Sunday, June 28, 2015

Building the Trophy for the 2015 EVOLVE Proving Grounds Tournament

Back in late May I got an email from my friends at 2K Games asking me if I'd had any time or interest to work on a trophy for their upcoming Proving Grounds tournament.  Within a few minutes we were on the phone discussing it.

The total timeline from green light to completion?  Two weeks!  Here's the end result:

LIGHTS

To see how it all came together, read on...



Friday, June 26, 2015

Shae Vizla Blaster, aka How to build a Decent-Looking Science Fiction Weapon in About Four Hours

Somewhere toward the end of the big rush to prepare a bunch of costumes for Star Wars Celebration: Anaheim, I realized that I'd nearly finished the Shae Vizla costume for the Lady Shawnon but I'd neglected to come up with any weapon props to carry around.  If you saw the last entry about the Shae costume you know I managed to solve this crisis:
Shae Vizla at Celebration Anaheim

What you may not realize is that I knocked it out in a mad rush in the middle of the night while my crew cranked out a bunch of parts for the big Mandalorian project.

For details on the blaster build, read on...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shae Vizla Costume Build

If you happen to follow the Sexy Star Wars Girls page on Facebook, you may have spotted this photo a couple of weeks ago:
Shae Vizla at Celebration Anaheim

That's the Lady Shawnon wearing her Shae Vizla costume at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.

Shae Vizla is a mercenary character that shows up in the trailers for the MMORPG Star Wars: the Old Republic.  You can see her being a supreme badass in this video:


So here's Shawnon being a supreme badass:
Shae Vizla at Celebration Anaheim

To see how the costume was made (and a bunch more pictures of my smokin'-hot girlfriend showing it off) read on...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Harbinger Down

Last night I had a rare opportunity.  A good friend of mine invited me to a private screening of an upcoming film called Harbinger Down.  If you haven't heard of it, here's the trailer:



More importantly, if you haven't heard of it, it was made by the folks at Amalgamated Dynamics, the practical creature effects shop behind the last two movies in the Aliens franchise as well as the Alien vs. Predator movies, Starship Troopers, and dozens of other major creature features.  They decided to run a crowdfunding campaign to make a film that showcased nothing but practical creature effects.  The end result is a thoroughly enjoyable film that harkens back to the monster movies and horror films I ravenously consumed in my youth.

But what really made it special was the combination of the audience and the location where we were watching it.  

The friend that invited me to the screening is one of the lead model makers at 32 Ten Studios.  This is the shop that currently resides at the former site of Industrial Light and Magic in Marin County.  So their screening room happens to be the exact same little movie theater where the final editing was done on Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, the Indiana Jones movies, and many more.  It also happens to be the theater that THX sound was originally invented for.  The whole place is positively dripping with history.

The audience was a mix of special effects veterans from throughout the last forty years of filmmaking.  Alec Gillis, one of the founders of Amalgamated Dynamics and the director of the film, was there to introduce the film and ask questions afterward.  Dozens of other FX legends filled the auditorium.  Phil Tippett, one of the biggest names in stop-motion animation and the former head of the ILM creature effects shop was sitting in the front row.  

In short, the people in that room were probably responsible for deciding how half of my childhood looked.

The end result was a fun evening watching a fun movie in an amazing place with an even more amazing crowd.  I was thrilled and humbled to be invited.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June UFO Sightings in the Workshop

I've been doing what I can to catch up on writing about a lot of my recently finished projects lately and it occurred to me that I haven't mentioned anything at all about the current works in progress.  So here's a roundup of the UnFinished Objects lurking around the workshop.

The two biggest projects are things I'm not able to share just yet.  The one taking up the most room is this thing:

This is the largest single mold I've ever made and I'm really looking forward to pulling the first copy out of it so I can go back to having floor space in the workshop.  The whole project will have an unveiling early next month, so hopefully I'll be able to tell you all about it soon.

The second super secret project is smaller and much more interesting:


But since I can't show any of the details of either of those projects, allow me to show you some of my hobby tinkerings happening right alongside them.

First off there's this thing:
09 June Progress19

This is my take on the flametrooper from the upcoming Star Wars movie.  I've been tinkering with it on and off for a couple of weeks now.  Hopefully I'll be ready to mold it soon.

Looking at the reference images for the flametrooper helmet, it becomes pretty clear that the snowtroopers use the same base helmet with an additional cowl and faceplate added on.  So I'm also making this hat and mask combo for the cool kids to wear:
Snowtrooper Cowl in Primer

On the subject of distraction projects, I also decided to go ahead and have Lopez the Robot Whittler carve out a Judge Dredd helmet:
20150608_214543
Because I need that.

On a completely unrelated note, the folks at 2K Games asked me to build a trophy for the Proving Grounds tournament currently in progress.  The trophy is completed, but I haven't had a chance to write about the build or take any finished photographs.  In any case, here's an "almost done" snapshot:
Completed Trophy Sans Lights


On the subject of nearly done, a while back I made four of these guys:
Sith Acolyte at Celebration Anaheim
While that one might look like it's done, I still have to go back and make some final adjustments to the hands and boots, build some elbow and shoulder armor, and tweak a few things here and there before I can call it done.

At the same time, I still have to finish the Darth Talon costume for the Lady Shawnon:
Smooth Sculpt Right Side
This was supposed to be done in time for Star Wars Celebration: Anaheim, but I ran into a moldmaking problem in the 11th hour and didn't have time to fix it for the convention.  Fortunately, the sculpt wasn't damaged, so eventually I'll get around to cleaning up the mold mess so I can pull a few rubber copies of the brain tails, strap them onto the Lady Shawnon, and paint her red from head to toe.  That'll be fun.

Somewhere on the backburner, there's the Sith Stalker costume:
helmet test fitting
I finished the helmet forever ago and I'm certain I'll get around to the rest of the outfit sooner or later.

Even further on the backburner is this beast:
Adding Ridges to Chest
This is my take on the Grey Knight Terminator armor from Warhammer 40K.  I figured since I've already made Space Marines, it only makes sense that I should make some even bigger, more cumbersome costumes as well.

So that's just a few of the UnFinished Objects spotted scattered around the workshop lately.  More updates to come.  Stay tuned...

Monday, June 8, 2015

Clone Wars Mandalorian Costumes Part 6: the Nite Owl Armor

This is the next article in the series detailing the building of a whole bunch of Death Watch and Night Owl Mandalorians from the Clone Wars animated series in preparation for Star Wars Celebration: Anaheim.  You can read the previous eight articles here:
Part1: the Death Watch Helmets
Part 2: the Night Owl Helmets
Part 3: the Armor
Part 4: the Soft Parts
Part 5: the Blaster Pistols

While I realize that I've already detailed the process involved in making the fiberglass armor parts, I might as well review some of it and explain how we made the specifically girly armor.  It's basically the same way we made the male version of the armor, but with boobs.
Groping

If you'd like to know more (and enjoy reading about armored boobs) read on...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Coming Soon

I've been working on something big.  It'll be done soon.  Then...  the unveiling.
Coming Soon

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Clone Wars Mandalorian Costumes Part 5: the Blaster Pistols

This is the fifth article in the series detailing the building of a whole bunch of Death Watch and Night Owl Mandalorians from the Clone Wars animated series in preparation for Star Wars Celebration: Anaheim.  You can read the previous three articles here:
Part1: the Death Watch Helmets
Part 2: the Night Owl Helmets
Part 3: the Armor
Part 4: the Soft Parts

At this point in the build my friend Matt and I realized that we were going to need an awful lot of weapons to arm our growing group of Mandalorians.  Rewatching the episodes of the Clone Wars in which they appear, we found the primary weapon of the Death Watch:


That's it?  Really?  Surely they have to have something more interesting to carry around?  What's that?  Some of them carry a sort of carbine instead of a pistol?  Cool.  What's that look like?

Dammit.

Since we'd already come up with armor plates for the thighs with integrated holsters, we were stuck making pistols.  Since I couldn't quite stomach the notion of making them as plain and boring as they looked in the series, I ended up adding a couple of lines and recesses here and there.  Not enough to make them unrecognizable, but enough to keep them from being as plain and uninspired as they were supposed to be.

After a lot of repetitive casting and some very rushed, slapdash painting and weathering, the end result was a whole lot of these:
Finished Westar 35 Pistols

They're pretty unremarkable, but there were a lot of them.  If you'd like to see more about how they were made, read on...


Monday, June 1, 2015

Clone Wars Mandalorian Costumes Part 4: the Soft Parts

This is the fourth article in the series detailing the building of a whole bunch of Death Watch and Night Owl Mandalorians from the Clone Wars animated series in preparation for Star Wars Celebration: Anaheim.  You can read the previous three articles here:
Part1: the Death Watch Helmets
Part 2: the Night Owl Helmets
Part 3: the Armor

With all of the hard armor parts shaping up, it was time to put together something to hang them all on.  This collection of fabric and foam I'll collectively refer to as the "soft parts."  Since we were pretty short on seamstresses, the biggest consideration was to minimize the amount of sewing involved.

Here's a quick look at the first set of finished parts on a way too skinny mannequin:
Soft Parts

For details and photos showing how they were made, read on...