Monday, May 16, 2016

Making a Light Gun

What happens when you leave two people alone in a house alot?

When they have access to a large number of light up gadgets and dollar store toys, an old nerf gun...and they have an idea?

In my house, it results in weeks of cursing and electrical work :) For the NCR Ranger Cosplay (See right for partial costume), Boyo really wanted a gun. But he knew from the internet and from friends that there are a LOT of rules that exist for what is acceptable in a convention. You can't typically bring anything that actually fires a projectile (so nerf went out the window) and it has to fit certain guidelines.  So what to do?

Once the evil feline overlord and project manager got out of his lap he could look at the supplies he had available. For the annual Parade of Lights we had picked up a pretty good selection of random LED lights. For Halloween we had picked up some LED sound sensitive glasses. For no reason I can remember we had an old Deer Hunter Video Game rifle (Did we ever own this game and I just don't know it?).

An idea was born. Or at least conceived. It took some time (a Month and a half of work, probably 30 hours of actually doing it) to become reality. Time, sweat, blood, tears...more cursing than tears, but still!

The decision was made to take the deer hunter gun and spraypaint it so it wouldn't be ugly orange. Than the decision was made to add lights to it. Then to add sound (this failed as the dollar store gun's obnoxious sound sensor fried under the fierce power of two AA batteries). Then to add vibration. Then more lights. Then switches. And toggles (I am exaggerating for effect here, but not much) and more lights!

It's been a LONG time since high school shop class, and that never really covered this type of wiring. Thankfully google and the internet are there for people who are going to try anyways.

In the end, it looked awesome and made a great final touch to his costume for Galaxy Fest. He keeps implying there will be more done to it - so we will see if this is the end of it all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cosplay 2 - NCR Ranger (Fallout)

From the boy...

So I promised this a while ago but never wrote it up for you. This summer Fallout 4 came out and of course rekindled my obsessive need for more and more in that universe, so much so that when we decided we were going to the local Galaxyfest convention I had to make a cosplay. Now I am not sure if you want to call myne or Monsters the first one I ever did. Hers of course you saw completed pictures of already. Of course I forget to take a lot of pictures of hers as it was being built, or even worn (my cell wont take pics anymore). But the process of building myne got a lot more camera time. Mostly because I was reminded to take pictures more often.

Lets start with the beginning, First of course I had to decide what I wanted to mimic, and what idea to roll out with. Wastelander? Wanderer? Vault boy? All seemed a bit small, a bit over done for me (and I don't sew so making a vault suit was out of the question). So what could I make? Or more importantly make similar to, but still shine ME through? The answer was of course the most used piece of armor for Cosplayers. The NCR Ranger Armor.

But I could not just copy paste it, I had to own it and make it myne. We tried to make just a base foam version of it, and we were going to find other ways to customize it and make it unique. Between the cat, lack of experience and over shooting my ability versus desires, it failed. So I had to start over.
Instead of mimicking the Armor most loved, I had to find a different route. So instead of making a carbon copy, I made a new idea.
Ranger Medic, the illusive 68 Whiskey Victor. For those of you playing the home game that means a Combat Medic that has passed Ranger training. From there the idea fell in line swiftly and the custom armor of a Ranger Medic came to life. We had to start of course with the most iconic piece, The helmet. Again copy paste was an option, I saw every piece I needed to buy to put together and blend into a proper following, but I didn't love that. I needed a Medic to be unique. That means a new helmet. Besides what screams Medic better then the visage of death?

Not following me there? Its alright, I do not mind.
I came on the idea at random, clicking, looking, and shopping. Then fell in love with the concept swiftly. If a Ranger is the last thing you never see, then a Ranger Medic needed to be the last person you wanted to see. (Because lets face it, even special forces get in over there head.)
The skull mask I Acquired went well with a standard combat helmet, and made almost of a full covering. Sure it needed a head lamp and a radio antenna, but those came together eventually. (At some point I will give it a more iconic lighting unit then it has, but I like the 'aim-able' one.) Panting to blend Object A with Object B was necessary, but I have a great roommate that arts amazingly and roped him in.

A mostly black helmet needed a touch of color and wear, so a "hammered" Spray paint was picked out and the two rapidly looked like one piece. A bit of accent paint (in the form of a racing stripe) was added to help blend the helmet to every other piece, but then the helmet needed more, a light grey was added to the cheeks, mouth, eye sockets, and nose of the skull to really make them pop out.

Next body armor. But wear to begin if foam failed me (or did I fail foam?).

 I needed to stay "scavenged" and that took work. Then like a mac truck it hit me, Motorcycle Armor! The shin guards are for off-roading, they cover shin, knee, and a small bit of thigh. They got a paint treatment to make them seem more like metal (and one got a racing strip in line with the helmet. (It bugged me that Rangers only wear chest and head armor)
The chest piece took me FOREVER to find, apparently if I were a child this would be easy, but adult size costs either your arms and legs, or doesn't exist. I did not need brand name, I did not need function, just form. A bit of stumbling let me find a piece of really cheap (read as not going to save my life) chest protection. SCORE! Order up wait for the man in brown shorts and DING!
Or not, it barely covered just my rib cage....... Creativity time. Since I needed to wear a jacket to stay similar to the real armor I realized my back didn't need anything as no one would see it. This means the removable back plate could get modified, and suddenly become gut armor! A bit of paint here and there, and they blended into a nice silver look of armor. The medics cross hides on the helmet, and on the right knee cup.

So far so good. For the tie in (and to further make need of the expenditure of money) I added my Pip Boy. But what about my naked right arm? Insert a "No Parking sign I am still not certain how I got (the only known fact is I did not buy it). A hack saw, drill for holes, and elastic lace and BAM arm armor! The fact I beat it in to shape on an anvil without concern for the scratches helped age the sign better. Add on my leather surcoat from the Renfest, my archers gloves (because they are missing fingers, thumbs and are well worn) and I'm looking good! (Give me my moment)

Just to overburden myself I added a scrap-made shoulder holster (with a blue and yellow 1911) my black canvas medics messenger bag, a gun belt with plenty of false ammo, a super sized Nerf pistol, plenty of pouches, a hidden balaclava, and then just to guarantee the heat stroke a brown and black scarf to wrap around my neck (its got little skulls and cross bones for its patterning).
But what should I carry as a main long arm?

This post now being super sized will be continued latter with the work to make my gun, for now enjoy pictures of the armor in its various stages of completion.......

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Newest Armor - Face Hugger Pauldrons

I finally got to work on the armor that was commissioned last summer (Sorry my friend!) and went to town on it. He had requested a facehugger wrapped around itself. If you don't know what a Face Hugger is - here is a good pic from the internet. He wanted them to be a little bigger than his shoulders, and to connect in the back. He also wanted the impossible, a good dark purple on the edges.

I tried this before - and after 5 coats we were still pink, so ended up coating it with one single coat of blue, and ended up completely blue. This time, I tried blending the dyes. 4/5 purple 1/5 blue. As you can see in the drying shot it didn't work. I was still ending up with a color that was just wrong for what we wanted. 

I pouted.

I whined.

I went to the leather store to look for leather paint in the right shade of purple. They didn't have it. They suggested I look at acrylic I went home and did some googlefu. Apparently, as long as you seal it, regular old craft acrylic paint is pretty much the same as the expensive leather paints sold by my leather store. We bought purple. We bought sealant. We liked it!

He has been wearing them a few months now - taking them off the coat when needed - and I haven't noticed any scratches in the paint, or any issues (other than loosing chicago screws - seriously they are the Houdini of the craft world).

It was really nice to get to project with leather again - there hasn't been much (paid) call for my work, which always makes me sad. We are discussing if we will be making a separate articulated leather facehugger to go up the other arm, I think the stuffed animal would work better than leather - but the debate rages on :)

Any thoughts? Comments? Don't you love the smile :D It makes me happy!