Sunday, December 26, 2010

I knocked this Klingon communicator out in a couple days for a contest on the RPF. Didn't get first place, but I did get a sweet Spock beer stein out of it. The bit on the back is a rare-earth magnet to hold it on clothing.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

1£ Store lightsaber

The RPF hosted it's second annual dollar store lightsaber building contest this November. As I have still to find a job this was a great opportunity to stave off cabin fever and keep the modeling skills sharp. The 20£ cutoff insured I could afford it. I used the following parts, minus the ones that are crossed out. Mind you I've just moved to the U.K. so I had to do the whole thing with a Dremel.

Concept sketches

I dremeled out the crystal chamber window from the wee little flashlight, as well as the "vent holes" on the side. This flashlight was great, as I could use it's two screw off ends to attach it to the other internal segments. The crystal itself was cut from the invaluable ice-scraper's acrylic blade. For the internal mechanics of the crystal chamber I cut apart the accessories from the "Funtastic Police Play Set" which had a lot of great textures.

For the emitter I used the top screen from the microphone, but hollowed out the middle, then cut lenses from the pen and closet light to color and diffuse the LED's from the flashlight. I then glued these to the hollowed top of the flashlight.

Here it is all together. The wire is stripped from the microphone cord. I was hoping the mic
would have some cool electronic guts, but it was totally empty inside. Thanks Poundland.

For the shroud I used the Aquafresh tube. They were polyethylene, and if I had to choose a least favorite plastic it would be polyethylene. Nothing sticks to it, it gets all hairy when you cut it, and sanding it is a ghastly nightmare. But the tube fit nicely, so there you are.

For the pommel I wanted something that had interest and spoke to the rest of the saber. I used two sections of Aquafresh cap, the reflector cup from the flashlight, and some of the EVA foam.

To light the crystal I needed a seperate light source from the emitter, as it's battery supply wouldn't cover enough LED's to light both. I used the blue LED rig from the ice scraper (why do you need a light up ice-scraper?) and cut it down to fit in the base of the crystal chamber. I then used some of the microphone wire to run the switch to the handle.

Next the unthinkable happened and I dropped up my DSLR taking photos during the build. So, the contest ended up being a lot more expensive than 20£. I am such a dumbass.

I finally figured out I could focus by getting it in range physically and manually shooting. I'm still out a spendy lens, but here it is. I used the decorative mirror the landlord put up to make my tiny flat seem bigger for the backdrop. For the paint scheme I was inspired by McQuarrie's original sketches of the stormtroopers holding sabers. The sabers they were holding in the concept sketch looked suspiciously like Obi-Wan's, so I pushed the design to look more sinister and mass produced. Initially I wanted to do a more elaborate paint job using some blue details, but ran out of time.

I think my favorite bit is the crystal chamber. The only part I ended up using from the bike pumps was the bit holding the crystal and the power switch. The blade adjustment knob is a screw cap from the corkscrew sanded flat. I was really impressed with how sturdy the switches from dollar store crap were.

The grips are cut from two layers of the EVA foam sheet. I couldn't believe they sold that stuff at Poundland. That was the biggest score of the whole build. The charge port is the tip of the pen used for the emitter lens.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Viper Scratchbuild Part 2

Rather than try to build the "ear" sections I vac formed them. I didn't want to use expensive mold material for such a simple shape, so I used silicone caulk and it worked pretty well. I just had to make sure that the first layer had no bubbles.

Here are the plaster positives in the vac former.

And here they are on either side of the top fin. I think I made them too tall compared to the drawing, but I like they way it looks, so meh.

A closer look. Tons of Bondo, I know. Most of it was sanded off.

Rear view with the upper wings attached.

And finally time to prime it. After spending a few minutes trying to scribe panel lines with the back of an Exacto blade I ordered a scribe tool from Japan. I wish I had that thing in school, it's awesome. Initially I was going to build this with landing gears down, but I liked the way it looked flying so I skipped it.

I added these pinstripe details that may be in the drawing, it's really hard to tell what is going on back there. I thought it had a cool vintage look like a lot of RMQ stuff.

I added some kit parts from a hind for the undercarriage.

I added some more pipes and venting in the part of the drawing you can't see.

White! It looked so bright when I started the body color. White stuff is really hard to take good photos of, no contrast.

The factory showroom paint job. It looked ok, but really needed some weathering to tone it down. I had a really difficult time finding the right yellow in a spray acrylic, so I got as close as I could, but it's not a match.

The empty cockpit and some pastel weathering.

For the little Sculpey pilot I used the razor style uniform for a model, I'm not a huge fan of the old suede uniforms and king tut helmets. I went for the airbus style joystick just to do something different.

The dash lights on. I wish I had taken a better picture of this where it didn't look so bright, but the canopy is on now.

Building the canopy was the hardest part. I did three tries and I am still not satisfied with the result but I am really, really tired of making little canopies.

I tried to take this shot from the same angle as the drawing. The proportions are a little off, but I am pretty happy with it.

It is dark in space, you would need headlights.

The underside after weathering. I thought I went overboard, but in the photos it still looks pretty clean. I didn't do any paint chipping because it's a concept, but it really needed a little dirt in the nooks and crannies.

The engines turned on. I think the way the inside of the thrusters turned out was may favorite part. It's also the part that I could take the most creative license with, so it was a lot of fun.

I hid the battery cover between the thrusters. Its a really tight fit, but looking at it on you can't really tell it is a separate piece. I'll probably do some more detailing and spruce up the base eventually, but this thing has already eaten a big chunk of time and I think we need some time apart.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Old Robot Sketches

While I was cleaning off the hard drive of my old laptop I found a folder of old robot sketches. Not necessarily GOOD sketches, but ones I liked. Most were drawn in the margins of notes for school, or on cocktail napkins.

It's not a boob, it's totally something else.

Some sort of stick insect bounty huntery thing.

Pre-tablet photoshop sketch. It was sort of inspired by the robot trains I saw driving through SODO.

This was the concept sketch for my final project in Mechanical Engineering , the Dokutake robot.

The finished product.

Super old sketch I drew on a flight back from visiting my wife when she still lived in Tennessee.

This was an idea for a fish controlled robot. I was so stoked when I saw that someone had already done this.

This was just a concept doodled in between portfolio layouts.

Not even sure if this is a robot, but I liked it.

Another sketch of the same concept. This is back when I only sketched with Bic Round-stick mediums. I've sort of cleaned up my sketch style since then, lost all that fine art style hairiness. I kind of miss the warmth you could get out of the cheapest pen made though.


Not really a robot, but I liked this sketch.

This was for a composite project I never finished. This was really the best of the lot.