Saturday, May 17, 2008

Alien Padd Still Cooking

As always, I'm a big fan of juggling many projects at once. I don't know why, but maybe it's my lack of focus.

Sorry, I lost track of what I was saying there for a second. Where was I? Oh yes, lack of focus. Sorry.

(see how clever one can be on one's blog? Who knew??)

Anyhow, I did some more work on that alien Padd today. I had to do some scraping around on the back side, to make sure the plex sheet would lay flat into the viewing area. There were a bunch of knobs and bumps and things that i missed last time that caused the plex to sit at an odd angle. And we can't have that now, can we??

You can't really see too much in the first picture, but this shows the ring all cleared out. I did scrape some paint off some vital surfaces by accident. Rather than trying to spray paint the whole thing again, I just used a q-tip dipped in paint to touch it up. I suppose I should have used a paint brush, but I couldn't find one.

And here's the padd with the plex installed. Held in place by my favorite five minute epoxy. Very versatile stuff, you know. I suppose it's kind of hard to see the screen, as it's clear and all.

The next challenge that really awaits with this one is building out the back panel. With any luck, I'll have some styrene stock on hand that is the precise thickness that I need to fill in the gap. I doubt that will be the case, so It'll be time to get creative. Just need to make that back panel, paint it, install the graphics, then seal it all up. Then it's done. So not a ton of work left, but knowing me, this will wrap up sometime in December.

Mangalore Nozzle

At this point, the only real remaining task left on building up the rifle is the nozzle.

Here's the piece as it came out of the mold. You can still clearly see the writing on the top of it. Tasty!

I spent a little time using putty and sand paper to flatten out the top, but it turned out great. I then drilled a big old hole in it, off center. Then hit it with some primer.

Then, all I had to do was blast it with a couple of coats of black. It's drying right this very second. As soon as it's done, I just have to epoxy it to the main body, and this baby is done.

I've decided not to whether the gun for now. I'll just leave it as is. I'll need to experiment a little with some techniques before I commit to plowing the gun under in simulated dirt and grime.

Still, the good news is that this baby is really almost done now. Too bad I was hoping to have it finished by the end of December. I'll still be maintaining my one prop per month policy, and that's all I can ask. Well, I can ALWAYS ask more of myself, but hey, why push.

Mangalore Detail Pieces

The Managalore Rifle rushes towards completion... though at a snails pace. Hey, as long as it gets done eventually, I'll be happy.

Mangalore Detail Pieces

The Managalore Rifle rushes towards completion... though at a snails pace. Hey, as long as it gets done eventually, I'll be happy.

I decided to repaint the side detail piece. I had done some experimentation with whethering it, and it just didn't come out very good. So I reverted back to it's original flat black condition. Here you see it right after it was painted, hence the glossy look.

And here it is all glued into place on the body of the rifle. I used a few gobs of my favorite five minute epoxy to get it into place.

And here's the infernal little detail piece that I agonized over so much. All set and ready to mow your village down.

Brady Tiki

Loads of updates today, and this will be the first topic to be covered.

Readers will remember that I got this resin casting a while ago, and had mixed feelings about the quality of the casting. LOTS OF BUBBLES!

I dug around on the inner-webs, and it turns out that there's TONS of information out there on this little tiki. I never knew it was so elusive. It took a friend of mine about a month or two of monitoring some tiki forums to find it, so I guess it's all about knowing where to look. Here's some interesting info on the tiki:

Here are a couple of screen shots of the tiki in action, from the Hawaii episodes of the brady bunch:

The interesting news is that it looks as if it IS indeed an off white, cream color. I had it in my head that it was white. Not so much. That's cool for me, as it looks like the resin that I'm using right now (and have a bunch of) is pretty much the right color.

I decided to use this one as a test, to see if the painting technique I've devised would work.

Here's the tiki, soaked in Krylon semi-gloss black.

All I did after that was go at with a sock that was dipped in laquer thinner. It came out REALLY great. I think this looks a whole lot like the one that was in the show. I could probably stand to take out a little more black, but you get the idea.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Knobby Bits

Please don't misinterpret the title of this post. This blog has not taken a turn for the pornographic. Nossir! I'm talking in this post about a little detail piece that goes on top of the rifle.

Readers will recall that while this piece was originally cast into the main body of the gun, I sanded it off due to the poor alignment I had gotten. Cuz that stuff ain't gonna fly. Not on my watch. So in this post, I show how I prepped the two resin pieces that I poured up previously.

I had to take the halves over to the belt sander, to clean up the back sides. I didn't to too good of a job, as there was a little unevenness to them. I straightened them out with some high grit sandpaper.

I glued the two halves together using some 2 minute epoxy. Nice!

I went in with some sand paper and my jewelers files to clean up the ribs the best I could. The two halves went together pretty well, but not perfectly. There was a bit of work to be done.

I went in with some putty to clean up the seam. I didn't really want to spend a ton of time on this little detail piece. There were far more noticeable seams on the gun, so it didn't really seem worth while to agonize over this little guy.

I put some primer on it, and did a little more sanding. It's just about done now.

After the primer had dried, I hit it with a couple of coats of krylon semi-gloss black. No picture, but I'm sure you get the point. Next up, I need to attach it to the gun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Brady Bunch Tiki

Remember those episodes of the Brady Bunch when they went to Hawaii? Greg got that cursed tiki, and all hell broke loose?

Well feast yer eyes on this...

I took a look at some screen grabs from those episodes, and as far as i can tell, this piece is THE same tiki that was used. I don't mean it's the precise screen used one. I mean that it looks like they used an off the shelf, very commonly made tiki. This is from the same shelf.

Great piece, but it has its problems. First up, it's the wrong color. For me to get this piece looking screen accurate, I'll need to do a certain painting technique, and it requires a white base. This is off white. Second, this is a terrible casting. The shape and details are great, but there are literally hundreds of bubbles in the resin. HUNDREDS of them. That won't fly.

I kicked around the idea of puttying each one of them, but there's way too many. So I did a quick mold of it with the intention of then using tweezers to pluck out all of the balls. Cuz you know, the inverse of bubbles is balls. So far, I've cleaned up the mold pretty good, but have not yet taken a pull out of it. And don't worry, I'm not going to knock these out. I only molded it for my own purposes. This could very well kick off a debate about that grey area of this hobby I participate in, but I'm not too worried. I know the dude who makes these pretty well, and I'm guessing he's confident in the claim that I'm not going to start offering Tikis :)

Anyhow, I'll have another update on this shortly.

Rifle Nozzle

As before, I've fallen behind in posting progress on my Mangalore Rifle. Progress has indeed been made, it just has not been documented.

In this post, I'll share some work I did on the nozzle. As readers will know, the molds for the rifle did not come with a nozzle tip. I have one picture of a stunt rifle that shows what the size of the tip is, and also that it appears to have some kind of nipple on it. I found a vitamin bottle cap that looked to be about the right size, and decided to use that as a base. I was still unsure how I was going to handle the nipple. I looked at some reference photos I have for a screen used HERO rifle, and found that instead of a nipple, it just has a big hole. I guess that makes sense. So I opted for the easy way out, and decided to make a hole instead.

Anyhow, here's some pics.

I started off with the cap, and took it to the belt sander to sand down the text on the top. Sadly, the cap was slightly concave, and only the text around the edges sanded smooth. I didn't feel like knocking an eigth of an inch off the cap to get to the text, so I just left it as it is, figuring I would fix it in a casting.

Which reminds me. The reason I decided to cast this in the first place is twofold. First of all, I wasn't sure if paint would stick too well to the plastic cap. Second, it's much easier to attach to the gun if it's solid resin. As it is, it's essentially hollow. I suppose I could have filled it with resin or something, but that sounds like a lot of trouble. So I cut out a red cup (remind you of any college parties you've been to lately???) and used that as my mold box.

The mold came out beautifully.

More to come on the cap shortly.

Blade Runner Wallets All Around

This post isn't really about building anything in particular, but I want to show off a couple of new acquisitions. Since my prop website has kind of fallen into a state of disrepair, it looks like the new additions will go here instead.

Both of these wallet sets were made by friends of mine, so I'll leave their names out to protect them from the infamous Blade Runner Mafia.

First up is a "fantasy" piece, meaning that it was inspired by the movie, but does not reproduce something seen in the movie. This is a concept piece that is a vision of what Deckards wallet MAY have looked like fifteen years prior to the events of the movie. Really neato.

And this is the latest incarnation of Deckards wallet as seen in the movie. The real clincher in this set is the execution of the ID card, which is based on the new intel learned from the "world con" photos. Best replica yet.

Blade Runner Wallets