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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, May 31, 2015

Clone Wars Mandalorian Costumes Part 3: the Armor

A while back I wrote a post detailing the construction of a handful of Death Watch helmets from the Clone Wars animated series.  You can read it here:
Part1: the Death Watch Helmets
Part 2: the Night Owl Helmets

While the helmets might look kinda cool just sitting on a shelf somewhere, they're a far cry from being a complete costume.  So it was time to make some armor.

Here's a blurry pic of one of the finished suits:
Mandalorian in the Hallway

For more photos and details about how the armor plates were made, read on...

Friday, May 29, 2015

Making a Phase II ARC Trooper from a Skygunbro Clone Trooper Kit

A while back I picked up a few kits from Skygunbro's Custom Creature Shop.  Here's what they looked like when they showed up:
SGB Helmets Awaiting Progress

I've already explained how I converted one of them into a "realistic" movie-style version of Captain Rex's helmet from the Clone Wars animated series.  You can read about that little project here: LINK

Since I was on a roll with Star Wars stuff and I needed something frivolous to distract me from my actual paid projects with fast-approaching deadlines, I went ahead and converted the next one into a Phase II ARC (Advanced Recon Commando) Trooper helmet.  

Here's the finished result:
ARC Trooper Hammer Finished Right Angle 2
For step-by-step description of the conversion process, and a lot more photos, read on...

Thursday, May 28, 2015

2015 Bay Area Maker Faire: an Exhibitor's Story

A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege of putting together an exhibit at the Bay Area Maker Faire.  This was my fifth consecutive appearance at the Faire.  If you were there, you more than likely will have seen my booth:

But you might not recognize it in the above photo.  That's because most of the time it looked more like this;
Maker Faire41

If you'd like to see more of the preparations and logistics that went into getting everything to the show, read on...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Captain Rex from a Skygunbro Episode III Clone Kit

Sometimes I just need a quick and simple project.

Most of the things I make are at least a bit complex and take weeks worth of work in order to see any progress at all.  So in the middle of one (or five) of those, it's nice to take a few minutes here and there to do something that shows quick results.

With that in mind, a while back I got a few helmet kits from Skygunbro's Custom Creature Shop.  Here's what they looked like when they showed up:

SGB Helmets Awaiting Progress

While I've already got a few of the old Master Replicas lifesize clonetrooper helmets, I've always thought it'd be cool if they'd made more variants.  One that I really liked the look of was Sideshow Toys' live-action style Captain Rex from the Clone Wars.  But nobody really makes a good-looking version.

So after sitting them on my bench for a while (to distract me from real work) I'd modified one of those raw cast helmets to look like so:
Captain Rex Helmet Finished 7

For a detailed description of the modification process, and a boatload of additional pictures, read on...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Time to Catch Up

It's been a while since I've had substantial time available for bloggage.  For that, I apologize.

That said, I'm going to be doing a lot of writing in the coming months and I've decided to use the blog as a tool to help me shake out the cobwebs and overcome writer's block.  So you can expect all sorts of articles in the coming weeks and months and I flesh out a few things and catch up on a variety of little things I've written over the past few seasons.


I just finished unpacking from my fifth consecutive appearance at the Bay Area Maker Faire.  I pulled out all of the boxes and set up quite a display of finished works:

So I need to go over the story of the mad rush involved in getting all of that stuff spruced up, packed, loaded, transported, installed, and hauled home after the fact.  It was a good time.

Going back a bit further, my crew and I went to Star Wars Celebration Anaheim last month, so in addition to writing about that experience, I've got to go over the details involved in making our platoon of Mandalorian costumes:
Deathwatch on the Disney Channel

There's also the Shae Vizla costume I made in cooperation with DW Design Studios for the Lady Shawnon:
Shae Vizla at Celebration Anaheim

There was also a handful of Sith Acolyte outfits I made to accessorize her.  Here's one:
Sith Acolyte at Celebration Anaheim

Going back even further, I've still got to finish up a couple of articles about the building of my Mark III Ironman suit:
Petaluma Hobby Expo 2014 02
It's been finished for well over a year now, but I never finished writing up the steps involved in the paintjob as well as wiring up the lights.

On that subject, I've got a couple of other variants of the helmet that I need to write about:

Hopefully I'm over my Ironman helmet building phase at this point.

There's a few other projects I'll be writing about as well, but these are the first that come to mind.

I should point out that these are all hobby projects.  My professional projects are even cooler, but it'll take a bit longer to write about them while I await permission to release images.

So in other words, stand by for more.  It's coming...


Monday, May 11, 2015

Dad Installed a Murphy Bed

Some number of years ago (who keeps track of these things?) my father came across a complete Murphy bed at a swap meet or yard sale or some other such event where folks offload oddball crap that nobody actually needs.

The various components of that Murphy bed have been collecting dust out in the barn ever since.

A few days back, he decided to pull out all of the pieces and see if there was any way he could get it assembled and functional.  The only problem: just where could he find room to install it?

The answer was found on the open side of another barn:
Murphy Bed Stowed

That panel is the visible side of the bed when it's properly installed and folded up out of the way.  The whole thing is designed to pivot around and slide back into the same recess it came out of, so the bed can fold out like so:
Murphy Bed Unfolding

Everything is spring-assisted, so it doesn't take all that much effort to fold it up or down.  Here it is folded all the way down:
Murphy Bed Unfolded

In actual use, it would be fitted with a thin mattress and made up with sheets and blankets.  There's even a clamp arrangement at the foot of the bed to hold everything in place when the bed is folded back into the wall:
Murphy Bed Made

Sooner or later he'll figure out where he wants it permanently installed, but for now, its current location is rather quaint:
Murphy Bed In Use


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Gearing Up for Bay Area Maker Faire

I apologize for my recent lack of posts.  My latest handful of projects have all been things I'm not allowed to share with the public yet.  It's amazing to have the opportunity to work on such cool stuff, but at the same time it's aggravating that I can't show any of it off.  Yet.

But while I haven't been able to post much lately, I can tell you this: it's that time of year again.

I'll be making my fifth consecutive appearance at the Bay Area Maker Faire.

Since I don't have a big, new thing that I can show off (yet), I'll be sprucing up a few of the things I've already posted about.  So expect to see a slightly improved ED-209:
2nd ED in Warehouse

I'm also cleaning up new copies of a couple of the EVOLVE props:
Who's the Man?

Fine Tuning the Wiring

And I've got a whole bunch of helmets and other small items I'm prepping to bring along:
New SM Helmets in Primer

Finally, I'll be reconfiguring the display booth itself to better showcase some of the new builds.

So if you're free next weekend and you can make it to San Mateo, California, come out and check out the show.  There will be no shortage of fire-belching sculptures, people-powered vehicles, over-the-top backyard tech projects and countless sources of creative inspiration.

I'll be there too.