My early disasters

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Dtrasler, Jun 11, 2015.

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  1. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    I've recently joined, so I thought I'd start by showcasing the first things I made - the ones that didn't turn out so well.

    I'd read the Karen Traviss books, and fancied a Mando bucket, even though I've not been much of a Fettishist. I decided to go with the black and silver look, but here's what marks me out as an amateur - I didn't go find plans. I didn't print out lots of reference pics. I did the barest - ablsolute barest - minimum research online and just got stuck in. Starting with an old hockey helmet from a sports sale and - I'm really, really sorry about this - an old plastic coffee can.

    WP_000411.jpg
    As for equipment... I had nothing. No hot glue gun, no bondo, no... well, no anything. Just the regular tools of the household and lots of tape.
    WP_000426.jpg Here the coffee can got augmented with an old ice-cream tub. You can see I'm working to the highest standards, and also spray-painting as often as possible to try and make it look less crappy.

    I considered the dome and decided that rather than try to re-shape the helmet itself, I should paper mache a dome from a balloon form.
    WP_000634.jpg I splashed out on a tub of filler and went to town on the new dome, plus the front of the helmet too. I'd added a shaped piece of corrugated plastic to outline the t-slit. It was a terrible idea, as it didn't take the curve at all. Also, due to my lack of reference pictures and stubborn belief that I knew what this thing looked like, I got the cheek shapes wrong. You will see they remain wrong for a very, very long time.

    A balloon form gives you the wrong shape for the dome. It took some sanding and shaping for me to believe this.
    WP_000682.jpg
    I even tried spraying it again in case it looked better. But no, it was too rounded on top, too bulbous. I sawed the top off and shaved the sides.
    WP_001127.jpg Things were coming together a little more. SO I decided to plough on and make the ears. Out of MDF. Without measuring.
    WP_001190 (1).jpg You can see I had already encountered surface smoothness issues and was combatting them by using cereal boxes to replace the rough filler. The ears are too thick and not symmetrical. I think I may have bought my hot glue gun by this point. I had a vague idea that it was easy and clean to use, and could be smoothed out really nicely.
    WP_001197.jpg I added the rangefinder by using a piece of dowel I had lying around. Again, no measuring, just cut it by eye. You can tell how good my eye is at this stuff by now. I drilled down into the ear and hot glued the dowel in. I was hot gluing everything at this point. EVERYTHING.
    WP_001206.jpg After a lot more sanding, I resprayed the helm again to try and make it look better. This is a mantra of mine that I cannot shake - "Maybe it will look cool if I paint it?" The colour is not significant, I just have a bunch of old spray cans in my workshop, and use the fullest. Note how straight and perfect the rangefinder stalk is not.
    WP_001207.jpg I bought the silver paint for finishing, then cracked and gave the helm a coat, hoping it would magically become brilliant. Instead, it just showed up all the surface imperfections, and those areas where the glue did NOT end up nice and smooth. Incidentally, you can't hi-speed sand hot glue, because it just melts, did you know that?
    WP_001211.jpg At this point, the dedicated professional would have gone to town with sanding and filling, getting the surface sorted out and checking all the angles against the reference photos. I decided that more paint and some pointless (and non-authentic) detailing on the ears might distract people from the fact that the helmet looks like a Bantha sat on it.
    WP_001218.jpg I still didn't notice that the cheek shapes were utterly wrong.
    WP_001284.jpg I finally added a top to the rangefinder, and filled out the space for the visor with a plastic school binder cover. It was cheap, but.... well, there's no "but". It was cheap, that was it.

    Although the bucket was the main plan, making it raised a few questions in the household, so I threw together the rest of the armour to pretend I had been doing all this for Halloween. I won't embarrass myself further by outlining THAT disaster, but I'll leave you with this photo, which shows it off to best advantage, on the stand I made for it.
    Costume on stand.jpg

    Next Post - A Biker Scout Helmet - how hard could it be?
     
  2. Utri

    Utri Active Member

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    I think I'm really gonna like this thread! Your commentary is hilarious!

    :thumbsup
     
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  3. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Utri. I think I dropped it in the wrong place though - should be in the costume section, right?
    Sigh. Another disaster in the making...
     
  4. Snow Builder

    Snow Builder Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Too much of your approach sounds like my internal monologue ;). Love your thread and can't wait to see your next post.
     
  5. Gixxerfool

    Gixxerfool Active Member

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    Hands down the best thing I've read in a while. Nothing like be brutally honest with yourself. You win the Internet. Subscribed!
     
  6. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Guys!
    I've added part two : The Scout Trooper Helmet to the replica Costumes section, as I think that's where they should go. When I get more time I'll upload the saga of my Hiccup Helmet, and then we'll get to Shakespearean Vader.
     
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  7. Mean Obiwan

    Mean Obiwan Well-Known Member

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    Haha, this is great! It actually looks better than the paper mache Mando helmet I made a few years back, believe it or not. It made an appearance at the dumpster before making an appearance here, along with a storm trooper helmet too.
    I also read your part two thread, I know those feels all too well, my friend. The initial excitement of building this iconic item, getting your stuff together and just going for it before realizing just what exactly you really have to do to create this thing, and then wantingthe final product so bad you just paint it and add a few details and call it done.
    Great thread ;)
     
  8. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Mean Obiwan! The Stormtrooper bucket (Atlanthia method) is my current build, and it'll be posted after the Shakespearean Vader. I'm not finished building it, and not quite getting enough time to work on it. People keep asking me to feed the family and go out to work.
     
  9. Mara Jade's Father

    Mara Jade's Father Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The best part of waking up,
    Is Folgers in your helmet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
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  10. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Ha ha ha ha ha! Ten points to Mara Jade's Father!
     
  11. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    very creative, good job!
     
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  12. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Thanks halliwax.
     
  13. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Now . . . I just wonder with those fabulous eyeballing skills ... how would you tackle any kind of lightsaber? :)

    Chaim
     
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  14. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I have two lightsabre disasters, thanks. The first one was made from a toothpaste dispenser and lots of electrical tape. Still have that. The second one was much grander, with ambitions to have electronics inside. That's still in bits in the workshop. One day.....
     
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  15. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    WP_20150615_002.jpg
    The first lightsabre I ever made. It's from a pump toothpaste dispenser, filled with coins and plumber's sealant. (No, really.) It's wrapped in electrical tape and partially sprayed silver. The activation stud is a bolt, and the neat-looking ring part is from a shop-bought lightsabre kit.
    It looks crap, but that's only because it is crap, and doesn't reflect the hours of work that went into it.
     
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  16. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    WP_20150615_003.jpg
    My most recent lightsabre. About 12 inches long, partially built with the remaining shop-bought kit parts and two tubes that fired confetti. Yes, confetti. It's cut into two parts, so I can fit the electronics inside.
    What electronics?
    I don't know, that's why it isn't finished.
    Have you ever thought about taking up another hobby?
    What are you saying, exactly?
    It's just that I have met goldfish that could make better props than this.
    Are they on the rpf?
     
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  17. Mean Obiwan

    Mean Obiwan Well-Known Member

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    Haha, those sabers are great. I'm not too good with sabers either.
    I still enjoy seeing your props, and definitely enjoy the stories behind them.
    I can definitely relate on some levels like no measurements and just painting the * thing hoping it will turn into what I see in my head.
    My very first custom saber was the coolest thing in the world to me. I loved that rusty hunk of junk.
     
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  18. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Great sabers ... I still recall when showing of my lightsaber props to some friends who'd never seen STAR WARS . . . ever, asking me what those shiny d*ldo-looking things were being on display ... truth be told . . . I made them watch STAR WARS ... one way or another :wacko

    Chaim
     
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  19. Mean Obiwan

    Mean Obiwan Well-Known Member

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    Chaim, that's great! Yeah, unfortunately many of my friends aren't as.. enthusiastic about Star Wars as I am. The response I get are usually, "Is that a flashlight?" Even if it was a sink tube build.
     
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  20. RogueTrooper

    RogueTrooper Well-Known Member

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    So you didn't do any research, built something you had no real interest in, couldn't really be bothered to even try to do any of it properly, fully admit you have no skill and we're supposed to congratulate you because your comments about how rubbish it is are amusing??

    Well done!!....Mission accomplished:lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015
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  21. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Rogue Trooper - oh man...Gunnar, Helm and Bagman... There's a challenge.
    Like I said on my other thread, I don't set out to make crap. I'm really trying to do a good job. No, I don't have a bunch of skills, but I'm getting better all the time. I hope it helps other noobs like me to see that not everyone turns out perfect projects right out of the gate. It's a hobby, and I enjoy it. I really appreciate seeing the amazing things the other folks on the rpf produce, and I hope that I'll pick up enough experience to do justice to the things I want to make. Eventually.

    Meanwhile, I'm happy if I give people a laugh along the way. Oh, and incidentally, I picked up the Rogue Trooper pc game on Steam today - it was in the sale. Hoping it's at least half as good as the stories were.

    Thanks for stopping by.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015
  22. bdgr

    bdgr Member

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    Dtrasler,

    Thanks for the humor and sharing some of your earlier disasters. Your comments really made my day :)
     
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  23. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    My pleasure, bdgr! Thanks for dropping in. More to come soon.
     
  24. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Recently found pictures of one of my earliest prop disasters.
    For my 35th birthday, I had a Star Wars themed party. Everyone had to dress up. I bought an Obi Wan Kenobi outfit online (since I didn't build back then) but we happened to be throwing out an old bin (garbage can, to you North Americans...) I reckoned I had enough time before the party to turn it into an R2D2 drinks cooler.
    Preparations 008.jpg Preparations 012.jpg
    I used a punchball balloon as a base for the dome, with the top of a kid's plastic drum at the apex. The holoprojector was a yoghurt pot. I duct-taped my old rollerblades to the side of the can, then made up the legs from scrap cardboard. My intention was not, at this point, to make a screen-accurate prop....
    Preparations 041.jpg R2 4a.jpg
    Inevitably, the body gets sprayed and called good. I lashed out on some chrome spray for the dome, and highlighted parts in a nice metallic blue. Speed was essential, not detail or longevity.
    R2 5a.jpg
    The only tech I've ever incorporated in a build, ever. The rest of that kid's drum was canniballised because this circle lit up and made beeping noises. I rigged the switch to operate from the pad on the top of the dome. Tap the droid on the head, the "eye" lights up and it beeps at you. Genius. And it worked nearly all of the time. Nearly.
    Paul and R2.jpg R2 6.jpg
    Aren't you a little short for an astromech? I was going for life size, but was limited by the size of the bin, but he was big enough to hold a bunch of ice and some beer bottles. The Jedi here isn't me, it's my friend Paul who made his own robes and boots, and already had the beard (so he doesn't get extra points for that.)
    Lessons learned....None! Haven't you seen my other stuff?
     
  25. Gixxerfool

    Gixxerfool Active Member

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    I love this. It's great for a rush build AND you added electronics. There's still hope. You need to take a step back and focus your patience.
     
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  26. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Just finished my other thread - the Stormtrooper helmet is finished at last!
     
  27. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Hey Folks - this is entirely the wrong place, but... Value Village here in Canada is selling Halloween costumes by a company called Alter Ego. They include a visor for $8.99 which looks like it would work well in a Halo Spartan helmet. I bought myself one, since I have coveted a Spartan Helm for years, but could never figure out how to manage the visor with my limited budget and abilities.
    WP_20150914_003.jpg WP_20150914_002.jpg
     
  28. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    WP_20151006_001.jpg WP_20151002_001.jpg
    Things are going so slowly with the Clone Trooper helmet (see my other thread) that I'm filling in time making a Harley Quinn Hammer. Not that anyone in the family is planning to cosplay as Harley, but we all like her, and who doesn't need a * big hammer now and then? PVC pipe, three folgers tins and a lot of duct tape, followed by paper mache.
     
  29. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Just answer the door holding that and watch the solicitors disappear. Annoying neighbors, too, if you play your cards right...

    Speaking of early disasters: 2002 (or earlier) Lego Obi-wan saber. Very flimsy. Not my first saber, which was prequel style and built from a gutted pool thermometer...
     

    Attached Files:

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  30. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Well that's pretty * awesome Mike J. ! I'm guessing it's pretty small, if those are regular lego tyres, but I've heard "size matters not..."
    Although this does not apply to birthday presents or inheritances.
     
  31. Strongbow

    Strongbow Well-Known Member

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    LOL... remind me of one I made in 1979 out of an ice cream buck and my mom's collander! EPIC DISASTER! Still, fun is fun. And R2 is fun even in a failed effort!
     
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  32. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    While I still haven't finished the Harley Hammer, or the Captain Rex bucket on my other thread (Still working on that rangefinder!) I did take ten minutes to start work on a Harley Pop Gun, for no better reason than Tiny Weasel got a lot of Harley Merch for Chrimbo and with the Hammer around it might be needed for Halloween or FanExpo Vancouver 2016.
    WP_20151228_013.jpg
    Started with an old water pistol from the summer.
    WP_20151228_015.jpg
    Reckoned this 2L Coke bottle might be the right diameter, but the end would need beefing up. Hence the foam floor tile offcut...
    WP_20151228_018.jpg
    With a ring of floor tile in place to hold the shape and provide an illusion of thickness, I sealed it in with duct tape. And then went nuts with it, covering almost the whole thing.
    WP_20151228_023.jpg
    Next I cut the pistol down to the essential parts.
    WP_20151228_026.jpg
    Add the bit of bottle (minus the cap end - cut off earlier) and a lot more duct tape.
    WP_20151228_029.jpg
    I sprayed the whole thing black for completeness, but it may end up as silver. Next comes some detailing - the hammer, the bullet chambers on the cylinder, making the cork for the end and adding the string. Trouble is, I'm out of free time for the next couple of days. Fortunately, school will start again in the New Year, and Mrs Dim will go back to work. I will also go back to work, but not as much as she does. I think even my butterfly brain will have enough of an attention span to get this done.
     
  33. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    So, a trip away aborted due to a sick dog, and I get more time to ruin my Pop Gun....

    WP_20151229_002.jpg
    Adding the hammer is a simple first step - just cut out of foam and hot glue it on. And then back on. Hot glue and duct tape aren't a brilliant combination.

    Looking at some reference photos, I realise this would look cooler with actual bullet chambers. Immediately cut some more stuff out of foam and glue them on.

    WP_20151229_003.jpg

    Now I need to paper mache over those....

    WP_20151229_004.jpg
    Then I spot that I should have connected the tops of those foam strips with curves if I was doing the thing properly. Now, because I'm so impatient, I'm going to have to build the things using paper mache. This will not end well.

    WP_20151230_001.jpg

    Sigh. There's going to be a helluva mess, and it's going to be a long while before I can spray this again and see if it looks halfway decent.
    Remember the four P's, people - planning prevents poor performance!
     
  34. Tom Sheldon

    Tom Sheldon Active Member

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    This is hilarious! subscribed :D
     
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  35. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Tom. Wander through my other thread for further hilarity but no increase in quality. Or buy my book for even more disappointment.
     
  36. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    WP_20151230_002.jpg WP_20151230_003.jpg

    Two episodes of "The Expanse" later, and I've run out of glue and patience. I'll just leave this on the coffee table to dry. And probably stick to the coffee table.
     
  37. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Lucky for me, Mrs Dim hadn't finished tidying up after the Christmas present-opening frenzy. I found a gift bag with a bunch of white tissue paper in it, and gave the gun another coat or two of tissue paper. Regular readers of this and my other thread will know this is a step I often skip, due to a lack of dedication and resources, but today, I was lucky.
    WP_20151230_007.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  38. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    WP_20160105_001.jpg
    Well, it's the right colour, but the surface finish is terrible. As usual. I might get round to that in a bit, but I think I still have some building to do to make sure people realise the weird shapes are actually the cylinder of the revolver and not some sci-fi gun sculpting. Anyway, I'm going to start making the cork too. because I can't do anything in the right order, that's why.
    WP_20160105_002.jpg
    Look, I planned ahead - I kept the disc of foam I cut out of the bit I used to brace the muzzle of the gun. Now I have a piece exactly the right size to fit inside the barrel. Smart or what?
    (Yes, ok, it was a complete coincidence that I hadn't thrown it away. It's still gonna work.)
     
  39. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. Finally got some time today to cut the cork out of the packing foam I found.

    WP_20160114_001.jpg

    I cut the rough shape out with a saw, then shaped the contours with a thing called a shaper. I promise I'm not making this up. That's what it is. Like a cheesegrater for wood.

    Then I looked at, and decided it needed a layer or two of paper mache. Trouble is, the foam isn't a great surface to put paper mache ONTO. After the first few pieces of newspaper started lifting, I resorted to kleenex. Sounded like a stupid idea, but actually the final surface may look ok for cork.

    WP_20160114_002.jpg

    Next step, working on the surface of the gun, adding the string, painting the cork and deciding on the final colours. Ok, that's a few steps. And I'm busy with actual work for a while. Bother.
     
  40. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Waiting for the right time to finish the gun properly, and spraying the cork with various colours to try and get something that looks cork-like.
    WP_20160129_001.jpg

    Obviously, no luck yet....
     
  41. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Been a long time since I updated here.

    I added some bulk to the back end of the gun, since the bullet chambers just looked wrong - the stupid thing looked like a sci-fi pistol instead of an oversized revolver. Having spent an afternoon filling in space with foam overlaid with paper mache, I finally nicked some clay from Tiny Weasel's craft stash, and I'll be macheing over that later. The cork actually doesn't look too bad now it's in the gun... Or maybe that's wishful thinking?

    WP_20160216_004.jpg WP_20160216_003.jpg
     
  42. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    I mache'd over the clay, sprayed it to match the rest, then fitted an eyelet in the butt of the gun to take the string. Because I drilled the hole too large, I had to add glue. Somedays I wonder if I am improving at all....

    WP_20160216_026.jpg
     
  43. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Now there's string, all the way from that eyelet at the back to the cork at the front. I sprayed a few areas that missed out earlier, and I have some decoration planned for the finishing touches later. Unfortunately, I found an old plastic sink trap, and now I'm building another lightsabre. It's really, really bad. Photos later.

    WP_20160217_003.jpg WP_20160217_002.jpg WP_20160217_001.jpg
     
  44. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    WP_20160218_005 (2).jpg
    and also:
    WP_20160217_004.jpg

    Then there's the emitter array:
    WP_20160217_005.jpg
    Assembled:
    WP_20160217_006.jpg
    and then sprayed:
    WP_20160218_004.jpg

    And yes, you're right.... It DOES look like a trophy for mini-golf.
     
  45. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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  46. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    WP_20160229_008.jpg WP_20160229_007.jpg
    Added flickering LED to my Mini-Golf trophy...I mean, Lightsabre. Now it looks awesome.
     
  47. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    Re-cut the front of my eldest's Time Lord Headpiece. Now she can actually get her head in it. I hear that's important....

    WP_20160301_009 1.jpg
     
  48. Dtrasler

    Dtrasler Well-Known Member

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    WP_20160607_011.jpg
    Found this old photo showing Eldest Weasel's progress with her Time Lord Headpiece...
     

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