Tag Archives: model

Snow Day Links

Did you see my AMA this week on Reddit? A lot of good questions were asked, and I hope I gave decent answers to all of them.

I’m not the only one starting to use fun foam for everything. Propnomicon has this great video from Evil Ted on heat forming foam for various effects. He shows you not only how to shape and bend it, but also how to add indented details.

This is from a year ago, but the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art has a video showing the inside of their prop department where Deryk Cropper teaches the next generation of UK prop builders.

How many Millennium Falcons have there been? Cinefex looks at the history of Star Wars and talks about all the various physical models of this iconic spaceship, from tiny coin-sized miniatures up to full-size set pieces. It’s a little sad to hear that the full-size version created for the original trilogy was burned at the end of filming.

Ed Lebetkin’s antique tool shop in Pittsboro supplied all the period-appropriate tools for the new film The Revenant. The shop is right above Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s Shop and is just down the road from me. I got to visit the place a few years ago and wrote about it on this very blog. The last photograph and paragraph talk about Lebetkin’s shop.

Four Findings for Friday

Ok, this isn’t props, it’s models, but still pretty cool. Tested has a long profile on Greg Jein, one of the main model makers on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941, and Star Trek. Despite advances in CGI, he is still going strong, working on new films such as Interstellar.

Propnomicon has a great history of adhesive plaster, the fix-it-all tape used before duct tape was invented. Besides the history lesson, he has some great photos of vintage packaging for the plaster.

Korwin Briggs has put together this fun and educational infographic on the gross and deadly history of color. He reveals the origins of many popular coloring agents, such as mummy brown (made from ground-up mummies) and ultramarine (crushed-up gemstones).

Make has a great round-up of five wood gluing tips. I’ve done the ol’ “nail the boards together before gluing them trick” but always thought I was somehow cheating. It’s good to know it’s an actual technique used by others. Not that you can actually “cheat” in props. If it lasts until the show closes, then it’s a good technique.

Friday Links March On

It’s USITT time! For those of you at the conference, be sure to take time for “Arms and the Props Man,” a special presentation by the USITT Scene Design Commission. It’s toward the back, right before the Innovation Stage. You can see some incredible props in person (including a few of mine). Also be sure to visit the Society of Properties Artisan Managers booth at #1538. And, if you want, head on over to Focal Press at booth #1405 to check out my book. If you already have my book, just tell them how much you love it and you want me to write another one.

For those of us not at USITT, we need some fun prop things to read, so here we go:

Mad Men is counting down to its series finale, and the Museum of the Moving Image has an exhibit highlighting the show. The slideshow features some of the props and set pieces on display, as well as many of the costumes. This show was incredible from a props perspective, and these photographs show off all the incredible detail that went into it.

Somebody posted 142 photographs from the model shop of Blade RunnerThough the film is 33 years old, the craftsmanship of the miniature buildings and vehicles can put most modern CGI effects to shame.

WM Armory shows us how to cold cast with metal powders to make your plastic castings look like real metal. It’s a fairly simple process, and once you know the specifics of how it is done, you have a very effective way to make your props pop.

Finally, here is the entire 1982 JC Penney Christmas Catalog. Old catalogs are a boon for doing period research. Flickr is a great site to find them, since some people like to scan and post every page.

Black Friday Props Links

David Neat, author of Model-Making: Materials and Methods, has a blog going with all sorts of model making techniques. Posts on painting, mold-making, working in scale, and more are described and shown with ample photographs.

I really like this illustrated chart of hand tools over at Popular Mechanics. The chart itself is good-looking enough to hang up in your shop, while the tools pictured on it give you a great idea of what your shop is missing.

Smooth-On has a ton of great videos over at their website showing how to mold and cast with many of their materials. If you haven’t checked them out yet, start with one of their newer ones on how to make a mold for a replica of an antique rifle.

If you ever wanted to take the time to make chain mail by hand (as opposed to just spray-painting some crocheted yarn), Make Projects has a great tutorial on just that.

HBO Intro Sequence, 1983

If you have ten minutes, you should check out this video showing the creation of HBO’s intro sequence from the early 1980s. The video is from 1983 as well, and has a great vintage feel. It is fascinating to see the creation of one of the largest scale model cityscapes at the time. Props people are sure to recognize many of the techniques used by these model makers (though the three-month time frame they had to build it seems luxurious for most of us). The creation of the rest of the effects are interesting as well. While this occurred in the heyday of motion-controlled cameras, those were the only systems using computers. Everything else was created by hand, and every effect was achieved with an analog solution.