How Do YOU Prop? An Informal Survey

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by FakeBritishAccent, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. FakeBritishAccent

    FakeBritishAccent Sr Member

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    As I believe it to be with most of the people who enjoy our hobby, I took a few weeks off my other projects to work on my Halloween costume. Now that the costumes are done and Halloween is over, I went back into my workshop to find that I have about five unfinished projects, all in varying states of completion.

    That's when I began to wonder...what's the best way for someone to prop? What works best for you? Do you find a project and hack away at it over a period of time? Do you bounce around several projects, switching when work on a certain prop gets tedious or so difficult that you've hit a wall? Or are you some sort of machine that poops out amazing prop after amazing prop without any sort of difficulty or procrastination?

    I've found that my propmaking pattern is as followed: I see a piece in a comic/movie/TV show/video game that I like and then jump onto the Interweb to see if anyone is selling or making a replica. If the replicas don't exist or are just too * expensive to buy, I start brainstorming how to construct it myself, searching The RPF for past builds or putting up a post asking for advice on certain aspects of the prop that flummox me.

    As far as the actual BUILD is concerned, I pick a prop, work with insane fervor and gusto for about two or three weeks or so...and then I lose steam. The prop is then worked on intermittently over time, some reaching completion, others festering away on my workshop table (one of these steamless props is turned seven this year. SEVEN!). It seems that the only time my props are completed within a reasonable time period is when I have some sort of deadline (ie. Halloween, short films, commissions, Christmas gifts).

    I thought this could be an interesting thread. It's more a psychological evaluation if anything.

  2. Jannix Quinn

    Jannix Quinn Sr Member

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    I get a cool idea, buy a bunch of stuff to make it, figure out I have no talent and then go to the junkyard and buy one.
  3. Kevin Gossett

    Kevin Gossett Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That seems about right... I have 6 unfinished projects at various stages of completion right now.
  4. Shylaah

    Shylaah Sr Member

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    For me, something goes terribly wrong between I-Want-It and I-Finished-It!

    • First problem is that I want to make entirely too many things.
    • Second problem is that I often want to make things that are mostly if not entirely outside my skill set and I have to devote valuable build time tackling a learning curve.
    • Third problem is that I think I enjoy the R&D much more than the actual build, either that or during R&D I have already built it in my mind and this somehow satisfies my psyche and the want/need I felt in the beginning to build it is diminished
    • Fourth problem is that I do not handle interruptions very well--easily distracted and sidetracked.
    • Fifth problem is that I'm most probably a nut case :lol.

    But generally when I find something I want to make, I start simultaneously researching and collecting up the tools and supplies it will take to make it. I put all this stuff in a "project box". Then one day when I think I have everything I need, I start---and sometimes I actually finish:cool

  5. Rick H

    Rick H Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to say I am guilty of starting builds and then starting another before I complete the first one. I have the WOW I have to build that bug. at least 8 things going on the bench now.
  6. PoopaPapaPalps

    PoopaPapaPalps Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I work on one big thing first (getting supplies, tons of reference photos, plan out how I'm going to do it and in turn not do it, invest hours upon hours of research all before starting the actual build), start it with great enthusiasm and at for a feverish pace for about a good 3-4 weeks. Then I get bored of sanding and work on smaller builds during my big build and inbetween said builds.
    I usually end up doing about 3-4 things at once just so I keep my mind busy and don't get bored. They all get done, eventually. Heavy emphasis on eventually.
  7. Sean


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    every post I just read is me.LOL to many at once/more materials to buy/etc.etc.trying to learn to focus on one thing at a time.but that is difficult when you run into a problem....and I find it very hard to find info or data on a project that I choose to build....
  8. R2Dan


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    Yep, that's it - millions of projects running at the same time, with the "newest craze" getting the most attention for a certain time span (sometimes weeks, sometimes just a day) and then it takes ages for me to finish it all.

    Right now I have way too much going on, but I'm not complaining at all - at least it keeps you busy :D
  9. FakeBritishAccent

    FakeBritishAccent Sr Member

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    Geez, so I guess we ALL have A.D.D. then? Glad to know I'm not alone :wacko

    When it comes to juggling props, I've found that if you develop a sorta system based on whatever piece needs to be fabricated/dried/cured/clearcoated, then you'll cover more ground during any 5-6 hour build day. For example, I've just finished putting a layer of Bondo on Project A, using a little less catalyst than normal to give me about 15 minutes of hardening time. From there I'll switch to Project B which needs a layer of primer. After shooting a coat, I'll jump to trimming and sanding greeblies for Project C and maybe gluing down a couple of them. From there, I start masking off Project D and spraying down the first, lightest color. As that hangs and dries, I mosey back down to Project A ready to go over it with 60 grit on my handsander. Rinse, repeat.

    Does anyone ever make a checklist of things they need to accomplish THAT DAY? That's never worked for me in ANY endeavor (homework, vaccinations, etc.) but I'm willing to give it a shot if it means more completed projects.
  10. Sean


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    Iv'e been meaning to start a list.I think It would help but not sure until I try...
  11. eaviii

    eaviii Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I usually do the software and electronic bits of my projects so usually have 3-4 computer based projects going on at any given time. They move gradually forward during work months. The actual builds come between heavy work months when I have a few cherished days to cave at home and involve as many actually talented or smart folk as I can (free beer and burritos along with movies at the end).

    As of Nov 1, I am between heavy work months . . . :)


    PS: I also keep a set of journals around and one on me at all times to jot down ideas, solutions, code snippets, game geometry notes, etc.
    I have been listening to the TOS episodes during my commute to get the sound down for the TOS sim that is still cooking and jotting down notes where I can of details useful to the game.

    I keep checklists in them as well as in any software but they have no timetable per se.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  12. Kevin Gossett

    Kevin Gossett Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I do keep a prop journal to jot down ideas for projects, materials needed, steps to do, etc.. but I don't think it has helped to keep me on track! :lol
  13. PoopaPapaPalps

    PoopaPapaPalps Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I always have my sketchbook near by in case I need to jot down ideas or come up with sketches for future builds, adding on top of my overflowing plate of things to do.

    It's a constant reminder of my ambition and my laziness.
  14. familyman

    familyman Sr Member

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    I see a costume or robot I like, then Google like crazy for about a week finding as many ref pics as possible, then figure out how to make it with no budget. Then work for about 3-4 weeks letting the housework go, then the wife points out the mess so I have to stop prop building and tidy up. I have several things on the go because of two reasons, reason 1: Once I have worked on something for a little while I get bored and need to do something else then come back to it. Reason 2: I just can't help building things, I think I need help! and intervention or something.
  15. pennausamike

    pennausamike Sr Member

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    I always have many projects going at the same time,
    but I make no apologies for that approach.
    I do hobbies for fun;
    if I have to push through a project to completion, I'm probably at work.
    I get some things done pretty directly.
    Mostly that is the case when inspiration is equal to the amount of work to be done.

    The big thing for me is that I do steadily finish things,
    maybe not in the originally foreseen order,
    but I do regularly complete stuff.

    Although I have these projects underway:
    Alliance sonic rifle
    Hands of Blue Neural Bleeders
    Rance Burgess laser
    Operative sword display
    Jayne holdout pistol (times 2)
    Jayne BDM Serenity chest MP-5
    Jayne BDM Serenity Colt autoloader
    Jayne display case
    15" resin Firefly model kit with display case
    Inara display
    Alliance emblem display
    Independents emblem display
    River Fruity Oaty Bar/ Maidenhead bar pistol/ goggles display
    Dobson display (or maybe "villains" display)
    Independent's flight helmet
    Buddy Lee Creek's AK-on-steroids rifle
    Alliance Medic costume
    hardbound "Navigating The 'Verse" book
    hardbound "Behind the Scenes of Firefly/Serenity" book
    I'm sure I'm forgetting something.......

    I also have this record of the steady progress that I've made: :: View topic - Firefly/Serenity Weapons Collection
    six pages of mostly completed "stuff".

    Just to liven the thread up a little:
    My Wash Pistol Mon May 21, 2007


    Fri Jun 05, 2009


    Mon Oct 11, 2010


    Or my Sidkit Firefly Mal pistol and display Sun Apr 27, 2008


    Mon Aug 03, 2009


    Thu Sep 29, 2011


  16. Monteburns

    Monteburns Well-Known Member

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    I like to have around 3 projects on the go so that I don't get burnt out on one project in particular.
    If I get sick of one project I just put it away & go on to work on another one.

    My biggest rules are to never rush a project & to not set time limits.

    I also like to go back into finished projects & upgrade things that I may have overlooked on the original build.
    Constructive criticisms on here are always helpful on the finer details missed.
  17. FakeBritishAccent

    FakeBritishAccent Sr Member

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    @pennausamike: I think you have the record for the greatest number of simultaneous builds, but at least you're getting them done! Nice work, brother!
  18. closet geek

    closet geek Member

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    It feels like I have more fun doing the reserch then the finshing but I am getting better.:angel
  19. Chris Fields

    Chris Fields Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Well, mine tend to come from costumes I want to do, or my friends want to do. I make swords as a side hobby, because I loved ren fairs and doing stunt shows with sword work, and I couldn't find a good enough sword, so I started making my own. A friend of mine wanted to be wolverine about 7 years back, so I made aluminum wolverine claws. I wanted to be Captain America, so I made the movie shield, etc... I think I tend to focus on one major prop at a time. However, I also have other major projects going on, like my new 75 gallon marine aquarium that I am building a stand for, or fixing my house up and adding onto it. If i don't finish a project in a decent amount of time, I usually feel awful and I either finish right away, or discard it. It's always a tough call. I try not to overload myself, but somehow it always happens. lol
  20. PotionMistress

    PotionMistress Sr Member

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    I think we are all cast from the same mold!!

    I'm like most of you, juggling numerous projects at the same time, working on varying layers of each project as needed between each other to optimize time and energy.

    Many of the projects I undertake are for things for other people, and in themes I may not even be familiar with, let alone love. But with research to create something for someone else, I often find a passion for it and the theme that otherwise I would not have. I've learned a lot that way and have expanded my media appreciation to boot!
  21. msmuse101

    msmuse101 New Member

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    I tend to have a yearly burst of inspiration, get loads of odds and ends done over a 2-3 month period then I hit a tedious part of a build or paint job and procrastinate like hell for the rest of the year. With Christmas coming up, maybe I can finally get that ST Voyager done...:lol yeah right:rolleyes
  22. MikaelP

    MikaelP New Member

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    Several projects simultanously: CHECK.

    I prefer working on one bigger project and having a couple smaller ones on the side. Therefore, when I'm bogged down in details on the big one, I complete some smaller ones and feel like I create stuff. And at the same time I get some perspective on the bigger build, new ideas, tuning, etc.

    Current projects: Iron man helmet, halo energy sword and a halo m6c gun.
    Good thread btw! :)
  23. crabra comander

    crabra comander Sr Member

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    I kidnap my prop makers and force them to work minimum wage.
  24. neilo1

    neilo1 Well-Known Member

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    I usually have several projects on the go, especially in the winter when it’s too cold to paint. I won’t paint indoors due to the fumes, so I have to get a bunch prepped to paint all at once, and wait for good weather.

    I also tend to buy more than I can finish at any given time anyway. I have to love the movie or show the prop comes from though, not just that it looks cool.

    I’m also cheap, I’d rather build a resin kit than pay for a fully built fancy version.:rolleyes
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  25. Hauwka

    Hauwka New Member

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    I'm new to prop making, so it's fascinating to read everyone's approach. I'm a couple weeks into a cylon helmet, and the bondo/sanding stage has me questioning myself. I guess that means it's time to add another project to the workshop?
  26. Thatoneguy

    Thatoneguy New Member

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    Shoot right now I'm working on 3 projects 1) a Green lantern for my self. 2) a Red lantern for my Brothers X-mas gift ( He won't get it till his wedding in Feb. ) 3) the Comedian's smiley face button splashed with blood on it ( for those who haven't the foggiest about who the comedian is its from the award winning graphic novel The Watchmen.)

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