopes.

I cracked a bottle of Rit Dye that I purchased online a while ago, and basically just followed the directions. Since I was doing only a small amount of fabric, I just did it in a bucket in the kitchen sink:

After about an hour, THIS came out:

The camera totally ruins the color, but it looks GREAT!!! I mean REALLY REALLY good. I don't always impress myself, but this just turned out so fantastic. The color is really nice, and basically perfect for my test cape. The color is not QUITE where it needs to be for the final cape, as it should be a bit deeper red, and have a twinge of brown to it, but it is really really close.

The other thing I wanted to experiment with while having a bucket full of red dye handy was a technique known as an "ombre". This is where the color of the fabric gradually transitions from one color to another. Or in my case, from one shade of red to another. I did some research online a while ago, found a few links, and gave it a shot.

Though you cannot tell it from the photo, the results are stunning.

It is EXACTLY how I hoped it would turn out. It just worked so perfectly, it's almost rediculous. What is perhaps more interesting is that the red in the mid grade is an even BETTER red for the cape than my found fabric. This gets me thinking that I may want to dye a few yards of my red stock, THEN put the ombre on it, and THEN make the final cape. The color looks a lot richer when dyed, and a lot closer to where it needs to be. Not that the fabric I found is terrible, but it has some subtle differences.

Overall, this has been a really productive day, and I'm really happy how things turned out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Multi-Pass Cutting Quote

Another project I'm working on right now is a laser cut Multi-Pass kit. I made a few of these back in 2004. Hard to believe it has been that long. There is some interest from the collecting community to have a few more made, so I am on it.

I dug through my files today, and it stirred up some fun memories. Even better, I actually took some good notes back in the day, and I found a spreadsheet I put together that contained links to online suppliers of all the folks who provide different components of the kit. Included in that list was the laser cutter I used. I contacted them tonight, sent along my updated drawing, and have requested a quote.

If I recall correctly, their turn around time was very quick. So if I place an order, I would expect it to come back pretty fast. I think the long pole in the tent will be sourcing all of the different components that go into a kit.

I had actually intented to make a couple of changes to the kit, but now that I look at the above photo, I'm more convinced than ever that my original design was dead on. The center section needs to be a tad thicker, but that's it. I may also resize the circular part so that the dome more cleanly drops in. As is, you have to do a TINY bit of filing to get it to fit. This is due to the fact that the laser cuts a tiny bit of size off when it cuts, and it is not possible for me to account for that exact thickness.

EMails Flying

I had a really good phone conversation today with a gent named Todd McLain over at Steel Stamps Inc. in Las Vegas. They are the company I found to make the stamp I will need to do the leather for the boots. Todd gave me a few pointers about the process, and also gave me some tips about how to get the embossing done. I am thinking more and more that the way to go with the stamped leather is to get it sourced out. I don't think I would be able to do a good job at home with some small arbor press, especially when there are people out there (somewhere, I hope!!!) that offer that service for a living.

I also sent an email off to my old friend Sebastian at Action Costumes in Argentina. I was looking at the old post in my blog about the progress they were making, namely this one, and had the idea of trying to buy those off him. Or buy castings. Though there are some problems with those soles, they are 90% there, and would save me a lot of time and effort on an undertaking that I do not have confidence I could even complete. So it seemed like a good idea to at least ask. Worst case, he says no, at which point I am no worse off than I was before.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Boot Quote from Indy Magnoli

Indy Magnoli got back to me today with a quote for building the boots. They will be without the custom soles, and I will need to provide the leather that is embossed with the micro S pattern. The price is fair for the amount of work that is involved, but it is not cheap. It is actually a bit cheaper than I expected, so I suppose at the end of the day I am happy.

I did some research today on the machine you need in order to do the leather stamping. I should be able to pick one up from harbor freight for about 100 bucks. The stamp itself will cost me a hundred or so, depending on how big I decide to get it. There are still some complications, but I feel like I'm on the right track.

Second Non Project Related Post For The Day

Not build up related, but Superman related. A copy of Action Comics just sold today for one million bucks. First appearance of Superman. Nice!

Read all about it here.

A Common Misconception

Granted, I'm no Mythbuster, and this isn't even a myth. Maybe I could start a TV show called "Mysconceptions" or something equally as silly. But something is "up in my grill" today, and I wanted to share.

Something I hear ALL THE TIME at work, on TV, when out and about and etc is something similar to this:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results each time".

Turns out, this is false. According to, the definition of Insanity is this:

1.the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind.
2.Law. such unsoundness of mind as affects legal responsibility or capacity.
3.Psychiatry. (formerly) psychosis.
4.extreme folly; senselessness; foolhardiness.

Digging a little deeper in the hopes of proving myself wrong, I look up the definition of "insane", and find this:

1.not sane; not of sound mind; mentally deranged.
2.of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a person who is mentally deranged: insane actions; an insane asylum.
3.utterly senseless: an insane plan.

Note that NOWHERE in there is a process that is followed that can be used as a litmus test for sanity.

That's all I have for today, as far as musings go.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pattern Work

Today I did a little bit of work on the pattern I have for the stabilization panel for the back of the cape. I have a paper tracing of it,and today I cut it out and wrote some notes on some mods I need to make on it. Nothing worth showing off, and this post is really more to maintain my "a little bit of work EVERY day" policy on the costume

Also had some discussion with some online cohorts about how to proceed with the soles.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Soles and Fabric

My thoughts continue to focus on the boots and soles. Everything else has really been taken care of, though perhaps not executed on. So the boots are running around in my head.

I have temporarily abandoned the idea of doing the scan/output/mold/cast process of made for production or screen used soles. The cost is not justified by the benefits. My task at hand then is to create them on my own. I will probably end up cutting a lot of corners to simplify my life, though if things go well, perhaps I will strive for a greater degree of accuracy.

My first POC (that's "Proof of Concept, for the uninitiated) will involve a pair of existing boots I have. I've got a nice pair of "CA Boots" lying around that I tend to wear with my Chris Reeve outfit. I have much nicer boots, but think of them more as display boots than walk around boots.

I have on hand a bunch of Sculpey that I picked up a while back at Michael's when I found it on sale.

However, after working with Sculpey for about five minutes, I realized it is not the right clay for this job. The stuff is just awful. Hence Michael's carrying it. I mean, heaven forbid the actually carry something of quality. Fortunately, and pal of mine has recommended some other products that I will research.

Once that clay arrives, I will attempt to sculpt a likeness of the sole using the skills and tools I have onhand. More to follow.

Lastly, I picked up some fabric today:

I will use this to create the "stabilization flap" for the cape. This is the part that will go on the inside of the cape, and will rest on the neck and shoulders. I need to dye it, obviously. That is the next step.

That's all for today. Thanks again for reading, and thank you for your feedback, comments, and motivation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cape Fabric and Boot Musings

Tonight I dropped the cape fabric off at the dry cleaners and asked them to iron the seam out of it. It will be done on Tuesday. I don't have any latex rubber handy to pour up a cape, so it's not like it really matters.

Also got another email from Indy Magnoli about the boots, and so far, it is looking promising. He hopes to have a price to me within a few days.

Laser Scanning Quotes

I am very deterred! The quotes that are coming in for scanning and manipulation work are much higher than I had expected. Looks like to get a sole scanned, mirrored, resized, and cleaned up is going to run about 1,500 bucks. More than I am willing to spend.

I have handled a discarded casting of the boot sole, and Routh must have pretty big feet. I'm not even sure a set of castings would be much help, other than as reference. I could always make a series of molds and castings and hope that shrinkage can bring it down to size, but that sounds like hit or miss.

It is looking more and more like I'm going to need to sculpt my own versions of the soles based on reference materials I have. Which are plenty, by the way. I've got it covered. It's just going to be a lot of work.

I also had an email exchange with Indy Magnoli, who thinks he will be able to pull off the boots, provided I can source the stamped leather. Which I believe I can. So far, so good.

Superman Returns Costume Project Links

I've started this post as a place to collect links to different resources that I use regularly on this project. I will list here places I order things from, places that offer services I use, etc. That way, I will have the entire list consolidated into one.

I will also link to this post directly from the right hand side column of my blog, down on the right. Easy access!

Latex Rubber, Urethane and pigments:
So-Strong pigments, Tints and Opaque
Micro-Mark Opaque Pigments - Untested, but interesting
Innovative Polymer's Pigments - Also untested, but recommended - for making urethane opaque

Molding and Casting Materials:
Body Double Lifecasting Silicone from Smooth-On
Perma-Flex - Local distributor of Smooth-On products

Boot Makers

Cape Fabric
Wide White Gabardine
A blog post about Twills with links.
Strawberry Red Twill - This is the fabric I'm using for my cape.

Stretch Fabric
Royal Blue at that I like

Rit Dye

Laser Cutters
M&K Engraving. Contact Katie at

Latex Pigments

Silk Screens and Supplies - really helpful and awesome. This is where I got my stuff from.
Versatex Fixer - eliminate heat fixing of speedball inks.
Speedball Printing Inks

Body Suit Information and Tutorials - Pattern 408. After working with the pattern a lot, I'm not terribly impressed with it. Might make for a good starting point, but you need some solid experience on modifying an existing pattern to make it work. A bit sloppy. - A great source for ordering Kwik-Sew patterns. They can mail you the paper, or you can download a pdf. Patterns 2881 and 2335 are immensely useful. - An informative site about making body suits.

Fiber Glass Supplies

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fabric Cut

My last cape attempt had me struggling with getting a big crease out of the middle of my fabric. This time, I shall not struggle! Tonight I cut a length of fabric big enough to make one cape, and tomorrow I will deliver it to a local dry cleaner and ask them to press it out.

I've also been putting more and more thought into the boot sole. I'm thinking I might take a stab at sculpting it myself. Even if it only turns out half way good, it will save me A LOT of money. Assuming I do not get ahold of castings of a made for production or fan made sole any time soon, I am leaning more and more toward sculpting my own. The cost of getting a decent set mastered is looking like it will be a few thousand bucks. If it was a year ago, I would probably do it. But right now, I am trying to hoard up money for much larger purchase later on in the year, and I am having a hard time justifying the expense. My hope is that some of my contacts will yield some details or castings, but in their absence, I'm becoming less and less comfortable with shelling out the big bucks for a part of the costume that will barely even be seen.

3D Laser Scanning

I'm doing some more research on the boots today. I am not sure how exactly to proceed on the soles. I figure I have two options.

1. Acquire a casting of the soles, either made for production, screen used, or fan made.

2. Sculpt my own

If I go with the second one, the production will be much cheaper. However, I'm not a good sculptor, and I fear that this effort would take a really really really long time, and it would never quite be where i hoped it would be. The soles are really complex, and even if I abandoned the idea of matching all of the surface patterns and details, the overall shapes are still very complex.

If I pursue option two, it will cost me an arm and a leg. I have a few different options for the soles, each with varying degrees of possibility of success. There is one option that is a total slam dunk, but it is also the most expensive. Very interesting dilemma I find myself facing.

So to pass the time, I did some research today on 3d scanning. Assuming I could get ahold of a made for production sole, I would want to get it scanned, resized, then output. I sent out emails to half a dozen scanning houses around the country today to get an idea of pricing. That too will dictate how I am to proceed.

I would really like to give the hand sculpt thing a try, but I just feel that there would be such a small chance of success. Even if I only got it PARTLY right, it would probably be passable, and nobody would ever be able to tell the difference. I will have to think about this one some more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fabric Arrived

Boring picture, but this is a snap of the 12 yards of fabric that showed up today. This should allow me to make three capes. Good stuff. One of my action items for this batch of fabric is to take it to the dry cleaner to see if they can iron the crease out of it.

Now I'm just waiting on the latex, then I will tear into making another cape. I'm going to try to really bang out the next one quickly. The last one took way too long.

Ordered Latex For Next Cape

Minor update today. Based on a tip from a friend, I have ordered some slip casting latex rubber from

They came highly recommended, and apparently have great customer service. I will need to head back down to Lowes to get a bigger batch of the paint mixed up that I plan on using to pigment the stuff. Once that all comes together, I can get started on laying up another cape.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Brain Fart

I had one of those 'Why didn't I think of this earlier??' moments earlier today when I was browsing the web. A resource I have known about for a long time, who goes by the name "Indy Magnoli" is also a very talented tailor AND leather worker. He may very well be up to the challenge of putting together some boots for me.

Indy's home page can be found here, where you can check out some of his personal creations, and his clothing company can be found here.

I have had an initial discussion with him about the boots, and he is going to put together a price for me. Looks like the main complication is the stamped leather, though I have already done some research on that, and have some resources that can help out.

After the crushing disappointment with Action Costumes in Argentina, I really want to turn to a resource that has a good reputation for delivering on their promised delivery times, and also has a reputation for quality. I believe Indy has both of these things going for him, so hopefully something positive will come out of it this time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Fabric In The Pipeline

Today, I ordered more of the red jersy knit fabric that I have selected for the inner side of the cape.

As before, I ordered it from This time I ordered enough for three capes. Now that I've got my technique down, I'm ready to do it right.

Still a few steps in the process that I need to iron out, but I think until something better comes along, this is the fabric that I will go with for my final cape.

More Opacity and Color Tests

Over the past 12 hours, I've run a few more tests using the techniques described by David Pea, which are turning out really well. Overall opacity is good, though not completely perfect. However, given the fact that the only time you see problems are when you hold it up to light, I think I am willing to sacrivice a sliver of opacity for the tradeoff of having a much more lightweight end product.

Here's how a scrap looks right when it comes off the mold. The color of the outer skin is still not quite right, but fairly close. A little too strong on the brown side.

Here are a couple of samples together, from different pigment tests.

Here's a layup of my third and final run. Shows how I embed the fabric on top of the latex.

And here are the three final samples together.

I consider this test and new process a total success. The opacity is good, bubbles in the latex are absolutely minimal, and the overall finish is very nice. Better than what I was getting before. My next step is to order up some supplies to do a full cape.

In other news, I went to demold the chest emblem that I repaired yesterday, only to learn that there was another little bubble in it. I patched that this morning, so it should be ready to go tonight. This will be my third chest emblem out of the mold so far, and I'm really excited with how nice they look. I will probably retire the mold after this. I just want to make sure I have a few on hand for costuming needs.

It's currently snowing like a mofo out here, so I will be trapped at home for the next few days. This will give me a good opportunity to focus on a few remaining items on the cape, like getting supplies lined up and ordering a sewing machine.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cape Opacity Tests

After a blisteringly painful week or two without internet access (Damn those pesky neighbors for finally figuring out how to secure their wireless modem!!!) I am finally back with a few updates to the progress on the Superman Returns costume.
Not a whole lot to report, but definitely some interesting progress. I did a little poking around online to get some insight into how to best move forward with the cape. My main concern moving forward is about the thickness of the latex. As it stands, I had to go on pretty thick to get the opacity I wanted, though I think due to the way I did it, I ended up going much thicker than I needed. The end result is that the cape is pretty heavy, and doesn’t quite flow like the screen used one that I examined. My goal was to turn to the online community to see if I could get some tips on how to make the latex more opaque when it dries. The stuff I use from Burman Foam tends to dry a highly translucent light brown.

I think my prototype turned out really nicely, though there were a few shortcomings. I got some good advice from a gent named David Pea, who runs Universal Designs up in Canada. They happen to have a license to produce leather wear based on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Be sure to check out their website here.

David posted the following suggestions about materials when it comes to pouring up a cape:

The easiest and most effective way to do this is to tint a 5 gal pale of latex with 1 quart of indoor latex pant, satin base. Dump the whole quart into a 5 gal pale and mix.
The trick will be to find your red base color but I'd expect that you'd need to do a light misting of actual red color on your demolded cape once it's cast up. Latex is not like urethane when it comes to colors, even from a fiberglass mold you may get clouding and shades of your intended color which is why you may need to find a good base match...but then spray the cast cape at the end for the desired color.

A tip on casting it up....I wouldn't use balloon latex...stick with slip latex and stipple in a full coat (tinted as I suggested above) to ensure you dont trap any air-bubbles inside. Then, dump about half a gallon of your tinted latex onto the mold and use a roller to evenly 'paint' it over your stippled coat. Once set, repeat as often as you need for your desired latex thickness. On your last latex coat...try to thicken it to a paste and once you've coated the mold apply your wool backing and lightly press it down using a clean roller. It may take a few days to fully dry but when it does you'll be good to go.

Like I said above, once demolded you 'may' have to lightly mist spray the cape to your desired color unless you find the proper base color, or can mix it yourself but try the indoor latex satin paint trick. It works...

I hope this helps.

I took it to heart, and went down to the local Lowes in order to get my hands on some latex paint. I took a sample of the cape fabric with me, in order to use their fancy schmancy color match system. After a couple different tries, we gave up on that approach. I guess the color matching device was getting reflections off the fabric, or maybe light was passing through it. I’m not really sure what the problem was, but the end result was that I didn’t get the color I wanted. I went and perused the swatches they have in stock, and weirdly enough, I actually found one that was pretty close. It’s not perfect, but for an off the shelf color, it’s pretty close. It’s not quite red enough, and not quite blue enough, but if you did not know any better, you would say this was pretty close. I had them mix me up a small jug of it, just so I could experiment.

I came home and mixed up a little batch of the stuff, and did some experimenting. It actually turned out pretty good. The color definitely dilutes when I mix it into the latex, and the color it dries to is very different than the color the paint dries to. However, I believe that with a little patience and experimentation, I can get a really good color match. The fact that it also really adds to the opacity is really great, and is ultimately what I was after.

Meanwhile, I’m working yet another angle. A friend of mine has volunteered to help me develop the ultimate body suit. He has access to techniques and knowledge that are far beyond my resources, and he is already quite well versed in this angle of the hobby. So he and I have chosen to collaborate on it. My task is to find a good color match for the base. I went down to Jo-Ann’s in the hopes that I could find SOMETHING on the shelf that would come close. I found a couple of fabrics that looked decent when I was in the store, but when I got home, they turned out to be pretty far off. I think the plan will be to simply send my pal the swatch I have of the real suit, and let him take it from there.

Meanwhile, the experiments with the cape continue. Based on the advice of David Pea, I tried a stipple approach to the first coat. I’m not sure if David’s advice was given knowing that I am using a silicone mold, but since this is a technique I have not tried, I’m curious to see what the results will be.

I started by laying down one coat of stipple.

Let it fan dry, then went in and did another coat of stipple. The third coat was brushed on.

According to the interview I read, the screen used capes had three layers of latex. Boom. There you have it.

Next I brushed on a quick layer and embedded the fabric in it. That’s always the hard part, and it is even trickier when you are doing it on a large scale. As of this writing, I am still waiting for that fabric to dry.

In the mean time, and since I am on a roll, I decided to FINALLY do some patch work on a chest emblem I had poured up many moons ago. This one came together and had a solitary air bubble on the back side that needed patching. I poured up a little amount of urethane, and dripped it in. Voila!

That’s it for now. No updates on the boots, though I have some things cooking. Now that I have internet access back, I should probably get around to sending out my monthly “tickler” emails to a few of my sources and see what comes back. That’s all for now folks.