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I make toys for kids who don't want to grow up. I'm on the lookout for new projects. If you're interested in commissioning me to build something ridiculous, shoot me an email.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Magnetic Poets: a Commissioned Project From Way Back

Sometime last year I was contacted by a producer for a group called Magnetic Poets.  The way he explained it to me, they were building a "transmedia" production, a coordinated release with live concerts, online videos, and impromptu street performances that would involve some pretty impressive logstical and technical choreography.

Central to the production were the Magnetic Poets themselves, a pair of 7-foot tall characters named "IO" and "Projektor."  Built into their respective costumes were all manner of audio and visual electronic wizardry.  IO had a variety of electronic musical instruments and speakers integrated into his outfit and Projektor was rigged with a variety of display screens, lasers, and video projectors.

While the bulk of the costumes and integrated electronics had already been sourced, they were having trouble finding anyone who could make a pair of helmets to their specifications.  That's where I came in.

Before I get into the details of the fabrication, here's a video showing finished pieces in action:

Here's a close-up shot of the Projektor helmet:

If you want to see how the helmets were made, read on...

Friday, November 30, 2012

.50cal Machine Gun Gnome

I've got a batch of these guys in the works right now:
50cal Gnome 
It'll still be a while before I post any of them for sale online, but for now I'm hoping to have a handful of them painted up in time for the Bazaar Bizaare this weekend. See details of the event here: http://www.facebook.com/bazaarbizarresf

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kali Costume Part 3: PROPS

I've already written a couple of articles about building the Kali costume for Hi-Rez Studios multiplayer game SMITE.

Part 1: Building the Rack of a Goddess
Part 2: It's Hard to Find a Model with Four Arms

Since she now has four arms, it's time to give her something to hold onto.  In most traditional depictions, Kali is shown carrying a sword or trident, a severed head representing the human ego, and a skull-cup or "Kapala" to catch the blood draining from the head.  Here's the way she looks in SMITE:
Kali from SMITE
If you'd like to see how I went about making the swords, the cup, and the severed head, read on.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Combat Garden Gnome Minesweeper

After months of putting it off, I've finally finished the latest addition to the Department of Gnomeland Security, the minesweeper:
Minesweeper Gnome 44

Armed with nothing more than a metal detector and grim determination, this little combat engineer moves into the minefield ahead of the other troops, often under enemy fire, to ensure the way ahead is safe for his fellow gnomes:
Minesweeper Gnome 47

Naturally, his occupation causes him some concern:
Minesweeper Gnome 48 Worried about landmines in your yard or garden? You can get your own Minesweeper Gnome in my Etsy shop in a couple of weeks.  

In the meantime, I'll have a batch of them at my Bazaar Bizarre booth in San Francisco during the first weekend in December.  You can read more details about the event HERE. 


The best part: Square Wallet is doing a special promotion to offer $10 off your first purchase of the day using the Square Wallet app.  That, plus the fact that you won't have to pay for shipping, means that this will be the lowest price you can possibly find for a Combat Garden Gnome.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recent UFO Sightings in the Workshop

Here's the latest collection of UnFinished Objects I've been working on in the shop...

First up, I've decided to make myself a replica of the Ironman Mk2 and Mk3 costumes as seen in the first Ironman movie.  Most of the work is being done by Lopez the Robot Whittler and Jarvis, my new Objet 30 Pro 3D printer.  Here's the right shin and boot parts:
Calf Assembled

While the robots are making my Ironman parts, I've pulled out some spare parts I had lying around and started working on another character from Red vs. Blue, Agent Washington.  I've been taking tons of pictures of this build along the way, so expect a very detailed step-by-step description of the assembly process soon.  For now, here's the helmet in it's base color:
Helmet Base Color

In between more serious projects, Jenny from the dock has been stopping by from time to time to help tinker in the workshop.  Somewhere along the way, we decided to encase her in carbonite.  Here's a shot of the project in progress:
Jen Comparison

While all of that's been going on, I've also been working on more Combat Garden Gnomes to add to the lineup.  Here's the Heavy Machine Gunner sculpt that I finished the other day:
HMG Gnome Sculpted

The gun in question is the M2HB .50cal machine gun, which I printed out on the 3D printer:
Gnome Scale M2HB 50cal

On the subject of Combat Gnomes, I've finished the first Minesweeper gnome.
Minesweeper Gnome 47

I'll be writing about all of these projects separately over the next several days, so stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween Project 2012: GHOSTBUSTERS!

If you were out and about in downtown Petaluma for Halloween, there a good chance you stumbled across a handful of Ghostbusters while you were out.  Here's a few of them: Ghostbusters Night Out6

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you've seen  me mention my friend Matt several times.  This particular project has been on his to-do list for quite some time.  In fact, this year marked the fifth time he's gone as a Ghostbuster since the film was originally released.  While most of those were thrown-together costumes when he was in elementary school or cheap store-bought outfits later in life, he'd never had a chance to really put together an accurate replica of the costume.

This project started in mid-September while I was out of town for my annual training with the naval reserve.   I came home to find a corner in the shop completely filled with Ghostbusters paraphernalia and drawings.  Matt took the lead on most of the build and I was glad to help where I could.  Mostly I provided tools and materials in the prototyping phase, then got more involved in the final assembly and painting phase.

Since I never build one of anything, the plan was to get together as many people as we could to go out on the town looking like we'd just snagged a bunch of costumes and props straight out of the film.  When all was said and done, there were nine of us. 

For more pictures of the group and details about the build, read on...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Recent UFO Sightings in the Workshop

It's been a while since I've posted anything substantial, so here's a quick rundown of UnFinished Objects (UFOs) hanging around in the shop lately...

First up, I've cranked out a couple new Warhammer 40,000 Space Marines.  One is a Pre-Heresy version of the Dark Angel:

Detail Closeup

That one's pretty, but the better one is Captain Titus from last year's video game Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine by THQ:
Full Suit

While I've been working on those, my friend Matt has taken the lead on this year's Halloween project:
First Proton Pack Pull

Proton Pack Back

I'm not entirely sure how many of us there will be, but if you see a gaggle of Ghostbusters in downtown Petaluma on Halloween, it's us:

In other news, I received a particularly interesting shipment on Friday.  This is the first of three skids containing my shiny new 3D printer:
Jarvis Arrives

The other two packages were much bigger:

This is the printer I won in the "Make it Real" Challenge on Instructables.com back in June.  I have named it "Jarvis."  You can see some of the specs here: http://objet.com/3d-printers/desktop/objet30-pro

Any suggestions as to what I should have him make?

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Adeptus Astartes, Games Workshop, Games Workshop logo, Space Marine, Space Marine chapters, Space Marine chapter logos, Ultramarines, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k Device, and all associated marks, names, races, race insignia, characters, vehicles, locations, units, illustrations and images from the Warhammer 40,000 universe are either ®, TM and/or © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2012, variably registered in the UK and other countries around the world. Used without permission. No challenge to their status intended. All Rights Reserved to their respective owners.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MAKE Magazine

If you've never read MAKE Magazine, you should.  I make it a point to run down to the news stand and buy a copy every time a new issue comes out.  The latest issue hit shelves yesterday.  It's at least twice as awesome as the previous issues, so I bought two:
2012-10-24 12.14.52

Ask for it at your local bookstore.  Failing that, Barnes & Noble carries it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kali Costume Part 2: It's Hard to Find a Model With Four Arms

In my last post about the Kali costume for the Hi-Rez Studios game SMITE, I detailed the making of the prosthetic chest.  The main reason for making the chest prosthetic was to be able to rig a harness to hold up the extra pair of arms she needed attached to her back.

Here's how I made the extra arms:
Lifecasting Montage

If that doesn't make it crystal clear, read on...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Building Agent Maine (aka "the Meta") from Red vs. Blue Part 1: the Helmet

Some time ago I traded another maker one of my HALO 3 Mark6 Spartan helmets and got a copy of his hand-sculpted EVA helmet.  It was well made and the casting was nice and strong, but it was also a little on the small side.  I finished it up in the colors of Agent Maine from the popular webseries RED vs BLUE and wrote a quick article about making the visor which you can read by clicking HERE.

Since finishing it, I've had it hanging in the rafters of my workshop.  I have a lot of helmets hanging in the rafters.  Most of them just need some tiny finishing touch.  Some of them are just waiting for me to start trimming and paint work.  Others, like this one, are mostly just being forgotten.

While it was being forgotten it also suffered a fall when I was moving some lumber around and knocked it off its hook.  I was able to reassemble it, but in the process I was reminded that I'd rather have another version of this particular helmet that was just a bit bigger and had sharper edges.

If you'd like to see the steps involved in making the upgrade helmet from start to finish, read on...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Looks Like the Clock is Still Ticking on My Fifteen Minutes of Fame...

For those of you who didn't see Nightline last night:

I thought I had a backlog of orders to fill before.  I think it's about to get worse...

Monday, October 1, 2012

When it Rains it Pours

Right now it's raining Combat Garden Gnomes.

I've just come back from my annual training with the naval reserves and it turns out I've got a huge backlog of orders for combat garden gnomes waiting to ship. 

I've even enlisted help:
Gnome Catchups

If you're one of the hundred or so customers currently waiting on orders to ship, please be patient while I work through them. 

I’ve been restocking the Etsy shop as fast as I can, but I don’t have any on hand right now while I’m trying to catch up on shipping my outstanding orders.  If you’d like to pre-order one of my gnomes, shoot me an email at sthorsson99@yahoo.com

You can see all of the different variants I make in this flickr photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8050182@N06/sets/72157623870627643/

In other news, I've just received the first set of photos of one of my Combat Garden Gnomes in an actual combat zone: 
 Gnome in Combat Zone

That photo was taken at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan.  Here's a close-up showing this particular little gnome augmentee in all his forward deployed glory:
Combat Garden Gnome in Combat Zone



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kali Costume Part 1: Building the Rack of a Goddess

Some months ago, in addition to the Blood Eagle Pathfinder I've already written about, the good folks at Hi-Rez Studios commissioned me to build a costume to turn a model into their rendition of the Hindu goddess Kali from their recently released game "SMITE."

The challenge: make a healthy human female look like this:
Kali from SMITE

No problem.

My first concern was securely attaching a pair of prosthetic arms to her back.  Unless they had a model that would let me drive screws into her shoulder blades, there was no way I could glue them on that would be guaranteed to hold up the severed head and the cup she's supposed to be carrying.  At least not if she's planning on walking around all day on the show floor at a convention.

After some careful consideration, I decided that the best option was to make the chest prosthetic as well.  That way I could make the breasts, collar, and extra arms into a harness that could be strapped on with no risk of having any slippage that might result in unanticipated nudity on the show floor.  As an added benefit, the prosthetic breasts would counterweight the extra arms. 

With most character builds, I focus a lot of time and energy on the parts that will get the most scrutiny.  This is usually the head or some particularly iconic prop.  In this case, it seemed pretty obvious where most of the attention would be drawn to.  It wasn't going to be her eyes.

The rest of this article is safe for work and family-friendly, but be forewarned: there are pictures of an attractive, young, topless woman being coated in purple goo.  If you're okay with that and you'd like to see the step-by-step process involved in making a girl with a 32B bra size into something more like a 32F, read on...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine Build Part 7: Badges, Patches, and Other Widgets

In case you've been following along, I apologize for neglecting to write up the rest of the build notes for the Space Marine build.  If you're just now stumbling across my blog, you can find the other parts of this build by following these links:

Space Marine Build Part 1: an Overview
Space Marine Build Part 2: the Backpack
Space Marine Build Part 3: the Boots
Space Marine Build Part 4: the Rubber Bits
Space Marine Build Part 5: the Helmets
Space Marine Build Part 6: the Hands

Now onto the next part: decoration.  Because giganting superhuman warrior-gods don't look right without all the trim:
Paintjob Closeup Glamor Shot

Read on for details.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Building the Blood Eagle Pathfinder from TRIBES: Ascend

In addition to the Spinfusor prop, Hi-Rez Studios also commissioned me to make the complete costume for a "Pathfinder," one of the light infantry classes from the Blood Eagle faction in their first-person shooter TRIBES: Ascend.

You saw the finished outfit at the end of my last post:
Blood Eagle Dressed at PAX

For details on how it was made, read on...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Building the Spinfusor Prop for Tribes: Ascend

Over the past three months I've been scrambling to finish a few items for Hi-Rez Studios to have at their promotional booth at PAX Prime in Seattle.  Now that PAX has come and gone, I've finally got a chance to share some details of these builds.  First up: the Spinfusor.  This is the iconic weapon from their first-person shooter, TRIBES: Ascend.

Here's the finished piece:
Spinfusor Completed
More details after the jump.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sneak Preview: Work in Progress

It's still going to be a couple weeks before I'm going to be able to tell you what I'm working on right now.  In the meantime, here's a teaser:
Pixelated Preview

And a closeup of some of the details:
Clear Castings I really can't wait to show this off... 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gnomes In Stock Now

In case you've been waiting for me to restock my Etsy shop, now's the time to load up on Combat Garden Gnomes.

There's painted gnome shooters in standing and prone positions, grenade throwers, and pistol-wielding gnome fighters.  I've also listed a handful of unpainted castings in each pose (including the rocket launcher gnome) for you DIY types.

They sell out pretty fast, so don't hesitate.  You can get yours by clicking HERE.

Thanks for looking.


Monday, August 13, 2012

UFO Sightings

I've been working long hours trying to crank out a couple of paid projects that I'm not really allowed to write about just yet.

Not being able to show off my work has been wearing at me though, so here's a collection of pictures of UnFinished Objects (UFOs) that I've got in the works right now.

First up, I've decided to dust off the Republic Commando project again.  To make progress, I printed out a bunch of the remaining pep models.  Here's half a suit of armor in the "before" stage:

Since I'm swamped, I coerced Trevor the Walking Mannequin into putting the peps together.  Here's the gut guard (aka "space-age tighty-whities"):
RC Lower Torso

Here they are reinforced with fiberglass:
RC Abs coated

Whenever I'm taking a break from paid projects, I've been tinkering with my new and improved Halo 3 EVA helmet:
EVA Acrylic Windows

I've been making molds like crazy too.  In the past month I've burned through fifteen gallons of silicone moldmaking rubber and today I should be getting five more.  Here's some molds in progress for a commission:
Jacket Molds Finished

Mothermolds in Progress 3

All of these molds are for a pair of projects I can't write about just yet.  So I can't show you the insides:
Mosaic Mold Complete

I also can't show you any of the raw casts all put together:
 Mosaic Carry

I can't show the other pieces I'm working on either:
This last pair of projects also has me doing more lifecasting than I've done in years:
 Ear Casting Montage

Arm Lifecasting 5

I've been making arms, hands, heads, boobs, and even teeth:
Teeth for Dead Head

Suffice it to say,  I'm looking forward to having the current project lineup finished and delivered so I can show them off.  It'll all make sense soon.

Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss any updates...


Monday, August 6, 2012

Tacticool Spraypaint

A while back, I bought a pistol grip attachment to hook onto rattle cans for more ergonomically friendly spraypainting.  The other day, when my sister was in the shop complaining about a sore spraypainting finger, I set it up for her.  

Then she mentioned that she was having trouble getting used to aiming the thing.  My friend Matt was in the shop too and decided to hook her up:
Tacticool Spraycan Closeup

Fortunately, I happen to have at least half a dozen laser sights and pieces of Picatinny rail (alternatively known as the MIL-STD-1913 rail, STANAG 2324 rail, or simply "Tactical Rail") in my workshop at any given time:
Laser Guided Spraycan 

For short-range, close-in work like this, the laser sight is the only way to be sure...

 Tacticool Spraycan FPS

If only I had a spare red dot quick reflex scope...