Coming soon to a blood filled hot tub near you, the Countess Karnstein. This 1/4 scale bust measures a whopping 10 1/2 inches and is absolutely perfect in every way. Sculpted by the very talented Joe Simon, our Countess is just stepping into her nightly bath of blood and is joined by a few of her pets. Parted into 5 solid resin pieces with very little clean-up work required, this kit is ready to paint in no time. The base is poured in transparent red resin with a cavity on the underside for lighting and power possibilities.
We have enjoyed a long working relationship with Joe Simon and his work still amazes us. His latest piece, the Countess of Karnstein is absolutely beautiful and surprisingly large for a 1/4 scale bust. Instead of stopping at the waist, Joe decided to go a little further south to give you a bit more of the Countess. Your welcome.
This beauty arrived in the studio just a few weeks ago. As usual with Joe’s work, there was nothing for me as the mold-maker and caster to do but simply start building molds. She was perfect in every way. All undercuts were appropriately prepared for the molding process. Her hair was formed and flowing with enough thickness to withstand mold-making and yet look natural not bulky. Joe even made sure that the wings on the bats would not be a casting problem by making them a bit thicker so the molds would not collapse under pressure thus causing thin spots or even holes. And while this thickness is evident on the trailing edges of the wings, a bit of sanding along those edges gives the illusion of a thin membrane. These are the types of things that an experienced sculptor like Joe thinks about and incorporates into his work.
I took a couple of days to just observe the Countess and decide on the best parting line for her. She was one continuous piece with several undercuts so I wanted to make sure that I could hide any parting line as best I could. Once I decided on the parting line I marked it on the primed parts and began laying up clay. The smaller pieces were simple enough so I constructed two part molds for those pieces and the base was a simple open mold. Due to the sheer size of the bust, I knew that a typical two part mold would be very costly and very heavy so I opted for a jacketed mold. First I mixed and brushed on several thin coats of Silicone Inc.’s XT491 with a GI 179 activator. Because this is not the typical method of applying this particular silicone, it took a while to build up a usable layer of silicone. After each application of silicone, I had to wait 24 hours for it to cure and then another thin layer was applied.
Once I was happy with the thickness of silicone, I used Smooth-On’s Free From Air to create a supporting jacket. This is the second project in which I used this product and I absolutely love it. The fact that it is really lightweight makes working with the finished product a lot easier. Basically, it is a two part epoxy material with a consistency similar to that of Play-Doh. After it cures you can carve, sand and drill the stuff. While it is still workable, you can wet it with water to smooth it out much like working with Aves Epoxy. In fact, I have a couple larger pieces in my personal collection that might get some Free Form Air in place of Aves to fill voids and build up mass. Back to the Countess.
Next, I flipped the Countess over and removed the clay from the back side of the sculpt. I coated the cured silicone and Free From Air with thinned petroleum jelly, a tip I picked up from Mark Brokaw many years ago. The jelly is thinned with mineral spirits then brushed on in thin coats. I have used aerosol mold releases in the past but nothing works as good Mark’s homemade recipe. It takes a little more experience to ensure you get the right amount of release agent but the results are worth every bit of the effort. As I began to high pour in my next small batch of silicone it just struck me funny to see the Countess’s posterior being covered in the liquid silicone. Insert cheezy 70’s porn music here. I used a small brush to push the silicone into all of the folds of her hair and other undercuts. The silicone was allowed to cure overnight then another thin coat was applied the next day. The process took 4 days to complete just like the first half of the mold. Finally, I created the second half of the mold jacket with the Free Form Air.
Removing the mold jackets was a snap and the silicone parted easily thanks to Mark’s release agent recipe. The original sculpt came out of the mold in perfect condition due in no small part to Joe’s understanding of the mold making and casting process. Intricate sculpts are very visually interesting but a pain in the ass for producers. That won’t stop Quarantine Studio from bringing you the best in resin model kits and prepainted statues. With every project, we push ourselves and our factory to make the finished product better and more amazing. So be on the look out for the Countess Karstein coming soon to our online store along with some more amazing work from Joe Simon.