Trunk or Treat: TMNT Sewer Build

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by DazzlerFan, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. DazzlerFan

    DazzlerFan Member

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    For the last handful of years, my wife and I’s church has had a Trunk or Treat event. If you’re not familiar with them, basically people decorate the trunks of their vehicles in a parking lot and kids can come ask for treats car-to-car (instead of door-to-door). Our church usually has ours on the Sunday night before Trick or Treat, plus we tie the event to a fellowship time and provide a meal to everyone who attends.

    My wife and I love doing it each year. We live in a rural area so Trunk or Treat isn’t really common. Last year we decided to try to up our game and produce a trunk that was over the top (at least for where we live). We did Super Mario Brothers, with costumes, hanging coins, pipes filled with candy, and a question block punch board. We had a blast.

    This year, we have decided to do a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme. My wife already has an April costume from cosplaying at conventions. I decided my Casey Jones might be too scary for little kids, so I’ve bought a cheap Turtle costume for the event. Our plan is to recreate the Turtle’s sewer lair. Attached is the sketch I made about two months ago that has been on our refrigerator. The main pipe goes into the back of my SUV.


    The plan is to make this primarily out of discarded shipping cardboard and poster tubes. I’ve figured out a way to use a pump to have a continuous pouring water feature. Last year we got a parking spot that was near a door, so we had a little wider area than some. We’re planning to get the same spot this year.

    I have always been inspired by Bob Burns and what he did with his Halloween shows. In a very small way, I want to capture some of that same spirit and wonder. Bob has been an inspiration of mine for years.

    Anyway, I thought that I would document my build here. I can’t promise that this is going to be spectacular, but I’m going to give it my best.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  2. ultraman

    ultraman Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  3. Inkspot

    Inkspot New Member

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    I can't wait to see this build. The plans look great already. It will be quite the trunk!

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  4. sparton110

    sparton110 Well-Known Member

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    Really cool idea, can't wait to see it.

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  5. DazzlerFan

    DazzlerFan Member

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    I wanted to give an update on this project. No building as begun yet. I probably won't get to it until the middle of October. In the meantime, I've been piling up my supplies for the project.


    Here is some of the cardboard I plan to use. At my company, a lot of employees have went to standing desks. The desks come in large boxes and have this thick corrigated board inside to protect the desk top. As you can see, some pieces are half inch and some are inch think.


    Since the board is super smooth, it should paint really well. It doesn't weight too much, but is super strong. I also have lots of smaller pieces and strips that are every size from half inch to two inches. I also have some very large pieces of normal cardboard as well, if I need it.

    Also in the first pics, you can see some of the cardboard tubes I've saved over the years. Figure they will make nice sewer pipe decoration.


    While reorganizing a shelf in our basement, my wife ran across this fruit service pan that we saved from a baby shower. We think that one or both pieces will make a nice manhole covers.


    A rough mockup of where everything will go.

  6. DazzlerFan

    DazzlerFan Member

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    Thanks to everyone following this thread. I've appreciated the support.

    Earlier this week, I took my measurements and determined that this needs to be three boards wide and two boards high. Here is a rough approximationg of the placement.


    This is what the wall will look like from the side (except obviously it will be straight LOL).


    I was off today, so this afternoon I went to the basement and started knocking some pieces out. I started with the roof. I took several in-progress shots, but they really all look the same. This is the piece where I left it today. You are looking at the underside of the piece that will sit on top of my rear gate. The outside edge is on the right of the picture.


    Places where the board will contact my vehicle, I covered with an old tshirt. This should protect the vehicle from scruffs. This was made primarly out of the thick shipping board I showed in the earlier pictures. It is half inch. Everything is hot glued. I did reinforce a seam with some duct tape. The raised peices are to help level the top on the rate gate, which isn't flat by any stretch of the imagination.

    Here are some pics of the piece on my vehicle.


    You can see that I have some black Gorilla Brand tape on one side. This is so that side can act as a flap. The plan is to slide this entire peice on to the open rear gate from the side.

    Several things left to attach and complete: 1) the bottam panel - which will be the roof inside the sewer, 2) the city backdrop, 3) have a pipe or two sticking out of the front, and 4) paint the entire thing. I think that I have a can of flecstone spraypaint somewhere. If so, I'm going to use it to paint the area between the top (the road) and the bottom (the sewer roof). I figure that would look more like a cut away of concrete.

    On another note, my turtle costume parts came in two weeks ago. Here's a pic of the initial try-on.


    Not stellar, but I think that I can make it work. The mask was very warped, so I'm going to try to heat it with a hair drier and reshape. Need to bulk up the shell to make the belt tighter. May try to put some padding in the legs to match the bulkiness of the arms. The knee and elbow pads don't want to stay on, I may pin them directly to the suit. Still trying to figure out a solution to keep the feet from feeling ackward. I need to locate some green gloves and a green mask that will also cover my neck and the back of my head (it's a 3/4 mask).

    On the other hand, our son looks awesome in his turtle suit. He probably won't hang out with us at the trunk, except for a few pictures.


    October 25th is our Trunk or Treat, so I've still got a lot of work ahead of me. I think that I'm going to be able to take a few days off next week, so that will be good. I've been working on a shopping list that I need to pick up tomorrow (mostly paint).
  7. DazzlerFan

    DazzlerFan Member

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    Okay, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind.

    Our church had the Trunk R Treat on October 25. I had our trunk complete and it was a big hit. I' took two days off work on the Thursday and Friday before, which basically gave me three days straight to work on everything. I was finishing things up at around 1:00 in the morning on Sunday.

    I'll post progress pics by day to give a sense of the build.
  8. ultraman

    ultraman Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  9. DazzlerFan

    DazzlerFan Member

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    Thursday October 22

    The first thing I tackled was the roof of the sewer. Below is a pic of the back side of the ceiling piece. I decided to reinforce the hot glue with duct tape (I later went back and replaced some of the silver duct tape with Black Gorilla tape ,which is much stronger.)


    Here is the ceiling attached to the back gate assembly (you're looking at the ceiling in this picture).

    Time to paint the top of the gate assembly black, as well as lay down a black basecoat on the backdrop.

    Here's where I encountered my first major problem. The weather was unusually warm on this day, especially in the sun. The cardboard has always been in my climate controlled basement. When I placed the boards out in the sun to spray paint them black, about halfway through painting, I noticed that the boards were starting to warp - bad. I literally watched as the gate assembly warped and broke a lot of the hot glue joints and even ripped up duct tape. It was crazy. The takeaway from this is - if you are spray painting cardboard, do not set it in the hot direct sunlight. Paint in the shade if possible.

    The gate assembly had been very solid up to this point. I had probably carried it in and out of my basement at least forty times before this and had placed it on my vehicle rare gate at least ten or fifteen times. I had never had any problem with it before. That was some powerful sun!


    Here's another thing I learned - Walmart brand black spraypaint doesn't cover well at all.

    On the other hand, I loved the Rustolium 2x paint that I got for the basecoat of the block walls. One coat really was all I needed of it. I did a lot of painting this day.


    All of the wall sections I gave a base coat of Warm Carmel. After that, I sprayed a few small splotches of some light green spraypaint I had in the basement, then splattered the following colors (all Applebarrel acrylics that I had at the house): black, grey, orange, kiwi). I used one of my favorite tools to do the splatter effect - a plastic backing strip from a wire tie.



    I also straightened out the gate assembly and reinforced it. After setting in the shade for a little while the cardboard began to straight out again. Some hotglue and bunch of Black Gorilla Tape and it was good as new.

    So ended work on Thursday.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  10. DazzlerFan

    DazzlerFan Member

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    Friday October 23

    I had my wife pick a can of Rustolium Black 2x spray paint on her way home from work on Thursday. I used that to put a basecoat on the backdrop. I decided not to respray the gate assembly.

    Here is a test fit on the vehicle. The backdrop isn't attached in these pics.



    My wife was off on Friday afternoon, so she took on the task of completing the backdrop. I masked it off with some blue tape, green posterboard that was in the trash can and some old paper Avon bags.


    Here's the end result before sharpening up the building edges with a permanent marker.


    For the sewer walls, I marked with a pencil the cement lines. While I was masking the backdrop, my wife them took a permanent marker and made the lines freehand following my pencil lines. I then took the separate boards and reinforced them on the back to make four flats.


    I cut a groove in the gate assembly that the walls could slide into. Here is the first test fitting.




    Before calling it a night, I masked off the gate assembly and sprayed the stone spray paint. I can't remember the name, but I picked it up at Walmart. It runs around $8 a can. This took maybe a forth of the can. It's a little hard to see in the picture, but this spray paint comes out in multiple colors at once and gives a slight textured finish.


  11. DazzlerFan

    DazzlerFan Member

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    Saturday October 24 (Part 1)

    All week we had been watching the weather...and it wasn't promising. At one point, it was a 65% chance of rain during the time of our event. Not cool. All week the weather had been nice, so we hoped (and prayed) that the rain would come either earlier or late on Sunday.

    The Trunk R Treat was in the parking lot of our church Activity Center. There is a large area in the basement that people could use to give out candy in case of rain. I had purposely designed our trunk to be free standing (with the help of a wall and a little tape). The hope, though, was that we wouldn't have to resort to that.

    Later Friday night and finishing up on Saturday, my wife finished the backdrop. The windows are cut strips of yellow duct tape. For the moon, I penciled in a circle and then she mixed some acrylic paints and painted it freehand with a 1/4 in wide brush. She really got into painting the craters and I thought that they turned out great.



    On Friday night, I started painting the highlights on the flats. This continued well into Saturday. I started with some watered down acrylic white, then drybrushed it. I used an old tshirt to wipe away a lot of it and a damp rag to lessen any hard edges. In this pic, the flat on the left hasn't been highlighted yet.


    Once done with white, I mixed up a grey and did the same for the shadow on the bottom and left side of each brick.

    Before wiping:

    After wiping:

    Completed flats:

    Tomorrow night I'll try to post the rest of the build pics and the completed trunk.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
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  12. DazzlerFan

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    Saturday October 24 (Part 2)

    After all of the painting on the flats, it was time to start cutting holes in them. I most admit, it hesitated for a moment, as I had grown kind of fond of just the block look. I knew, though, that it need some sewere pipe look to pull off the concept.

    I had orginally planned to use cardboard tubes to make the pics that our hands would reach into to get to the back of the vehicle and access the candy. Unfortunately, I didn't have any cardboard tubes that were large enough for our hands to fit into.

    So I started with the lids off of two frozen punch containers. My Grandmother had given them to me about three years go to make a helmet out of and I've held onto the lids ever since then. I took a utility knife and freehand cut the centers out of them.


    Next I took a sheet of the packing cardboard and drew two circles on it. With the utility knife, I cut out a ring for the center sewer pipe.


    I think used some Gorilla Tape to close cover the outside and inside.


    I hot glued some plastic bottle caps for bolt heads.


    While I was working on another piece, my wife offered to spray paint the three pieces grey. Unfortunately, the tape on the inside of the large circle started coming up. I finally decided to hot glue it down, but then it didn't look "finished." So I had an idea, I held the large ring up and put enough hot glue so that it would run down to look like slime/mutagen/etc. Here it is unpainted.


    I then cut holes in the flats and then hotglued everythign together.



    You will notice that the large center pipe has a garbage back behind it. There is actually a really shallow box glued to the back of the flat. I coverd it with a ripped up garbage bag. The shallow box had a strobing flashlight in the bottom right corner. I thought the garbage bag looked cheap, so I ripped it out and painted the inside of the shallow box instead with black spraypaint. I had originaly intended to use a concret form to actually create the large center pipe and to give it depth, but I decide that (1) I didn't want to spend the money and (2) if we had to set up inside, I wouldn't have a lot of space behind the flats.

    I used green tinted Modge Podge to paint the hot glue. I didn't know this stuff existed, but it is awesome. I found it at Walmart. It's in a small bottle, like Apple Barrel paint and runs around $2. Here's what it looked like when I rubbed it on and when it dried.



    The last piece was the water feature. I started working on this around 11:15 on Saturday night. I had borrowed the water pump the day before, so I hadn't had a chance to test it. The pump, which is small, had been used in an outside fountain water feature. I figured this was perfect for my needs. Here's the pump.


    I don't have any pics of this part unfortuantely. I was going to spraypaint a five gallon bucket to look like a sewere pipe, then place the pump in it. The first problem was the bucket had writing that kept bleeding through the grew paint. So I instead sprayed some poster board grey and covered the bucket. I place the pump in the bucket, cut a hole in the bottom of the flat for the hose to run the water up the back, and made a pipe for the water to come out of and back into the bucket out of a giant medicine bottle. I hooked it all up, put water in the bucket and plugged in the pump...

    ...and nearly flooded my basement! LOL

    It was like a fire hydrant of water coming out. I turned the pump off, readjusted some things, and tried again. No better luck. I realized the probably was the hose coming out of the pump was small in diameter (think garden hose size). I needed something larger (think vacumme hose or larger). At midnight, I couldn't really run somewhere, so I dropped the water feature idea. I instead used hot glue and made giant slime-cicles and then hotglued them to the pipe that was orignally for the water.


    The piece of pipe in the pic was some old pvc my Dad had that I spraypainted grey and hotglued to the wall.
  13. DazzlerFan

    DazzlerFan Member

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    Sunday October 25

    So it rained off and on in the night and early morning Sunday, but by noon it had cleared off and there was a 15% chance of rain at 5:00 (our start time). So we all decided to chance it and set up outside. It actually started to sprinkle rain around 5:40, but didn't really pick up until around 5:55 which was five minutes before the outside activities were to end. In the pics below you will notice that the ground is dry in some and wet in others. The sideview pic of the backdrop was taken right as we were about to take everything done. The rain made it warp a little.








    Even though it was overcast, we still had a good turnout from the community. Not as many as last year, but still a good number. The best part of the event was when two rather poor and dirty looking little boys ran past the candy and immediately hugged me and said "Thank you, turtle." That made it all worth while.

    Speaking of candy, my wife handed out assorted hard and soft candy as well as chocolate from her sewer pipe (thanks to donations from my Aunt and Grandmother). I handed out TMNT suckers that were in the shape of a Ninja Turtle head (thanks Oriental Trading for selling these).

    I'm really pleased with how it turned out. There are certainly things I would do different if I were to redo it, but overall I'm very pleased. Only two questions remain: (1) what do do with it now and (2) what we're going to do next year to top this.

    I hope that this inspires someone to dream big and maybe gives some ideas on how to accomplish something like this. Certainly I'm not of the caliber of craftsman as the individuals on this great forum, but I'm working towards it. Thanks for subscribing, liking, and commenting in this thread.

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