Monday, January 5, 2015

Making Weapon Props from EVOLVE Part 4: the Lazarus Device

When I mentioned earlier that I built four unique weapon props to help promote the upcoming game EVOLVE, I kinda lied.  This next one could hardly be described as a weapon.  Carried by the medic Lazarus, the "Lazarus Device" has the sole purpose of bringing recently deceased teammates back to life.  So while it's not a weapon per se, it is the most iconic piece of gear available to the medic class of hunters.  

Here's what it looks like in the game:
Lazarus Device Reference Image

This is the finished piece my crew and I put together in the shop:
Lazarus Device Studio Pic

For all the grisly details describing how it was made (and a lot more photos), read on...

Once again I went through the tedious process of cleaning up the cinematic cut scene model, closing all of the open geometry, splitting it into parts that made some kind of sense for fabrication, and deciding which pieces would be made by what machines.  Here's the digital model broken down into all of its unique parts:
Lasarus Device digital model Parts

I started by carving out the base shape on the Carvewright CNC machine.  Here it is tacked together:
August6 Lazarus Device Progress 01

Since they were pretty simple shapes, I also had the Carvewright cut out all of the fingertips.  Then everything got a few heavy coats of primer:
August6 Lazarus Device Progress 06

Smaller parts were printed out on the Objet30:
August6 Lightning Gun and Lazarus Device Small Parts Progress 12

After a bit more cleanup, here's the first round of carved and printed parts:
August 7 Lazarus Device Parts in Progress

Since time was getting short, I opted to have the big cover plates printed out on the Zortrax M200.  This way the finished pieces could be used on the final piece if I didn't have time to make molds and pull resin copies.  Here's the first printed plate:
August 9 Lazarus Progress 04

At this point, it was vital to ensure that everything was about the right size.  For this, I employed only the most scientific of methods:
August 11 lazarus device Progress 192

While I was working on some of the other pieces, I set Dan to work sanding the print lines off of the cover plates:
August 14 Lazarus Device Progress 183

After a solid day of sanding and filling, here's what the full set of parts looked like:
August 14 Lazarus Device Parts Progress 194

To hold the printed cover plates onto the base, I was going to need something more robust than the little brackets that were part of the digital model.  To that end, I cut out some rough blocks and added them to the base piece, Then rough shaped them until the plates seemed to fit right.  Here's Dan dry-fitting one of the plates:
August 14 Lazarus Device Progress 196

After a bit more grinding and trimming, the plates were settling into position nicely:
August 14 Lazarus Device Progress 197

Here you can see another round of Bondo being gooped onto the blocks at the wrist end of the base piece:
August 14 Lazarus Device Progress 204

As is often the case with video game models, the smaller details and fine seam lines were essentially painted onto the surface in order to keep the model as simple as possible and save rendering power.  Since this piece will be seen up close in person and held by the audience, all of the seams and notches had to be physically present on the finished prop.  So I set Dan to work scoring lines in the surface wherever we needed them:
Aug 17 Lazarus Device Detailing Progress 07

While that was going on, I spent some quality time test fitting various parts onto a rubber electrical safety glove that was being sacrificed for the cause:
Lazarus Device Fingers Progress 15

Meanwhile, Jason rotocast the first hollow copy of the base piece:
Clean Cast of Lazarus Device Body

And as luck would have it, everything fit together:
Lazarus Device Assembly Progress

I also made a rough mock-up of one of the clear liquid cylinders for the backside of the device:
Juice Tube Mockup

I faked the piston on the inside by using a piece of 1/2" aluminum rod and then a coil of 1/8" aluminum armature wire was twisted into a rough spring shape to detail the inside of the cylinder.  Here's how it would fit onto the device:
Juice Tube Test Fit

For the liquid inside, I had Greg mix up a bit of distilled water and blue food coloring.  Then the whole assembly was solvent welded together, making a perfect little watertight container:
First Juice Tube Assembled

Since there was a tiny bit of blue liquid left over, I didn't want to let it go to waste:
Blue Goo Injection

With all of the sub-assemblies assembled, the clear parts were masked off and the whole thing was primed and ready for paint:
Lazarus Device Assembly Progress

The paintjob was left up to Matt.  He started with a base coat of shiny chrome paint:
Lazarus Device Test Fit

Then the whole thing was given a heavy blackwash before the final set of hoses was added and it was put on the bench with the rest of the lineup:
Evolve Hunter Weapon Lineup in the Workshop

Here's a nice studio photo of the finished Lazarus Device, courtesy of Make magazine:
Lazarus Device Studio Pic
And another:
Lazarus Device Studio Pic 2

If you've been following EVOLVE's Facebook Page, you've probably seen more than a few images like this:
Lazarus Promo Image 2

Or this:
Lazarus Promo Image

If you don't follow EVOLVE's Facebook Page, hurry up and do that so you can get all of the latest updates as we race towards next month's release date.

Stay tuned for more.  Next up: the Laser Cutter!



  1. This is amazing! It would be double amazing if you made a giveaway! :D

  2. I have been waiting with baited breath for this. Was not disappointed.