Thursday, December 31, 2009

TDK Batarangs

Got a new addition to the prop collection a couple of weeks ago, but just never got around to adding it to the blog.

These are the DC Direct batarangs from The Dark Knight. Or maybe it was Batman Begins. Who knows. They were the same in both movies.

I got it off ebay at a pretty good price, well below retail, so I'm happy with it. It's not a stunning piece, but it's pretty nice. I suppose if I ever had time, I would snap the batarangs out of the lame display and recreate them, maybe make the big one fold.

Like that's ever going to happen.

Superman: Dead End

No, it's not the sequel to the Sandy Collera movie I'm talking about. I mean to say that I've hit a dead end on my search for the original material used for the outer skin of the Superman Returns cape.

I ordered samples of rubber matting from a few places online that seemed to be good matches in the pictures, but when they arrived, the diamonds were just way too big. I would say five or six times too big.

Which makes for a bummer five or six times too big.

I do have some more leads on another material that has a simmilar pattern on it, but I haven't ordered samples yet. As of right now, I'm considering the whole rubberized surface a dead end.

I'm thinking now it's a rigid substance. The diamonds on the cape are too small to offer any kind of traction. I don't think it's a non-skit mat type of thing.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Need More Fabric... Badly!

I'm back tracking on an earlier position I took on the fabric. As it stands, I have identified and found some fabric that is really great on the color match, but is not so great fabric wise. It's too thin, and I cannot adhere it to the latex without the wet layer soaking through, and ruining the inner surface.

So for now, I'm going to back track and switch to the Red Jersey Knit that I found at Denver Fabrics a while back. Bummer is, a while back I made the OPPOSITE decision, and ended up throwing out the fabric that I had purchased from them. So back to ye old drawing boarde.

Big bummer is, Denver Fabric no longer stocks that stuff! So I'm going to have to look elsewhere for it.

Ordered More Urethane

Not a really big update, but I ordered some more PMC780 tonight so that I can finish up the chest emblem that is currently in the mold, and maybe crank out a few more while I'm at it.

I order my urethane from Smooth-On, though I have gotten some recommendations lately for competitors products. Once I burn through the kit I just ordered, my plan is to try some other brands, just to see what all the fuss is about.

Man, They Move Fast!

The good folks at Siam Leather were kind enough to respond to my inquiry about two hours after I sent it. They are very excited to tackle the project, and feel they can deliver, assuming I can provide them with a sole. Which I think I can do.

Very exciting news indeed!

Flurry Of New Activity

With the new year upon me, I've really decided to hunker down and get this project finished. It's really gone on way too long, and with a few other events looming on the horizon, I really just want to wrap it up. I don't want to sacrifice quality, but if I have to take a few tiny, unnoticeable short cuts in order to get the thing done, so be it.

Last night I sent out a number of email "pings" or reminders to folks who have some intel on the costume parts I'm working on. I'm also hitting up a few folks who might have some pieces for sale, or know of folks who might.

I guess that's all I've really got for this post. Just a mention that I'm "turning it up to 11".

New Direction With Boots

I am about to abandon my previous direction with the Superman Returns boots. About a year and a half ago, I contacted a very talented group of folks in Argentina who have done excellent work on Superman products in the past, and they agreed to make a set of boots for me. There was an initial spurt of effort which showed great promise, but after that, I have heard nothing from them save for bumped delivery dates. Last September, they promised me a December delivery date. Yet here we are at the end of the year with nothing to show for it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they are not being malicious, but it's just kind of a downer. It certainly does not distract from the wonderful Superman costumes they make, including the dead on replica of the Reeve style Superman I suit that I happen to own. They also did an amazing job making screen accurate boots to match.

But alas, I only have so much patience, and I think a year and a half is more than enough time to wait.

Moving on.

Based on the recommendation of a friend, I am going to give Siam Leather a try. They are a shop out of Thailand, and apparently do amazing work. The only piece of advice I was given is that the language barrier is sometimes an issue. Luckily, I have enough reference material that I may be able to thwart that. We shall see.

For reference, their email addy is

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Urethane Slinging Festival Continues

Tonight I finished burning through my latest batch of PMC-80, which means it's high time to experiment with a different brand of urethane. A freind has recommended another supplier, which I will investigate shortly.

But let me share my latest progress.

Here's the latest belt I poured up. I learned an interesting lesson on this one. When I use the black so-strong pigment, it tends to add a bit of a green tint to the yellow. If I use brown to darken it, it keeps the yellow color more pure. Interesting to know.

Tonight I used the very last drop of urethane to pour up another chest emblem, but just the outer part. I'll need to pour up the back plate next. That will bring my total to three.

I made a chest emblem the night before, but I screwed it up. I THOUGHT I had poured in too little urethane, and an hour later, decided I would clean out the mold so I could do it "properly" next time. As luck would NOT have it, the mold was totally filled with urethane, and it was probably the most bubble free pour to date. This is a crappy picture, but I suppose it doesn't really matter as it was an aborted pour. Also, I had forgotten to add the white pigment, which really serves to make the emblem really opaque. So this one was a lost cause on many levels.

Finally, here's where I stand on belts so far. I've got six all poured up. Two have minor defects, and will make for great test beds for the painting. All is certainly not lost on the defective ones, as they will serve an honorable purpose.

I played around with the cape again tonight, and really want to get that fabric sourced. I should really spend some more time on that!

My sample of possible outer shell cape material did NOT show up again today. I am bummed! I want to see it. I did find another supplier online that sells a similar looking product. I have ordered a sample from them through their website, but we all know how that goes!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Belt Lunacy Continues

No pics again in tonights post, since it's the same old stuff. BUT I did pour up yet another belt tonight, brining the total to six. Tonight's belt is the darkest yet. I've really nailed how the different pigments work together, and I can pretty much get the exact results I want every time.

I think I might pour up another chest emblem, just to sort of round out the supplies.

I also had the brain storm tonight of making a brief video showing the pour-up process of the belt from start to finish. It took me many tries to perfect the technique, and I sort of want to document it, perhaps just so I can refer back to it in the future. Should the need arise.

A Blog First!

Not really sure how I feel about this new high (or perhaps low??) I've reached on my blog tonight!

Interestingly enough, a reader emailed me tonight with not only a spell-check dust up, but also a request for me to follow through on my promise to post a photo in this post...

Star Trek Insignia Pins

Should I feel thrilled and honored that someone was not only reading my blog, but was also kind enough to email me and point out some shortcomings? Or should I feel insulted that they had the gall to point out a harmless foul!!

Naturally, it's the former, and I'm totally stoked that someone took the time to help me make my blog that much better. So big shout out to Franz Bolo of the RPF for hookin' a brother up! Thanks Franz!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another Day, Another Belt

No photos to show today, since it's pretty much the same thing I've shown a few times before. I poured up another belt today, bringing the total that I have lined up for painting to five.

I tried something a little different this time with the color formula, so I expect this one to turn out quite differently. I think it will be cool when all is said and done, as I will have a number of different belts to choose from.