About Me

My photo
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, February 26, 2012

Propbuilding 101 Part 2: CNC Machining the M9 Tempest Submachine Gun from Mass Effect 2

My work on the M3 Predator heavy pistol a while back got a lot of notice.  One of the folks who saw it was a fellow prop enthusiast with a penchant for 3D modelling.  He contacted me about giving life to his rendering of another weapon from Mass Effect 2, the M9 Tempest submachine gun.

Since I'm determined to do a series of articles about my methods, this project will serve as a great example of how I use my Craftsman Carvewright CNC machine to build props.  For those of you just tuning in, I bought this machine secondhand almost two years ago.  It's temperamental and a bit frustrating sometimes, but when everything works it makes life a lot easier.  

In this case, I used it to create the prototype for these:
M9 Tempests Finished

Read on for a step-by-step process of how they were turned from bits and bytes into practical prop weapons.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

John Carter of Mars

I pay a lot of attention to movie news. With that in mind, I'm disappointed in how little I've seen in the way of promotion for this particular Disney film. The few trailers that have come out don't really give you an idea of what it's about.

It finally took a fan-made trailer to make it look like something special instead of some ho-hum Avatar knock-off. Check it out:

The film hits theaters on March 9th.  If this trailer gets around a bit more, maybe someone other than me will actually go see it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Warhammer 40,000 Chainsword Build

Sometimes in the midst of a really big project, it's hard to stay motivated. In the fine-tuning stage, weeks can pass without really giving me something to brag about. When this happens, it's time to focus on a smaller tangent project.

This is one of those tangents:
Giant Chainsword

This is the "chainsword," the melee weapon of choice from the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  If a lightsaber was "an elegant weapon, from a more civilized time," the chainsword is the other thing.  Big, ugly, and brutal, it exemplifies everything I've always liked about Warhammer 40K.  

In a game where the Imperium of Man makes the "evil empire" of Star Wars look like something that belongs in Disneyland,  the chainsword is a perfect fit.  There's no notion of a kinder, gentler anything.  It's simply made for carnage.

More pictures and a thorough description of how it was made after the jump.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Follow-Up: Operation Tomodachi

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you may remember that I spent a month and a half on active duty last year.  I was aboard the USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19) assigned to the staff of the Commander of Seventh Fleet during Operation Tomodachi, the joint US military relief effort in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and resultant tsunami.

When I was stationed aboard a ship homeported in Japan from 1999 to 2001, it was common to pull into Japanese ports and be met by protesters holding signs telling us to go home.  They were usually fairly small groups and they were always very polite, but the sentiment was always there.

Well the other day USS BLUE RIDGE pulled into port in Tomakomai, Japan and they were met with this scene:

BLUE RIDGE was in Tomakomai for a goodwill port visit that coincided with the nearby Annual Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mel Orr)

It's nice knowing we made a difference.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

More Gnomes in Stock

I've just updated my Etsy shop, so you can now buy a few of these guys:

Here's a detail shot:
Gnome Officer in Leaves

I don't have any painted copies of that one available, but I do have some of these guys:
RPG7 Gnome Painted Side

The RPG gnome is just what you need once your gophers develop armored vehicles:
RPG7 Gnome Painted with Tank

You can purchase these and all of my other varieties of Combat Garden Gnomes in my Etsy shop: http://etsy.com/shop/thorssoli

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Word of the Day: Neologism

From Merriam-Webster:

NEOLOGISM [pronounced nee-ol-uh-jiz-uhm]
  1. a new word, usage, or expression
  2. a meaningless word coined by a psychotic 
A "neologism" is a new word introduced into the language.  I ran across this new word for the first time today.  According to my research, it's first recorded usage was in 1803.  It is not a neologism.

If only there were an adequate antonym...