Saturday, April 20, 2013

Konahrik, Finito!

Well, technically, it's been done forever, but the shadow box the client wanted took a little time to do. No pics of the box while it was being worked on, unfortunately, but it was a very simple process (One I'm sure, that can be deduced through the photos). But here's a complete rundown of the process along with some pics:

But before we get to the box, here's the final mask in all of its glory. TA-DA!

Here's how it was colored: Brass spray paint with multiple layers of brown, black, and yellow on top. I dry brushed the dark colors on top of the brass first to dull the finish and after achieving the desired level of tarnish, I gave it several wet washes with brown-black and yellow to further give it more (and bring out more) detail. The underside of the thing was treated similarly before allowing to dry and applying a semi-gloss clear acrylic coating to protect it. On top of that, to give it an even more natural weathering job, I left it outside for a couple days so that the air and weather can batter it with its own craft and care. (To be honest, I don't think it actually adds anything else on top but id does do something for me psychologically, thinking that it did something.)

 A nice, detailed shot of some of the, well, details brought out by the paint, as well as in the initial sculpt.

So, here's some stuff about the box it came in and some pics showing off how proud I am with the outcome:
(A close up of the back of the shadow box to show the colors and detail repeated around the entire thing)
Despite how it looks, the wood is pretty much all new; the beaten look is all artificial and just topical. The wear-and-tear on the box is all done by hand (and hatchet) and assembled together with nails and wood glue. 

 To make sure it was sturdy, as I'm a terrible carpenter, I tossed it around, kicked it, beat it up, dropped it once it was put together to make sure it not only held up to my abuse, but to make sure that it was strong enough to endure the ages as well. As a result, it inherited some nicks and dings around the edges and corners that turned out a lot more pleasant than I could've hoped for. Other bonuses include, as a result of my terrible craftsmanship, those horribly misshapen nails. Some pierced through and boards, some split the wood, and some even lost their heads. The entire piece is strongly held together, I assure you, but that's story and character given you can't do on purpose!

From that point, the frame was made and installed and the entire piece was then aged with paint (rust included) to look like it's been around as long as the mask has (also to mimic the original idea I had of using driftwood to make the box out of) and given a nice, clear, matte, protective finish to keep in the paint, and withstand some more damage from the elements for further longevity. 

That being said, I did put it outside once it was done, to not only rid the smell of chemicals from the box, so it could "absorb some nature" to help further add texture to the material. After all, if I'm gonna make it look like it's been outside for some time, it therefore; should feel like it's been outside for some time.

My goal of the shadow box was to give the illusion that the mask looked like it was suspended in emptiness; hovering inside of it by some means of magic. The light allowed in would not give away depth but would pass in enough to reveal the mask and cast enough shadows to hide enough of the back to make it look like it was floating. Also, the mask had to be suspended in a way, where it could be easily removed if desired to and easily placed back in. My solution was simply a foam-dome that raised the masked 3 inches from the back and a nail wrapped in electrical tape (wouldn't want to scuff my paint-job, would we?) to suspend the mask in mid-air. 

The interior was then laid with some leftover fleece I had laying around; hot-glued in. I had an idea to use felt but I didn't bother going any further with that (I mean, I already had the material that would've done the job equally as well).

 Once that was done, the only thing left to do was the "glass" for the frame. In actuality, the "glass" is an 1/8th inch sheet of acrylic that was heavily butchered to fit not only on the frame, but overlap into the box as well. I wanted the frame to lay flush against the box and that was the only way I figured to do it.

The etching was done on the inside of the acrylic using a reversed screenshot pulled from the game, stenciled (meaning laboriously hand-cut) onto duct tape, via exacto-knife, that covered the area I wanted etched and then sand-blasted.

 I did the window first and then the top half of the stats, and they came out rather well, I think. 

Then, I got tired. 

The rest of the stats show that. 

Duct tape is a fuck to work with as the adhesive clumps underneath as you're trying to pull the cut bits off.

I'm not the happiest when it comes to the lettering, but that being said, it's good enough for me and the rest of the box is good enough that it's not that big of a bother. For me, anyway (if the owner wants to make it better, that's his worry now)...

...But I'm happy...
...And I hope the owner is, too. 


  1. Wow, that mask is fucking sweet. A fine work of craftsmanship, if I do say so myself.

  2. Jesus... that's some insane craftsmanship, on all fronts, from the Mask to the casing. Fucking awesome.