Replica skin/body materials???

Not sure what category to put this under but i am wanting to do some replication work using some of my taxidermy skills.. making fish ...thinking of a soft prop style form but not exactly 100% sure what materials were used in the actual process of making the movie used fish in movies like Pirhana or any form of monster fish movie...

My understanding is the skins were urethane rubber and bodies were either soft or hard foam?

I have worked with urethane rubbers/foams before but want to make sure this is the ideal material to use  and not waste any in the effort of trying to find out on my own LOL


  • These days platinum silicone would most likely be used for the skins, as it has great flex and translucency.  You can back it with expanding foam.

  • Chris..on the expanding foam..i have used Flex Foam 3 but find it too soft...for a "flexible" but not floppy fish is there a foam solution you might reccomend? I do have rigid taxxidermy foam but not sure if i want to use that consistently as it is a hard foam.

  • Hi James

    Flex Foam is still a great option.  You used Flex Foan 3, which has a density of 3 lb/ft³.   That's the softest for that product line, which goes up to 25 lb/ft³.

    Using your experience with the 3lb version you should be able to gauge how much firmer you want the foam and try one of the formulas in that range.

    You can also imbed something flexible inside your fish to give it a bit more support.  One good option would be using a sheet of easy to bend plastic, as it can bend in only one direction while providing strong support in the other.

  • Easy to bend plastic?? hmmm...can i ask for resources to this to better understand that part?
  • Imagine taking a sheet of plastic and cutting it into the silhouette of your fish's body from the side, then embedding that at the center of your prop.  It would flex left to right, and twist, but not flex up or down.  

    This can be made from any kind of flexible plastic sheeting.  Cut up sides of milk jugs, portfolio covers, etc.    As long as it flexes the way you want it to with the level of resistance you want.

    This technique is often done for things like tails where you want side to side motion but no vertical motion.  

  • wow..well that seems easy enough..on a tail though would the plastic ( say a milk jug) have to be 2 pieces or three glued together?
  • You can laminate multiple pieces together to thicken/stiffen it, but a single piece from head to tail should be enough.  You can think of it like a spine, only as tall as possible without getting too close to the surface on the back or belly.

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