Aug 30 2012

Zombie Rat

Posted by Chris

We were recently given an interesting challenge:  Create a rat prop that has basic articulation, can be ripped apart at the midline, and would look realistic on a dimly lit set while being devoured by a hungry zombie.  Normally this would be an easy task:  Sculpt the rat, make some molds, cast the rat, build an armature, articulate it, and add the finishing touches (hair, teeth, claws, etc).  The challenge was that we had less than 3 days, working only 2-3 hours a night due to our existing workload.  We love a good challenge!


The Sculpt

The clay we used For this project was Chavant NSP soft. This softer clay does not hold a lot of detail, but allows for quick sculpting of a basic form. Because time would not allow for great detail, we went for speed. The body and head were sculpted first, and the ears, feet, and tail were added later.

The Dismembering

We detached the legs and head from the body so they could be articulated in a later step.  The body was then segmented just below the ribcage, and hollowed out to make room for guts.

The Skin

With no time to make molds, we stippled pigmented latex directly onto the sculpt.  Multiple layers were built up to provide strength.  A skin-tone latex was used for the outer skin, and a deep red latex was used for the internal cavities.  We then attached the head and legs to the body using strips of fabric and multiple layers of liquid latex for strength.  This allowed the head and legs to move freely without requiring an inner armature.

The Hair

Pros-aide, a prosthetic adhesive, was used to apply layers of hair to the rat’s body.  Application of the hair started at the tail and base of the legs, working upward towards the head.  This “shingling” effect insures that the hair mimics the animal’s natural hair pattern.  The hair was then trimmed and styled to give the rat a wild look that matched the “mutant zombie apocalypse” theme of the film.

The Guts

The two halves of the body were linked using elastic strands running from the head to the tail.  This allowed the rat to be “torn apart” below the ribcage and return to a normal state when released.  Latex guts were then bonded to each of the two halves using cyanoacrylate glue.  This concealed the elastic strands and provided a great effect when the rat segments are separated.  A little fake blood and you have a tasty treat any zombie would appreciate.

The Details

We painted the eyes (which were metal bearings) black and gave them a healthy shine.  Alcohol activated pigments were used to stain the nose, mouth, inner ears, eyelids, toes, and tail. 

And there you have it, one snack-sized rat ready for zombie consumption!


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