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DREDD Props: Custom and Replica

For the most recent convention we attended, I created some DREDD replicas and a custom helmet to take with us.

Dredd Helmet (Steampunk Style): Not Available

Steampunk style Dredd helmet - EVA foam
Steampunk style Dredd helmet – EVA foam

The helmet was made from JF Custom’s foam pattern files, but the files were modified to be cut on a laser. The EVA foam was cut on a laser and then assembled. I tried using a new sealant, and it left a weird texture on the surface of the foam. Not wanting to throw away the piece and knowing I couldn’t make a replica prop, I chose to paint the helmet in a steampunk antique style for artistic effect. I quote individual prices for helmets, because of individual tastes and fit.

Lawgiver Mk II (2012 version): $50

Lawgiver Mk II, EVA foam and acrylic
Lawgiver Mk II, EVA foam and acrylic

I built the patterns for this Lawgiver with Illustrator, building it up layer by layer. I cut the individual layer pieces on the laser in EVA foam, 1/2″ and 3mm. Some additional carving was done for the grip area, then sealed and painted. It is extremely lightweight, and easy to carry all day at a convention. This version is heavily weathered, but other pieces can be customized to specification.

DREDD Badge (replica): $25

DREDD Badge made of ABS plastic, primed and painted. Magnets on back for attachment.
DREDD Badge made of ABS plastic, primed and painted. Magnets on back for attachment.

I created a pattern for the DREDD badge from the 2012 movie in Illustrator, building it up in 3 layers. The parts were cut on a laser from ABS, a high impact plastic that will not break or chip when dropped. They were then assembled, primed, and painted. I epoxied magnets to the back of the badge for easy temporary attachment, but the back is left unpainted in case the client would like to attach it permanently. I can customize for different names for an additional art setup fee of $10.

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Oversized Steampunk Wrench Prop

These oversized wrenches are lighter than they look. Constructed from EVA foam with a PVC core, these wrenches can take a beating and still look awesome. Coated in a liquid rubber for durability, and a final clearcoat to seal.

Model 367, Silver Finish
Model Z2 Wrench
Model Z2 Wrench, Antique silver finish
Model S63 Wrench
Model S63 Wrench, antique silver finish
Model 421 wrench
Model 421 Wrench, antique copper finish

Wrenches come in premade designs by me, or you can submite your own custom design for me to make. Contact us for pricing. Choice of finish: Silver, Gold, or Copper. 

Giant wrench 6ft
Giant 70 inch Wrench
15 inch wrenches, laser etched.
15 inch wrenches, laser etched.
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Only One Way (Noir) – 24 Hr Film Fest 2014

“Only One Way” is a short film produced for the Columbia Access Television 24 hour film fest 2014 in Columbia MO. This year’s requirements were the genre Film Noir, a house plant, and the line “They were only three days from retirement”.

Out of 11 teams, we unfortunately did not place in the contest. However, we enjoyed producing this Noir short film in less than 24 hours.

Director – Ben Watkins
Cinematographer – Dustin Hawkins
Story by – Joe Myers

Retiree – Mitch Shineman
Rookie – Ben Watkins
Bartender – Joe Myers
Dame – Amber Shineman

Music Selection – “On the Cool Side” and “Night on the Docks (Sax)” by Kevin Macleod, CC

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Steampunk Katana

This commission was a fun one to do, and went pretty quickly. The client asked for a steampunk inspired katana that had a few key details. It needed to have scrollwork, a fancy handle, and look like it is powered. So, my first step was to collect some materials.

Cold Steel plastic Bokken with cog shaped tsuka

I decided to pick up a Cold Steel plastic bokken from amazon. This base would make the sword convention safe, so she could take it to large comic conventions without any problems. After the sword came in, the first thing I did was go to the scroll saw and cut the tsuka into a gear or cog shape. Why? You know, because gears make it steampunk. 😉

The next step involved changing the grip into something more steampunk. I decided I wanted to integrate an empty C02 cartridge into the handle to make it look powered. So, I rounded the bottom of the grip, and then went to work cutting out a portion at the bottom of the handle. I did this with my dremel and a special rotary cutting tool to dig all the way through the thick plastic. After a few hours of shaping, sanding, and fitting the tank where it would sit, I moved on to the next step.

I had some red wire on hand, so I went to wrapping the uncut portion of the grip in wire. I used a spray adhesive to keep the wire in place as I worked, wrapping around the handle. The wire was about 18 gauge, so it took a while to cover the whole area. After that, I knew I wanted to keep the sword looking like a traditional katana, so I decided to learn how to do the twist wrap you see on most katanas. This project being steampunk, I naturally chose a brown suede leather strip about 36″ long and 1/2″ wide to wrap it with. After a bit of internet research and soaking the leather in cold water, I went about wrapping and twisting. The twists were a bit bulky, so I went to the vice in the shop and compressed the leather twists against the handle to flatten them out.

Stage 2: Grip wrapped in wire and leather, and scrollwork done in dimensional paint.

Next, I wanted something above the cog shaped tsuka to be reminiscent of Tesla weapons. I had some 14 gauge copper wire lying in the shop, so I brought it over to the sword and drilled holes at 1″ apart to wind the wire through the sword a few times. After that, I was to the detail stage. I took my silver sharpie and sketched a few designs on the pommel end and on the top portion of the blade. I used dimensional fabric (puffy) paint to create upraised scrollwork details.

After everything was dry, I masked off the grip and the copper wire so I could paint a basecoat. I chose white Krylon plastic fusion, which I knew would have the best adhesion. Then, I used silver and gold Rub n Buff to create the super shiny metallic effect. After I filled in all the little gaps and grooves with the Rub n Buff, I took black acrylic paint and began the antique process. I decided to leave the cutting edge of the blade nice and shiny, so it looked like it was being taken care of and used.

It was at this stage I also decided to hang some charms off the end of the sword. My wife makes steampunk inspired jewelry, so she supplied me with some cool things to hang from the pommel.

Rub n Buff applied before weathering.

After the weathering was complete, my wife assisted me in getting some photos of the finished piece. I was also fortunate enough to get a photo of the client in her steampunk costume with the prop. I’m so glad she enjoys her new sword! (Click the image to see a larger version)



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Client with her finished steampunk katana and costume

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Paint Job: Jedi Pouches

I had a customer contact me about some jedi pouches he bought online. They were very inexpensive, and the paint job was not screen accurate. He asked if I could repaint the pouches to look more like they are from the movies, so I tried my hand at it.

Here they are as I received them. You can see the original finish is quite plain. The backs of the pouches were damaged from th screws that held the belt clips in place, so my first step was to repair the pouches so they wouldn’t fall apart.

Original finish
Originals: back view


After they were repaired with some E6000 glue, I went to paint them with acrylics. Unfortunately, the original finish was water resistant and the paint wouldn’t stick. So, I had to remove the original finish entirely with 200 grit sandpaper. After I removed the original paint, I covered the pouches in a new base coat of brown.

In the next pic, you can see that I started the detail paints on the left piece, and only had the new brown basecoat on the right pouch.


And finally, I gave the right pouch additional detail and painted the clasp button the worn brass/gold color you see on the screen used props.


As a last good measure, I sprayed them with acrylic sealer, and off they go to the customer!

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Hansel’s Shotgun: Change in Plans

The original Hansel shotgun project couldn’t move forward due to the customer deciding they did not want the prop. I did, however, get contacted by a different customer that wanted the shotgun, but needed it on a fast deadline. Reworking my construction plan, I moved forward by using the wood stock I had already made and created the barrel from foam. It’s not an exact replica, but was passable for what the customer wanted.

If I receive a new commission on the Hansel Shotgun, I would love to return to the original design and plans I had set to create a higher quality product.

Here are a few photos of the foam commission that I completed.

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Steampunk Huntress Mask: The Paint Process

Taking something made from plastic and turning it into an antiqued metallic color is a multi-layered, multi-step process. I have devised my own unique way of accomplishing the look, and I’d like to share it.

For the Steampunk Huntress Mask, I started with black ABS plastic sheet.


The first step was to establish the metallic base color, which in this case was bronze. I chose “Dazzling Metallics” bronze acrylic paint. After about 5 coats of this bronze paint, I had a good metallic base to work from, which you can see pictured on the left.

Next, I mix rubbing alcohol and black acrylic paint to make a wash. I do a quick wash over the whole piece and daub it with a rag for texture. Then, I mix some of the bronze paint into the black wash to make a dark bronze color and wash the piece again, but heavier this time. I daub away the excess paint with the rag, and the real texture starts to come through. After 1-2 more washes of dark colors, we end up with what you see pictured on the right. (the blue is masking tape to protect the clear lenses)


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Super Rush Order: Star Trek Badges

A friend asked if I could do a fast turnaround on some Star Trek badges for the movie release this weekend. After some quick research, it looks like nice metal ones are available online for a decent price, but would not arrive in time for the movie. So, I drew up the badges in vector, and plan to cut them from EVA foam, cover them in silver rub ‘n buff, and then do a quick blackwash and attach pin backs to them. They won’t be as nice as the metal ones, but hopefully will look good. =)


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Steampunk Huntress Mask, Part 2

I didn’t get pictures of all my steps, but here’s what I did in a nutshell to the right part of the mask:

Heat Forming – I heated and formed the parts to a slightly curved shape to fit the face better and represent what’s in the original art. Then, I heat formed “wrinkles” into the wings to give them depth.

Assembly – I assembled the parts with a good strong glue, and then filled gaps and sanded edges to make everything fit nicely.

Paint – I started with several coats of high metallic bronze acrylic paint. Then, I blackwashed it lightly. Then I washed it in a really dark bronze. Then, I blackwashed it again and daubed it for texture. Here’s what came out, and I really hope the customer likes the paint scheme.