Jacob Hilll is a recurring character at Frontier Airsoft games. The mask that represents him was a full-head costume mask of Darkman (from he film of the same name), and it looked really good. However, because it was a costume mask it offered basically no protection, and the actor still had to wear protective goggles. After the first game he also commented that the eye holes pressed uncomfortably into his face, they were made in such a way that they pressed back into the wearers eye sockets, which created a really brilliant effect – but not so great when you’re running around woodlands shooting and things.
They asked me to re-build the mask with an armoured inside to protect the wearer and at the same time to mesh the eyes so that it could be worn without additional goggles, and to create more air holes and generally improve the breathability.
Modifying the mask would mean cutting it up quite a lot, since it was a full head mask adding what amounted to another couple of centimetres of protection at the front would pull the whole thing forward and that would mean it would no longer fit. That meant I needed to strategically cut around the mask, add a large extra portion, reposition key features and blend the new parts in with the existing parts. So to pull this off I decided to try using latex on this one, it’s the classic old technique of using latex and kitchen paper/toilet paper to build up the flesh tissue and then using the latex to seal it and build the skin. I made a hood of stretchy mesh fabric as the base, cut up the existing mask strategically, made the inner face mask from EVA foam and inserted the mesh eyes into that. Then used latex to glue the parts of the old mask onto the new framework. After that it was just a question of building up the missing bits using latex and tissue until everything looked the part.
I painted it with acrylics mixed with the last layer of latex, and added shading and various tones. The original Darkman mask very nicely duplicated the half burnt look of the film character, but the Frontier character of Jacob Hill is supposed to have taken a massive dose of experimental steroid like narcotics that sort of made him Hulk out. So rather than repainting the mask in a similar burnt/raw flesh look as the original, I repainted it to look like mutated stringy muscle flesh. As you can see in the photos from the game day, I also finished it off with a matt coat on the flesh side and a gloss coat on the raw side, just to add to the effect of raw muscle flesh.