Temporary to Permanent Attachments: Use the same procedure for temp/perm attachments as you just made the body. Used a string that was the exact measurement of the tail on the model and transferred it to the body of the monster. Because we know how long the body of the monster is you can determine how long the attachment needs to be.
If you need a rounded PVC shape you can shape it by bending PVC gradually using a heat gun while bending over a round object (like a 5 gal. bucket). Let cool in place. Pictured is 1/2" PVC. Here's a tip told to me after this monster was made: if you fill the PVC with sand – it will bend in a better arc and not fold.
Sheath the PVC in foam, carve and smooth down with the SureForm shaver.
Mistakes (picture 1): Sometimes you carve too much away or there are voids that need to be filled. There are several ways to fill them but all of them aren't as good as the original so try to avoid this as much as possible. Options: fill with layers of foamboard glue, mixture of glue with pink snow and ‘air dry’ clay. The ‘air dry’ clay is the easiest to sand back down to a smooth surface, but you'll never match the original texture with any of these methods. Luckily, once you base coat the creature it's pretty hard to tell. whew!
Super Smooth Sanding (picture 2): Shave any new areas that haven't been knocked down yet with the SureForm Shaver. Next, use a small electric sander like a Dremel Multi-Max to give a final ultra-smooth surface to areas that need to look like skin. This takes a lot of time and makes a lot of dust. Get to drinking early. For the hard-to-reach areas - use a scrubby.
Plan Scales (picture 1): Place your monster in front of the projected image again and trace out the scales. This will give you a reference for the direction and the size of the scales.
Make Scales (picture 3): Place a piece of paper over one of the largest traced out scales and mark the outline with a marker. Cut the paper out and then place the design on a scrap piece of 2" foam. Cut out with a Hot Knife. Place that piece on its side and slice away like you are slicing bologna. Remove the front and back pieces and separate the remainder. Mix up and place in a pile.
Make Variety of Scales (picture 3): Take the paper design and mark a slightly smaller shape and cut that out. Trace that onto the 2" foam and cut out the scales just as you did for the first set. You will continue to make more variety of sizes but also make different shapes. Make teardrop-shaped ones for more spiky looking scales. You can also make skinnier teardrop scales that are more like spikes.
Make Back Spine Scales: These are more challenging. Most scaly monsters have their scales ending up into spiky back spine scales. Carve a triangular shape as shown above. Carve out the bottom in a curved ridge shape so it matches up with the curve of the monster's spine. Keep carving it until it sits flush on the monster. Mark the dead center on the top of the spine for reference. Carve at that marked center and angle away to the far edge on both sides. It will now start to take on a spiky appearance. Cut away the front so it slopes more. Trim the front edges from the top down to give it a chiseled appearance. Do the same for the back of the fin. Do this in varying sizes going from smaller to larger and then back down to smaller.
Applying Scales: Scales have a pattern. You start to apply the scales from the back of the monster to the front. The first layer is applied one next to the other in a row. The next layer is placed over the seam of the first layer and overlapping halfway. Use PL300 foamboard glue to attach the scales.
Adjust the size and shapes of scales while you are applying. For example, you are using the largest scales on the belly and graduating down to the smaller ones as you reach the shoulder. You are also changing up from the circle shape to more of the teardrop shape as you reach the neck scales. For in-cut muscle lines you also want to graduate to smaller scales so the muscle cut is visible. The legs and arms are using much smaller scales and the leg scales are scales that are flusher to the body. Make the scales flexible in order to have the scales become flush with the skin. Pound the scale with a hammer on each side and all over the surface. This will compress the foam and allow you to form it with your fingers so you can manipulate it. Now you can make the scale flusher to the body. You can also do this same procedure to bend the scale, so they hold a curve and appear more spiky like what you see on the neck.
Clay Accents: Clay will allow you to ease the transition from foam scales to the skin. Clay also can be sheathed onto areas that need more of a solid look like the eyes, teeth and claws. Paperclay is a great clay for this work. It is an ‘air dry’ clay and you can get incredible detail.
Draw out areas where you need to make smaller scales or bumps. Take a bit of clay and knead with some wet fingers to make it smoother and more pliable. Wet the area where you'll be placing it and smooth into place. Wipe with very wet fingers as the final forming step for sections that needs the surface to be very smooth like the teeth, eyes and claws.
Skin Lines (picture 1): Skin has many cracks and lines in it. Draw in those cracks and lines with a Sharpie. Use the cone-shaped grinding Dremel bit to carve them out. Draw a second series of thinner lines and use a thinner grinding stone.
Final Readying (picture 2): Carefully inspect the monster. Look for any openings between the foam sheets and fill with wood putty. Repair any place where the foam may not be all the way glued.
Drylok Bases: Paint the wood bases on both sides twice with Drylok. When dried, place under the monster where they'd normally be to help steady it for the next step of painting.
Base Coat: It is faster and easier to use a spray gun for this step. Pick the color needed for your monster in exterior latex flat paint. Follow the spray gun's instructions for thinning the paint if needed. I use a Husky Pro HDS500 Multi-purpose Spray Gun from Home Depot. Each round of spraying used 3 cups of thinned paint (18 oz. of paint + 6 oz. water) sprayed at 40 psi. You will probably need a spray booth of some sort or do this outside. Try to spray everywhere you can on the monster. It may be helpful to prop it up to better spray underneath. After the first coat has dried - check for any open seams that you first missed with the wood putty and apply some more. Also use a flashlight to check for any areas you need to concentrate the next spraying on. Allow the creature to dry between each spraying session. A fan helps here. Just before the last coat, put some of the paint in an airbrush and spray in areas that the spray gun can't reach. Do a final coat with the spray gun. The Hellhound here took a total of 6 coats and nearly a gallon of paint.
When you are done you should notice a wonderful texture that the spraying left behind on the scales yet still kept a great skin texture.
Detail Painting: Use an airbrush to paint the details. A light brownish-yellow paint looks good for claws and teeth. You may have to hand paint some areas if the over-spray would ruin any areas like the red inside a mouth. Use black in the airbrush to shade areas like between the teeth or darken the claws where is comes out of the skin.
Glossing: Use clear gloss paint for any areas that would glisten with moisture or shine from use. Pay attention to the nose, mouth, eyes, tear ducts, ears, spine, knees, elbows - places like that. You may also want to gloss up the claws and teeth.
Mount to Bases: Remove the plywood bases and the Universal Mounting Bases from the monster. Use a scrubby to remove any paint drippings from the bases. The previous painting step should have left clues where the screw holes need to be placed permanently and where the monster needs to be glued. Screw the Mounting Bases into the plywood and drill out 1/2" holes in a couple of corners. These holes can then be used to tie off the platforms to tree stakes in the yard to give it extra stability from the wind. Touch up with paint. Replace the bases back on the monster and glue in if it's just feet to plywood instead of PVC. Where it was PVC to Mounting Bases - use self-tapping screws to secure.
Removable Parts (not pictured): Screw in any removable parts once you get the monster where it needs to be on Halloween. You can then caulk and paint to disguise the seam.
And you are done! Yeah and pat yourself on your back.
Here's a short video just showing the completed Hellhound:
Thanks for checking out this tutorial!
Video in the graveyard: