In this Month’s S*P*A*Minar, Thomas Fiocchi, resident Props Technologist at Ohio University and creator at Fiocchi Swords will give us an introduction on how to make stage safe combat weapons in our prop shops. I know we say this a lot, but you really don’t want to miss this one!
We are once again requesting pay-what-you-can donations to support this S*P*A*Minar programming. All money collected will be used to offset webinar operation costs with additional funds going to our annual grant program for early career prop people. Suggested donation amount is $3.
Here is the third companion video for my upcoming book, The Prop Effects Guidebook, coming this February. The book has a few photographs demonstrating the old “shoot an arrow into the wall” trick, but this video goes into more detail and shows the trick in action.
This is a great trick for Deathtrap depending on how you stage it. I have also used this trick in Wait Until Dark, though that is a knife-throwing gag.
The Force Awakens Blog has posted photographs of 50 weapons and helmets from Star Wars: The Force Awakensin stunning high-resolution. It would be fun to make some of these in anticipation of the movie’s release (though most theatre chains have banned replica guns from their screenings).
Anyone who has done Deathtrap knows that the “wall of weapons” could be a challenge. I was able to source most of what we needed, but the mace was a bit tricky. I had a flail, but when we got to tech, we decided it really needed to be a mace. It is never used, but the characters reference it a few times, and they would know the difference between a flail and a mace. I was pretty much out of money, so I decided to build one with whatever I had laying around while they worked on lighting and sound cues.
I printed out some research of a flanged mace that had a cool look but was not too intricate. The shaft was a length of PVC pipe. I attached a bit of wooden dowel on either end; one for the handle and one for the head. I cut the flanges out of craft foam. I drilled out the center of a few wooden toy wheels to make the various ridges, and a lamp finial finished off the top.
I attached the flanges to the head with some hot glue and sealed it all with some fiberglass resin. I only used one coat, which did not really stiffen the foam, but since it was just a wall-hanger, I figured it was enough. Everything got sprayed with various metallic spray paints before I attached it all together.
For the handle, I wrapped tape around it to give it more of a bulging cigar shape. I wrapped the final layer of tape in a spiral to make it look like a leather-wrapped handle.
I finished the whole thing off with some weathering and aging using acrylic paints. The end result looked pretty a-mace-ing.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies