Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Commission Requests

So not really a post, but more of an FYI. If you would like to commission my wife and I to build you a specific prop or costume please send an email to us with the following information:

1:Your name and contact info

2:Character or Prop name and source material (movie/game/anime etc.) OR concept art/detailed description if you want an original work

3:At least one reference image (the more the better)

4:Date you need it completed by. Most projects we require 4-6 weeks. We still have day jobs you know!  But depending on the circumstance we may be able to work faster, although a rush fee will apply. On the other side of the coin, if you want 10 suits of armor it will take longer.

Now a quick word on pricing. We are two people building everything by hand, not a factory in China. Almost all projects will be over $100. Very complicated or time consuming ones can run into the $1000's. I am putting this up here because you would not believe how many people have hit up my wife asking about a Deadpool costume but only wanting to spend $40 on it. And no, there is no set pricing. Everything is based off of material costs, complexity and time, which changes drastically from project to project.  All other terms will be negotiated on an individual basis.  We will try and keep our pages updated with our availability, but we will not take on new commissions if our work load is too heavy.

Thank you!
Garrick Backer
Jackie Backer

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wasp Armor

With the Avengers movie out and everyone excited already for a sequel, my wife wanted to build an Avenger costume. Since the only choice from the fist film was Black Widow, and we have a good friend with a great Widow costume, she picked The Wasp from the comics. This build was split between the two of us. She will have a post up about how the design came about and how she put the suit together. I'm going to show off how I built the armored pieces. Now since we are in a time crunch before PHXCC, sculpting, molding, and casting pieces just wasn't going to happen. Lucky we have EVA foam to make our lives easier. This foam is commonly known as Foamies or Craft Foam but it is also the same material they make some of the anti-fatigue floor mats out of. The best part of working with this foam is that when heated and pressed it will take a shape and keep it, so with that in mind we looked about for something to use to form the breast plate. What we found was an over-sized Easter egg.

 After cutting it down to a appropriate size I used plaster to make solid copies. On a side note, don't try and rush de- molding plaster of paris. You will just end up with a mess.

 After only one failed pour I had my forms!

 To put pressure down evenly on my foam I took a scrap piece of acrylic that has been laying around my shop and used a dremel to cut it in to shape. After gluing my forms down to a board I used my heat gun and my make shift press to get this shape. I still ended up on my hands and knees pressing this into place.

My parents said I could do anything when I grew up. So I gave a floor mat boobs!

After my wonderful wife gave me the shape she wanted it was off to seal this up for painting.  EVA foam is very porous and does not paint well if you don't prep it right. A mix of white glue and water will seal it up. The glue I used is a craft glue called Sobo that you can get at any craft store, but regular Elmer's glue will work as well. I use about a 2 parts glue to 1 part water mix. And by that I mean I totally just eyeballed it. But if I had to guess I would say 2to1 is about right.

Now even though its been sealed I want a primer layer down before I start painting.
This is just one coat of Plasti-Dip out of the spray can. The high gloss shine goes away after it dries.

Now I just recently discovered acrylic spray paint, and I think I'm in love. Super high pigmentation, excellent coverage, flexible, low odor, fast drying time, mixable and blendable. The only draw back is that they average $10 a pop. Oh and you have to shake them for at least 3 minutes or you can ruin the whole can. The Liquitex brand they now carry at Michaels craft stores. They don't have as wide a color selection as the Gold brand (which Arizona Art Supply carries) but you can color match to their regular acrylic paints which might come in handy in the future. The Gold brand Chrome came out more like a bright silver, but chrome in a can never looks like the real deal. The Liquitex transparent yellow was tricky to work with at first but I think I nailed the metallic yellow look that my wife wanted. To top the whole thing off I clear coated it in a gloss acrylic sealer and glued to the suit using fabri-tac. My only failure was the hands. The clear coat wont dry on vinyl and the yellow will flake if it does not have a top coat. But we did get to coin the term "handruff" at free comic book day, so all was not in vain. Check out the other half of this build here oneblackcatsuit/wasp