Sunday, November 21, 2010

Project Overload: a Brief List of Things I'm Currently Tinkering With

Since I'm mostly finished with my HALO costuming project, I've stacked all of the molds in storage, swept out all of the resin sanding dust, and started looking around at all of the things I've been meaning to get back to for the past few months.

First up, I rolled my miniature Sherman tank back into the workshop:
Tank Restart

My wee tank is just over eight feet long, about four feet wide, and has a 7hp electric-start engine under the hood. I've assembled one of the tracks (visible in the lower edge of the picture) and I've made the components I'll need to assemble the other one (stacked on the bench in the back) so now all I've got to do is have Lopez the Robot Whittler crank me out some drive sprockets while I'm building the transmission.

The tank takes up a lot of space and it's a huge inconvenience to walk around it in the middle of the shop.  I'm hoping that will motivate me to make progress and roll it out. I've promised myself that the next time it leaves the shop will be when I drive it out under its own power and start shooting things.*

That's not even half of what I've got going on though. While I was cranking things out for Halloween, I also made a child-sized Predator bio helmet for my nephew. It was just a drop in the proverbial building bucket when you consider all I had going on then. Here's an early shot with a test coat of paint on it:
Beginning Nephew Helmet

It got several iterations of sanding, priming, bondo, and sanding again before I decided I was happy with it. Here's what it looks like now:

The sad part is that my nephew didn't make it to visit for Halloween. The good part about the sad part is that I have time to refine the sculpt a bit (I need to add the targetting pod on the left temple), make a mold, and build the final version in resin or possibly durable lightweight fiberglass.

I've got a few more helmet projects in the works too. The first one is the continuing improvement on this beauty:
Helmet Stretching 1

Once I've finished stretching it a bit and smoothing it back out, I'll be cutting it into separate components before making a mold and cranking out a few copies so I don't have to decide on the making the Mk2 (silver) version or the Mk3 (gold and hot rod red) version. I'll also be converting the first clean pull into the War Machine helmet. All three of these will have the light-up eyes and hinged faceplate seen on screen in the movies.

On the subject of helmets, I started building a Star Wars Republic Commando while I was out on my last ship. Once I had it back in the workshop I started fairing and smoothing it. Here's what it looks like now:
RC Black Primer

With a little more smoothing and a lot more minor details it'll be ready for a proper paintjob. When I'm painting that, I'll probably also be painting my Episode III clone trooper helmet***:
A Little Short

The continuing challenge with both of the above helmets is talking myself out of making the rest of the costume to go with them.

Since I can't seem to put down the HALO project, I've also decided I need a Mk5 helmet as worn by Michael J. Caboose in the latest three seasons of Red vs. Blue. Fortunately, I was able to find a good 3D file and Lopez the Robot Whittler*** got me a good head start. Right now it looks like so:
Caboose Helmet Test Fit

It's carved out of MDF, so it's pretty heavy. Once I finish smoothing it out and adding the little parts, I'll be making a mold so I can cast a more wearable resin version.

Also HALO related: I've been looking to expand my meager arsenal:

Any day I should have the molds so I can cast up a couple of my sniper rifles. That'll be fun because the prototype was huge:

It was also very heavily detailed:
Sniper Rifle test fitting

While I've been waiting on the molds, I've gone ahead and started work on the BR55 Battle Rifle. Here's a goofy shot of me test-fitting it with the wrong scope:
BR55 Scale shot

I'll be building the mold for this one in a few days.
While I'm expanding the arsenal, I'll also be building a couple more finished suits of armor.  Plenty of people have pointed out that I was missing some key characters from the lineup, so I've still got to make Tucker and Donut at the very least.  Then I'll be getting the gang together for a few photoshoots and maybe do a bit of filming too.

Meanwhile, I also need to get back to the assembly and painting of my two ODST suits***:
ODST begin

So far, the only part I've actually put together are the shins:
ODST Shins

So the main goal now is to maintain focus on these few things and avoid starting any new projects until these are finished. I also need to go back out to sea so I can hopefully make enough cash to pay for it all.

Fingers are crossed, but I'm sure I'll fail on both counts.  In fact, I'm already thinking I should rebuild my vacuforming rig, dabble in some vacuum metalizing, build a powered armor helmet from Fallout 3, sculpt out a Cylon from the new Battlestar Galactica series, have Lopez the Robot Whittler make me a BFG from DOOM, machine some components to build the T-800 Terminator endoskeleton and the M95A1 phased plasma rifle (with 40-watt range), and build the Zorg ZF-1 from Fifth Element, and...

I really need to just hire a staff of fabricators.

*The Sherman has a smoothbore, breach-loading, pneumatic gun that can shoot anything that fits down the barrel. The prototype had a 2-inch diameter barrel and could put a medium T-shirt on target over 150 feet away. I also experimented with paintballs and discarding sabot water balloon rounds, one of which I lost sight of over a tree line some two hundred yards away!

**These are kits that I acquired from other makers.  My creative contribution will come in in the finishing stage.

***"Lopez the Robot Whittler" is the nickname I've come up with for my Craftsman Carvewright woodworking machine.


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