Friday, June 29, 2012

Connor's Tomahawk (build 2.0 ) - Assassin's Creed III

So, a good while back, I made a replica tomahawk from AC3, and though I was pretty happy with it, I wound up building it before the official announcement came out, and based it on a couple leaked images.
I really wanted to tackle it again

If interested in the old build. I blogged it up a while back
Fevereon Props: Ratohnhaké:ton / Connor's Tomahawk - Assassin's Creed III

Though I burned out the first one really fast to hopefully appease the inner fangirl between other work on the table (i think it was around about 15 hours or so, 8 of them due to hellacious beading), I wanted to sit down and put a bit more time into this remake, resize it correctly (the other one was too big for a traditional tomahawk) , and well as try out a different approach to the build

On to the wips! Please note that on these, you might see a couple different woods on the handle.. that was because I initially planned on just remaking one for myself, but then changed it up because I later decided to mold it. The technique is the same though,

Of course, first things first! I did the layout using Inkscape, and was much more picky about the shape of the handle. (The first one I pretty much banged out of an old stick of birch using a surform rasp in about a half hour) After doing the layout, and transferring it to the wood, I cut it out, and used the belt sander to shape it to the outline. I followed that up with rasps and files to achieve the desired rounded shape. I took into consideration the fact that the handle would be wrapped, so that area was shaped a little smaller than I normally would have. The diamonds were sketched on as well.

The axe end (bottom left end) was shaved down more since the photo was taken

Once deciding on molding this, I wound up remaking the handle using poplar (softer & faster to shape), then woodburned a woodgrain texture into it to make the wood look more like wood once casting took place (or else it would look like a plain ol' stick)

The diamonds were done in the same fashion, please excuse the shift back to the red oak stick, its the only photo I have of the diamonds.

I had initially started to make the blade out of mdf again, and did the spike on the back first. I later cut this off and used it on the final piece.

The rest of the head, I tried out a different approach. Since I have the laser cutter, I thought I'd try cutting the shape out (here I used acrylic). I used the contour of the acrylic to help with alignment and symmetry, sculpted one side out of Super Sculpey, and used a heat gun to cure it (to cut down on warpage that would result should i toss that hunk of acrylic in the oven. though some details I waspicky about when sculpting, I roughed out others since I'd be sandign it down evenly anyways.

The box was used to help circulate the hot air around the piece for a more even bake (it worked!)

When it was hard enough to sand, I got to filing and sanding the half, down to 1000 grit sandpaper. I decided to keep the head fairly thick to keep it sturdy, obviously convention safe, and in case I wanted to try molding this thing on foam as a larp prop. It was designed so you won't notice unless you look at it edge on.

A groove was cut into the poplar, and the head was slotted in. The pointed end was cut off, ad was replaced by the mdf one, since I thought it turned out well, and there as no point in remaking that AGAIN.. lots of bondo and sanding took place to make the sleeve (?). With more references, I thought I'd try the more angular approach, though I'm not sure if it was designed to be angular, or if it was due to games' polycount

(oop. just double checked, looks like deliberate design choice)

Though many spray paints eat Super sculpey over a shrt period of time, I've found that rustoleum's stainless steel pro paint doesn't, and also dries quickly, and can sand smooth without clogging up sandpaper. (also, tests with 0000 steel wool and buffing with a tshirt can produce really sexy results)

Molding time! The last thing i molded (an ac1 short knife) leaked something godawful, so I tried out instead of just little locking channels and some keys, to put a groove around the whole danged thing. Non sulfur based clay, rebound 25, etclalalala. Also boxed it up with some of the tons of convention flyers that i used to horde after events were over to use to mix bondo and epoxies

(the little bit at the bottom is a sculpt for Connor's buttons, decided that he's on the eventual cosplay list)

unclaying the first half. Yay! looks good so far!

The other half was molded in Mold Max 30, cuz i ran out of rebound. The shrinkage is very slightly different (the molds wound up shrinking maybe about 1 mm more on the mold max half), but the grooves that were put in to align the halves make the difference between shrinkage rates inconsequential

poured the first half, then once it set enough, I tacked some metal reinforcements down with crazy glue

close er' up, pour, demold, yay! (also hella happy that i had added that "lip" in addition to the keys and grooves)

demolding was fine, very little flashing to deal with, everything aligned right, good to go!. There's a bubble on one side though (oops!), so just plucked it off after demolding.

did some refining sanding where needed, and theres a lil' undercut that i was able to easily putty up. (this image was one of the earlier tests that needed a lil more work)

The handle was done by making a glove mold in a mailing tube that i cut in half (many dirty jokes were made during the molding process lol), and coated with packing tape on the inside. After demolding and pulling a cast (the mold is slid back into the tube and rubber banded to maintain alignment) , it too barely has seams to deal with. When casting it, I held a metal rod in until it set to reinforce the handle and provide a means of sturdily attaching the handle Here's photo of one after doing a test spray

I didn't document the painting process this time around, so I'm just copying and pasting the painting part of the previous build. The main difference is that I had gone back afterwards and drybrushed the blade to give it a more weathered and worn feel, and of course, the head was shaped differently!

After masking the handle, I laid down a couple coats of Krylon Satin black.

When it was reasonably dry, but not FULLY dry (a quick tap with a finger doesn't stick), I rubbed aluminum metallic powder onto the surface to give it a more worn metal look. I've been using powders from

After going through tons of different clear sealers, looking for one that doesn't completely dull out silver (or turn it grey), I found Testors Metallizer sealer (item 1459) actually works, with minimal dulling. Its a pain to get though, comes in tiny bottles, and isn't cheap around me unfortunately. I *do* like it though. An alternative is future floor polish.

The handle was wrapped in deerskin, leather straps, beads and cording at the base of the handle was done, and lots of drybrushing was done to weather the piece.

I also thought it would be neat to gouge the head up a little bit as well (this was done before painting though)
Here's the finished project!  (sorry for the poor quality photos, good camera went AWOL :\ )

Looking forward to the rest of the costume

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Team Fortress 2- Scattergun

Never played Team Fortress 2 (and still haven't) but I was commissioned to make some of the various props for the engineer class, and the scattergun for the scout class. While researching the designs, I already saw that this was going to be a fun project.. the game's sense of humor was awesome, and the weapons are big and cartoonish

This was made during a 1 1/2 month propbuilding blitz, (when I was also making 4 orher props at the same time), so please excuse the lack of photos!.

The barrels were made from pvc tubing, and the drum is from a plastic can that silicone came in (it happened to be the perfect size. The threading at the top (and the bottom!) were cut off

pieces of plywood were tacked together, shaped into disks, and holes were laid out for the barrels to fit through.

After one of the disks were seperated an set aside, holes were drilled into the other two that were still together. After those were drilled out and refined, they were slid onto the tubes (second one spaced apart to add stability), and the holeless disk was later glued into the back end (I'd highly reccomend doing this *after* attaching the stock.. it would have save me some of the trouble!)

The gunsights were made using a 1/4" thick strip of poplar & scraps.

...and the sight bits added

Here's the trigger & pump handle setup. If i had a compression spring on hand I would have used that for the trigger instead of of the curved spring! The pump handle is machined aluminum, because it would break if a scout got too excited.
be sure that the spring is is nice & strong, so the pump handle will return to the proper position!

A quick test of the mech once it's enclosed! I removed the pump handle spring to make sure its range of motion was right.

Now for the stock on the bottom! This was built from pine. Notice the big blazing gap on the bottom there.. that's what the tape and he greenpost it came in. The post it was folded in half to make it easier to fit between the barrels, then taped down. Bondo was then smeared into the gap.

Once the bondo began to set, a chisel was used to cut off the excess. The bottom stock was removed (easily since it wasn't adhered to the barrels to begin with!) then refined.

aaand heres the aforementioned photo gap!
the rest of this was pretty much assembly and painting.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ratohnhaké:ton / Connor's Tomahawk - Assassin's Creed III

But I doubt I'll have time this year to do a full costume like I usually do, but thought the tomahawk would be a quick & fun project to take on

At the time of making this, references were pretty scarce. A few leaked images before the official release of the ACIII trailer were floating around, and I based mine mostly on this one

The first step was to make the handle, I had an old walking stick laying around, so I cut it down, and shaved it to the shape and thickness I wanted.

The stick was stained, then sealed.

The axe head was made from MDF (medium density fiberboard).The darker areas are where the MDF was slicked with crazy glue. The bit on the dremel is a tngsten carbide grinder, which Is one of my favorite bits. It'll leave thngs rough though!

The bevel on the inside was further refined using sandpaper. This was again slicked with crazy glue, and sanded to a smooth finish.

To secure the blade and the point to the handle, I drilled holes though the widest part of the handle and back point. The holes were offset so I could screw both sides on.

.. and there we go.. after screwing the blade in, i unscrewed it a little so I screw the tip on, then rotated the blade back into posistion.

They were epoxied into place to strengthen it.

Time to break out the bondo!

bondo bondo sand bondo sand bondo sand

* After the build, I wasn't happy with the head shape (wanted to make the AC logo a little more pronounced since finding better references), so a few days later, I went back and modified the axe head. bondo bondo sand bondo sand bondo sand

I also thought I'd leave the piece a little more rough.

After masking the handle, I laid down a couple coats of Krylon Satin black.

When it was reasonably dry, but not FULLY dry (a quick tap with a finger doesn't stick), I rubbed aluminum metallic powder onto the surface to give it a more worn metal look. I've been using powders from

After going through tons of different clear sealers, looking for one that doesn't completely dull out silver (or turn it grey), I found Testors Metallizer sealer (item 1459) actually works, with minimal dulling. Its a pain to get though, comes in tiny bottles, and isn't cheap around me unfortunately. I *do* like it though. An alternative is future floor polish.

I went back with a little more powder and rubbed it in to give it a pretty chrome looking finish. Surprised it worked as well as it did!

Blahhhhh. beading. I quickly discovered that there was a BIG difference between the lower quality and higher quality beads!In addition to the colors being more vibrant and more consistent shape, they were much easier to string. Spent a half dozen hours watching Supernatural and Archer on Netflix while working on it. After each row, I looped the string under the previous and tacked it with crazy glue. Once the beading was done, I added more crazy glue in there, to make sure the beads don't wiggle around or pop off.

Partway through stringing the things, i discovered that its not a bad idea to slick the first inch or so of the string with crazy glue so it gets stiff an acts like a needle of sorts. when the tip frays or gets bent up, I glued a little further down and snipped off the damaged string.

There was leather wrapping, and the tacks (I used halves of chicago screws because I couldn't find the bag of furniture tacks), and snagging some feathers, and done!

AC Fix.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Haseo's guns- .hack

This project was initially started in 2008 as a personal project, but commissions put this on the back burner. It was revived when Cathy of needed them for her accompanying Haseo costume commission.

I initially was going to make two whole guns, but I had since discovered the joys of molding & casting.

The "clip" was cut out first , the edges were bevelled using a Dremel.

The top one has the edges detailed with a file. The bottom still needs it.

After the bevelling, I glued in the wedges. They were numbered to make sure they were in the right order.

The little bit on the top and the barrel were also made from poplar.

I carved most ot the curved grooves with the dremel and a round bit.

Since it's made of mdf, sanding it leaves it frizzy, and paint wil absorb ito it. I slicked the piece with crazy glue, then sanded the parts. If I saw raw MDF, I slicked a lil' more glue on there. Its good to wear a mask , because the chemical reaction can get pretty hot when the glue soaks in, and can emit strong fumes!

Here's the finished segment, with a couple coats of primer on it

There were a few spaces inbetween the parts, which would mean a lot more post work after casting.

After taping the seams, I caked some bondo in the edges and squished them togather. After giving it time to set, I pulled them apart. The tape let the parts seperate more easily

Those were sanded even.. success!

For some silly reason, I made two grips, here's the rough cut before ditching one and focussing on the other (was going to cast it anyways)

A combination of hand files and a dremel was used to shape the grip,

And added some bondo to the top to widen it out a bit. They were slicked with more crazy glue, and sanded

The guards behind the cylinder was built up with MDF and bondo. Since the cylinder needs to stick out on the sides, I made the cylinder, split it, and added a spacer to widen the barrel. It won't spin of course, but it'll look more like the original design.

Used a bit of plastic to make the barrel tip, it was filled in to make molding easier, and marked so i could drill it out affter casting.

The parts are all assembled, sanded, and ready for..


Fitting check. these were sanded and buffed to a smooth finish.

Oh the joy of two part molds! These were my first ever ones! Used non sulfur clay to build it up, adding keys (the bumps to make sure things align later) and channels to avoid bubbles in any undercuts.

.. then began pouring multiple thin coats of thin silicone.

After enough coats were done, I flipped it over, cleaned out the clay, coated it with mold release, and began working on the other side.

I tried out plastipaste to make a shell for support. The halves were rubber banded together after removing the original sculpt.

Lots of pouring ahead with this project. Need to make 2 sets of these!

Though I had to cut the molds in a couple places because they were being stubborn, but when it came time to pour, they actually turned out pretty well. There was minimal flashing to sand down, and there weren't any alignment problems. It took a couple attempts to get them right though, because there were quite a few spots where bubbeles could get lodged during the pours.

Testing tints and powders!

and casts of gears and smaller bits.

Each gun consists of 13 parts, and two halves of energy blades that are made from acrylic (not shown in this photo, I forgot to take photos of the wips of those).

...and here's where I wound up in a building frenzy, and misplaced the camera...
The blades were made from acrylic, two pieces painted on the inside (so I had to lay the colors down in reverse order) , then sandwiched together.

A groove was cut into the front of the gun, and the blades were slipped in them and held with a bolt.

Here's a couple photos of the finished guns!