Aug 30, 2013

Portal Gun, in Depth

True to form, I took my sweet time updating this. So before I get into the nitty gritty details of putting together my portal gun, let me just say that PAX Prime 2013 is awesome. Seriously. The Pat Rothfuss panel? You had to be there... literally, because we all promised to not record it in exchange for getting to ask "3rd or 4th date" questions. It was great. Wildstar was looking classy (going to focus on their panel and off-site party tomorrow). SolForge remains one of my favorite Kickstarter projects ever, if only for the level of professionalism and the forthcoming attitude that they consistently display. If you aren't playing it, you probably should be. Lots of other cool stuff, of course, as always... but who cares what I have to say about PAX? Portal gun, here we come...

Okay, so last time I gave a brief outline of how we got the shells of the portal gun created. Once again, I cannot recommend florist foam highly enough; it is (relatively) cheap, easy to cut, easy to sand, and hardens like nobody's business after a couple coats of regular Elmer's glue. So, once you've got your shapes done, apply a couple coats of glossy paint (I use spray paint because pointing and spraying is about the limit of my artistic skill) and maybe a coat or two of a clear gloss finish to protect it...'re ready for the fun parts. Yes, I totally just used the same picture from last time. Forgive me.

Aug 21, 2013

Portal Cosplay Props!

So apparently I suck at updating everything all the time. I should make up for that or something...

Well, no time like the present, I guess. 

First, I'll mention something about how my wife and I are making a Portal cosplay. There. That was it.

Next, I'll come up with a not-very-clever way of saying that I got put in charge of the props (a portal gun and a GladOS helm, mainly) and then quickly make sure that no-one remembers this sentence by posting a picture of my portal gun test-fire in convention level lighting.

Yeah, something like that would be cool. Oh, and maybe one of the same thing under brighter-than-normal lightning!

Not quite as impressive, but you get the idea: it's a powerful light in that thing! But I should go back to the very beginning... so, for today's blog, here's how the portal gun got started!

Step one was to draft out the images. After careful measurements, here's what we came up with (well, mostly my wife):

Basic portal shapes, nothing fancy. Next, we prepped the florist foam (which you can buy in nice blocks at just about any craft store):

So, cutting the blocks to shape and gluing a few together. I'm not even kidding when I say this thing is big. After that, we marked out the shapes (once again, my wife, as she's the artist and I'm just around to move stuff and do numbers):

After that I hacked out the basic shapes using a knife or two:

Then it was time for some sanding. Like, a lot of sanding. Fortunately, florist foam sands like nobody's business, takes a shape very well, and gets surprisingly smooth:

Then we cut out a few more shapes, like the pieces we ended up using to make the portal gun nozzle:

After that... we did some more stuff... like applying glue to the foam (pro-tip, Elmer's glue will turn just about any type of Styrofoam rock hard, and in the case of florist foam, also make it surprisingly resilient):

And then a couple more layers of glue, until it got that just-been-glued shine:

Then a couple more things happened, like applying wood filler to everything so we'd have something nice for the paint to stick to (it's better than Bondo, and lighter too!) and painting:


I... may have skipped a step here or there. I mean, I didn't even explain the cake purse my wife made. Also, I got terrible at taking pictures once I started painting and adding LEDs and stuff. Tell you what, swing by in a day or two, and I'll have some more up-to-date stuff to show you. Maybe the costumes and the finished props. Or a picture of my wife with the books she won from Brandon Sanderson. Promise.