Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Grapple Gun Milling All Done.

After a very steep R&D curve, I've managed to finish up my home made mill, and the slots needed for the Arkham Grapple gun.

The first one took me about 3 days to make. The other two took about five minutes each. Hooray for process improvement.

Success With Home Made Mill

After a few attempts, and a of trial and error, I'm now getting really spectacular results out of my home made mill. It's sort of single purpose, and will really only cut THESE slots on this piece, but hey, it's a start!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver Display Base

A little something Laamberry and I are collaborating on.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

RPF 2012 Challenge Coin Is Here!

These turned out great! It's a very simple design, but I think it really embodies the forum. Whoohoo! If you want one, drop me a line. They are for sale.

HIC Side Panels All Cast!

I finally cranked out all eight of these.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Arkham City Prop Base Finished

I just finished painting this tonight.

I am extremely pleased with how it turned out. I essentially threw every technique I know at it, except for a wash. And I might still do that.

The next video in my Grapple Gun build series will walk through the entire process I used to get it to this point. I'm feeling very proud tonight!

The Ladies of The RPF Calendar

After many weeks of hard work and steep learning curves, I have finally finished my very first calendar! This one features a number of costume and prop making members from the RPF, who all happen to be women.

Here's the back cover of the calendar, which shows who appears.

If you're interested in getting one, please send me an email at jablonskyexpress ___ at ___ yahoo ___ dot ___ com

Here's a sample of what can be found in the calendar. This is Miss January, Hydra:

ZF-1 Update, and Machining!

Amazon recommended this book to me, as it somehow knew I was going to be the proud owner of a mini mill and lathe. Although I have already had a ton of formal training on a mill and lathe, I think this will make for a great piece of reference, and will also help me learn some new tricks.

I can say with almost 100% certainty that Dykem was used on the ZF-1. It's a dye that is used in machine work. It's blue. I picked up a little bottle of it from Amazon so I can use it when I start in on the ZF1.

Mold For Arkham City Base

The other day I poured silicone on top of my acrylic master of the base for my Grapple Gun project.

Here is the finished mold, with the flash untrimmed:

89 Batman Spear Gun: Case Closed!

As some of my regular readers will know, this prop is something of a Holy Grail for me, one which I have had many trials and tribulations because of. Most recently, I've been quite satisfied with what is believed to be an all metal copy of the SDStudios resin piece. It's VERY nice, slightly flawed, and in retrospect, a bit inaccurate.

So when it was recently announced that new reference had come to light, and a newer, updated replica would be made available, I couldn't help myself.

This is a FANTASTIC replica, and I'm totally excited to have it. I consider this prop officially "done." Thank you SDS for making this a reality.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Arkham City Prop Base

This is the first pull out of my mold. This will be the base for the Grapple Gun. Next trick will be weathering it and painting it. It should be fun!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grapple Gun Resin Pours

I've got a few tiny updates to make on the Arkham City Grapple Gun project, but no video for them. Here's a shot of a three resin kits I have put together. I am going to use them to film the build up of the piece.

Here is the assembled laser cut base. This will go into rubber, as soon as my order arrives.

ZF-1 Kit Bash Parts

This arrived yesterday. I got if from ebay, where there are PLENTY of them for sale. Many parts from this kit were used on the ZF1. Good stuff!

HIC Side Panel Mold Complete

Here it is!

I will do a test pour as soon as I have some time.


A minor update. These arrived a couple of days ago. They are wheel dollies! This will allow me to move the car around without power. I can move it sideways and stuff so that it will fit better into a corner of my garage.

These took about 2 hours to assemble!! Lots of little nuts and bolts to stick together.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Grapple Gun Status

I took this pictures with my phone, to send to a friend. The reaction I got was so good that I decided to also post it here and on facebook.

You can see the laser cut acrylic base on top, and below is a cobble together of resin parts and masters. I wanted to show the current state, and how close it is to being done.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Han In Carbonite Side Panel Progress

Another project that is in my top four "To Do" list is the Han Solo in Carbonite. He's actually almost finished, I just need to do the side panels.

I had a set of side panels that were scratch built by the very talented Vince Sanchez, but upon discovery of the Volvo dashboard panel that was used to make the screen used ones, I decided to do a course correction.

For reference, it was our man Philip Wise of RebelScum fame who identified the part, with the help of some fellow enthusiasts. HIC builders owe a huge debt of gratitude to Philip for bringing this to the hobby.

Here is the volvo panel, with the openings sealed up with styrene. I decided to do it this way in order to make the build go faster, and the molding easier. This way, I only need to do a one part dump mold. The finished pieces can then be slush cast, and will be ready to paint right out of the mold.

Speaking of molds, here's the mold curing in the custom box I built out of MDF.

For the record, I am not going to be going for complete screen accuracy on these side panels. I just want to get it done. Based on my research, one could easily spend eight hundred to a thousand dollars getting accurate pieces to finish out the panels. I am just going to cobble them together using things I have on hand. I MAY do a hero light up panel that includes all the bells and whistles, but honestly, I doubt it. I have many other projects that require my attention.

Monday, October 31, 2011

NPC Motors and Other Stuff Arrives

I've been so busy with my micro videos for the Arkham City Grapple Gun build that I've neglected to post a lot of pics and stuff regarding R2. But don't worry, the lil' feller has not been forgotten.

A week or so ago, these arrived. They are the motors I will be using for the drive system on R2.

As of this writing, all of the parts for the drive system are on hand. What I really need now are foot shells. But I'm working on that, mind you.

The wheels are here also.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My 600th Blog Post.

And is anyone listening?? ;)

It was on November 12, 2007 that I started my first blog. It was dedicated to a single project, the build up of a Star Trek tricorder from an episode named "Endgame." For the record, that tricorder is still not finished.


I suppose this is one of those things where I'm supposed to reflect on what I've accomplished here, throw in some words of wisdom, and overall sound pretty proud of things. I'll give it a shot, but at the end of the day, I still feel like I'm just shouting into an empty room. lol

But for me, blogging is its own reward. I love documenting things that happen in my life, mainly because I love looking back at them after time has passed. I also collect photos of my life, and am still enjoying video tapes that I filmed as many as 20 years ago. I guess it's just part of my psychological makeup. So keeping a blog or two is really just a natural extension of that. And besides, I think it's fun.

I think my greatest thrill comes from meeting people whom are new acquaintances, yet they are intimately familiar with my projects from reading my blog. That's kind of a cool little kick in the teeth, and makes me feel like a celebrity. And isn't that what we all really want at the end of the day.

But let's get back to the projects. As of right now, I've got three projects that I'm really actively working on. The Grapple Gun from Arkham City, the Batmobile, and my second R2-D2. I cranked out a number of smaller builds in recent months, but wanted something more challenging, hence the grapple gun. R2 is just filling in the time until the batmobile shell arrives. When it does, I expect that to take center stage on the project workbench for months to come. I'm sure I will still divert every now and again to work on things like R2 or other "quickie" projects, but I really want to focus my attention on that darn car so I can get it done in a reasonable amount of time.

I've still got a billion things I want to take care of and get done before I keel over, so I'll have to stay busy. For those few of you who are regular readers, I hope I've provided some entertainment over the years, and possibly even some inspiration. Keep the faith, and I'll see you at post 1000!!

Arkham City Build Videos Continue!

This is number 12, I believe. Not very heavy on prop building content, but more a treatise on shopping preferences. Watcher beware.

Overall, the build is going really well, and I'm really enjoying this new format of documentation. I don't think it's sustainable, as it is a lot of work. I find it much easier to just take some photos along the way, then post them up to the blog at the end of the night, along with a few self-important sounding ramblings to give them some flavor.

But making the videos is pretty labor intensive. I've gotten my pipeline perfected, and I am definitely cranking them out with great efficiency, but it still takes about one hour per episode from start to finish. Add into that the overhead involved simply in filming the stuff while I'm doing work.

Don't get me wrong, it's very rewarding, and I'm pleased with the results. However, unless there is high demand for another one of these series' in the future, this will probably be a one time gig. Eh, I take that back. Who knows.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Arkham City Grapple Gun Progress Picture

After a couple of days in the garage, a few hundred bucks on tools, a minor injury to my thumb, and seven micro-videos later, this is where my Batman Grapple Gun stands.

Overall, I am very pleased with the progress. What makes me happiest is that I'm using tools to make tools. I find that fascinating. It's the pinnacle of human development!!!

I'm also learning a lot, and am having a lot of fun. I haven't even started the hand grip yet, but I've learned a lot that I can apply to that part.

Stay tuned for more videos, by the way.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Batman: Arkham City Grapple Gun Video Build

I'm doing an experiment with a new build, the grapple gun from Arkham City and Arkham Asylum.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Legs, Armpits and Horseshoes.

I spent a lot of time working on R2 today, but don't have much to show for it. I'm involved in a bunch of detail work that takes a lot of time, and yields minimal results. Allow me to explain.

First up are these arm pit details. It takes a good chunk of time to get the styrent cut to the right lengths, and then the bevels sanded on each end. Then you have to make sure they all fit perfectly, glue the piece in, then putty up the seams. Just very time consuming, and there's four of them to do.

As predicted, I absolutely hate working on the legs. The whole putty/sand/paint/repeat process is just killing me. I picked up some different primer the other day that goes on much heavier, and that's making things go faster. But still, at the end of the day it's just very unsatisfying work. Still loads to do too.

For reference, here is how my work bench looks after ONE DAY of work. It was clean when I started this morning. Once I kind of get rolling, putting stuff away takes a back seat.

I worked on these little buggers A LOT today, and still didn't quite get it right. I'm trying to fix the radius on the corners here, using my dremel and the router attachment. I think it might be time to just go buy a good router. Ugh. These are not turning out really well, and I think I just need to step away from it for a while, and come back fresh some other day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Primer Tests, Coin Return

Work continues on the coin return innards.

I'm doing some primer tests. I've committed myself to using off the shelf paints for the body and legs. The auto stuff I used last time is too much hassle, hard to maintain, costs a fortune, etc. So here I'm doing some tests to find the primer that works best with the white paint.

Coin Return, Rockler

I finished my first scratch built coin return. Overall, I think it turned out OK. It's far from perfect, but it will do.

The rockler bearing also arrived. This is what R2's head sits on so that it can spin.

Pocket Vents and Skirt.

There was some pretty significant clean up to be done on the pocket vents. I used super glue gel and some zap kick to fill in the big holes, then puttied over the tiny cracks. Oh, here's a pro tip. If you want one side of the surface to be really smooth, like the facing side, put down some scotch tape, then glue from behind. Its not perfect, but it saves you from having to grind down a big bubble of glue.

Then onto some primer.

The skirt is just about finished, I think. I may need to add some junk to the inside to reinforce it, but cosmetically, it's where it needs to be.

R2: Center Vents Are Done.

Not much to report other than these are done. They are a little sloppy, but oh well. I probably should have been a little more careful when getting the vents to fit inside the surrounds, but it's one of those details I'm convinced nobody will ever notice.

R2: Lots of Misc Progress.

Some scrap metal I'm going to use for the coin returns. These are just pieces cut out of the skins that have no actual purpose for R2.

This is the drawing I made in Adobe Illustrator of the coin return innards.

Here is a paper prototype I made for the innards of the coin return. I didn't get it right the first time, but nailed it the second time.

I put another coat of primer on the back door.

After a few hours of filing, grinding, and measuring, I have these. Overall the shape is really nice, and I'm quite pleased with them. But because they got handled so much, the surface is not quite where it needs to be. But for a part that is so insignificant in the overall R2 appearance, I'm not that worried about it.

R2: Senna Drive Train Parts ALL Ordered

Today I ordered the last few parts I need to put together the Senna drive train. As soon as the NPC parts and the wheels show up, I'll have everything. However, based on Mike's recommendation, I should wait until I have my feet in order to start working on the drive. Fair enough. Hopefully I'll have more news on that front shortly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

R2: Primer, Primer, Everywhere!

Here's the first shoulder as it came out of the clamps. A little bit of sanding to do, and some edge clean up needed.

Here's the other shoulder clamped together.

The center vent surrounds got some primer, but there is still some clean up to do on these.

The body got its first coat of primer.

I put a coat of primer on the shoulder shims. These will be painted silver eventually.