This review is about my new silicone tail made by Raven Mermaid. I will be giving you as much info as I can, but I will also be giving some insight into silicone tails now that I have tried fabric and latex. I can make some good comparisons.
My tail was made by Mermaid Raven. This was the first silicone tail Raven has made and it's my opinion that in her first try she's already addressed some problem areas I have seen in other silicone tails. I'll be following my own template for this review found here to try and give you the most accurate information.
Made by: Raven
Cost: Raven's tails start at 3k depending on your features- this is about the middle ground for silicone tails.
Features: Pure dragonskin silicone, a competitor monofin, raised rounded scales, splash paint inspiration, and luminescent paint.
Special features: Raven made this tail for me by casting the silicone thin. This was a special decision on our part because I have mobility issues that can make it hard to compensate for extra silicone weight. She did an excellent job of making the tail as light as possible for me. I would suspect other tails will be thicker unless requested otherwise.
Used For: This tail is best used for professional mermaiding! It's a pricey investment but it's like night and day between a latex tail and a silicone. If you work with children they will be less likely to be allergic to silicone than latex. It's easier to sink with silicone, and it has a lot of stretch.
This tail was created with extreme precision and attention to detail. The paint is pigmented into the silicone and will NOT scrape off. (to Raven's horror I already accidentally tested this, haha. If I ever stand up in the pool again she'll have my head!) The fluke is completely glued down and one solid piece. It does NOT fill up with water and it is light enough that I can lift it out of the water while I am in it. Other silicone tails are not like this and I've heard from customers of other tail makers that water becomes trapped or does not drain properly.
The tail is pigmented all the way through except for the attention to detail around the waist. This was intentional for a blending effect. You can NOT see through my tail in any area other than the waist- whereas other tail makers have made tails that are see through. There is no lining for this tail. The silicone was measured well and any extra was cut down from the inside so there are no extra flaps. It does not stick to itself inside. The seams are virtually invisible- I could only find them by looking inside the tail. Without a person in the tail you can notice the ankle area for the monofin- but when the tail is actually on someone this area is filled with your body and remains one smooth line with no crease or folds.
Raven did the exact painting style I wanted- a blend between the splash tail and my old mertailor tail (I was known for those colours)
When silicone is cured properly there should be little to no lasting smell. This was a serious concern of mine because I have environmental illness. Off gassing makes me very sick and I prepared a room with an air purifier in case. I have read and heard online that other silicone tails smell for weeks after being made. My tail DOES NOT smell at ALL. I was happily surprised by this.
The scales though made from a mould look like individual scales. They are flawless, no bubbles, no rips, no seams. I prefer that personally. I dont like my tails to look like they have gobs of paint or glue which is what can happen. The tail does NOT chip- I've been asked as I hear it has happened to others.
This tail is built to last, Raven gave me a lot of info on how to care for it and make sure it lasts a long time. I went out and purchased sex toy cleaner- LOL. But there's a reason. It's made for cleaning silicone sex toys made from the same type of silicone! (oh the things you can learn from google) and it does not degrade the silicone but destroys bacteria. I'll talk a little more about care and cleaning in a later part of this review so you know what to think of.
The fit was perfect. Raven was obsessive with the measurements. But I will warn you, silicone stretches. The tail will also look different in and out of the pool. It's meant to fit you like a glove and allow you to move. Make sure no matter who you order from you give them the most exact measurements you can for the best fit. Oh yes, silicone creates suction. It doesn't breathe like neoprene or fabric. Even the latex tails breathed a little. It doesn't. Your legs will be nice and toasty and tight haha.
Above is a comparison between my new silicone tail and the latex tail made with Alex Plus and foam backed fabric. You can see how much bigger the monofin is in this image. I highly recommend dishing out the $$ for a competitor. It's safer for ocean swimming, and as I'll detail in the swimming section. The monofin itself Raven has worked into the tail so it's one solid piece with no water filling it. It's much more comfortable than the other monofins and it's got a powerful kick to it. As you can see Raven made it look like there is no monofin. Many people ask me if this is a foot pocket instead.
I have taken some photos to compare between my new silicone and my old mertailor tail. Please remember that my mertailor tail had a lot of adjustments done on it to compensate for all the issues with it. Here are a few photos followed by a video if you're more interested in comparing it visually to the other.
This tail is heavy on land. It weighs a little more than 20lbs. In the water it had the right amount of weight to help me sink a bit. It's totally different from swimming in the other tails. I think the monofin and the suction you get with silicone makes a difference. There was NO drag. I am so used to holding my waist when I swam with my old tail I kept doing it out of habit. With my mertailor tail no matter what we did to alter it right from the start it was too boyant. The fluke would fill with air, the waist would stretch creating drag, and I'd float butt first to the surface. I did NOT feel heavy or scared like I'd sink in this tail. I just felt balanced. I could get to the bottom and stay there- I have never done that in a tail! I could swim and have my fluke become parallel with my body- also something I could never do in the old tail. When you watch my video you'll see on my first try I go completley under and the tail does NOT float to the top before I do. Also, the competitor monofin is so powerful you'll move quicker than you realize. Even my turns were better. I got to the bottom so fast that I wasnt prepared. I'm a bit clumbsy in my video because my ears wouldnt regulate. Previously I could never get down fast so they never blocked, now they do
I could still easily float on top if I held my breath. I will say, my breath hold seemed to become halfed. It takes a lot of strength to swim in the tail- not because it's heavy- but because the monofin forces you to make a perfect form or you just wont move My core is fairly weak and I am hoping this will improve it.
The fluke really is GIANT. It can withstand ocean currents. I felt like I was a whale, haha. Sometimes I'd even whack myself in the back of the head because I didn't realize just how far it could reach. So keep that in mind! I do believe they're easier to swim in though. I have never been a great swimmer and it was sooo good.
The tail looked professional and real no matter what I did to it. There are only a few instances in the video I took where you can tell it's a costume. It's all areas where I'm not holding my legs properly. Never again will I have to edit out bunches and wrinkles. it's so fluid and has such amazing movement. Like I said, I can also fwap the fin while in the water too.
Here are all the clips I took
(photo by Raven)
Since Mermaid Cydney made me a kick ass shell top (which yes I still plan on using- Silicone is just easier in indoor pool in terms of changing) Raven opted to make me this silicone one. All I can say is awesome and my ladies look wicked in them haha. <3 It's made to match the tail, easy to clean, hang to dry, stayed on perfectly. No fear of that bad boy coming off.
Things to Consider With Silicone
It's worth the investment. It really is. It's easier to swim, it looks nicer, and when done properly it's going to last you a long time. if you're aiming to be a professional mer I just can't exclaim enough how much this can help. I think latex and neoprene still do have their place... but they will degrade faster and require more and different maintinence. They'll also stretch beyond repair eventually with enough use. Not bashing them at all, it's where I started, and I'll be owning a REAL latex tail soon (not alex plus on cheap foam backed fabric). I just think it's like night and day. I could not believe the difference.
The tails are typically huge with a competitor fin. My boyfriend is just shy o 6ft. We're trying to find a good way to transport it and we found an expensive artist portfolio that should do the trick and allow me to carry it and pack other things. Saving up for it! The tail is HEAVY on land. If you have a mertender helping you out you may need two. Sean could carry me, but probably because he can lift and bench press 2-3 of me haha. I can barley lift the tail over my head and Raven made it LIGHTER for me.
Like I mentioned earlier, I bought a spray intended for silicone sex toys after a lot of internet research haha. Many cleaners can degrade the silicone and plus they'd bother me. This had no smell, came in a giant spray bottle, wasn't obviously for sex toys (so I can carry it around without weird and terrified looks from my parents, hahah) and neutralizes bacteria. After swimming in the pool with the tail I instantly rinsed it out and off. When I got it home I put it in the bath and washed it down with the cleaner, rinsed it out, then DRIED IT OUT with a towel! The only place I coudln't get was right up inside of the monofin so I hung it up over night. Im hoping to rig up something custom for drying. For now, it worked. Next day- bone dry and silicone looks great. Im not worried at all about moulds or smells Considering it could take well over a week for my latex tail to dry- another bonus for silicone
The tails are not easy to get on outside of the water. You must lubricate yourself with something that wont harm the neoprene. I got a natural lotion. Lube up your feet too- easier to get into the monofin.
Well, considering this is the first silicone tail Raven ever made and it's this awesome- I fear for other tail makers. Raven takes no prisoners! haha. She's going to be evolving like crazy. She's already solved some major issues in other tails like the fluke's filling up, the smell, and the tails chipping. She's found the perfect balance of casting the tail so it's not too heavy for me, but still high quality and not see through. She's basically deleted seams from the game, and she's the first to have luminescent tails!
Raven is taking on one client at a time and I have to tell you, if I EVER for any reason need/want another tail I will be going with her. She took all of my concerns and thoughts and ideas and melded them perfectly with her artistic ideas without making me feel stuck with her artistic ideas My tail took longer than your tail will take if you choose to order from her. Please understand, mine was the first one- an experiment, and dragonskin wont ship if it's cold haha. I believe she's working at aprox 1 month time frame.
Raven is passionate about tails and personally, I think she should charge more for the amount of time and love she puts into them. Another tail maker might have ignored me (oh wait- they did!) with the different needs and concerns I have. Not Raven, she was up for a challenge!
I feel like I finally have the tail I was meant to have. While mine was inspired by Splash dont have any fear about her ability to create you something totally unique and based off your own design. Her latest tail is perfect proof of that. Please feel free to ask me any questions about my experience.
I can't WAITfor Florida and for people to see it in person.
On a Side Note...
I'd like you to know my tail was given to another mer for free. I don't say this to come off preachy, I just want people to realize that when we have the power to do something like that for someone we really should. If it was not for people who did that sort of thing for me, like Raven, like the people who donated $$, I would not be where I am. My old tail went to a new loving home with a mermaid who had more artistic capabilities than I have. It is my sincere hope she can make the tail last for her until she can purchase a more realistic one. <3
video up close with tail http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd5W0...layer_embedded
As you can see this fin is BIG. She makes them with competitor monofins which are seriously better for swimming
She's got the perfect balance of making the fluke stiff enough with the monofin so you can EASILY hold it up, while still being strong. I know with many of the silicone tails on the market mermaids find it really hard to lift the flukes over their head without help. Well I can do it VERY easily on land and in water too! Another bonus
The tail is AMAZING to swim in. I am not the best mermaid swimmer on the planet but I feel like my ability to move more in the dolphin kick and stay under better is directly related to this tail. My old tail was buoyant, there was constant drag, and the fluke always filled up with air and water making it hard to get any push. This tail does none of that
Even though it's totally solid, the fluke is still the right amount of floppy to be flexible in and out of the water
The ONLY time I ever get wrinkles in this tail, is when I use cream to get it on. If I put it on right in the water, it sticks to my skin and doesnt move around much, very little water actually gets in the tail. But I cant always get in water first when I need to put it on so I lube up my legs with cream. While it makes it easy to get on, it also makes it much easier for the tail to slip around once it's on. Remember, there's no fabric or mesh lining in my tail, it's silicone baby! I dont have any video where I havent put it on without cream, but it seems to do much better with wrinkles if I dont have it on. Just something to consider
many people point out the bumps where the fluke begins. I wanted to point out that this happens for 2 reasons. 1: my ankles are thin, if they were thicker they'd meet up with those bumps - so on some mermaids you wouldnt get that. Also my monofin is the bigger one which means bigger gear to put your feet into. I dont find it a problem for me at all, but some people want that area as smooth as possible. I really dont see a way to hide it unless you add side fins there which just isnt my personal taste in that area. So this works for me, if it doesn't work for you, get side fins