I'm 46 next month, the ol silver fox is up against the stigma of 'boring dad' and clinging on to whatever childhood I can muster the strength to admit to publicly before being making a nuisance of myself. I've been experimenting with silicone moulding and cold cast resins (yawn) - hang on, before you click over to Buzzfeed check this out, clever ol me just gave my Black Series Sandtrooper a home -he has a custom resin base created by yours truly. I used a mix of decorators filler, natural shale,slate and modelling sand for the main casting original then made a silicone mould I can pour cold cast resin into. Overall its about 10 hours work. The small droid wreckage part comes from a Warhammer model kit and its painted with standard acrylic paints.
To say I'm chuffed to bits is an understatement - and guess what else, you can buy these, you know, if you really wanted to :)
Sometimes I'll read about something and decide in my infinite wisdom that it might be a subject I want to dip my toe into. Even though I've long since stopped painting Warhammer 40K figures for my son I still got a buzz out of the models and the scale size of the stuff - I could look at dioramas for hours. My latest venture is silicone mold making and designing custom bases for Warhammer or Flames of War figures.
I'd had the silicone kit sitting around for a while and thought I'd give it a go, considering all I had to go on was about 60 hours of viewed YouTube videos I was totally blown away by the first ones I had cast in fast cast resin. The above image is of the final painted versions which I'm now selling on Ebay here.
The whole idea of measuring and mixing all this stuff isn't actually as hard or as complex as it sounds, I had enough YouTube info to get a kit and have a go. Besides, I needed a hobby and something to do since I'm now getting totally bored with video-games.
Above: the Black bases show the final raw fast cast resin bases out of the mold, washed and sanded before being base-coated with black primer. The white crater was molded using decorators filler and small bits of scrap wall plaster added to a 60mm Warhammer base before silicone was poured to make the primary mold.
Not bad for a total newbie even if I do say so myself!- I'm super chuffed.
Another smart Sci-Fi short film, Directed by Eli Sasich’s, ATROPA is a deep space mystery encounter story you'll only want to see more of - some top notch effect work, great atmosphere, well worth a look and a Vimeo STaff Pick
The trick with this shot was to get in first before the first group of tourists made their way up the main walkway. When you get off the ferry you're supposed to listen to the orientation talk by the park warden on the main forecourt. I decided that capturing the best shot I ever wanted to take was far more important to me and a once in a lifetime opportunity. By ignoring that protocol and in order to get into the prison I made my way up the main walkway with some of the employees that had came in on the same ferry. I headed up to the main cell block and admin building which is the quickest way in. Going on through the main entrance and pretty much straight on I was able to get onto Broadway, the main cell row. I can't tell you how awe inspiring it is to stand in one of Americas most notorious buildings on your own with not another soul in sight, a place that has seen some of Americas most wanted felons locked up, you just soak up so much history standing there looking down the row of steel bars it is incredibly eerie. I had a good 10 minutes to myself before the first group came in because they all wait in line for the audio tour to get their headsets. This 10 minutes gave me a super rare opportunity to capture quite possibly the best photograph I have ever taken.
If like me you're a child of the 70's, (oh god that make's me sound bloody ancient) and somewhere in the vast depths of space in a galaxy far far away you were transported to a realm which completely transformed your life then you'll no doubt sympathize with the same fuzzy feeling I get every time the word Star Wars is mentioned.
My latest purchase has been a lifelong one since I was seven years old, I've always wanted to own a 1.1 scale replica of an Imperial Storm Trooper helmet. Online searches put the price for an official Andrew Ainsworth replica at well over $450 for a standard helmet and $760 for a hero version, (Ainsworth if you remember won the court case against Lucasfilm to retain the right to reproduce the helmets from original molds he and his team had created). The big no, no for me is paying a stupid amount of money for a plastic helmet that I can buy elsewhere for a much reduced cost. My other internet searches didn't fare much better and the current 6 month wait for the brand new (and impressive) officially licensed ONOVOS ANH (A New Hope) design helmet was just too long a wait for me. Frequent visits to the RPF (Replica Prop Forum) where some extremely passionate and talented fans,cosplayers and prop builders build their own also seeded some additional doubt, namely my temptation to buy one on Ebay (don't buy one on Ebay!).
Needless to say there are some very critical opinions and suggestions supported by shouts to avoid anything but proper 501st Legion approved helm makers, all making the decision even harder. Apparently it's an unwritten law of etiquette that you don't sell 'recasts' of other peoples work be it an Iron Man helmet or a Cyberman helmet or a Barberella cod piece. However, as much as there is a 'rule' by 501st cosplayers that they can't actively promote or sell Stormtrooper armor a PM to one of the guys active on the RPF will probably set you straight but alas I'm merely speculating. All of this is further compounded by the fact that although the offer is there you don't actually know who still makes them or not and the 'approved' list you'll find has a lengthy turnaround time, not to mention shipping, insurance and customs to factor in if you're an overseas buyer residing in Europe.
There's a whole new conversation to be had about which helmet you buy too, Hero Helmets are different to stunt helmets ANH helmets are different to ESB and ROJ helmets, the grey and black nasal frowns have a different number of teeth, the grey tear panels are different and the very slight bump on the right hand eye lower eyelid tells you which mold and which variant (ANH) you have. OMG it could drive you absolutely geek crazy.
For me I'm not overly interested in passing some convoluted checklist to the extent I want to join the 501st as a cosplayer - I just want a decent enough helmet as a display piece. what strikes me as kind of weird is that in order to join as a stormtrooper cosplayer you have abide by uniform rules for an organisation that isn't actually licensed or official in the first place. I have absolutely nothing against cosplayers, the 501st or the guys that scratch build their armor, far from it, these guys have more passion and dedication than I could possibly imagine. For me its a personal thing, I want to own something that resonates with people my age, that underlines my interest and passion in a trilogy of films that coloured my life.
I think for the most part its also about ownership of a design that I've loved for 40 years, my absolute favorite from any aspect of the films is the Stormtrooper, the ice white armor clad soldiers of the galactic Empire.
So here it is in all its glory a replica Imperial Stormtrooper 'Stunt Version' helmet as created and sold by New Image 58 props at a much more comfortable cost of $257. I opted for the fibre glass version because its primarily for display and the wait was just over two weeks. The box was sent tracked and insured and the helmet was very well packed with plenty of bubblewrap.
Was it worth it? - for the satisfaction of owning it as a display piece, yes, absolutely and I couldn't be happier, is it a perfect replica?, no absolutely not, there are aspects of the helmet that probably need a bit more love, namely the painted frown, the mouth area and the green lenses are pretty flimsy and internally the hot glue application was a bit 'mashed on' - the helmet also needs to be turned to the side in order to put it over your head because the diameter is too small and the neck seal could probably be improved but these are relatively small niggles.