Tag Archives: casting

A Friday Cavalcade of Links

Stage Directions magazine has a great feature on Faye Armon-Troncoso this month. In “The Actor’s Propmaster“, we get a look at how she got started, some of the show’s she has worked on, and what she has learned. I got to work with Faye a bit when I lived in New York City, including assisting her in the production of Merchant of Venice mentioned in the article.

I love this visit to the Fiberglass Animal Farm. FAST Corp in  Wisconsin is responsible for most of the giant animals and other roadside attractions you see around the US. If you pass a giant ear of corn on the side of the road, it was probably made by them.

Smooth-On has a great FAQ on solving one of the main problems with molding and casting in the props world: how to make paint stick to your plastic castings.

I know a few props people who sometimes work on the balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, so I really enjoyed this article which looks at the 1920s puppeteer whose inflatable monsters changed Thanksgiving.

Finally, this past Thanksgiving, I had a little article written about me in the local paper: “Props master Eric Hart: This guy wrote the book on making props for plays.”

Legend of Zelda Master Sword

Legend of Zelda Master Sword Take Two

About a year and a half ago, I worked with The League of Extraordinary Thespians to make a Master Sword for their Legend of Zelda musical. It was a fun project, but I had very little time or money to do it; I thought it was a bit blocky, and the paint treatment was very rudimentary. Since I gave all the original swords away, I decided I would make a new one with some improvements for myself.

I filmed nearly every step of the process and edited it into a six-minute video.

I made the blade out of wood again; on the original swords, I used plywood, which does not really make a convincing faux metal. This time I went with a solid piece of oak. After priming and sanding it, I used some Krylon Stainless Steel spray paint, which, after rubbing it with some steel wool, makes a very convincing metallic finish.

Legend of Zelda Master Sword
Legend of Zelda Master Sword

I decided I would make the hilt as a separate piece, then mold it and cast it directly onto the blade. I wanted a strong connection between hilt and sword that would not break when you played with it. Another reason was that the hilt was a very time-consuming piece, and I wanted the option of making more swords in the future.

Legend of Zelda Master Sword
Legend of Zelda Master Sword

Casting the hilt directly onto the blade was a very challenging and hairy process for me. Despite how awesome I seem, I do not have much experience with molding and casting. The process was far from perfect, but the end result was pretty satisfactory (though you can see some wibbly defects in the picture below).

Legend of Zelda Master Sword
Legend of Zelda Master Sword

I also tried sculpting the quillons out of clay, which is not something I typically do. I used an air-drying clay that was way too soft; if I were to try this again, I would look for a much harder clay. In fact, I would probably be tempted to carve most of it from a solid chunk of wood.

The yellow jewels were a separate piece which I cast in tinted epoxy. I made a video showing the mold-making process on that a few weeks back.

I finished off the hilt with a purple shimmering metallic spray paint. All in all, I was happy with how this sword turned out, and I learned a lot from the process.

Friday Night Links

Friday Night Links

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s that time of year when summer seems to be winding down; summer theatres are getting down to their last few shows, schools are getting ready to start up, and busy props people are panicking that they haven’t taken a vacation yet. If you’re stuck inside on a computer, I hope these links will keep you busy for awhile:

The Credits has a great interview with Conor O’Sullivan, prosthetic supervisor for films and shows such as Saving Private Ryan, The Dark KnightGame of ThronesX-Men: First Class, and the upcoming Hercules. While the art and craft of prosthetic effects often gets all the press, this article delves into something just as important: the logistics and planning to get it all done. Putting a fake tattoo on an actor is far different than getting matching tattoos on 150 extras every morning in less than five hours.

Fon Davis shows you how to make your own vacuum forming machine in this video. While others have shown how to build cheap or free machines like this, Fon goes a step further and assembles a machine entirely out of found parts, modified with only a drill and some duct tape.

I needed to make some small translucent crystals for a project I’m working on, and the Arms, Armor and Awesome blog has a fantastic tutorial on how to cast gems out of clear resin (h/t to Propnomicon for the link).

The NYC Prop Summit just got a webpage. The Summit itself is typically held each year around August (this year it is August 22nd), where props people from in and around the New York City area get together to network, celebrate, and learn new things. They also have a Facebook group where members go for help or advice.

Casting a Rubber Hammer

Casting a Rubber Hammer

I recently came across the Brick in the Yard Mold Supply YouTube Channel, which has well over a hundred videos on molding, casting and finishing techniques. I started off by watching this one on casting a rubber hammer. Brick in the Yard has been selling molding, casting and special effects supplies out of their shop in Texas since the mid-nineties, and their collection of videos give an in-depth look on how to use a lot of them. So check it out:

Last Links in April

Last Links in April

Hey, if you haven’t gotten my Prop Building Guidebook yet, you can get it direct from Focal Press for 20% off until April 29th! Just use code MRK95 at checkout. It makes a great gift for graduation (hint hint).

This seems like one of those weird Buzzfeed articles, but it actually has a whole lot of cool photographs from a tour inside Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Legacy Effects has a great video on the making of the suit from the new Robocop film. Sure, there is a lot of 3D printing and digital fabrication involved, but there is also a surprising amount of traditional artistry going on, including sculpting, painting and sewing.

La Bricoleuse discovers an armor maker right here in North Carolina. Dr. Eric Juengst is the Director of the Center of Bioethics at UNC Chapel Hill, and he spends his spare time fabricating historic suits of armor (and suits of armor for animals). Check out these photos and video of his workshop and his creations.

Here’s a good step-by-step tutorial on how to do a life cast of a face from Lauren Daisy Williams, a student at UNCSA. I met Lauren at the USITT Young Designer’s Forum this year, where she had all sorts of fun molding and casting projects on display, so it’s nice to see her share the process for some of her work online.