The bunny splicer mask is the first prop I made from the Bioshock series. That cute, iconic bunny ear shape is seen throughout the first game, worn by the splicers to hide their disfigurement as they try to gun you down or smash you with a pipe.
I started with the a Pepakura papercraft model which I created by pulling the 3D model from the game assets. I used a marker to darken the outlines of the filigree decoration in hopes that I could use this later as a sculpting guide, although I ended up not being able to see the outlines through the sculpting clay.
I gave this a thin coat of rondo (half Bondo, half fiberglass resin) on both the inside and outside of the mask to give it some strength as a sculpting platform. I then sanded down some of the pronounced facet edges to help smooth everything out. I didn't worry about sanding right down to the paper layer because I knew I'd be covering everything with clay.
I then added a thin layer of Apoxie Sculpt over the whole mask, this time just on the outside surface. After sanding this down, I had a smooth surface for adding the filigree details.
To provide a pattern for the filigree patterns, I assembled a second papercraft model and cut out the filigree to serve as a template. I could have free-handed this, but I like to be as exact as possible, even if it adds some time to the process. Using paper templates for the filigree allowed me to move it around and adjust it until I was happy with it. After taping the templates in place, I traced around them with a pencil.
Using the pencil outlines as a guide, I sculpted the filigree details with more Apoxie Sculpt. This was a time-consuming step, but I think it was totally worth it in the end.
I then clayed up the edges of the mask for molding using Monster Clay. Water based clays like WED clay are popular for this. I like using Monster Clay because it's oil-based and I don't have to worry about it drying out. I'm not always able to mold something immediately after getting it clayed up.
Like most of my mask molds, I made a one-part brush-on mold using Rebound 25 and a hard shell using Plasti-Paste. I figured the space between the ears would provide sufficient alignment of the silicone mold inside the support shell, so I didn't add any extra mold keys. I probably should have. I've since discovered that the silicone mold can flop out of the shell while slush casting if I'm not careful. More keys would have helped it stay together. It would have required a two-piece shell, but it would have been an overall better mold.
The casts turned out excellent. They have just a few tiny bubbles along the edges of the filigree, but this cleans up easily with an exacto blade.
After some cleanup of the resin cast with my rotary tool, I primed it using Tamiya Fine Surface Primer. I then painted it with P3 acrylic paints from Privateer Press. The technique I've been using for blood splatters is to dab on Tamiya clear red acrylic paint with some brown acrylic wash mixed in. It dries with a little bit of a sheen, so it gives the look of relatively fresh blood splatters.
Done and done! This was a super satisfying project, probably because I have such a deep connection with the game -- it will always be one of my favorites.