For those of you who don't know, Majora's Mask is a VERY popular game originally for the Nintendo 64 back in 2000 which followed another popular release The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, later remastered for the 3DS in 2015. Probably one of the most known game franchises.
In 2017 I needed a base to display my Majora's Mask at a local ComicCon so I came up with the idea to use the tree stump seen at the game itself. It needed to be a 1-3 day build so nothing could be really molded or cast due to the short amount of time. So this blog post is mostly about working with foam and free-form air to make a quick display prop in just 1-2 days.
For the base I basically free-handed what I thought it seemed an adequate shape for a tree stump on a 2-inch insulation foam board, slightly basing it on the only reference picture I had. An ancient 2000 pixelated tree stump screenshot. Hooray! I made a smaller piece for the 3rd and 4th layers to reduce sanding and cutting when shaping the piece. These were cut in a bandsaw but can be easily cut with a snap-off utility knife. Which I'll be using to reduce the shape later on.
Once i was happy with the shape, I used foam spray glue to glue them together. Make sure to align whatever you're gluing really well because this thing ain't unstinting once you press those together. Glue is applied to both sides and let rest for a few minutes before pressing the pieces together.
Once everything is glued together I cut with the utility knife as close to the shape as I want. It doesn't matter if it isn't flawless, as long as the shape doesn't have any major bumps. All the rough texture of the knife cuts now will be sanded with 220 grit sandpaper all the way through 400-600 depending on what you're texturing this for. In my case, it was a very organic shape so it didn't require a smooth texture in the end.
I didn't take a picture of the whole process but basically, i covered the whole base little by little with Free Form Air from Smooth-On.
For those not familiar with this material, it is a lightweight Epoxy dough. Imagine play dough, but lightweight, way more sticky, and probably more chemical. Ok on a serious note, it's a 2 part epoxy that is very flexible and doughy like when uncured but once cured it's very lightweight and solid, literally rock-solid, when compact. I point this out because it can be brittle if used in very thin layers less than 1 inch thick. So have that in mind when using it. Make sure to test it out to familiarize yourself with this material and know what's the best use for this, I assure you it's very handy. Some examples here!
Free-form Air can be very tricky to work with at first until you get the hang of it. make sure to wear gloves before use. (I feel I should mention this in all my blog entries, so you can imagine why I'm mentioning it here. Yes, I didn't use gloves at first and I later hated my life) It can be smoothed out with a little water to get it to stick a little better to what you're applying it to and not your gloves. I recommend getting a spray bottle to spray water while you're applying the foam.
Once I applied all the foam, around 1 whole trial kit, the part holding the Majoras itself needed to be built and added. I have a box with over 20 of this tubing (ill link as soon as i remember the proper name) which I use for my Samus helmet, and they worked perfectly for what I wanted, a flexible sturdy core for the branch.
Adding the free foam to the branch part is way easier since there is a base for it to get stuck to. Now everything is left to cure for 8 hours or so. Since the heat in PR is around 95F most of the time it doesn't take long to get solid so I'm somewhat lucky.
This probably isn't the best picture, sorry! After everything is cured I used a soldering tool and a knife to cut the rings on the tree base, then used a heat gun to expand the ones I made with the cutting knife. To protect the foam from chipping I applied one layer of Epsilon Pro to the exposed surface.
Testing the strength of the branch. It works! Once happy I sprayed primer so I could get to carving.
Hand drew the sketch of the carvings on the tree stump so I could carve with the Dremel and not mess the whole thing up. I used a carving diamond tip bit and it worked wonders!
After I was finished I began painting the base using different shades of brown acrylic paint, added some darker shades and green undertones so it didn't look very plain. Once happy the whole tree stump was sealed with a matte clear coat and it was ready to go!
Finally displayed the piece over at PRCC and it looked great altogether! Lightweight, durable and quick display base for my Majoras Mask.
Thanks for reading!
Please feel free to tag me and show me what you make!