When I wrote a short script to be shot this fall (Tergiversation), I thoughtlessly added a few scenes where people get hit over the head with a pistol…
Shouldn’t be too hard, right?
First, I got a CO2 version of the gun (because I don’t want to have real weapons on set if I can avoid it).
I opted for a Beretta 9mm because I saw that a full rubber version of the gun is available. So I ordered two pieces of the rubber version in the States (at ReplicaGuns). That was a fun experience. I used a remailer service to Switzerland because of some issues with a direct shipment to my place. Low and behold, I got a notice from them that my shipment couldn’t be processed because the shipping of weapons is not allowed by their TOS. After a lot of back and forward and escalation, I finally got them to release the shipment (taking full responsibility and risking eternal damnation) to get the rubber toys to Switzerland.
When I got got them a few days later, I realized that they are WAY too hard to hit somebody with. It might say ‘rubber’ on the website, but it is a hard, resin like rubber, so if you clock somebody with it, it will really hurt.
So now I had 1 CO2 Beretta and 2 Rubber Berettas, all of them too hard by far to use as a ‘bash somebody with it’ prop.
I needed a new plan.
A (not so) quick search on the Interweb pointed me towards polyurethane foam props. Unfortunately, no ready made versions of my Beretta seem to exist, so I had to either find somebody to make it for me, or roll up my sleeves and do it myself. Since I’m always interested in learning new stuff, I decided to get into the foam prop business and get vulcanizing…
A gazillion tutorials later, I ordered some stuff online. Fortunately, a good friend of mine and talented SFX and makeup artist, Alina, was interested to help me with my endeavor and so we set out last weekend for a bit of experimentation and adventure.
Here’s what I got:
- A variable mould box
- Two component Silicone (I got 2kg ‘A’ + 250g ‘B’
- Spray release agent
- Some round head screw nuts (for use as mould keys)
- PE foam
- PE coloring
- Various stuff (gloves, papertowels, cups, stirring sticks, sculpting tools, …)
First, we filled the box with a thin layer of plastilin, put the gun on top and filled the spaces up to the middle of the gun:
Then we pressed in the screw nuts as keys (so that the two silicone halves will be immovable against each other once completed.
Through complex math, we figured out, that 1kg of Silicone would probably be enough to cover the weapon fully (width x depth x height) and we stirred and poured like masters…
After a forced break of around 30 minutes, we took the box apart and inspected the result:
After putting the form back into the box, sealing the corners and adding a generous amount of release agent, we poured the second half of the silicone and waited another 30 minutes…
We ended up with two halves of a mould ready for further mayhem :).
What we learnt from this first stage of our adventure:
- Plastilin is a bad choice for the initial bed. It sticks to the silicone and is NOT water soluble (so can’t be easily washed off)
- We probably used more Silicone than strictly necessary (we probably had around 2cm of Silicone on top of the weapon, 1cm would have been enough)
- The nuts were a really good idea (shamelessly plugged from a tutorial by Smooth-On)
- We probably should have allowed for slightly more space around the weapon, especially on top of the barrel
- The pouring channel was too small (more on that in part 2)
Here’s part two where I go into actually using the mold…