Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Final Graphics On Order

I output the Zorg and Munro graphics tonight at the right size, now that I finally have that all figured out. Uploaded them to the mothership, and placed my order for enough grahpics to cover the kits.

They should be ready by tomorrow evening.

Graphics Are Super-Green! PERFECT!

I must confess, I was starting to get a LITTLE bored of all those runs to Costo. But those days are over. After work tonight, I zipped up to my local store and picked up the latest iteration of the graphics, and they are just spot on perfect. When trimmed, they fit snugly inside the laser cut styrene body parts.

It may not be obvious from this picture, but I assure you, it is now up to the Matt Munson quality standards.

Next step is to place my online order for a batch of them, and I will then have ALL of the pieces on hand for the kits.

ZF-1 Stand

Further contributing to the thread on the ZF1 parts, I would like to submit for your review what I THINK is the found part used for the "Stand" of the zf1. This is the knobby thing that is underneath it.

For reference, here is a picture of HALF of the stand, as it sits on my workbench.

I believe that this was made using some fishing practice casting weights.

So say you wanted to practice your cast in your backyard without the fear of snagging little billy by the eyelid. You would attach one of these to your fishing line in place of a regular, hooked lure and go to town.

I do not know FOR SURE if this is what was used, but they sure do look right.

Zorg Remote

This is really just an informational post that I'm putting together as a contribution to a thread running at an online forum discussing the anatomy of the ZF-1, the awesome gun featured in "The Fifth Element".

Here is a photo of the hero, screen used Zorg remote for the ZF-1:

And here is the TYPE of game that was used to create it.

It took me a REALLY LONG time to get ahold of this game. Though they were plentiful years ago, they were not very desireable to collectors, so they were lost to trash bins worldwide. I spent a lot of time looking through online collections of 80's handheld LCD games, and finally stumbled upon a collector who had one. I got in touch with him, though he did not have one he was willing to sell. After about six months, he emailed me out of the blue and informed me that the had purchased one in a lot of games he won on ebay, and wanted to know if I was still interested. Naturally, I was, so I grabbed it.

For the screen used game, they literally just spray painted it black, and put yellow reflective tape over the screen. They didn't even sand off the decals or paint job on the original. The one in the picture above is NOT the same one used in the hero, though it is the same chassis. I learned that the same body was used for tons of different games. They even used the same programming, just changed the sprites.

I found a place online that sells a yellow reflective tape that appears to be a perfect match. Check it out.

Here are some posts I made in the past on this blog about building up my own Zorg Remote.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Round of Graphics

I picked up the latest output from Costco tonight, and it's REALLY great. But, since I'm am totally nuts for this project to be perfect, there are a couple of tiny changes I'm going to make. I just want it to be perfect and fool proof.

So I did some more work in Illustrator and uploaded them to coscto. I will pick them up tomorrow. With any luck, this will be the last round

Another Round of Graphics

I picked up the latest output from Costco tonight, and it's REALLY great. But, since I'm am totally nuts for this project to be perfect, there are a couple of tiny changes I'm going to make. I just want it to be perfect and fool proof.

So I did some more work in Illustrator and uploaded them to coscto. I will pick them up tomorrow. With any luck, this will be the last round

Another Graphics Test - Back Plate

I am doing ONE last test of the graphics for the back side of the pass. I just want to make sure the crop marks are in the right places, and are visible. This should make them easy to trim.

I just modified my adobe illustrator file, rendered it in Photoshop, and uploaded it to the costco mothership. I will head down there later tonight to pick up the prints. I am hoping that this will be the last iteration for the graphics, and after some test cuts, will be able to order the final run for the kits.

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Graphics Test

I'm REALLY getting close on the graphics. What I'm trying to do now is add in just a little more user friendliness. The last set I got were dead on for sizing, but the lines I had added in as cutting templates were just too darn thin. They were hard to see, even under really good lighting. I fattened them up a bit, and sent them off to costco for printing. I did two different thicknesses, and I will go with the best one.

I may have to do a tiny bit of modification, as the lines are now thicker and they take up more real estate on the graphics. That could make the fit a little less snug. So I figure one more round, and I will be ready to go.

Multipass Yellow Rod Arrives

One step closer to completing the Multipass project today! My order from plastruct showed up today, which included the acrylic rod for the side of the pass.

Here's how they looked out of the box.

And after I cut them down to size.

The only thing remaining now is printing the graphics, and getting the mailing envelopes.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shipping Envelopes

Not really much of a project update today for the Multipass, but it's a step. Today I ordered a bunch of shipping envelopes. They run about 75 cents each at target, but I found a place online where you can get them for about 10 cents each, plus shipping. Not a bad deal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Batman '89 All Metal Spear Gun

It is days like today that make all of the sorrow, heart-ache and heart-break of prop collecting worth while. Don't get me wrong, it's a great hobby that I have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of over the years, and have made some great friends through it. But I would say that more than half of the time, I am sorely disappointed with purchases or acquisitions.

The speargun featured in Tim Burton's "Batman" from 1989 is a prop I have been interested in since the moment I laid eyes on it, and the trail leading up to today has been littered with lots of money spent, disappointment, and frustration. I dare say that this is one of the props that reinvigorated my interest in props. While it was Luke Skywalkers lighstaber from Star Wars that got me started, this was one of the first ones I saw as a young adult that got my blood pumping.

I'll cut to the chase, and fill in the back story after the pics.

Here it is, in all its glory, a fully metal replica of the speargun.

A very beautiful piece, wonderfully hand machined in crisp, sharp detail, and anodized black. Based on some pictures that have surfaced VERY recently of the actual screen used prop, it is my belief that this piece was reverse engineered from the SDStudios piece that has been so frequently copied. It was not cast from the resin one, but was no doubt made using measurements from it. I believe this to be the case because the things that Steve (of SDStudios) did that differently from the screen used one are duplicated in this metal one.

As for the back story, I think my first attempt to get a decent spear gun was picking up the Toy Biz role play set that was released with the movie. It featured a plastic belt, and a few accessories, one of which was the gun. For a cheap toy, it was decent, and captured the essence of the screen seen one. It was way off, but was decent.

Years later I learned of the SDStudios piece, but at the time, it was well out of my price range at something like 800 dollars. Later on, I found a place in england going by "Phoenix Replicas", if memory serves me right who were selling a kit that was marketed as "Cast off an original". Though dubious of this claim, it looked decent from the pictures, so I ordered one. I think they wanted 25 dollars for it, and I figured "for 25 bucks, how bad could it be"? This turned out to be an early lesson in "you get what you pay for" in the props game. It was probably double the size of what it should have been, was horribly sculpted, and was cast in some of the stinkiest polyester resin I had ever smelled. I quickly sold it to a fellow collector who was not daunted by it's shortcomings.

For a while, a website going by the name of "Doll and Hobby" (if memory serves) was selling castings of what they assured me were "cast from originals" for 200 dollars or something. I got one, and found out that it was a poor recast of the SDStudios piece. Actually, I take it back, it was a pretty decent casting, it was just done poorly. The seam lines were all over the place and cut through some of the details. I put it up for sale, and ended up gifting it to a fellow named Jeff Holland, who goes by the name "Brin Londo" on a number of popular online forums. I think at the time Jeff was VERY new to the hobby, and I offered him some advice and tips on building the thing up.

A few more years rolled by, and at some point, Steve Dymszo himself offered up a raw kit of his spear gun. It was unbuilt, straight out of the molds. It included a couple of metal parts, and the metal spear. I think it cost me a few bucks, but I snatched it up, planning on building it right away. I was so happy to finally have that kit in my hands.

Which makes it odd that it ended up sitting in a box for something like five years. By this time in the hobby, I realized my strengths lay not in doing build ups of hand props, but instead in acquisition and research. Sure, I can do a mean build up, don't get me wrong. But I tend to focus my time and attention elsewhere. It's kind of weird. I ended up selling the kit to a fellow collector, who did a wonderful job building it up, and consequently offered it for sale.

I'm not totally sure of the timing, but I BELIEVE the motivation for selling the kit was to raise funds for a sale that was being offerd by a german collector who goes by the name "GermanBat". His name is Guido, which is an odd name for a German, but who am I to judge. Guido was offering what he claimed to be an ALL METAL 89 spear gun. Truth be told, THIS is what I had been searching for. Years earlier, I had seen an all metal spear gun in the collector of a fellow enthusiast named Janty. I held the piece in my hands, and was in awe. At the time, I knew that THIS is what I ultimately wanted. Of course, I made Janty an offer on the spot, which he wisely refused. But I was in love with the piece.

So when Guido offered up his all metal gun, I jumped on it.

There's another wrinkle to the story I forgot about, with further exposes the duplicity of Guido. I had heard Guido making some rumblings about eventually doing an all metal spear gun. When he offered the resin one, my FIRST thought was that he was unloading it because he didn't need it any more, as he was going to offer the metal one and needed funds to develop it. Naturally, I asked him. I asked if he planned on offering the metal one, as I would rather wait for that. He said he was not doing a metal 89 spear gun.

I promptly sent him the money. Though I have told this story online before, I think it's worth repeating, because it's a good cautionary tale on how idiotic some sellers can be. So the guy sends over this gun, which I paid 600 bucks for, and it turns out to be a build up of an SDStudios kit, JUST LIKE the one I sold a few days prior. It was all resin, with a COUPLE of metal parts. I knew right away it was an SDStudios piece, because I had been sitting on that kit for five years. I emailed Guido and asked for a refund, but he said no, and insisted that the piece was all metal. Now, I'm no rocket scientist, but I'm pretty sure I can differentiate metal from resin. The two telltale characteristics are weight and temperature. And heck... YOU CAN JUST TELL! But apparentlly, Guido lacks the gene for this operation, and simply refused to accept any wrong doing, and refused to offer a refund.

We went round and round, with him simply refusing to admit that it was resin, no matter what proof I offered to the contrary.

Naturally, without fail, shortly after getting the resin speargun, Guido officially announces that he is moving ahead with his plans to develop and offer an all metal spear gun. Nice. Class act all the way bro.

Being the keyboard kowboy I am, I naturally took my beef to a number of online forums, where I did my typical character assassination routine, which frankly worked like a charm. I mean, it's easy to nail someone to the wall when you have them dead to rights. But Guido being the guy he is was completely unrelenting, and instead of making the situation right, asked for a self imposed ban from one forum. Really weird, but whatever.

I learned much later that even Steve Dymszo was pleading with him behind the scenes to resolve the problem, as he was also able to discern that it was a build up of one of his resin kits. But alas, Guido was unrelenting.

By this time, I'm pretty much fed up with the whole piece, and needed some time away from it. I think about a year, maybe two passed by before THIS piece came up for sale. I emailed the guy and asked all kinds of really lame questions like "are you SURE it's all metal, and not resin with a couple of metal parts??" I'm sure the guy thought I was mental, but I needed to be sure.

We sealed the deal at a great price, I sent paypal, and then promptly left on a two week vacation.

I return home to find a delivery confirmation slip in my mail box... but no box. it was not in the leasing office, and it was not on my front door. I was in a panic. Emails started flying, though none of them were accusatory. I'm smarter than that. I was just trying to track down information on the thing, and trying to figure out where it could have been lost. I went to the mail room in the leasing office and turned it upside down. I spoke to the folks in the leasing office, and they too turned it upside down.

No speargun.

I figured I was cursed.

Or at least, the gun was.

But then I had a hunch. Even though the delivery confirmation information said it had been delivered to my apartment, I got to thinking, what if it was at the local post office. I went down there to check it out, and after the postal employee checked around in the back, sure enough, it was there.

So yeah, it's been a LONG and painful trail to get to this moment, but I'm glad it's finally here. I now own a really nice all metal replica of a prop that intrigued me some 22 years ago.

Weird how it all works out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Plastruct Rod Is In Transit

And the last piece of the Multipass puzzle slips comfortably into place! I just got an email today confirming that my acrylic rod order from Pastruct has shipped, and should be here in a few days.

All that will remain is to cut the rod into pieces, print out the graphics, and we are good to go. oh, and I need to order some bubble wrap envelopes for shipping.

Ok, so it's not the LAST piece, but it's really close now!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another Costco Submission

I just uploaded my most recent pass graphics to Costco. These are the ones that include a few tweaks to the marking lines that are used to trim them.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yellow Rod Ordered

Not a huge update for the MultiPass project, but today I ordered the yellow acrylic rod from

All that remains is for me to get the stepped styrene and the strips that are used for what I call the "red wire strip" part.

More Graphics Work

I noticed some TINY issues with the graphics that I got from costco. When I cut along the lines I had inserted into the graphics, they didn't quite fit PERFECTLY. I went into adobe illustrator and adjusted them slightly. I think when I switched to version 2.0 of the body kit, I didn't update the graphics. There were some minor changes to the body shapes. All fixed now.

I have since rendered new versions of the graphics, and am about to send them off to Costco for printing. I will probably pick them up tomorrow. If all goes well and they fit perfectly, I will consider that part of the project complete, and move ahead with getting a bunch of them printed.

For what it's worth, I asked the folks at Costco who do the photo processing, and when you upload your photos online, the entire printing process is automated. Nobody does any hand cropping or resizing or anything like that. So in theory, the results I am getting with my graphics should be repeatable. It is a little bit tricky, because even though they don't do any MANUAL cropping or resizing, there is some done by the machine. It tends to make the photos about an 1/8" bigger, and crops slightly to the upper left hand corner. I know, that's weird, but I find it interesting

Friday, April 16, 2010

Graphics Are Good!

My resizing efforts paid off, and the newly printed Costco graphics fit perfectly inside the laser cut parts. Very cool.

That's one more logistical hassle resolved.

The only thing remaining is sourcing a few pieces of plastic, and then I am good to go.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Graphics News

As suspected, Costco tends to resize the photos that you submit, so the artwork came out a little too big. I pulled out the micrometer, measured it, compared it to what size I want it to be, then resized my master accordingly.

I have re-uploaded the artwork to costco and ordered a print. It will be ready for pick up tomorrow.

The good news is that the print looks REALLY good. I'm very impressed with the print quality. If I can just get the size right, this will definitely be a great thing for the kit, and will make it that much better.

More Graphics News

As suspected, Costco tends to resize the photos that you submit, so the artwork came out a little too big. I pulled out the micrometer, measured it, compared it to what size I want it to be, then resized my master accordingly.

I have re-uploaded the artwork to costco and ordered a print. It will be ready for pick up tomorrow.

The good news is that the print looks REALLY good. I'm very impressed with the print quality. If I can just get the size right, this will definitely be a great thing for the kit, and will make it that much better.

MultiPass Parts Kits Arrive, Graphics News

I have a couple of updates today on the MultiPass project, both of which are good!

Today I received in the mail the laser cut parts kits from RMS Laser. They came out beautifully, and I'm very happy with them. Thanks RMS! Now I need to break them down into individual kits and get them into zip lock bags.

I am trying something new with the graphics this time. Printing the graphics at home takes a lot of ink, a lot of time, and is a hassle. It occurred to me that I might be able to outsource this work. There are some complications with that, but I'm taking a shot at it. Today I rendered a set of graphics as a jpg and sent them off to the costco photo lab for printing. This has a number of advantages. I think the overall cost will be lower, it will be way less hassle from me, and I think the product will be of a higher quality. I'm pretty sure the huge photo printers they use at Costco are higher quality than my HP Deskjet. But who knows.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yellow Vinyl Cut

I don't have a terribly big report for today, but for those of you who are following along for updates on the Multipass project, I have one today.

Tonight I took my yellow vinyl and cut it into squares.

Yup, that's the update.

As of right now, the kits are very close to being ready. I've received the laser cut parts, though I have not seen them yet. (I'm on vacation in California right now). The only thing left for me to do is scrounge up a few little bits of styrene, order the acrylic rods, and get graphics printed up. The styrene can be purchased at a local hobby shop, the rods need to be gotten from Plastruct, and I will need to decide my strategy for doing the graphics.

Definitely moving along.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Apoxie Sculpt

I've decided to make some changes to my approach with the boot soles. There are limitations to what I can accomplish with Bondo, so I'm going to do a hybrid approach. My plan will be to do the general sole shape and bulk with bondo, but do surface details with Apoxie Sculpt. This is a relatively new product that is a combination of clay and epoxy. It's a two part putty that you mix together, then handle like clay. But it cures solid in 24 hours. This will allow me to do the delicate and difficult sculpting tasks with a clay-like media, then once it hardens I can sand it and file it like bondo. Should be good!

I ordered a 4 pound kit of white Apoxie Sculpt from ebay today.


I ordered a one gallon kit of BJB's 1630 today from Burman Foam. I'm going to use this for a few things. I will make a rigid positive of a section of the cape material, which I will then use to produce negatives in latex. These will be used on the boots.

I'm also going to use this as part of my ZF-1 project. This will be the outer coat that I put down before putting in fiberglass. Should be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yellow Vinyl

Today I picked up a few feet of yellow vinyl from my local sign makers. This will be used behind the clear domes on the multipass kits. Now I just need to cut it up into little squares.

Not a terribly big report today on the progress of this project, but this was a lingering logistical detail that needed to be attended to.