RAINBOW TROUT - Props/Mechanical Puppets.
18 inch long, life-size rainbow trout.
Silicone rubber, glass eyes and puppet arm mount.
Swims and jumps puppeteered with rod arm attatched through underside.
At the beginning of production, a test was conducted using real fish and the resulting smells that quickly developed led to a decision to go with artificial fish. We provided over 650 Fish for Godzilla.
The bodies were solid silicone rubber, greatly softened with thinners for added realistic flexibility. All of the fins had to be made separately and joined on so they would be much stiffer than the softened rubber, which would have flopped over at those thicknesses. Realistic fish scale patterns were painted on by starting with a base green rubber color and painting through a fine screen with silver, then glazing over this layer with white for the bellies and pearlescent colors on the sides to achieve the iridescence of trout. High quality glass taxidermy eyes were used for their bright, hard highlights and k-y jelly was used to keep any water present from beading up unaturally on the fish.
To achieve the outrageously huge piles of fish that appear in the movie, big piles of our fish were simultaneously gang-molded in flats from which large latex sheets of fish were cast & painted, and thrown over big air bags on set. For the scenes of fish still kicking along Godzilla's trail, we built an additional six fully self enclosed, animatronic, kicking fish.
A studio painter on this production got his hands on some of our unpainted fish. He became very territorial and aggresive, even though these were props and special effects. He threatened to shut down production, insisting that painting the fish were within his jurisdiction and took the fish away to paint. A few days went by and the guy finally returns with the fish unpainted. He explains that he's tried everything and can't get any paint to stick to these fish. He asks, "are you sure you really still need me to paint these?" and we were only too glad to take them back.
Silicone is nearly the only thing that will stick to silicone; making silicone paint is pretty easy once you know this. 100% pure rubber, silicone caulking -found in tubes, in the hardware stores- thinned with naptha, xylene or even paint thinner provides a good vehicle/binder and for pigment- the minimum neccesary quantities of oil paint or universal tinting colors to achieve the color are added.
RAINBOW TROUT - Credits
GODZILLA (Sony) 1998. Roland Emmerich, director.