Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Herding Nerfs

I bet y'all have been wondering what I've been up to. You haven't? Oh well. Anyway, I am STILL trying to find the time to edit version two of the lightsabre tutorial. I intend to have it done by Comic Con. However, this has not meant I haven't been busy with prop and costume projects. Why look! Here's a couple now!

These are both Nerf guns I've modified and re-painted. Yes, they both are still "fully functional." They can and will shoot Nerf darts. Both also have cute LED lights that give the effect of a laser "target painter" sight. The surprisingly faithful rendering of the Rebel Fleet Trooper blaster has a fairly weak light that nevertheless looks impressive if you are looking right at the gun. The pistol, a modified Nerf Nitefinder, has a fairly strong light that you really don't want to look at directly, and can throw light as far as it can throw a Nerf dart.

Note well that neither of these guns have been modified for distance or velocity. There are people out there who basically are out to make Nerf guns into dealers of pain similar to paintball guns. "Oww! Those paintball thingies HURT!" as a few people in this one Daria episode would say. My goal with these prop projects was to come up with attractive props that also could participate in the good-natured Nerf wars which spring up at events where Sunrider Base, Rebel Legion and Southern California Garrison, 501st Legion members troop together. We love each other, we are most emphatically FAMILY, but we have a friendly rivalry. Emphasis on FRIENDLY. With some of the mods people come up with for the Nerf guns the FRIENDLY aspect might get a little bit lost, if you know what I mean.

Both of these Nerf guns come well-recommended by me. The Rebel Legion accepts an accurately painted Nerf RFT gun as a sidearm for an acceptable Rebel Fleet Trooper costume. Or at least accurately painted *enough*. My paint job isn't 100% perfect, but it is probably acceptable. The Nitefinder is a good "first project" because the gun is cheap ($6) enough to buy spares in case you screw up. It seems to be a current model, because you can still get it on the Hasbro site.

For both guns, I used a little Wen rotary tool, a special Dremel bit designed for cutting plastic which fit perfectly in my rotary tool, and some 320 grit automotive sandpaper for sanding down the Bondo and roughing up the plastic to prepare it for paint. I also used a model paint brush for final touch-ups. The paint consisted of grey spray primer, flat black, matte finish clear coat, and flat black and "steel" Testor's model paint for final touch-ups and adding "distressing" to the finish of the gun. I used the Bondo that comes in the small tube that is pre-mixed...it's more than enough for both projects. I made a trip to Luky's for a few little nurnies, and wound up only using the split loom tubing and four aluminum nipple connectors. I think the tubing could be found at a Radio Shack if you were interested specifically in what I did with it on mine.

For the full scoop on what I did, follow this link:

Monday, February 26, 2007

I'm official now!!! w00t!

My costume has been accepted as Formal/Canon (Huh? Thareen only exists in my imagination AFAIK! ^_^) by the Rebel Legion. I'm in! Black belt and all! I still want to explain that the belt was a trophy taken from a Sith wannabe. It seems to be Thareen's karma that she has to deal with darklings on the Rimward Frontier almost constantly. Most are weak and easily dealt with. Including ones with spiffy black belts and the right kind of holster clip for her sabres.

Anyway, I'm in, I'm official, and I am happy.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bring me the video site that goes Ning!

OK, I'm officially sick and tired of YouTube's penchant for overreacting and pulling unrelated videos at the same time they crack down on copyrighted material.

So....I'm moving on. My video tutorials are now here:


Ning is actually pretty cool for a media site. Very versatile service. I think I'm going to like it there.

When the v2.0 tutorial goes up, it's going up at Ning, not at YouTube. So keep an eye peeled there.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Editing Real Soon Now...

Well, my semester is over and I now have a wonderful new MacBook to edit on. As soon as I get done with working at the library packing things away for the winter break, I'll get going on the editing. Let's just call it my holiday gift to those who liked the original tutorial, and for those who didn't.

Here's the first thing I edited on my MacBook...it's the closing ident that will be on my videos from here on out.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Photo Albums while you are waiting for the v2.0 video

It really does look like I won't have time to edit until semester break. Oh well.

To tide you over, here are some photo albums of mine I recently put up.

Service project: making costumes for patients at Children's Hospital, Hollywood, CA.

Appearance, TimeWarner Cable, Chatsworth, CA. I was there representing for Sunrider Base, Rebel Legion. The very tall and friendly Duke Baggett was representing for the 501st Legion. We had fun, and brightened up the days of a bunch of cooped-up telemarketers. I've done that gig, it's rough.

Appearance, 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica, CA. When the SoCal Rebels and 501st rolls, we roll like nobody else on the planet. The H-Wing, not one but TWO C3P0 units, a radio-controlled full-size R2D2, and lots of spirit, fun and imagination.

Field trip to Luky's! Luky's Hardware in Burbank is like going to Watto's second-hand spaceship parts store on Mos Espa, Tatooine. Only Luky and his colleagues are easier to take than Watto. Aerospace and airplane surplus and salvage parts. Lots of nurnies and greeblies for lightsabre projects and beyond. The riddle of the true identity of those aircraft aluminum parts on my lightsabres is not yet solved. However, the riddle of WHERE they came from has indeed been solved.

There is another place which deals in similar items, called Apex Electronics. They are in Sun Valley which is not very far from Burbank...in fact, Woodbury University is technically half in Sun Valley and half in Burbank. Guess which non-prestigious town known for junkyards Woodbury decided *not* to associate themselves with! Anyway, if you are visiting Los Angeles for Celebration IV, a trip to Luky's and Apex and All Electronics in Van Nuys is worth doing. Particularly if you are a crafty type like me.

Hope you like the pix!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Costume upgrades...

Just in time for my first trips out with Sunrider Base, Rebel Legion. I finally have my inner tunic done. I didn't manage to do it in time for the Woodbury University Halloween party...oh well.

However, it's done now, so I will be able to wear the full outfit to the two Rebel Legion events. The one this Saturday is actually one the General Public can attend. It's in Santa Monica at the 3rd St. Promenade. Cinemax is celebrating the fact they will be airing all six Star Wars movies by having a "So you think you have what it takes to be a Jedi" event. Cinemax will be donating to a charity of Sunrider Base's choice in our name, so it's all good. We'll be there from 10am to 5pm.

If you are interested in seeing details about the costume as it now stands, drop in here:


Friday, October 06, 2006

Chibi-flash has arrived for chibi-sabre fun...

OK, there's the Finelux mini flashgun.

Here's the pic from eBay that made me fall in love with it:

It's here now and I took a bunch of pix of it including a few torn down. Here's the link to the Flickr photos:


I'm torn because I think the reflector is spiffy. However, I have never seen a lightsabre with the reflector still attached. When they made them from press camera flashes, they always removed the reflector.

Anyway, it's here, I like it, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the thing right away but I'm going to do something with it eventually.