Need Suggestions - Armature materials, for a large sculpture, capable of being easily cut/adjustable

edited March 2017 in Sculpture

(Introduction - Skip to next paragraph for the context of this thread)
I'd like to say hi! I am new here and am very interesting in taking a few of the web courses that are available here at the school. My project, it being my first one, has taken me 3 years of R&D, trial and error, and kicking and screaming to get to where I am at right now. In short, it's a comprehensive costume that'll involve prosthetics, a female body overlay, costume, leather armor, and body ink makeup. The sculpture of the headpiece of my character...

I'm in need of some suggestions when it comes down to a large sculpture that'll become a multi-piece prop for a costume I'm working on. With my current knowledge of materials, the master prop is being all sculpted as one piece, and than going to be cut (accurately) into down into 4 separate pieces. My intent is to mold and cast this sculpture into a much lighter, flexible, and lifelike prop via silicone where they plug into eachother to complete the final prop. 

-EPS Styrofoam
-Wire Mesh, clay welded onto the foam via Apoxie Sculpt clay
Skin Material
-Polymer Oil Clay - Van Aken (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0019QXF92/ref=s9_dcacsd_dcoop_bw_c_x_1_w)

Curious enough, my sculpture needs to be fastened on my lifecast in order to actually sculpt the headpiece prop. How am I supposed to keep it on the lifecast without damaging the armature extensively from the weight of the oil clay?

My lifecast is made out of a very rigid, but lightweight foam resin from Smooth on, called Foamit! 5 (https://www.smooth-on.com/products/foam-it-5/)

*I'm intentionally only talking about the armature here, but I'll open a thread facing the other challenges this costume has developed as I find the way to phrase them!*

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Pictures included: Also attached (Larger)
1 - My lifecast material
2 - My headpiece w/o clay
3 - My headpiece w/ clay
4 - General Reference (Headpiece in front)


  • Options
    When it comes down to an armature that needs to break down so individual pieces can be molded, I'm a fan of designing around sockets or using threaded metal pipe.

    With sockets you have two pieces that slide into one another.  They are typically constructed from square metal tube stock (square so they don't rotate) in two sizes that mate with a good bit of friction.

    With threaded metal pipe you can use plumbing fixtures to create parts of your armature that will unscrew and come off.

    In both cases you need to know where your seam lines will be, and once your pieces are separated they will need a bit of cleanup.

    Sculpting in a firm clay also helps, as it gets distorted less as you cut/move/pry things apart.

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