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Submitted on
April 13, 2011
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PROP MAKING - Skull Shooter by 47ness PROP MAKING - Skull Shooter by 47ness
Hillo...! I thought I'd go ahead and post a step-by-step of how I turned this into the real deal. ;D

I did as much photo-documentation as I could, but rrrgh, I still missed a lot of key steps along the way. >_0

One thing I didn't show was how I packed on the sculpey gradually, in clumps. Here's another tip: RUB VASELINE ON THE BUCK first; sculpey likes to stick to that. Also, I waxed the pipes so they could be removed without warping the sculpey (pre-baking).

Here's basically what a miter looks like (though the ones I use are made mostly of cheap, expendable MDF wood so you can run 'em through the saw without worrying about sparks ^~ )

Also, I should have mentioned the "spinal column" went on a lathe for a bit to get those slight ridges, before I cut slots out of them.

Also-also, I didn't show how the "jaw" was made; THAT took a lot of time and heavy machine-work to press it down, then bend the angles and trim the excess. I ultimately needed a real pro working at the model construction shop to finagle it and, um... it didn't feel right to snap photos of him as he worked on it (as a favor no less). P;;;

Fff yeah, and I never did finish the grappling line + harpoon. Guh, gotta move on to other stufff.

And I definitely wanted to stress the importance of orthographics + building a buck for the sculpey; IT'S ALL ABOUT MAINTAINING SYMMETRY. Just packing clay together and hoping you can eyeball symmetry is one of those things only one in a million people can do (and chances are you ain't that one. >

EDIT: fixed a stupid little typo that I finally caught... |P

And of course, thanks for checking this out. :aww:
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FantasyStock Featured By Owner May 15, 2011
This tutorial has been featured in my journal: [link]
roget Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Fabulous tutorial, sirrah! I use a very similar technique to make solid props that don't weigh a ton, only I add green planter's foam to all the spaces between my buck, then sand them down with a sanding sponge. Once you're done, you just add a layer of fiberglass and paint with epoxy, and then you have an incredibly strong, super light prop that you can add fishing sinkers to if you want realistic weight for dress photos, then remove for walking around the con. ^_^

(also, you still have a typo on MDF..."density")
47ness Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Heeey, not a bad idea...! My only impressions of green planter's foam is that it crumbles almost instantaneously ::prefers lots of control over his media::

NEXT TIME. I can tolerate fiberglass long enough if it means taking my prop-making to a more production-grade level.

(Hahaha, awesome; now I have to reference Back to the Future...)

George: "Lorraine... my density has popped me to you."
Lorraine: "...what?"
George: "I am your density ...I mean, your destiny."
roget Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
If you need any help at all (or a prop made with a follow-along tutorial, so you can BOTH have awesomeness AND learn how to duplicate it) just let me know. Did you see the light daggers I designed and built for my Cloak and Dagger cosplay with ~tacklethebear?
47ness Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I'll look into it~ ♫
My cosplay-mania for this year is pretty much over, though. Gotta devote the rest of the year to producing more 2-D stuff.. P
roget Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Well, your 2D stuff is pretty awesome, so I guess that's ok.
47ness Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
plus my 2-D stuff is what pays the bills *cough* XD

Btw, sorry we didn't touch base again at AX. :< It was pretty nutty all weekend.
wraith11 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011
You know... I didn't pick the skull thing till I got to the orthographic ^^;

Cool stuff though mate... seriously: how good is sculpey?
47ness Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
:XD: Yeah it's not super obvious; I tried to make it sensible as a weapon first and foremost.

Sculpey comes in many flavors. Harder sculpey usually means finer details, but the downside is getting a shape out of it. You could wind up with blisters on your hands.

But it's still one of the choice options to getting lots of organic surfaces taken care of. It's additive, vs. subtractive (like carving out of foam), so there's more leeway. :nod:
waterpower26 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011
Awesome, you make a prop from your comic book. Nice instructional prop pictures.
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