onsdag 9. april 2014

Private Screening of The Empire Strikes Back + Han At The Bar

Today we surprised fellow trooper Eirik, TK-3444 with a birthdaycelebration where his significant other had arranged for a private screening of The Empire Strikes Back at the local cinema. I haven't seen it on the big screen since the Special Editions were released in 1997. It was awesome! And great to see the scenes with the Han in Carbonite again after having been familiar with him for so long now.

I walked by work after and took a few snapshots of the HIC, having mounted a small spotlight I think it looks really presentable:

And here you can see the subtle yellow/orange hue emanating from behind the HIC:

I have a deadline of getting the sidepanels finished (only greeblies left really) by may 16., as I'm going to take the HIC out for a stroll on the parade at may 17. Norways national day and I want him to look his best.

I plan on taking some proper pictures of him when he goes back up on the wall, before the plexiglass goes on, when he is FINALLY completely finished (hopefully).

mandag 7. april 2014

Further Progress on Panels + Pictures of The Original Panels

Painted the rest of the panels:

Bought a 200cm long 2cm diameter PVC pipe for $4 and cut 30 0,5cm thick rings:

Had several sets of decals printed (I only needed one set but thought I might as well fill out the sheet with several to give to others who might need them):

The decal with the black dot pattern goes over the window that covers the yellow LEDs on panel #2 (the one that is going to sit below the main "hero" panel with lots of blinking lights.

Added the decals on the panels, and I also got help from my girlfriend to make the small circular stickers that go on most of the panels, and lastly glued on the rings:

Note the right side panels from top to bottom are on the left and vice versa:

With natural light:

Now I'm waiting for the yellow LEDs that go in panel #2 and the rest of the greeblies (there are well over 100 bits and pieces to glue on in total) to make it look "screen accurate".

This might be a good time to share pictures of the original panels (something that might be nice for those uninitiated or unfamiliar with the Han In Carbonite prop). These pictures are humbly borrowed from Philip Wise of rebelscum.com, a legend in the HIC building community, who was central in discovering that the original sidepanels came from the instrumentpanel of an old Volvo 343.

Left side from top to bottom:

Right side from top to bottom:

fredag 4. april 2014

Painting The Side Panels

Today I started painting the panels. I sadly ran out of primer with two panels left, so they'll have to wait for another day (probably tomorrow).

I cut out the windows for the lighting in the hero-panel with an exacto-knife and masked off the rest of the windows, keeping them the natural opaque color of the resin, as the backing on those windows on the hero-panel was that colour originally. Saves me from finding the right material to attach behind those windows. Then I sprayed it with Rustoleum Stainless Steel, taking my lead from MonCal who thought the panels were the same colour as the carbonite block just that they aren't weathered like the block is.

I used liquid masking in the little hole below the main window:

Put in the electronics kit I bought from modeljag to see that everything looked correct:

Drilled holes for the LEDs (by hand, going up 0,5 mm incrementally so not to crack the thin plastic):

Painted the perforated boards with acrylic paint from Citadel Miniature-paints (I have a whole box full of them that's been sitting there for 15 years now) and had two hues of blue that matched the original pretty well if I may say so:

Installed all the electronics again, and I must say that it is looking good:

I also sprayed five of the other panels with aluminum, will wait a few days till it has completely dried, mask out the windows, and spray the rest of the panels in stainless steel as well.

Then I'm just waiting for zenix to say when, and start selling 3D-printed greeblie-kits!

torsdag 3. april 2014

Finished Casting The Side Panels

Finished casting eight panels now (each panel takes about an hour to cast). Now I'll just clean up the edges and they're ready for paint!

Other exciting news is that zenix over at The Replica Prop Forum has 3D-modeled all the greeblies that go on the panels, and will start taking orders soon.
Even though my brain says it's a bit much to spend $160 on little plastic bits that go on a prop, and that nobody but myself could tell the difference between them and whatever other junk that might be glued to the panels, I think I'll end up ordering the 3D-printed parts.

And I also ordered electronics parts to construct a subtle LED alternating blinking circuit for side panel #2 (the one below the hero panel), similiar to kurtyboy's (also from The RPF) contraption here:

søndag 30. mars 2014

Behold The Mold!

As this was my first time working with silicone, a lot could have gone wrong, but it turned out perfect!
I was really anxious about air bubbles being trapped in the mold and making voids, but it couldn't have turned out better.
A shout out of thanks goes to Aslak for giving me pointers and sharing his expertise regarding molding with silicone and casting in resin.
And a huge thanks also goes to Matt Munson and his blog for giving me a practical way to make a mold and subsequent casts.

I managed to make three successful casts (after failing the first attempt) after work tonight, and we can see the learning curve I had. First I just measured up the amount of resin I calculated was needed for a cast,  stirred it for a while 'till it was goopy and poured it all in and slushed it around, something that didn't work out at all, as the resin was too thick to get into the fine detail, and too slippery to adhere to the sides all around the mold. The second cast I poured the resin in while it was still very runny, and tried the slushingmethod again, which ended up becoming real goopy and messy as well. I refined the technique using less and less resin, opting to cast each side separately, while waiting 10 minutes for each side to cure a bit. The last panels are probably going to be really nice. :)

A little clean-up around the edges, a quick wash and it's ready for paint. Then I just have to amass the 100+ greeblies that go on the panels, something that shouldn't be too hard.

tirsdag 25. mars 2014

Small Progress With Han in Carbonite Sidepanels

Started making the box for the mold now, and it's slowly crawling along inch by inch.
I think I'll give the inside of the box a light coat of clear laquer (I don't even know if that's neccessary), then fasten the panel inside, and close all the seams using (sulphur free) clay.
Then I just have to mix up a batch of silicone and give it a print/gelcoat before pouring the rest over.

Here is a picture of the set-up so far:

I'm following Matt Munsons lead and just casting the outside of the panel (as you'll never see the inside anyway), and it makes for a much easier moldingprocess. So I just glued pieces of styrene over all the holes so that the finished casts are pretty much ready to go right out of the mold with minimal clean-up, just paint and add greeblies.

Here is a picture of Matt Munsons finished mold, which he just slush-casts resin copies in, which turns out great:

And as another note, I refurbished my Han Solo, pouring an all new carbonite texture around him and painting it again. I only have to weather him and he's good as new. I felt this was the right time to do it, as I was more satisfied with the finish on the second HIC I built, and have been wanting to re-do my own, and now I have the time and opportunity to do a makeover before he is to be displayed permanently. Right now he's sitting in the basement at the bar where I work where he will be displayed indefinitely (until I get a place big enough to house him myself). There he will be encased in plexiglass with a subtle orange glow emanating from behind. I'm looking forward to seeing it displayed properly!

lørdag 21. september 2013

Death Star Wall Panel Weapons Display

After seeing a picture of a Death Star Wall Panel Weapons Display from Celebration V made by (i believe) The Ohio Garrison a year or two ago, we in Trondheim (Nidaros) have wanted to make something similar for our stand.

With two upcoming conventions this fall, I took it upon myself to make this wall.

I started out with buying a standard panel of thin plywood, and sourced some leftover vinyl floortiles from my job, to make the geometric shapes on the wall (thanks Marius!).

I used the picture of the above wall and the below rendering to figure out the measurements:

Taking notes on a printed out version, always convenient when working on something like this:

I used the size of the DLT-19 heavy blaster to figure out the measurements of the wall, as the length of the DLT-19 is easily available. I found out that the wall I used as reference was wider than the plywood panel I bought, so I was going to have to thin down everything just a little, to make it work with the panel and be as convenient as possible

Next I started cutting out the shapes of the vinyl tiles:

This took quite a while and was strenuous work, as the tiles gave me a bit of a fight, being so resilious and made to take a beating. I got them done in the end anyways and laid them out and marked off their positions, before putting good old E-6000 glue on the backs and glueing them down:

When the glue had dried I sprayed the panels with gray primer, sprayed the one square shape red, and glued on 2x2s to stiffen the boards from the back:

As you can see on one of the above pictures, I ended up using a different brand of primer for the edges of the two larger panels (as I used up all the other primer, and this primer was just sitting there, ready to be used). Which turned out to be a costly mistake, as the white paint I painted on afterwards reacted with the different brand primer and wrinkled up. I tried letting it dry, giving it a light sanding, and sand away just the wrinkles before putting on another coat of white, but that didn't work.
So I ended up having to sand down the entire sides of the larger panels and prime with the original primer before painting white. A mistake that took both many hours and cost me a few extra cans of paint.

For those of you planning to do something like this, I'd recommend just buying a can/bucket of paint and brushing/rolling it on, as it would be cheaper and probably take less time. I opted to use spraycans, as that was what I was comfortable using, and it gives a great smooth result.

So, back to the program: When the grey paint/primer had dried, I masked off along the sides and sprayed the sides white, letting that dry and then drawing in the oblong shapes and masking them off:

By this time the Torucon Convention in Trondheim was fast approaching, so a fellow trooper, TK-3444, helped transport the wall down to troopers Rita and Ole Sivert, where they helped paint the sides/edges black:

Now it's really starting to look like something.

I spent the next afternoon drilling holes through the woodbeams on the back to be able to mount the boards together using bolts and wingnuts (note the 0,5 liter can for scale at the bottom):

We managed to have it ready in time for Torucon! I opted to drill 8mm holes behind the blasters and use 7,5mm reusable zip-ties (buntebånd) to attach the blasters. I see the wall I used as reference had attached the blasters the same way. On the one hand it is very discreet, and easy to use, but on the other hand it leaves holes all over the wall that can be a bit annoying if left unused. As a side-note: some troopers at the convention suggested getting wood polugs to plug the holes not being used, which was a great idea.

I kept a build log going over at the Nordic Garrison forums, and fellow troopers helped brainstorm ideas for attaching the blasters. We went through neodyme magnets (which I actually tried but found out not to work), acrylic pegs into predrilled holes and a few other different options, but nothing was as simple and effective as the zip-ties.

Here is the finished wall at the convention:

And here I am (with a mannequin behind me) beside the wall:

It ended up looking great, and it really gave our stand an extra oomph!