My oh my, it's been a while since my last post. 15 months to be exact. Many projects have come and gone since then, so it's as good a time as any to start catching up. Get ready for a big ass post.
Hawkmoon, the final installment of the Destiny exotic hand cannons. This one started out as a 3d print. I reached out to Kirby Downey who's been doing some great work over at MyMiniFactory with his Destiny 3d models and commissioned a personal Hawkmoon file from him. In a couple weeks, I had Lobot up and printing out this 8 part model.
Contrary to popular belief, desktop printing right now isn't that cool. In fact, it's more of a nuisance than an asset. Fused deposition printing (layering) is still very unrefined and doesn't produce the same results as hand crafted stuff and a lot of work still goes into making the surface acceptably smooth and pretty. I used spot putty and XTC-3d epoxy to smooth out the printing striations, then sanded the parts down until they were smooth.
Filler primer is an invaluable tool for filling in more difficult crevasses and identifying areas in need of work. Here's how the Hawkmoon looks all primed. Much prettier than before.
Unfortunately, I neglected to take photos of the finished master and the molding process, but block molds were made for every part except the grip using rebound 25 platinum cure. These parts were cold cast with aluminum powder by dusting the molds.
The result is a very smooth and very shiny piece that can easily be mistaken for real metal.
I made some mistakes while molding the grip that set me back. A lot. Like a few months. I hated myself for doing this. I ran short on silicone during the molding process and made a matrix mold for the grip instead of a block mold. I used rebound 25 and free form air for the jacket, and for whatever reason decided to place the pour spout on the wrong end of the piece. Go figure. After screwing up countless casts and cursing the prop making gods I decided to take a break from the Hawkmoon and work on other things.
My buddy Zander over at Zprops hit me up and offered to put in a few hours to salvage this project. After one of our occasional prop photoshoots, I handed the molds and masters I had over to him and let him work his magic, so I'm borrowing a few words from his personal blog (with his permission of course).
Unfortunately, the mold leaks. I cant say why, as I wasn't there when the first cast was attempted. I cleaned off all the resin that was stuck to the jacket material and relocated the pour spot to the bottom of the claw. I blocked off (mostly...) the original pour spout that was more towards the sights. This made the delicate sight detail reside at the bottom of the mold and ensured they were filled first and properly. This is the first pull I got. It looks like the mold could be used again, but it had served its purpose at this point, never to be used again.
Here are all of the parts in a test fit. All I've really done here is clean the seam lines.
I had to decide at this point what path I wanted to take. I could either do some light clean up and then re-mold the grip area as a block mold for production casting...or I could clean up and re-work half of the gun like the deranged lunatic I am.
This certainly isn't meant to be an insult to anyone's work. No matter how good the file was, or how good the clean up was, the reality is detail is going to be lost, sanded flat, or heavily softened unless days are spent rebuilding the problem areas in bondo or some material that makes the whole project not worth printing in the first place. Luckily, instead of sanding PLA (Which I hate, passionately) I get to sand resin, which takes sanding, glue, and paint much better than PLA and cuts the prep time into a fraction. Although, this project still took a solid week to do.
At around this time, Zander's facebook followers began getting a little edgy for butchering apart another maker's work. He was then accused of beating me up, stealing my molds, and pooping in my master chief helmet. Touchy crowd. I had to explain that he actually beat up my dog and stole his bowl then snorted bird poo off the master chief helmet. Get your story straight.
I started with the top rail. It needed some crisp detail back, some detail holes, and some important ribs that space the rear sights. The modeler made the original sights too narrow and a hair undersized. I kept the assembly tab portion intact, which is why there is a seemingly random resin section in the middle of the styrene rail.
The sights were made by carefully cutting out layers of styrene with an exacto and laminating them together. It was tedious, but well worth the effort. I threw in a couple of rivets for detail.
I cleaned up some of the inset detail as well, like this upside down trapezoid right under the rail. I used an exacto, steady hand, and patience.
Theres a lot going on in this picture. First, I separated the swingarm and the cylinder into two separate parts. The modeler made them as one assembly for some reason, but who doesn't want a spinning cylinder??
The half domes behind the cylinder were re-made in MDF and enlarged. The hammer was re-made in MDF/styrene and made wider. I glued the hammer back in at this point after clean up. There's a little triangle bit you can see to the right of the trigger. I dremeled out the old one, re-made it in styrene, and carefully inset it into the grip and sanded it flush.
I used a graphite rubbing on paper to get the shape of the grip. Then I cut the grip out of 1/8th inch MDF. The bulge on the grip was simply another layer of MDF shaped before being glued on. I cleaned out all of the "stepping" texture around the grip. (I had already cleaned off 95% of it off the rest of the gun, which took a decent amount of time)
A test fit. I cleaned off some more texture, and re-scribed the panel lines near the front sight.
I went back and did more shaping on the grip. I drilled holes for some nice big hex screws, and drafted out a grid for the grip bump/pimples/herpes. The round things are the smallest "pearl" details for scrapbooking I could find at Michael's. This is an old trick for fake rivets and the like that lots of prop maker use.
The results are well worth it!
The prodigal son returns! The Hawkmoon was returned after our adventure at Fanime, and I set off to work making it ready for molding. The etchings in the main body needed work, and since this is resin and not PLA, refining the details was much easier. I used a needle file to level all the grooves and gave the main body some serious wet sanding and polishing so I could cold cast the gun again.
New molds were made for the gun, now in 7 pieces, with a dual tiered method I came up with. These molds lock together better than any other, and flashing is minimal, ideal for cold casting. This time I did NOT make the same mistake as last time and made block molds for everything with rebound 25.
At long last, the first pull from the Hawkmoon molds, cleaned up and assembled.
Here's Zander's take on it.
And here's mine.
A stupidly long journey comes to a close. Thanks for reading! And thanks to Zander for making this happen.