Building the Red Dragon Trophy

Finished Red Dragon Trophy

So, let’s say you really like my lizard mask, but have no real interest in dressing as a lizardperson or a dragon. Here’s something else I thought of to do with it!

I made this red dragon trophy wall mount, which has since been sold. If you’re interested in making your own, I’d like to share a series of photos below showing how I made it.

I started with one of my lizard mask casts, a close-mouthed cast right out of the mold. (I no longer have this version of the mask available, but I have a new updated lizardman mask available here: Private: Lizardman Resin Mask Kit. I also used a set of my 8" horns and slitted glass eyes. The wood block will form the basis for the neck, as you’ll see in a moment.

First, I cut out the mask’s eye holes and glued in the glass eyes, using epoxy putty* to fill in the gaps around them (and also putting some around the backs of the eyes to make sure they stayed in place). I used some additional epoxy putty to detail the normally open vision area beneath the eyes, and to make a nice deep nostril hole.

*I’ll reference using epoxy putty a number of times throughout this article – in all cases, I’m using a marvelous, lightweight variety known as FreeForm Air, available from Smooth-on. Because of its lightweight properties, the entire sculpture – even including the wooden base – weighs in at about 5 lbs total.

I used hot glue to attach the wooden support to the inside of the mask at the appropriate angle, and then (not pictured) used epoxy putty to reinforce the connection point.

The bulk of the neck was built with cardboard and hot glue, getting the basic shape first and then filling in the gaps to get a nice curved shape. After that, I covered the entire thing with a layer of epoxy putty to give it a uniform strength and a good structure to start building details over.

Doing detail work with FreeForm Air is interesting, because it’s not really meant to be a sculpting material! It’s quite soft, so it has to be carefully applied and cannot be bumped before it starts curing – kind of like sculpting with bread dough. However, it CAN be done. It can even be textured to a degree, by waiting for it to partially cure and then using a wet texture stamp on the surface.

FreeForm can also be smoothed out with water and a soft paintbrush, so I used that technique to get the details of each and every hand-sculpted scale to look just right and match the scales and other details of the original mask.

Once all the sculpting work was completed and cured, I masked off the eyes and the entire piece was primed in grey. After that, I masked off various areas at a time and did the base paint coats with a few different colors of spray paint.

And finally, the remaining painted details were done with washes and drybrushing using acrylic paints. The entire mask was then sealed with spray acrylic for a satin shine and firmly mounted to its stained wooden plaque via the wood block in the neck.