I made a design decision here and after a few years I am not sure if I made the right decision, so I am bound to revisit the shoulders bells at some point. The film shoulders were a shoulder bell with a second layer that sits under it, which allows a bit of independent movement. I decided to sculpt the two as one piece because in that in all the photos of the real suit, unless Bale has his arms beside his sides, the shoulders distort and the sub level seems to pop out at strange angles. If this turns out to be a bad decision, I have a backup plan to make the sub part easily and accurately, but I will tackle that if I need to. I started out sculpting in a soft clay.
I completely finished these shoulders, but they were too small and the wrong shape. Part of the reason for this is that there are no good photos of the movie suit that show some of the details. There are good shots from some angles, but a good top view I just couldn’t find at all. I scoured through hundreds of photos and got my best shots from each angle and found that I had been way off on my first set, so I have been remaking them to match the more accurate size and shape.
So, I started with some clay copies of my previous shoulders.
Then sculpted more clay over them to get the correct size and shape.
I then used electrical wire to replicate the rounded ridge on the edge of the sub part.
So now to replicate this on the other shoulder
Putting them back to back and looking from all angles makes it easier to get the symmetry
Second coat of silicone to build up the thickness
Making a plaster mother mould jacket to support the silicone. this was done in two halves because there are some undercuts on the sculpt, so the plaster could make it too hard to remove if it was one piece.
With the sculpt removed, I added more plaster to make the mother mould one piece. If I have trouble removing the mother mould from the next stage I can always break it as it will only be needed once.
Now to brush a layer of fibreglass epoxy resin, thickend with fumed silica to make it more of a paste in to the moulds.
Then a layer of fibreglass mat, brushed with more unthickened resin for strength.
Then for good measure I smeared in another layer of thickened resin. This may not need to be done, but I don’t want this one cracking if I happen to drop it or wearing through if I need to sand really deep.
Out of the moulds, here are my fibreglass resin replicas of my sculpts.
Now for lots of sanding.
Spots of filler to even out some of the flaws.
When I was happy, I moulded them to make a silicone negative, then made a silicone positive from that negative.
I then made a plaster positive from the silicone negative.
I poured black tinted latex in to the plaster mould to make the final pieces.
This photo does not do the justice, but there are the final shoulders, painted with black plasti-dip.