Spirited Away boiler token

AKA Pablo

New Member
I don't post much but I always like threads that get to the point so I shall endeavor to do the same:

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This is one of those things everyone and their grandmother has made, but I wanted to extrapolate from the cel and produce something more artifact-like that looked like it had been around and seen some things. Unspeakable things.

While there's no hope of consistency in hand-drawn animation, close ups of these iconic tokens show that they are not rendered as flat planks, but have a sort of I-beam profile to them--probably makes them easier to hold on to with wet, slimy hands.

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With that as a reference shot I took some measurements and planed out a bit of garden variety maple stock down to 12mm, fired up my Shaper Origin and cut the rough blank out. The inner hole inside the inlay pocket looks like it came from a forstner bit but I really just removed a little material there because I knew I was going to drop a piece of electroetched brass in there and I like to leave a little nub on the back of the piece that I can clip electrodes to.

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I then found some samples of real Japanese lacquer pieces for paint job inspiration and found that this piece summarized just about everything I was hoping to achieve.

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With that in mind I whipped out the airbrushes and layed down a couple heavy coats of Vallejo black primer and gloss varnish. On top of that went a layer of Vallejo chipping medium, and then on top of that went many, many coats of various reds until I was happy with the general appearance. Then I soaked all that in a bit of water and set to scrubbing up the chips. Because the red was so thick it took quite a bit of effort to get any chips to sluff off and I had to resort to a wire brush to get things started. Once I was happy with the wear and tear I masked off the black stripe, added another layer of chipping medium and a layer of black. This thinner layer chipped up almost too well and I found myself having to dry brush some more paint on in spots where I had gotten too aggressive.

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With that done it was time to turn some brass on the ol' Sherline baby lathe.

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Made a vinyl mask on my Cricut and etched in a little "Yu" for embellishment with about 21 volts DC and some copper sulfate.

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And a dab of hot melt polyurethane holds it in place.

I will probably add a bit more grime around the medallion before I give it to its final owner, but overall I was pretty happy with how it turned out.
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This is what it's all about for me when I make props like these from "intangible" sources. It's taking something recognizable and making it real; really sharp, fine work!
 

B Wo

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That's a great reference source for the paint job. You mentioned that there are a bunch of people making these, but yours is the first one I've seen. Cool idea for a prop. You executed it beautifully.
 

AKA Pablo

New Member
That's a great reference source for the paint job. You mentioned that there are a bunch of people making these, but yours is the first one I've seen. Cool idea for a prop. You executed it beautifully.
I've seen lots of them on Etsy. I don't want to poo-poo anybody else's work or the enjoyment they derive from it, but they are often much more of the primary color tempera on Fome-cor® aesthetic and I wanted something gritty and gross.

My favorite of the lot has been this one: Bath Token Key/Purse Charm

So adorbs.
 

airhead

Well-Known Member
Excellent work! Your attention to detail in bringing an animated object into the real world is remarkable.
 

DaddyfromNaboo

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Fantastic, I love what you created there, it touches me on a very, very personal level. Thank you for sharing!!!
 

Jintosh

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I think the non-new paint job was a really great choice. These are things that would be used on a daily basis.
 

Patattack

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Oh wow, this is gorgeous. I've always been disappointed with the smooth, brightly-colored, cartoony-looking replicas that I've seen elsewhere online. I think replicas of animated props need to be "fleshed out" with textures and color variations and whatnot...I had an inkling that a traditional laquer style would work much better IRL than flat opaque red--and you've confirmed that beyond what I had imagined! Your implementation/reproduction of that technique is impeccable. I love it.

FWIW I would kill for one of these if you're ever willing to make more of them.
 

AKA Pablo

New Member
Oh wow, this is gorgeous. I've always been disappointed with the smooth, brightly-colored, cartoony-looking replicas that I've seen elsewhere online. I think replicas of animated props need to be "fleshed out" with textures and color variations and whatnot...I had an inkling that a traditional laquer style would work much better IRL than flat opaque red--and you've confirmed that beyond what I had imagined! Your implementation/reproduction of that technique is impeccable. I love it.

FWIW I would kill for one of these if you're ever willing to make more of them.
This one was a spur-of-the-moment gift idea but since I knocked it out pretty quickly I've been considering doing a few more and playing with the order of operations a bit for different effects. Will bump if I do.
 

matherton

New Member
I was just in the process of 3d modelling one of these! I like the I beam profile, I had just modelled two raised strips on the edges on one of the faces but It makes sense they would be on either side.
Awesome!
 

AKA Pablo

New Member
I was just in the process of 3d modelling one of these! I like the I beam profile, I had just modelled two raised strips on the edges on one of the faces but It makes sense they would be on either side.
Awesome!
There's obviously no right answer, but in terms of practicality, adding some bumpers between both surfaces would keep them from sticking to one another when wet no matter how carelessly they were put away. That'd make them both easier to handle and promote more rapid drying in the humid summers. Hand planes and/or rasps commonly in use could achieve this profile pretty quickly so It made sense to me that they'd be symmetrical in that regard, it made the surface more interesting visually AND it gave me a practice side to work out the best chipping process on so I went with it.

I think gold paint would probably have been the more period-correct call for the geometric shapes encoding the various herbal mixtures, but I wanted to add a bit more visual and physical weight to it by showing off.
 
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