Tag Archives: replica prop forum

Two Tickets to ISS

The following two videos come courtesy of The Replica Prop Forum. The host, uh, Star Wars Chick, visits the armory at Independent Studio Services. ISS is one of the major prop rental and fabrication in the Los Angeles area, and they have an especially large collection of weapons, as you can see in the videos below. Larry Zanoff, one of the armorers in the weapons department at ISS, does a great job explaining the difference between real guns and movie guns, the kind of training an armorer needs, and what kind of safety procedures they implement on set.

In part two of the video, Star fires a number of the weapons in their warehouse. I think it is important to note that while movies use real guns altered to fire blank rounds, theatres typically use block-barreled guns which were never meant to fire real ammunition.

Valentines Day Links

I just finished up tech this past weekend for Timon of Athens at the Public Theatre; it’s the first show at the Public where I’m officially the “prop master”, so let the crowd go wild. But Eric, you say, didn’t you say you had tech just the other week? Yes, but that was a different show. What, you don’t tech a show every other week? Don’t you care about theatre? Anyways, while I do have some new articles I’ve been working on, there are also some links I’ve been collecting that I’ve been dying to share. Also, Happy Valentines Day to my wonderful wife!

First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my latest magazine article in this month’s Stage Directions magazine, called “From Agave to Zeus.” It’s about the head I made for The Bacchae in 2009; I’ve certainly written a lot about it on this blog, but the article covers the whole shebang in one compact story, and features some new photographs as well.

Here is a list of “Huntorials“; tutorials on sculpting, casting, armor-making, weapon-making and painting, focused on making replicas from the Predator canon. By that, I mean the movies with the monsters versus future US governors, not the remote-control drones.

On the “Definitive Costume and Propmaking Tutorials” page is a small selection of technique guides, like vacuumforming and weathering; useful, but far from definitive.

The Replica Prop Forum had an interesting and insightful thread discussing more general prop making methods. How do you work, what materials do you use, and why?

On the other side of the pond, The Association of British Theatre Technicians has a FAQ pertaining to props.

And finally, “How to Solve It,” a step-by-step guide on how to solve problems, easily pertainable to all those tricky prop conundrums (you want this to do what?).

Friday Link Roundup

I’m just finishing up tech for Compulsion, so until I have time to write again, here are some great links to keep you busy.

  • CBC News did a small feature on Jimmy Chow, the prop master on Tron: The Legacy. It’s an interesting look at how a movie which looks extremely computer-generated still involved a lot of actual items for the effects.
  • This is actually a PR release rather than a news story, but Airsoft is making more realistic guns for Hollywood. They’ve long been popular with prop masters because of their affordability and light weight; now it seems the company is recognizing that market and making more realistic replica models and custom orders. Of course, Airsoft weapons remain illegal here in New York City, so it’s pretty much a moot point for us.
  • There’s a great thread over at The Replica Prop Forum about the best and worst comic book costumes in TV and film with some great (and horrendous) photographs.
  • Finally, my brother pointed me to the Lovely Package blog. Exquisite photographs of exquisitely packaged things.

Movie Prop Replicas

As I’ve mentioned a few websites dealing with film props, I thought I’d point out some communities based around replicating famous props from films. These are great resources for a lot of tutorials, such as vacuforming, casting, and working with fiberglas. They also focus on DIY and inexpensive solutions, so any prop shop can benefit from diving through the wealth of material they have.

The Replica Prop Forum – This is one of the cornerstones of the community, with members interested in props for a wide range of films. It also has discussions about costumes and scale modeling. Since it is a forum, it can take some time to navigate and search around, but it’s worth it.

TK560 – This site has tutorials and guides to building a number of props from Star Wars, Star Trek, and a number of other sci-fi films.

TK409 – Another site with tutorials for making do-it-yourself Star Wars props.

The previous two sites are part of the 501st legion, the “world’s definitive Imperial costuming organization.” It is an organization of over six thousand people who dress like members of the Empire in Star Wars. All of these sites have a plethora of links to other DIY prop and costuming resources throughout the internet.

The Magnoli Collection of Prop Replicas – Indy Magnoli’s collection of prop replicas. Most are based around the Indiana Jones’ movies, but some other films are represented as well. There are a good amount of paper props as well, with descriptions of how they were made.

That’s it for now. Let me know if there are any other sites you find interesting. You can also point out any other communities or groups which would have useful information for prop people.