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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Il volto dell'Italia

CreaFX is a silicone mask maker based in Italy, and I've been intrigued by their masks for a while now. Two of the things that made me hesitant however, were two of the most important things in a mask - ears and eye fit.

From the pictures I had seen, the ears looked a bit... unformed... and the eyeholes always seemed to be cut a bit too large.

I was also warned that the mask is thin - about half the thickness of a CFX mask. Supposedly, this makes the mask more flexible on your face. After my experience with the Asian mask from RealMaskMaster, this sort of set off some warning bells, but I figured, "If it's a tighter fit, it should be okay."

The tipping point was some pictures of the mask being worn by the guy who runs the "Adam Chang" page on Facebook. It really looked good as far as the eyeholes went. So I contacted the company and placed an order. I also asked if they could possibly reduce the size of the eyeholes.


This was also my first purchase from Italy, and I was surprised that there was some customs duty on it. Not a lot - about $31USD - but I've never had to pay duty on anything from overseas before - Germany, Austria, UK, China, etc.

When I opened the package, I was very surprised at how light the mask was. It was thin - probably as thin as the RealMaskMaster - but definitely had a more substantial texture to it.

And then I tried it on.

FUCK.

The eyeholes were too big on the outer edges and the ears appeared to be a little too low and a little too forward. I can't believe that I just wasted money on another poorly made mask. And because it was so thin, I had also had CreaFX hair it as I was afraid my regular hair guy could pull it out of shape. Good money after bad.

Now, this was when I got home from work and was a bit sticky from the commute home. At that point, I was figuring to put it on sale and take a loss. With the Euro exchange rate, there would be no way in hell for me to recoup my purchase price. So for the sales photo shoot the next day, I washed up right before, put a little bit of talcum in the mask and put it back on.

What a difference a clean, dry face makes!

The mask being as thin as it is requires a bit more fiddling on the face to get it just right. Heavier masks (Immortal, CFX, Realflesh, Metamorphose, Studio135, Evolution, ShatteredFX - basically all the North American manufacturers) have a tendency to settle onto your face immediately with a minimal adjustment necessary. The "Frank" mask also has an adjustable nose bridge (much smaller than the other manfacturers' ones) so again, more fiddling is required to get a decent fit.

I will be the first to admit that ear sculpting is one of the hardest things in designing a mask, but the ears here don't lend themselves on being seen in their altogether - you really need a wig on this mask to disguise them a bit. With the ear issue resolved somewhat; the eyes were much better, but still could have been cut smaller on the outer edges - see the area in red below...


Quality of the hairing was good, but not great. I guess I'm spoiled rotten with my hair guys here. I send them reference pics and I get exactly what I asked for. Or better. Here, I sent CreaFX some specific pics for a very short-cut beard stubble, and I was informed that they couldn't go that short, but would make it as short as possible.


The eyebrows and beard were done well, but not 100% of what I was looking for. Also, the sealing on the beard is a few generations back from the North American process. Here, the hair is kept longer on the inside, steamed flat, and then a thin layer of silicone is used to produce a smooth surface on the inside. The CreaFX mask left a very short bit on the inside without any smooth sealing. This has the potential to become very itchy, but thankfully, the hair used in the "Frank" mask did not do that.

The bib on the mask is also very small. You can get away with the collar button and one button open on a shirt. Because of the thinness of the mask, however, there is a tendency when you move your head forward and down that you will get some minor wrinkling.


To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the CreaFX mask

PROS
  • Well made
  • Well painted
  • Well seamed/flashed
  • Nose is good with a small, adjustable bridge
  • Lip fitment is good. About 7/10 on the Silva scale 
  • Mask thinness does not subtract from a well-made feeling. Actually a bit cooler to wear.
  • Fit around the face and head is very good

CONS
  • Ears could be little better placed, but can be adjusted to look okay. Ear design is still below North American standards. The necessity of wearing a wig is higher with this mask
  • Eyeholes are definitely too big. They need to be reduced by about 2mm on the outer edge. Judicious adjustment of the mask to place the ears helps fix (but not remove) the eyehole issue in conjunction with adjusting the nose bridge.
  • Short bib can produce some neck wrinkling. 
  • Requires more "fiddling" once on to achieve a realistic look

Overall, I'd give this a 7.5-8/10.

But this is not up to my expectations and I'm selling it.

 

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