Tag Archives: costume

One Month In…

So here I am, about 30 days in. I can definitely say that this project has been far more work than I imagined it would be when I started. I considered the time and money each piece would require to find, but didn’t think about the hours and hours I would spend customizing each item. The sanding, gluing, painting, sealing, etc. It adds up. The money adds up too. I doesn’t seem like a lot when each item is purchased days apart, but when I add it all together, and take into account the cost of crafting materials, the cost is significant. Quite significant. It’s a little stressful, honestly.

However, I have to follow that sentiment with this one: all my backers have made this project worth it. I’m blown away by the generosity of all those who have donated to the campaign thus far. Every time I get a little stressed out by the work I have yet to do (and the money I’ve spent) thus far, I remember that together we’ve raised $1000 CASA over the last 30 days. That’s incredible. So, thanks to my donors, blog followers, and everyone who has supported me thus far.  Let’s keep the train rolling!

I recently purchased a few new items that I can’t wait to share with everyone. As soon as I get them, expect some awesome updates. Stay tuned and spread the word!

Raised Progress

Rocket Booster: Part 3

The first booster is finished! Here’s how it went…

After the paint dried, I used a black wash (black paint mixed with water) to darken the silver and bring out some of the details. It makes it look dirty, old, and used. I then dry-brushed silver rub-n-buff on the edges and raised surfaces.  If this booster were real, black paint would have rubbed off on these areas.  To further add to the used look (and replicate the screen used prop), I gashed the black paint in a couple of places and then filled in the gash with silver paint.  This was designed to simulate the booster being dinged and battered during use.

To finish it off, I applied a clear layer of Deft (Satin Finish) in order to protect the paint job.

Here’s how it turned out:

Booster Bottom 2

IMG_5044

IMG_5042

Here’s the progression, from start to finish.

Rocket Booster Progression

I would love to hear thoughts, comments, and suggestions. Leave them below!

Rocket Boosters: Part 2

Believe it or not, I found the rocket boosters more difficult to finish than the blasters.

After applying the wood filler and sanding the appropriate parts smooth, I spray painted the blasters flat black.

Here's how it looked after the spray paint dried.

Here’s how it looked after the spray paint dried.

I decided to use Rub-N-Buff for the silver parts because I liked how the blaster finished. I used painter’s tape to control where the silver went. It…mostly worked.

I applied tape to try and control the silver as I applied it.

I applied tape to try and control the silver as I applied it.

There was one particular part that gave me some trouble while painting as the model isn’t completely screen accurate. On the screen used prop, there is a is a black stripe on the middle of each side on a raised ring. On the 3D printed model, this ring doesn’t exist. I decided to use painters tape to create the black stripe on a part that would have otherwise been entirely silver. This broke up the silver on the sides and made it look closer to the screen used version. Here’s the booster after I applied silver paint:

Silver applied from the front.

Silver applied from the front.

From the side.

From the side.

On the screen used prop, the metal on the top is blackened and fades into the black. I tried to replicate this.

On the screen used prop, the metal on the top is blackened and fades into the black. I tried to replicate this.

Here’s the screen used prop compared to the 3D printed version.

This is the screen used prop compared to the 3D  printed one.

This is the screen used prop compared to the 3D printed one.

There are still some details I have to work on. I want to apply a black wash to make it look weathered and some “battle damage.” I may or may not try and apply the bluing to the base. Stay tuned to see the final product.

Thoughts or suggestions? Leave ’em!

The Rocket Boosters: Hello Etsy

For my next project, I decided to work on the rocket boosters. Here’s a reference screenshot:

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy..L to R: Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) & Gamora (Zoe Saldana)..Ph: Jay Maidment..?Marvel 2014

These are the screen used rocket boosters. 

The best way to acquire these is by having them 3D printed. As the movies was coming out, members of the RPF spent time creating a 3D print file that’s fairly accurate. I could have downloaded the file and brought it somewhere for printing, but decided to order them from Etsy instead. So, a few bucks and a few days later, I received two of these in the mail:

The size and shape are pretty good. The problem is the texture.  For those unfamiliar with 3D printing, the printed objects require a finishing if you want them to be smooth.

I did some research on finishing methods and settled on the one which I felt was the easiest.  Using Elmer’s Wood Filler, I would fill the grooves and then sand the hardened filler to a smooth finish.  Out of all of the finishing methods, I felt that this is the one I could most easily undo if I were to mess it up. This is my first time playing with 3D printing, after all.

This is the booster with some of the wood putty applied.

This is the booster with some of the wood putty applied.

I have to say that this method requires some work. Smoothing out the the large areas is easy. However, it takes some effort to file some of the smaller details and areas. It definitely takes time. I bought some needle files to help with this.

As of now, I’m letting the wood putty dry some more. Hopefully, Ill be able to finish the first booster tomorrow.

Chris Pratt Visits a Children’s Hospital

A few days ago, Chris Pratt reminded me that it only takes a small amount of effort to make a child’s day.

On June 20th, the Guardians of the Galaxy star stopped by Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to visit with some of their patients.  Despite his busy schedule, Chris spent hours lifting the spirits of those in need. These pictures come from the hospital’s Facebook page and tell the story of his visit better than I ever could.

Is this a wonderful picture, or what?

Is this a wonderful picture, or what?

The Jurassic World lead brought some goodies from the new hit film and personalized them for the kids.

The Jurassic World lead brought some goodies from the new hit film and personalized them for the kids.

For those who have seen Jurassic World, you know what this picture is...

For those who have seen Jurassic World, you know what this picture is…

I'll bet this patient will remember this visit forever.

I’ll bet this patient will remember this visit forever.

Chris poses with the kids.

Chris poses with the kids.

What an inspiring story.

For me, this served as a reminder of how small efforts and actions can have a huge impact on those who are in need, especially children. In a weird way, it makes Star-Lord feel like a real life superhero and not one that exists purely in the Marvel cinematic universe. I’m excited to finish the costume.

For anyone who would like to donate a couple of dollars to my fundraising effort for CASA, they can do so here!

Star Lord Nerf Blaster Modification: Part 2

Turns out, it takes a while for spray paint to dry completely. After letting the paint set for 24+ hours, I began phase two of the gun conversion.

After doing some research, I decided to use Deft Wood Finish for a clear coat.  If you’re doing something like this, make sure to wear gloves and a mask.  The mask is key. The fumes go to your head quickly and – as the bottle nicely points out – can cause brain damage. Yeah.

I had a little debate with myself when choosing what type of finish to use: gloss or satin. I liked the idea of using satin as the gun is supposed to be worn and dirty. I was afraid, however, of losing the metallic look of the rub-n-buff. I ended up applying the satin to the back two sections of the outer shell to see how it looked. I have to say, I loved the way it made the black paint look. However, I did lose the metallic luster of the rub-n-buff and so decided to go with a gloss for the rest of the gun.

After applying the first coat, I was worried that I had ruined my paint job.  When the sealer goes on, it often clouds up, making the underlying paint job very hazy. To my relief, it became clear again as it dried.  I took the advice of some online forums and did not touch the finish for 24+ hours. Apparently, the oils in your hands can soak into the finish before it is dry, leaving it with a sticky texture forevermore. We certainly don’t want that!

My reference pictures helped during reassembly. I did have to break the blaster down again after discovering that one of the charging slides didn’t function properly. Other than that, it was a fairly straightforward process.  As complicated as the inner workings looked to me, I managed to get it back together with minimal confusion or difficulty. And it functions perfectly!

And so, without further ado, here are the before and after pictures:

Before and after. I was worried that the gold paint didn't make that much if a difference, but it definitely does.

Before and after. I was worried that the gold paint didn’t make that much if a difference, but it definitely does.

You may notice that I didn’t paint the barrel bluing onto the blaster. I actually tried a couple of different methods, but couldn’t get it right.  I think an airbrush would be the way to go, but I don’t have that kind of airbrush skill. Or an airbrush, for that matter.  And so, I elected to ignore that part of the paint job. I mean, at some point, Peter Quill’s blasters were new, right?

It looks ready for action!

It looks ready for action!

And it still works!

And it still works!

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions, or questions! If you enjoyed reading about the project and have a couple of extra dollars, I (and CASA) would appreciate you supporting my fundraising effort! You all are awesome!

Star Lord Nerf Blaster Modification: Part 1

Time for my first big project: modifying the first Nerf blaster. If you haven’t watched my video showing the blaster and it’s cool features, you should check it out!

So, you’ve seen the Nerf blaster. Here is a shot of the actual prop and what I’m going for:

This photo came from The Nova Props post on Instructables. You should check it out.

This photo came from The Nova Props post on Instructables. You should check it out. Click the picture to go there!

The first thing I did was consult numerous tutorials and guides.  There are no shortage of them when it comes to customizing Nerf guns. It turns out, this is a very popular hobby! Instructables.com is one of numerous websites that feature templates and guides. Nova-Props created one for the Star-Lord blaster that I found particularly helpful.

After buying the paints and supplies that I needed, I began by disassembling the blaster.

Nerf Blasters come apart fairly easily. Getting it back together...that's the tricky part.

Nerf Blasters come apart fairly easily. Getting it back together…that’s the tricky part.

I made sure to take meticulous pictures along the way in order to help me get it back together again. It’s important to take it apart before painting, otherwise the paint can gum up the mechanics.  It also results in a better overall paint job.

After breaking down the gun, I sanded off the Nerf logo and other plastic text. I then sanded off the silver paint and the finish on the shiny plastic to help the paint adhere to the gun. For a base coat, I decided to use a metallic, “carbon mist” black primer & paint. I thought the shine would give it a little more pop.

SprayPaint

I taped up one particular part I didn’t want to cover and proceeded to paint.

(right) A part with an area I wanted unpainted covered with painter's tape. (center) Parts after painting. (right) A close up of a painted component.

(right) A part with an area I wanted unpainted covered with painter’s tape. (center) Parts after painting. (right) A close up of a painted component.

Now, I have to admit, I’m not very good at spray painting. If you’re going to do this, read some guides. Most pros recommend a few different, very thin coats. My first coat went on way too heavy. It didn’t run or gunk up any of the details, but I’m sure it could be better.

After letting the paint dry, I began to work on the metallic details. Some people have used metallic spray paint on these parts, but, honestly, I didn’t trust myself not to hit parts I didn’t want silver. So I took some advice from Nova-props and used a product called rub-n-buff. It’s an interesting product.  It’s like paint combined with wax. As the title implies, you rub it on (as opposed to “painting”) and can buff he paint into a shine. It’s a wonderful product.

I, however, was not going for luster on the metallic parts.  I wanted more of a weathered, worn, and stained look. Using a sock, I applied it a little at a time to achieve the following look:

Silvered 1

Now, you can see where the paint didn’t come out smoothly on the side. This was a result of poor sanding before spray painting. The other parts came out better, I swear. Still, I think I achieved the worn look successfully.

I also applied the rub-n-buff to some of the corners and raised details. It helped with the worn look.

Silvered 2

This picture shows my silvering efforts “in progress.” The next thing I did as give some attention to the gold parts of the blaster.  Some people leave this part of the gun alone as it is the right color already.  However, I didn’t. I took some gold rub-n-buff and applied it to give this part of the gun a little more pop.

The gold rub-n-buff has been applied to the bottom picture.

The gold rub-n-buff has been applied to the bottom picture.

I then applied silver to the middle portion.  I put a black wash over this part to bring out the details and make it look dirty. Now, I’m waiting for the paint to dry before applying a protective coat and reassembling the blaster. So, this is where I currently stand:

Current

This was about four hours of work! Stay tuned for the finished product. If you enjoyed reading, I would appreciate any support for my fundraising efforts. CASA would too!

A Study in Pants

It’s fair to say that I’ve had Guardians of the Galaxy on the brain for the past few weeks. I’ve spent hours scouring the internet for helpful screenshots and digging through fan forums for costume ideas. I’m pretty sure I’ve had a dream about talking trees and raccoons, at one point. So, of course, when I was looking for something to watch last night, I quickly settled on Guardians.

Naturally, I paid close attention to Star-Lord’s costume and props while watching and was rewarded several times with some excellent looks at his clothing.  I wanted to share two particularly helpful screenshots which show his legs in detail.

This shot shows some of the details on his legs and his gadgets.

This shot shows some of the details on his legs and his gadgets.

Leg Diag

I thought this shot was interesting because it shows his rocket controls and where his blasters sit while holstered. Getting these props shouldn’t be hard, but figuring our how to secure these to the pants effectively and securely may be difficult.

One more interesting screenshot:

This shows Chris Pratt as he is detaching his rocket booster to attach it to Gamora.

This shows Chris Pratt as he is detaching his rocket booster to attach it to Gamora.

This action shot shows Peter Quill twisting the rocket booster to detach it. This is a hint as to how it mounts to the side of his spats. Maybe some sort of cell phone mount would work here? If anyone has any thoughts, feel free to share! Attaching all of these gizmos is going to be a chore…

The Undershirt: The Devil is in the Details

The undershirt, like the pants, seemed easy to me. At first. Unfortunately, I’ve been stymied by details, once again.

My first challenge is finding the right color. Interestingly, Chris Pratt seems to wear numerous colors throughout the movie, from a darker gray to a light blue.  I guess this should be comforting. It shows that, despite his “filthy” ship, Peter Quill does care about clean clothes. Or at least the appearance of clean clothes.

These are some shots showing the undershirt.  Unfortunately, the lighting isn't great in two of them, but you get the idea.  Stop staring at Chris Pratt's abs.

These are some shots showing the undershirt. Unfortunately, the lighting isn’t great in two of them, but you get the idea. Stop staring at Chris Pratt’s abs.

So, basically, I’m going to poke around the internet until I find a shirt that is lightweight and seems to match one of Star-Lord’s shirts.  Peter’s varied undershirt wardrobe should give me many options and some choice.

So what’s out there?

Option 1: The Hanes Long Sleeve Beefy T-Shirt

The Hanes Long Sleeve Beefy T-Shirt. A very basic option.

The Hanes Long Sleeve Beefy T-Shirt. A very basic option.

So, this is the basic option.  Peter’s shirts look a little heavier which makes sense.  It is probably a little chilly in his tiny ship and some insulation would help. The collar doesn’t quite match the one above, but that’s not to bad. The best part about this shirt? It’s cheap. You can get it on Amazon, but I think it’s cheaper on Hanes.com.  Oh, and it comes in 30+ colors including a light blue and darker grays.  I thought this gray was about right. Here’s a picture of a blue which I think would work as well:

This blue would definitely work.

This blue would definitely work.

In addition to color, the photos above reveal some details of Peter’s undershirts which are easy to miss. First, take a look at the collar of the shirt on the left. It think, ribbed, and sits a little high. There are also some seams running down his shirt which are pretty unique. The Hanes shirts work for style and color, but they’re missing these details. I bought them as my fallback, but did not stop my search.  I am determined to find one that is pretty close to perfect. Little bits of texture – like the collar and seams – are the difference between costumes that look like imitations and ones that really pop. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful thus far.

I spent hours trying to find the right collar.  The problem is that the collar doesn’t really match the style of shirt. I’ve found similar collars on some jumpers and sweaters, but all the ones that look right are on heavy, winter garments which wouldn’t work.

I’ve also tried searching for thermals and mock turtlenecks, to no avail. So, for now (and after 3 hours of working on this blog post and trying to find the right shirt), I’m going to settle for the Hanes shirts and see If I can make them work. For now, there is no option 2. I’m not giving up, though. I’m sure the perfect shirt is out there somewhere…

Abused Children: Inside Out

INSIDE OUT: The emotions. Joy holds a memory.  ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

INSIDE OUT: The emotions. Joy holds a memory.
©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

I had two things to do tonight – attend a screening of Pixar’s Inside Out and write a blog post. Although I intended to write about a costume item, I can’t stop thinking about this movie and its implications. The movie explores the workings of a young girl’s mind and emotions. Riley, the main character, is 11 years old and spends the movie struggling with a major life change. We watch the story unfold, both inside and outside her mind.

I promise I won’t give any major plot points away.

The world Pixar creates inside Riley’s head is complex and insightful. Her entire personality and her resilience – her ability to deal with adversity – is based on certain “core memories.” These are Riley’s foundation. For Riley, these memories are filled with Joy. Created when she was very young, Riley’s core memories are consistently reinforced as she falls back on them again and again while she grows. Because her core memories are happy, Riley is essentially a happy person and uses this happiness to overcome challenges.

Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) and Anger (voice of Lewis Black) guide 11-year-old Riley from Headquarters, the control center inside her mind. Directed by Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”), Disney•Pixar's

Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) and Anger (voice of Lewis Black) guide 11-year-old Riley from Headquarters, the control center inside her mind. Directed by Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”), Disney•Pixar’s “Inside Out” opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The implication is that we all have core memories and strong personality traits defined by them. But what happens when our core memories are not happy, but sad? Or angry? Or Fearful?

The implications are tragic. A child whose core memories are any of these would be defined by the corresponding emotion. When faced with adversity, a child without joyful core memories would fall back on something else. Like fear. Purely fearful core memories would result in a child cowering and running when challenged. Anger would cause a child to lash out when dealing with hardship. Sadness could lead to deep depression.

This is what life must be like for abused and neglected children.  In this Pixar world, the traumatic events abused children experience would be so strong and defining that sad and fearful events would make up the bulk of their core memories. This would affect the way they act, the way they confront challenges, and the way they view the world. Sadly, it is very hard to change core memories. They are the foundation.

I, like Riley, was fortunate enough to grow up with joyful core memories, memories I can fall back on when things get rough.  Others aren’t that lucky and find themselves confronting life with a shaky foundation, one that leaves them prone to distress and anger.

Maybe we can’t change the sad or fearful core memories, but we can add a little joy to the lives of these children. Create happy memories and nurture them. Give the emotions living in their heads the tools and the base they need to deal effectively with challenges and, well, life. Maybe, hopefully, we can add a splash of yellow to memories that are currently blue or purple or red.

That’s what this project is about. I’m just a normal guy, but at least I can dress like a Marvel character and raise a few dollars for those trying to help them.

(Inside out is a wonderful film, by the way)