Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Year End Update

Well, it’s the end of another year.  2011 has been a good one, but a pretty rough one too.  I’m glad to put it in the rearview mirror.
Once again, I was able to take an extended vacation during the holidays and I’ve been able to get a lot of projects in progress, but nothing really completed. 
So here is your December 31st, 2011 Works in Progress Post.

Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device

Melinda will be rocking a Chell costume from Portal 2 at Dragon*Con and she has to have a ASHPD for the costume.  Really, this thing is just a bunch of PVC pipes glued together.
A couple of 4” PVC couplers, a 4” piece cut to shape and a 3” piece nested inside the 4”.  The rings on the end are just 3” couplings cut and sanded.  I’m getting really close to needed the lights.
I got a new table top sander for Christmas, so I was able to get the angle sanded onto the nose piece a lot easier.
I made this detail using my favorite new material, epoxy sculpt.  The B is because this is the B model.
Here is the A model with a different technique for the same detailing.  Yes, I am building two at the same time.  Why?  Why not?
Better view of the angle on the nose.
Belle Approves.
I nearly paid $300 for a ready to assemble kit, and now I’m glad I didn’t.  It isn’t that hard of a build, yet, as long as I take my time and follow the blueprints.  Oh, did I forget to mention I have scale accurate blueprints? 

Special Thank You Surprise Build

Wait, I’m building a special surprise project and I’m writing about it?  Eeeyup.  It’s OK.  I don’t thing Flamingo1986 reads my blog, but Flamingo1986, if you are reading, stop now.
Flamingo1986 is the gentleman that designed the original Pinkie Pie Launcher that I built and posted last month.  Well, after picking up the pieces of my blog after it exploded from the traffic, I felt I owed Flamingo1986 a bit of thanks.  He recently released another set of weapon designs, so I am building one to send to him.
               SurpriseBuild-1                    SurpriseBuild-2
I’ll throw in more details later.
Speaking of the Pinkie Pie Launcher from last month…


Last month my blog got more hits from that one post than anything else.  In one week, I got nearly double an average month’s traffic.  Now, I’m not the brightest bulb out there, but I can recognize when something works.  Apparently pony launchers work really well.  In fact, I now have seven more that I am building.  Yes, I said seven.  Three are based off designs from MaximillianVeers and his variations on the original, the other four are custom design ideas/requests from other fans and Melinda.
Originally, I was only going to do four, but then some other friends just gave me too many good ideas not to build them.        
One with all three sections assembled.
Five with the first two sections assembled.
The remaining six back sections.
After this, I think I’ll be done with pony launchers for a while.
What am I going to do with nine complete pony launchers?  Well, some are going to make it to Dragon*Con in September, some will be kept just because they are my favorites, and the rest will be put up on eBay for someone else to enjoy.

OK.  That’s it.  Everything is very much in progress.  Hopefully, next month I’ll have some completed pieces to show.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I Have A Pinkie Pie Launcher - IN REAL LIFE!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or haven’t been on the Internet in a long time, there is a TV show that airs on Hasbro’s TV network, The Hub, called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (MLP:FIM).  This show was created by Lauren Faust, who also worked on the Power Puff Girls and Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends.comicon2011large
The show has a target audience of girls aged 6 – 11.  However, something about the show has caused the fan base to grow beyond the target demographic.  Well beyond the target.  Something about the show appeals to people of a much broader age group and has jumped even the gender barrier.  These adult fans of the show are known as Bronies (Bro + Pony = Brony) for males and Pegasisters (Pegasus + Sister = Pegasister) for females (this is a new term and not well known yet).  The brony phenomenon has been getting a lot of attention lately.  Even making the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
There was even a rather large study done to try and determine what makes up a brony.  The research project got over 1300 responses in just 72 hours.  The results can be found here and are quite interesting in busting many of the myths about bronies.
Now, I told you all that to tell you this. 
I am a brony.  I love to watch a TV show with candy colored ponies intended toward 6 – 11 year old girls.
Those of you who really know me should not be surprised.
Now what does that have to do with prop building?  This:
my little pony, friendship is magic, brony - Your Argument Is Invalid
When I first saw this image, I laughed myself to death.  Something about it just makes me smile.
I was fortunate enough to be able to find the original artist of the Pinkie Pie Launcher (PPL) on, Flamingo1986 (Zachary Rich).  I approached Zach about building a real life Pinkie Pie Launcher shortly after Dragon*Con this year.  He provided a more detailed drawing for me to work from.
Armed with this, I began getting materials for the PPL build.
The main body would be an 8” concrete tube and I would glue wooden slats to the outside to get the effect I wanted.
The concrete tube only come in 4’ lengths, so I ended up with enough to make two.
To create the section in the middle where the launcher narrows, I made MDF inserts, cut the remaining tube pieces and forced them into the inserts.
PPL_InsertDetail       PPL_TubeAssemblyPPL_TubeSidePPL_TubeSide2PPL_Detail
Yes, the first insert I made was very much too small in diameter, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.
Next came the wooden slats.  I used a 1/8” project board.  Same stuff as peg board, but without the holes.  I regretted this from the first cut and will never use this material again.  Live and learn.
When it came time to glue the slats in place, I used Liquid Nail and straps to hold them in place while the glue dried.
PPL_SlatsAndStraps2                                  PPL_SlatsAndStrap
Much trimming was required after the glue set up.
Next came the handles.  I cut these from 3/4” MDF and glued them into place along with dowel rods to help support.
PPL_Complete2                                    PPL_Complete4
More sanding (the sanding never ended), more priming, and adding a scope.  The scope actually has optics in it.  My foster kittens somehow found a door peep hole optic in my basement, and it works perfectly.

Subject Delta approves.
Now it would normally be time to paint. 
Problem is it is now November.  Warm days for painting are few and far between.  There was some rushing to get just the PPL painted, yet alone figure out how to paint a second one.
Much masking tape was used in this process.
PPL_Taped                                         PPL_Taped2
Still the final results were pleasing.  At least they make me and Zach both smile.

I used a paint that I had never used before for the gold detail work.  Another point in hind site that I would not repeat.
Really though, it’s not much good without ammo.
Of course it doesn’t just use Pinkie Pies.
Kittens are super effecting too.
But what to do with the second one.  Well there is another character on the show named Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow Dash can create what is known as the Sonic Rainboom.  Thus the Shoulder Mounted Rainboom Cannon (SMRC) was created.
SMRC_Top                                SMRC_Side1SMRC_Side2                                SMRC_Side3SMRC_Side4            SMRC_BarrelSMRC_FrontOn             SMRC_Scope
The two together.
There has been some touch up done to the PPL in the above pictures and there is more detail I want to add to the SMRC, but the weather will not allow it at this time.  So I’ll just have to revisit these in the summer and get them ready for conventions.
I have a Pinkie Pie Launcher and a Shoulder Mounted Rainboom Cannon in real life.  Your argument and all hate are toast.
I've gotten several asks and even a comment below if the cannons actually launch or if I thought about making them actually launch.  First, nope, they don't actually launch anything.  Second, yes, I did think about making one actually fire, but I wanted to keep these convention friendly, and conventions don't really like shooting weapons of any kind.  I may revisit this later and make a working model, but that will come later.
This is entirely my wife’s idea.  I can take no credit.  She thought the Rainboom Cannon was just missing something, and then she figure out what it was.  The Rainboom Cannon has now been renamed The Rainbow Dash Tank Launcher.
How else is Tank going to keep up with Rainbow Dash?