Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let's Play Dress-Up! Halloween '09 (part one)

I don't always go all-out for Halloween; actually, I usually make a point of not putting much effort into my costumes. One year I went as Wonder Woman for a "Low-Rent Superfriends" theme; then I went to a superhero costume party as The Raving Objectivist - I dressed up and did my hair like Ayn Rand's, and wore a name tag - my friend Andrew said I was her spit & image, which I took as a compliment, but it was still kinda creepy (to be fair, he was also creeped out by my appearance, even though he said it was awesome, so I guess we're even). Perhaps my favorite costume was "Zombie Apocalypse Survivor," because I got to make a mess all over myself and carry around a crowbar.

Well, one of my roommates, Rhodopsin, informed me of someone he'd seen at DragonCon who fabricated a prosthetic blade arm from Prototype, and I started thinking about how I could do such a thing, because I want one. I came up with a workable idea, my friends helped me scale it down a bit at our D&D session Friday night (what?! I'm a huge fuckin' nerd, OK?), and then I had a plan. I bought some materials on Saturday, and combined them with a few tools I had lying around the house:

...and Sunday was building day. I screwed up and made it too bulky at first (more like Nightmare's sword than Mercer's blade arm) and I wanted to make it thin and sharp-lookin'. I took a look at some online photos to get an idea, because I didn't feel like reinventing the wheel at this point, so I'm using what I've got to improvise and scale it back some more. Fortunately, I've got enough time left to start over and still end up with a product I like. So, starting over! I unwound some wire hangers for my wireframe and assembled them like so, with a handle and a styrofoam housing for the blade:

Then I taped over the frame/handle assembly and added a plastic sleeve (so I don't duct tape the whole thing to my arm - hooray for recycling grocery bags!). The whole bit looks like this:

Notice the wire "tendrils" sticking out; those will be important later on. Next, I cut cardboard to size for the blade proper, and glued it together three layers thick so it's nice & sturdy:
I have some shaping to do on it yet, but the hard part's over and the rest is tedium. I have to spraypaint and assemble the thing, then paper mache several layers over the non-sharp-like bits, add a coat of paint and rubberize the details. More later; wish me luck!

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