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Thread: Silicone Tail Build Thread

  1. #1

    Silicone Tail Build Thread

    I suppose it's time to start a build thread since I'm going to be starting sculpting on things soon, but I'm planning to make the tail pictured in the sketch below (life size sketch) from silicone. Scales will be cast individually from assorted hand sculpted masters.

    I've worked with silicone before, but never for something this hilariously huge (the tail needs a 4x4' board to be sculpted on). My plans assuming nothing goes horribly horribly wrong is to design the tail in a way that it looks torn up and when it actually gets torn up or scuffed it will look like scars. Backup plan is just make a regular tail that's a solid color throughout :P I also have theoretical plans to stiffen the veins in the fluke, but I'll get to that when the time comes.

    I should be getting a mold of some scales done later today/tomorrow that I can use to test airbrushing, thickness etc.

    Monofin that will be in the fin: LeaderFin Sport Junior with a medium blade stiffness (Which you can sort of see if you look REALLY closely at the sketch - I just traced around the fin and then doodled ontop of it).

    Either way, should be interesting... Might turn out great, or it might be terrible.
    I'll probably post more regular updates on my twitter (, but I'll try to update this regularly as well. There's just more cat pics on the twitter.

    p.s. This is my first tail and I know it's advised against to go for full silicone but I'm gonna go for it anyway. I'll exercise reasonable training measures to make sure I don't drown myself and make sure I'm not alone while swimming. I'm also a certified SCUBA diver and have been swimming since I was 3 :P

  2. #2
    Junior Member Void Spells's Avatar
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    This design looks AMAZING!! Can't wait to see your progress!!

  3. #3
    First batch of scales i just finished sculpting... going to make some molds of them and do preliminary color tests before reproducing them. Right after I finish making my stupid monster clay boba masters -_-'
    Also how on earth do you make these images smaller. Good lord :P

  4. #4
    Nice. You have all kinds of sizes to choose from there.

    And as far as picture sizes, I am starting to learn that on this site, you might have to upload your picture to a different site (like Photobucket) then link it to your post instead of uploading the image directly to this site.

  5. #5
    I was actually planning on using all the different sizes of scales for the tail. I'm kind of shooting for irregular, uneven and creepy.
    Also I screwed up and made too much silicone for something else so now I have a silicone mold of these scales... How it actually worked, I have no idea because the walls of the mold were just paint sticks I propped up with some other molds... They weren't even glued down or anything and the thing didn't leak at all...
    Got my real mold curing now and then I'll do some color tests to see how airbrushing silicone actually works... The silicone one will just use to reproduce plastic scales for my final mold if they cast alright.

  6. #6

    Small pile of experimental scales made from scrap silicone. Vacuum degassing still seems to be necessary, which sucks, but such is life :P
    Having a hard time deciding what colors I want for the final scales, not that any of these were really seriously prototyping for final colors, they were mostly a test to make sure the scales tiled reasonably.

  7. #7
    Oooooooooooooohh. I like!

  8. #8
    the outcome of the scales looks so beautiful. they do look shining and bright. They'll attract more fishes towards you. Thats nice

  9. #9
    Nice, I kinda like the look of the bubbles on the scales, goes with that whole beat up/scar look you mentioned, like they've been scraped against rocks and been knocked about. I've never worked with silicone though, so don't know if there would be structural/integrity problems because of them.

  10. #10
    I think I've finally amassed enough plastic scales to make the real molds for the real silicone scales. Once I figure out what color I want the darn things :P I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any ideas for a sort of dark and dingy color sceme. I was thinking maybe some kind of gunmetal silver with slight variations of color here and there (some green-grey, some gold-grey, some red-grey, etc). I'm also messing with a few things to try and get the scales to look mostly black unless you shine light on it and then the shine would be red or bottle green or something, but my pigments are proving stubborn.

    And the bubbles shouldn't cause any structural integrity issues with these. I'm not a huge fan of them aesthetically so I might degas the silicone after I put it in the scale molds, but we'll see.
    And I'm probably going to start sculpting the fluke (heaven help me) within the next two or so weeks - just gotta clean the last few things out of my workspace first.
    Also gotta stretch my monofin - the foot pockets will destroy me otherwise. In the future I might look into making my own silicone monofins like the luna or the ones from Mertailor. Assuming I ever decide to do this again. Time will tell :P

    Looking at all the tiny tiny scales makes me want to cry because my plan was to use them on the entire front part of the tail and it will probably take thousands of them ;n;

  11. #11
    This tail is going to be epic.
    Beautiful beaded tops and silicone fins and flukes for enhancing your tail at my Etsy shop: Fancy Fish Fashions!
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  12. #12
    It's been way longer than I thought since I worked on this tail :P I haven't actually done anything more tangible on it but I've been scheming ideas for...
    A) Custom silicone monofins designed specifically for my feet & this tail which means I get WAY more freedom in the actual design of the fluke (and more comfortable foot pockets whee)
    B) Doing a scale sheet instead of individual scales just to save time with the silicone molding
    C) Still plotting color schemes and not sure at all what I want to do...
    D) Making the tail glow and/or be UV Flourescent. Just because I can & I have all the pigments for it :P

    I was planning once the project is done to sell castings of the fluke and scales (especially if they're sheet scales) and MAYBE doing custom silicone foot pockets if I can get them to work successfully (I think I can it's just a matter of how efficient it is, but they'd be super nice to use in tails if they work like how I expect).

    If people have thoughts about what might prefer or be more popular for the scales (sheet vs individual) I'm super open to thoughts on that since that'll probably influence the design.
    From my perspective the indie scales are nice because I don't need to store a ginormous 6' mold and the sheet scales are nice because it's easier to cast and specific color options without the need for airbrushing are a bit more varried.

    I'm still also waffling a bit on colors. My go-to is basically black/super dark with subtle green shimmery highlights, but I"m not sure that will do a great job showing off the detail I hope to have in the thing. I was also toying with the ideas of doing some assorted colors similar to the pics attached, which is other silicone stuff I've made/poured to hopefully resemble abalone. (sorry for the weird image resolution)

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