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Thread: Recreating the Mertailor Pirate Fluke. (For Personal Use Only).

  1. #1

    Recreating the Mertailor Pirate Fluke. (For Personal Use Only).

    When I was 12 I was thrust into the whimsical world of real life, professional mermaids. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that you could own your very own, Hollywood grade mermaid prosthetic! That was until I stumbled upon Eric Ducharme, the Mertailor.
    I was introduced to Eric through tumblr, and the first tail design I fell in love with from him was his gorgeous Pirate Fluke
    [IMG]Siren-of-the-Seas-mythical-creatures-33608899-500-333 by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]

    Enchanting, isn't it?

    Unfortunately, Eric discontinued this design when he began to bring in new designs around 2016/2017
    So what did I do? I decided to recreate my own!

    [DISCLAIMER]
    I want to make it clear that I am not laying claim to this design and I give full credit to Eric Ducharme and Matthew Quilano for designing and sculpting this fluke. The purpose of this recreation is for personal use only and this tail will at no point in time be for sale, neither will the molds created for it be.

    Anywhoo, let's skip to the actual creation process!

    I used more than 50+ images of the pirate fluke alone for reference before I began my sculpt.
    My two most valuable reference pictures were these two found on the Mertailor's FB:
    [IMG]IMG_0834 by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]
    [IMG]IMG_0833 by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]


    These pictures give the most clear idea of the shape and what the detailed 'spines' look like unpainted.

  2. #2
    The first thing I did was create a paper pattern that I could sculpt the fluke on top of to make life easier
    [IMG]IMG_0527 by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]

    As you can see the sides aren't very symmetrical but I fixed this by folding it in half and cutting based off of the left side since it was more accurate to what I was going for,
    This was back in February so I'm missing a lot of progress pictures for the paper pattern but basically I detailed the paper to make it look like a finished fluke then laminated it which tape to try to keep the damage minimal in case I need it for future use.
    Fast forward to the fluke sculpting process

  3. #3
    The actual process of laying down the inital clay took about a month and i ended up with a clean clay slab that looked like this:

    [IMG]IMG_0962 by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]

    If you compare it to the actual pirate fluke sculpt, you'll notice that I made the 'tendrils' of the fins much longer and thinner. To be quite honest, I like it this way! My favorite part of the original fluke has always been the wispy ends so this works for me. This was the easy part. After I finished this I hit a brick wall.

    A 5 MONTH brick wall *Cue internal screaming*
    See, I learned the hard way, the reason this tails are so expensive and take a good while for production times is the sculpting and detailing process alone is extremely tedious and requires patience, a steady hand and a knack for problem solving. In a lot of ways it's like debugging computer code haha

    So after a good 5 months of not knowing how the heck I was actual going to figure out how to put in the finer details of the fluke, I woke up one August morning and a lightbulb went off. I somehow figured out that if I make ropes and then melt them into the clay I could get desired look without carving up my sculpt with a bunch of crazy tools I didn't quite know how to use

    I don't have many progress photos of the sculpting in progress because I was honestly going through so many ups and downs with it that it wasn't even a priority at the time but today I finally finished the Fluke sculpt and here it is!

    [IMG]IMG_1040 by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG] [IMG]IMG_1039 by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]

    Now, it's not a perfect recreation, but it's pretty dang close! I have to do some smoothing and minor detailing before I mold it but I'm extremely happy with how it's turned out so far! From this point on I'll be posting tons of progress photos so stay tuned. Thanks for joining me on this adventure guys! Hopefully smooth sailing ahead

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Ooo! I actually like the look of the plain tail before you added the texture. Smooth and sleek.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Jaffa View Post
    Ooo! I actually like the look of the plain tail before you added the texture. Smooth and sleek.
    Honestly I almost considered leaving it as is once I had gotten to that stage haha! I looked pretty good and smoothing is a lot easier than detailing

  6. #6
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MerRaeofSunshine View Post
    Honestly I almost considered leaving it as is once I had gotten to that stage haha! I looked pretty good and smoothing is a lot easier than detailing
    Keep it in mind for the next tail!
    Formerly known as ireneho

  7. #7
    Im back with an update finally! After a busy month I was finally able to build my mold wall!
    [IMG]E8FA6006[IMG]F580C3F5-5C63-4CA9-B86C-3A9D8A7A95BF by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]

    The mold has been the step that has given me the most anxiety considering I decided on plaster ass my mold material. I know that many mers on here have had their molds crack so I was super worried that all my hard work would be ruined in in minutes if it didn't turn out right

    After pouring the mold I let it dry for about 2 days

    [IMG]F580C3F5-5C63-4CA9-B86C-3A9D8A7A95BF by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]

    This mold is particularly large so I had to enlist the help of my boyfriend and my grandpa to flip it over.
    after I tense 5 minutes of worrying about it cracking......DUNDUNDUNDUUUUUN, A SUCCESS;

    [IMG]A09A5FA3-0C65-4C22-AACB-49EA62AF397D by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]

    I still have to clean it out and I noticed upon closer inspection there are definitely air bubbles, [IMG]D4CFF15C-5778-40E1-A397-DDDB9B3AD7C0 by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG], but ill take air bubbles over a crack any day!

    I'll be back in a week or so when I start pouring the silicone!

  8. #8

  9. #9
    That's such a great job. I've been giving thought to trying to make one for a while now. Not that specific design, but just making a tail.
    https://merfaire.com - Mermaid podcast and Yearly Phoenix Festival

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Ocean View Post
    nice!
    Thank you!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MerFaire View Post
    That's such a great job. I've been giving thought to trying to make one for a while now. Not that specific design, but just making a tail.
    Thank you! And you totally should do it! I won’t lie, it’s been super frustrating at times and money/time consuming, but I feel like there is going to be something much more gratifying in making this tail versus buying one

  12. #12
    Does anyone have any advice on filling in the air bubbles in the mold? I finished cleaning out the clay and now I finally have to face them ��������

  13. #13
    Member Pod of New England TheMerthropologist's Avatar
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    You could probably fill them with plaster
    Take like a little plastic to put a little mound of plaster, make a divet in it (sort of like making pasta), and add some water into it
    Mix it up and once it's a nice pasty consistency (think like...mayo or yogurt?) fill the bubbles. For really small holes you can just put in on your finger and smooth it over.

    The nice and annoying thing about plaster is it can be carved back into and manipulated relatively easily and as long as there's no barrier the plaster will stick to itself.

    Oh! And you may want to spray your mold down first so when you put in fresh plaster the mold doesn't just immediately soak up all the moisture from it.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMerthropologist View Post
    You could probably fill them with plaster
    Take like a little plastic to put a little mound of plaster, make a divet in it (sort of like making pasta), and add some water into it
    Mix it up and once it's a nice pasty consistency (think like...mayo or yogurt?) fill the bubbles. For really small holes you can just put in on your finger and smooth it over.

    The nice and annoying thing about plaster is it can be carved back into and manipulated relatively easily and as long as there's no barrier the plaster will stick to itself.

    Oh! And you may want to spray your mold down first so when you put in fresh plaster the mold doesn't just immediately soak up all the moisture from it.
    OMG THANK YOU!!! I hadn’t looked at my mold meticulously until I started cleaning it out and I noticed all of the tiny bubbles and nearly died Thankfully I have tons of plaster left over so I can do this

  15. #15
    Member Pod of New England TheMerthropologist's Avatar
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    No problem, hope it works out!

    After you pour a mold, if you shake it (or the object it's resting on) the agitation can help get rid of air bubbles, pouring into your hands or down the sides can help minimize bubbles too.

    You can also carve back into plaster to clean it up and add even more details that maybe you couldn't with clay!
    A fish out of water waiting for dreams to come true
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMerthropologist View Post
    No problem, hope it works out!

    After you pour a mold, if you shake it (or the object it's resting on) the agitation can help get rid of air bubbles, pouring into your hands or down the sides can help minimize bubbles too.

    You can also carve back into plaster to clean it up and add even more details that maybe you couldn't with clay!
    I meant to ask, what should spray my mold down with before I try to fill in the plaster?

  17. #17
    Member Pod of New England TheMerthropologist's Avatar
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    Oh! Water, you'll want to spray it down with plain old water!

    Plaster is a very absorbent material (hence my own molds are still annoyingly damp) so if you were to put some fresh wet plaster onto fully dry plater, the dry plaster is going to want to absorb all that water and that can cause issues with setting.
    A fish out of water waiting for dreams to come true
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  18. #18
    I'm sorry ive been so poor at updating this thread, (not that many people care lol), but I've made progress! I poured my first batch of silicone for one half of my fluke after a month of anxiety about doing it! And out came a perfect fluke half! [IMG]FEF0A0B8-7053-4F68-B355-F2B38E757AAF by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]

    This thing is HUUUUUUUUGE. I am actually surprised that the two cases of trail size dragon skin were enough considering the size. In total this fluke will be 8 lbs., not including the swim fins I will install after I finish the other half. Here is a picture of the fluke held up against me for reference:

    [IMG]DBE65159-7035-4C68-92E5-4B0DDAE0F395 by Desirae Powell, on Flickr[/IMG]

    I'm actually in a state of disbelief that I have an actual, tangible mermaid fluke piece in my hands! I'm so close to being the mermaid I always dreamed of. My goal is to have the tail done by the end of February and have tested it's durability so that I can possibly wear it to the local pirate fest that is going on in April in my town. I'll be back with another more prompt update once I buy more silicone for the second hald and get some fins for the inside.

  19. #19
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod
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    Amazing! When my fiance goes back to work I'll be getting some dragon skin to experiment with for flukes! How coooool!!
    -Siren Gita
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    User formerly known as derBears

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by SirenGita View Post
    Amazing! When my fiance goes back to work I'll be getting some dragon skin to experiment with for flukes! How coooool!!
    Thank you! Definitely tart off with the trial sizes since it’s less costly if you mess up.

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