Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Project Finished: Particle Magnum

We spent a great deal of time on this project, mainly because we wanted to get it right but also because there was a good amount of experimentation to see if we could improve on what we started with.
Paint testing
This is perhaps most obvious in the paint and finish we applied to the gun. We started off with the idea of having it be metallic, but when we tried a few colour tests they seemed far too shiny and garish for someone who's basically a space pirate / mercenary. This led to us looking into different ways of giving it a metallic colour but with a darker edge than most of the sprays we could find, so we looked into amending the colours.

We started by giving it a coat of sealing paint, and then sparying it a dull grey to give the shadows body and cover the white of the previous paint in case of any scratches or scars. Unhappy with the gun-metal greys on offer (either too metal and sharp or too grey and flat) we invested in a new airbrush and mixed up a paint of our own. It turned out to be about half a dark silver metallic paint, a third grey, and a sixth black.
Shiny new air brush

This gave us a good gun metal grey to work with, and after giving the whole thing a couple of coats it was looking pretty realistic.

After one spray round...

And then with a lighter finishing coat.

Given that the client wanted it in wood, the paint and coats of colour added to the smooth finish on the wood, giving a great effect. However, it's meant to belong to a pirate who's been around, so we stippled some lighter and more metallic scratches and grazes onto the corners, barrel and trigger guard as the most likely places to have seen wear and tear.

Having created a good finish on the main body of the gun, we went into the details that make it stand out. The front has three shining red hemispheres in place of a traditional gun barrel, which we moulded out of red clay and then applied a varnish to to give the plastic/sci-fi material look to. The chambers/ammo is a translucent energy, so we used a resin that dries slightly opaic and red, and then backed it with metallic foil; this means that from certain angles the light will make the resin shine and look like it's glowing as it reflects off the metal.
Pre-finishing the hemispheres in their basic state

We also had to wrap the handle with hemp-style cord, but couldn't find both a texture and colour that we liked. Thinking caps on again, we chose a cord with the right feel and texture and then mixed up a dye to colour it (while in the jar, no actual branston pickle was used in the colouring :) The ends were sealed to make sure that the wrapping wouldn't unravel and then attached to the handle.

No pickle was harmed in the colouring of this cord

Final Wrapping
Lastly we machined and added four metal studs as shown on the original design for the power, range etc. changers, which we then sanded down and oxidised slightly to reduce the shine and make them look more in keeping with the rest of the gun.

Above: the finished article.

We're now sorted on Ebay and Paypal, so will be Ebaying a series of items soon, starting with our seals. More info soon!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Holiday work

We've been away / at the Edinburgh Fringe for a bit, but still working away.

First up on the menu are some victory seals for Woking War 2012, a Warhammer 40,000 Singles tournament coming up at the end of the month. Six seals were commissioned in all, 1st, 2nd and 3rd, as well as Best Painted, Most Sporting and Overall Winner.

One of the first 2,000 point tournaments to use the new edition of the rules, they wanted something to mark it out as special. Were also in talks to create a longer term attainment award (like the medal strip on highly decorated army officers) for people who have highly celebrated careers at a series of events.

First and Overall Winner seals

Second and Best Painted

Third and Best Sportsmen

All Bagged up and ready to go.

 For information about how to take part (and win one of these), check the post here.

Not neglecting our larger pieces, we've been working on a Sci-Fi Replica gun for a client. A long-ish time in the making because of finding the right material, look and workable finish, we're well on the way with it and it's looking (we think) pretty damned good. Let us know what you think...

Half carved and finished (minus shaping) gun barrles and flash suppressors on the front.

Core of the gun with start of the additions.

With under-barrel piece added and start of the mag.

Trigger guard ready to attach.

Close up of the carved

More to come - hope to see people at the event this weekend - we'll be bringing the Chainsword for those who haven't seen it yet, as well as the seals for the winners.


Monday, 16 July 2012

Art in Motion...helped by Hammer and Forge

From the previous work in progress pictures, we can now show the final product. Designed to look (and be partially) reclaimed and nautical, the installation was put up in Margate on Friday 13th, thankfully with no unlucky consequences apart from the weather the next day.

However the sun came out for the Sunday, and some great pictures were taken. Take a look...

Long shot of the piece at rest

And from the other side.
The artist, Caitlin Abbott, worked with us to design and build the piece, and also designed and painted the views that people looked through. The entire structure tilted down as people walked on it, so that they could have a new perspective on the harbour through the turner-esque plates she mounted in the viewports.
Tilted in the down position, allowing people to rest on the step and see with a new perspective.

Names and information on the artist, sponsor and Hammer and Forge!

While not our usual type of commission, it was an interesting challenge to make something as large as this with working parts out of specific materials, and we are very pleased with the results.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Sci-Fi magnum and Gauntlet templates

We're all go this week, hence another blog post so soon.
Along with our installation, we're continuing with our main replica work, specifically on a Sci-Fi Magnum and our gauntlets.

The Magnum is similar to Ronan's Gun from Stargate Atlantis for a LRPing client. Starting with a scale drawing (as usual) we've experimented with the best way to go about it - the client wants it in wood to save costs, though we'd gamed out for plastic/resin and metal just in case before having the design talk to finalise the idea.

After finding the right core wood, we've glued wood for shaping the edges and details to the core and will be routing out the big details before sanding down and carving the smaller details in. The end chamber for the revolver-style magazine will still be in resin to keep the slightly glowing look of the original.

Router at the ready

Core of the gun with gluing sides for details.

While we get the final pieces machined and detailed, we're looking long term. Previously we've been looking into middle ages gauntlets, and have pictures in previous posts with early designs. Well, we're much closer to a finished model now, with articulation and joints in the fingers.
Basic joints

Fingers bent top view

Inside glove view

Closed fist/finger view

While basic, the articulation goes for each finger gives us an idea of how the metal will move and which bits we'll have to increase in size to fit different hand sizes. We'll probably make a third model of the exact size and shape so we can do a final test.

However, this model also allows us to have a basis for future gauntlets such as power gloves and gauntlets, some of which we already have interest for...more news soon.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Big Stuff on the Horizon

So in recent weeks we've been showing off our accessories and detail work, with focus on our gauntlets, crusader seals and frag grenade dice holders (that last one's coming soon). But we've also been working away of bigger projects as well.

We're working on a sci-fi lrp prop from one of our friends at Failhammer (and James appears on their latest pod cast, recorded a few weeks ago), and a project for an artist who working on an installation. Which this isn't usually our specific remit, we're adaptable and know her very well, so we said yes and go to it.

As part of the boat project (part of the 2012 festival of arts coinciding with the Olympics), the boat that's been built is touring the country. It is stopping in Margate this july from the 13th, and the local council have commissioned a company called Parrabola to create interesting and new ways to view the boat.

The installation moves (like the rocking of a boat) as people walk on it, coming to a stop with a view of the boat framed in a turner-esque seascape, and we've been commissioned to build the artist's design.

We started off (as we always do) from a drawing, then had a meeting the the artist and our production team, refined the original render and created a scale design drawing to work from. Then we set to work!

Partially designed in the classic boat hull shape, the whole structure rocks as you walk on it. Continuing the theme of the Boat Project, much of the piece is also made up of reclaimed wood.

Uprights on one side

Stanchions to help keep the angles straight while building

View from the inside.
The 'hull' starts to come together
Main doorway arch

One side includes the doorway through, while the other will have a step up and the frame for the viewing piece/image.

Test pieces for structural assessment

Final underside with strength supports

The base (on its side) with the walkway

The walkway is all in, and the door frame is set. We'll be finishing this this week and next, when the artist will put her frame and image into the viewing port and we'll be ready to transport it to Margate.

More on this (and frag grenades) soon.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Crusader Seals for Heroes and Legends Games

Our Latest commission came in the form of a set of limited edition crusader seals for a local wargames store for whom we've done a few projects now. The seals are for the new release of Warhammer 40,000, Games Workshop's latest edition of their popular table top game. The store are having a release day this Saturday (30th) from 9am, and the first 25 customers to purchase a rulebook get one of these seals. Since they are limited edition and there are only 25, it's worth taking a look! for more information on this, what they'll be running on the day and for purchases from the hobby, see their site here.

We've recently been getting slicker, quicker and better with our seals, so that we can produce them to the same high quality but with better delivery times to retailers and customers, so this was a great chance to put the new processes into action. In a previous post we showed the (fairly medieval) way we were creating seals. They looked great, but weren't as accurate as we wanted. So we went for a press-stamp that we could use to create clean edges and crisp imprints.
Imprint mould for the plastic
Imprint mould with a better view

We designed the centre and outside script with the guys at Heroes and Legends and then took it back to the workshop. The two new design features they we included were in response to their comments, so they all now have tear-resistant paper due to a textile coating on the back and a sticky square so that customers can attach them to things more easily.
Finding the best way to create a template for the stamp was tricky, but we ended up with a pretty good plasticine replica of what we wanted the end results to look like. With that set up we cold-cast resin into and were really happy with the results - a very clear and crisp outline and stamp to use on our clay.
The resin stamp - not a great picture, but it's actually very accurate as a stamp :)

From there we included the previous experience with the clay and seals, so we had uniform sizes/edges, and with some more tooling for cutting and shaping we came out with 25 seals ready to add scrollwork.

25 seals all ready to ship

There are differences between all of them, but they are slight and we wanted to keep this in because it means that each of the 25 is unique - the way the scrollwork is burnt and worked makes them all individual as it is, so we wanted to continue that into the seals.
The end result looks like this:

Final seal - 1 of 25
Waiting for the first 25 customers this Sat. the 30th
 We'll be down at Heroes and Legends on Saturday to hear what people think, get some feedback and talk about other projects on the go and future ideas people would like to comission us for. See you there, then :)

NB - we've been sorting out emails, blogs etc recently,so we've been a bit lax in places, but we're now up and running with our email sorted and website soon - Contact us on

Monday, 11 June 2012

Current projects: June 2012

So we're in the middle of a few things at the moment. First up, we're imporving our seals so that they are more durable before we start selling them. The paper used before looks amazing on static pieces, but we want people to be able to put them on figure cases, bags, computers or anywhere they want really. With that in mind, we've changed the basic design to have a much stiffer card instead of paper as the scrollwork and added an adhesive square to the back.
Different types of paper we went through to get it right!

We'll be posting soon about how to get them personalised with what you and want.

We're also on course with a few projects for clients, including some Stargate-style replicas, and a possible sci-fi Halberd in the future.

Last (but not least) we're modeling our gauntlets before making them in metal - card first to make sure we get them the way we want, then on to the cutting.

Starting rough mock up of the wrist and knucles for the Gauntlet.
Soon as we've done the whole thing we'll put up pics and show people how we're getting along.