Worcestershire-based Bentley Chemicals has developed a new method of producing facial and body "lifecasts" that could save special effects artists both time and money, writes Sam Espensen.
Traditionally, lifecasts are made using alginates (emulsifying and thickening agents), but this method is costly and time consuming. Skinsil, a silicone elastomer, is made from two components and allows the caster to produce a mould direct from a model in one operation. Hensons model-maker Kenny Wilson found that although expensive "it cuts out a whole process and, unlike alginate casting, you can work in many materials".
Skinsil "cures" within four minutes, does not distort and has little shrinkage. Remoulding is also quick and the process is clean for subject and mould maker. On application, cotton scrim bandage can be applied to enhance its structural strength, subsequent coats can be added until the desired thickness is reached, and plaster bandage can be applied to cured Skinsil as a support case. It is available in cartridges.
Emmy award winner (for prosthetics on Hensons' Jack and the Beanstalk) Steve Bettles commented that Skinsil has saved him "two thirds of the cost where we have used it. It literally cuts out three full days of work for us". Skinsil is currently being used on the third Harry Potter movie.