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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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Genestealer Build Update 4: Mounting the Head, Re-Splitting the Torso, and Starting on the Arms

So this beastie has a big ribcage arrangement that will contain the wearer's head and shoulders.  Since the waist end of the ribcage is too small to squeeze in and out of, we'll have to make it able to open in some way in order to get it on and off.  So when Jeff sculpted out the digital model, it had break points separating the chest and back:

Parts Side

Here's what they look like in real life:
Genestealer Armpit Split

Ultimately those would end up being pretty obvious seams that didn't belong on the final critter's very organic shape.  It's not Jeff's fault, we really didn't discuss much about how we would hide the seams separating the front from the back.   But I had to come up with something else. 

So I started by joining the chest and back with some glue and a bit of fiberglass to make sure the new joint wouldn't fail while we mangled the adjacent plastic:Ribcage Split Glassed Over

Then I added a bit more of a visible overlap where I wanted the chest and back to come apart by sculpting a new ridge with some Free Form Air epoxy putty:Sculpting Carapace Overlaps

Here's a better angle to see the forward edge where the new overlap is built:
Sculpting Overlaps for Separation Points

Once I had the new connection overlaps sculpted to my liking, I hung up the ribcage in an out-of-the-way corner in the shop:
Genestealer Carapace Overlaps Curing

Genestealer Chest Suspended in the Shop

This week I decided I needed to mount the head print so I could use it as a sculpting armature (and later a mold plug) so I made a cardboard template to fit the neck hole:
Cardboard template in place

Here's the template laid out on a piece of 3/4" cardboard: 
Cardboard Template on Plywood Base

The inner offset line is about the same shape as the neck hole and the outer line is the extents of the skirt that will overlap on the inside of the neck hole:
Template Traced onto Plywood Base

With that sorted out, the printed head was mounted in place:
Printed Head Mounted to Plywood Base

The back of the neck had a divot in it that would make it hard to fill the neck hole, so I went ahead and filled it with a batch of expanding foam:
Foam Filling Recess in Back of Genestealer Neck

After it was done growing and had firmed up completely, I whittled it down and smoothed it over:
Foam Fill Shaved Down

Then the whole thing got another pass with bondo to smooth it over:
Fairing Done

Satisfied that it was smooth enough, I gave it a coat of XTC-3D epoxy resin:
Epoxy Coating on Head

Then set it aside to cure:
Epoxy Coated Head Curing

While waiting on that to set up, I cut the chest and back apart with a coping saw, separating them right under the new ridge:
Back and Chest Re-Split

It turns out I'd gotten a little overzealous with the fiberglass when I had joined the two parts together, so cutting through the mass of glass was quite the task with the delicate little coping saw blade:
Genestealer Torso Split

But once the cutting was done, I focused on smoothing the new ends of the back piece:
Genestealer Back Cut Off of Back

That done, the back could be polished up and prepped for molding.  In order to get a better idea of how things were going, I gave it a coat of greay primer:
Genestealer Back Primed

Now it's sitting on this handy rolling work stand waiting for the primer to dry:
Genestealer Back Primed

Because I need a challenge, my plan is to mold it and cast it in fiberglass.  This is going to be an exceedingly difficult piece to duplicate.  The mold is probably going to have to separate into something like fourteen pieces by the time it's all said and done.

Meanwhile, I imported Jeff's arm model parts into the Carvewright Designer software: Forearm Buck Carving Layout

Next I'll let Lopez the Robot Whittler carve out the wooden pieces that we'll stack together and use as vacuum forming bucks to make the arm shells.  I'll also be getting a start on sculpting the skin for the head and hands.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Late Post: My Shredder Costume from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Halloween 2023

I almost completely forgot to blog about this because, frankly, 3D printing has made projects like this way too easy and I actually forgot I was building it several times in the middle of the surprisingly quick project.  But it's a done thing, so I suppose I might as well brag about it.

A while back I acquired this helmet kit in a trade from a maker called "Portugeek" on the Replica Prop Forum.  I didn't get a photo of the unfinished kit, but here's one of his photos:

Trimmed and assembled, it looks like so:
Portugeek Shredder

Prepped, primed, and painted, the helmet looked like so:Shredder Base Chrome Painted

Shredder Base Chrome Painted


Once that was done, it ended up spending longer than I'd like to admit just collecting dust on the shelf.  Then, while browsing Etsy one fine day in the middle of the night, I came across YoshStudios.  They had a pretty good looking set of 3D models to make Shredder's armor parts:
Yoshistudios Shredder files

You can order the same set of files here: LINK.  The price?  Somewhere in the range of "Meh, why not?"

After downloading, I imported them into Netfabb and resized them to fit my digital carcass:

Printing was really a matter of setting up a few more print jobs to start each morning when I got to the shop and not forgetting where I put the printed parts as I checked each piece off of the "things I need to print" list.

Eventually I got the stack you see here:

Printed Shredder Parts

Shredder's really not got a lot of armor.

Prepping was pretty straightforward.  Since this was a personal project that I was throwing together for Halloween, I didn't discard any reject prints that normally wouldn't have passed muster with me.  Instead, parts with minor flaws just got a bit of patch work before it was time to begin sanding and smoothing.

Here you can see one of the forearm bits with a split gap being filled in with a wad of paper towel soaked in CA glue for strength before adding a blob of Bondo:Print Flaws Never Bothered Me Anyway

Once all of the particularly egregious flaws were filled, the parts were all coated with XTC3D epoxy resin, given a bit of sanding and smoothing, and painted silver with Duplicolor Chrome:Basecoat Silver

While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I got to crafting the soft parts.  I started with cobbling together these nifty faux leather arm and leg wraps with zippers so they'd stay snug and straight:

Arm and Leg Wraps


Velcro patches added to the inside of the armor pieces were all the attachment they needed:Faux Leather Forearm Wraps

All too easy:
Forearm in Silver Basecoat

The lower leg armor was attached in much the same way:
Shins Fitted

The rest of the soft parts were pretty straightforward.  I started by ordering this pair of comfy black pants (LINK) because there's nothing special enough about Shredder's pants to justify sewing something custom.

In fact, the only real sewing to be done was this goofy tunic he wears.  I'd like to brag about the complex construction of this garment and the amount of draping and patterning I had to do in order to bring it together, but in all honesty it was a basic body block.   Since the neck would be covered by the cape, the only thing that needed any careful finishing was the couple of rectangles of fabric added to the front and back to get the proper hemline.  Frankly, in my last minute Halloween rush, I didn't do the best job on that hemline:

Finished Shredder Tunic

Velcro tabs were added to the tunic to hold on the shoulder armor.  A simple belt made from the same faux leather as the arm and leg wraps finished the look:

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "No, you IDIOT! Shredder doesn't wear sneakers."

Turns out you're right.  While the artwork and styling has changed over the years, there's never been an image of the Shredder in Under Armor runnning shoes.  Given all of the possible options, I decided to finish my costume with an off the shelf pair of Tabi boots:

Tabi Boots

You can order your own pair here: LINK but you'll also want the right kind of socks (LINK).

With the shoes sorted out and the sewing done, it was time to take the shine off of the armor parts.  Weathering was a simple matter of slathering over all of the silver parts with some watered-down black acrylic paint, then daubing most of it back off with a damp cloth to leave more darkness in the recesses.

Parts Weathered

Weathered Parts are Weathered


So there I was standing there checking over my look in the mirror when my nephew walks in and sees me in the entire Shredder get-up.  

"How do I look?" I asked him, since he's currently the most qualified Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles expert in the room.

"Pretty good," says he, expertly.

"Thanks." says I, thankfully.

"What are you going to be for Halloween this year," he asks, because apparently this outfit I'm wearing might just happen to be what I decided to wear on any given Thursday evening.  I guess he's not wrong.

"I don't know," replies me, "Do you have any suggestions?"

"I think you should go as the Shredder," he says matter of factly, "you already have the costume ready."

"Good thinking, dude.  I'm glad you're here."

Halloween that year was on a Tuesday, so I ended up going to my sister's house party on the Saturday night before.  Clearly I was ready:

As is my usual way, I failed to get enough photos.  Someone snapped this winner:
House Party Shredder

I also found out that this costume is perfect for snagging hors d'oeuvres: 

I just need to remember to clean everything afterwards:
Meatball Skewers
I don't think Shredder's armor is dishwasher safe.

I don't entirely remember what I was picking out of the purse here, but the picture struck me as chuckleworthy:
Hors D'Ouvres

This one too:
Chillin' Shredder

In any case, Halloween proper was Tuesday and I was shanghaied into going to my nephews' elementary school for their annual "trunk or treat" event.  My job was to hand out candy to children:

As luck would have it, I ran into at least eight or nine ninja turtles that day:


Now I just need to do a proper photoshoot to show off the finished product.  Hopefully soon.

I still haven't figured out what I'll be for Halloween 2024.  Any suggestions?