The style of the game is very stylized and cartoonist having exaggerated proportions in every aspect of the design, which meant I couldn't use real skulls as reference for the build.
Bounty Skulls are treasures that can be found in Sea of Thieves which are primarily found through killing Skeleton Captains on bounty voyages. (do away with the other locations they can be found, build log not a walk through)
Sea of Thieves itself is an action-adventure video game developed by Rare and published by Microsoft Studios. The game allows players to take the role of a pirate sailing the seas either solo or as part of a crew of up to four players.
The style of the game is very stylized and cartoonish having exaggerated proportions in every aspect of the design, which meant I couldn't use real skulls as reference for the build.
When I was originally approached for this commission, I had already started one of my own which gave me a head start (no pun intended) on how to go about this. Originally, I had planned to sculpt and cast a piece from scratch, but after a quick internet search I found a piece 3D modeled by Garrett Williams on Thingiverse. You can find this and many of his other pieces here! With the model downloaded and ready to print, I could finally start!
All skulls were printed in 2 sections on my Robo R1+ using MatterHackers PLA. Skulls were printed in two sections to reduce the amount of support need for each piece.
Once all pieces had finished printing, they were joined together using CA glue and prepped for sanding. This one of my first prints with the settings not quite dialed in. This resulted in more visible layer lines and more clean up and sanding further down.
One of the many methods used to finish 3D printing pieces is using XTC, which I'll be applying to the skull here and explaining how it works. However, there are other more efficient ways but might be less accessible for many of you, hence why I'll be explaining this method first. On another blog entry I'll be explaining the different ways to finish a 3D printed piece.
To finish this, I brushed the surface using XTC3D in several passes. I tinted the resin to make it easier to see what was being filled and what needed more sanding. From here, it's a repeating process of priming, filling and sanding. I prime the surface with filler primer to fill in any of the small scratches and once I sand the whole piece, usually starting with an 80 grit, primer is left in the low areas which I fill in using spot putty. This whole process is repeated over and over until I'm satisfied with the finish.
After 1 round of sanding with 80 grit sandpaper and filler primer.
After seeing that there were print lines still visible, more sanding was done with progressive grits starting with 220 and finishing with 400. With one final layer of filler primer buffed to perfection it was off to molding!
Before molding I applied the last filler primer layer and some mold released once cured.
Magic goo is applied, AKA silicone (specifically Rebound 25 from Smooth-On). To differentiate between the layers, blue tint was added. Four layers in total were applied, first being the thinnest to capture all the details, two thick coats after and finally a regular coat to finish.
I'm pretty sure this remind some of you of Doctor Who's Silence character. Anyhow, not pictured, registrations keys and the final regular layer were applied to finish the mold. Once finished and cured its ready for the support shell.
The support shell process was previously explained thoroughly here! So feel free to check it out!
First copy in smooth cast 300, and master for comparison.
The copy itself required minimal sanding so once that was done, primer was applied and got it ready for painting. I added a textured paint from Rust Oleum as a first layer to give it a nice feel to it, which was later followed by a gray base coat color of acrylic paint and finished by adding depth to it with an airbrush where I used Createx airbrush paint.
For a cool effect I added a LED strip inside and a custom smoke machine based on the blueprints of Valkyrie Studios, which you can find here! I'll later make a post about my experience working with the smoke machine, but for now, Kat makes a great basic cosplay machine schematic to follow. However, i recommend only doing so if you previously have experience working with electronics.
Thanks for reading! I hope I was able to help those of you who are interested in working with 3D printed pieces and giving it a proper finish. Have fun printing!
Full album of finished skull here!