Elysium Airburst Rounds - Finished!

The Kaiser

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sharing my Elysium airburst rounds that I completed recently. I got way too deep into this project, especially for a movie that I don't have a significant attachment to, but sure learned a lot. Here are some photos of the finished props. A write up of some of the project highlights is below for those interested. Thanks for checking out my build and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Screenshot from Elysium for reference
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My Finished Prop
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Basic Construction
The airburst rounds are made from real 7.62x39mm brass (empty reloading brass). The projectiles on the black rounds are machined aluminum with a resin printed top section (in black). The projectile for the silver rounds are three resin printed parts that have a small rod passing through the middle of each piece to provide a more solid structure. Originally the projectiles for the silver rounds were one solid piece, but masking them for painting was too much of a pain. The primers for all of the rounds are just aluminum rod beveled and cut on the lathe.

Electroplating
Science! Beakers! Bubbling green liquid! Since I had brass casings and needed to be silver, I figured it was a good excuse to try electroplating vs. just painting. I had purchased some nickel anode a while ago so all it took was some vinegar, salt and a power supply to made an electrolyte solution and nickel plate the brass casing. Electroplating certainly gets more complicated and hazardous for metals beyond nickel, copper and zinc, but I was surprised how easy it was and how well it turned out. I also looked into ways to electroplate a black color, but I ended up just going with enamel paint for those rounds. Anyway, I recommend giving electroplating a try if you have an opportunity. It may seem intimidating but there are great resources on YouTube.


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Graphics - Silk screening and the pain of white lettering
This was, by far, the most challenging part of the project. The lettering and decorative elements are tiny, so my attempts to cut and use stencils failed badly. I then thought about using some print-out water slide decals, but since there are a lot of white elements (and no ability to print white ink) that didn't work either. I looked at a number of other options for getting white lettering including custom dry transfer decals, but I hadn't used those previously and custom decals were going to be pretty expensive. In retrospect, I probably should have just had some dry transfer decals made because instead I decided that this would be a great opportunity to learn how to screen print and then just print directly onto the rounds. I'll spare the details, but this was a fiasco. I spent about a week making/testing silk screens and coming up with jigs to try and print temperamental enamel ink onto a small, tapered, cylindrical object. Eventually I was able to get some quality prints onto the silver rounds, but for most of the really small lettering and graphics, I ended up silk screening onto water slide decal paper and applying that. There are no photos of this process because I made a giant mess and about lost my mind. Still below you can see the lettering that I was able to get directly screen printed onto some of the rounds - I was quite proud of how that turned out, especially since I had no idea what I was doing. If anyone has some other techniques for doing white graphics beyond what I mentioned above, I would love to hear about it.

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Thanks again for checking out the project. I've attached a few other reference images to the post as a resource to anyone else tackling this prop in the future. - Will
 

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