Friday, February 7, 2014

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Co-op Goggles

So for this build I'm retroactively posting the process pictures. Thus, I may be missing some of the steps but I'll do my best to post the steps I DO have and then describe what I did.

I start with a pair of welding goggles. The kind pictured is the same pair I use for all of my Splinter Cell Goggle builds. I prefer this kind because of how it hugs the area around the eyes (more snug and keeps out external light) and how comfortably they fit. The vents around the sides are subtle and are able to be sculpted over or used for aesthetic variation.

Next I cut a piece of pvc pipe that's 1 1/2 inches long. The pvc has 1 7/8 inch exterior diameter. I say exterior because it will give you the diameter of the hole, which is about 1 1/2 inches. But since we're fitting them INTO something else, the exterior diameter is more important. And what luck! This particular size just happens to fix snuggly into the goggles nicely! NOT PICTURED: I beveled both ends of the pvc pipes in order to lessen the harsh edge on the outward facing side and so it would fit better in the eye piece. This piece fit so snuggly that it held in place without any glue.

Sculpting time! For this build, I wanted something that would stand up to the elements and potential abuse from the client. These will eventually be used for a fan film, therefore I expect them to undergo some rough handling and bouncing around. I went with some white Apoxie sculpt. It has its pros and cons. You have about 45 minutes to an hour and a half (based on how much you handle and wet the clay). It can also be notorious for its weight. I wouldn't recommend using it to build really large things. Here, I'm actually only using a thin layer to build the shapes but is still thick enough to sand for flat surfaces and sharper corners.

Good news everyone! It still fits...

Lens time! I use a spare piece of pvc the same diameter as the pieces going into the goggles to trace the shape for the lens. It actually works quite nicely, and most of the time the lens fits so snug that it also does not require glue. Here I was trying out a new green plastic I had found to make sure everything checked out. 

The ACTUAL plastic I used for these goggles! These are actually LEGO piece containers that I had found at the Fred Meyer nearby for a few dollars each. When I choose my plastic I look for a mix of transparent and opaque colors. It needs to be foggy enough to diffuse the led and make the entire lens light up, but not completely opaque otherwise it still won't look quite right. If you're skeptical of the results, just sit tight! We'll get to the results soon!

PAINT! Don't mind the spiked lens caps... Those were for a different commission that I may post about! Apoxie sculpt takes paint well enough, as do the goggles, but sometimes I will add a primer coat for safety's sake. I used a flat black on these, but my work light makes it look like there's a slight gloss to it. In actuality, it's not too bad. 

The scale looks a bit funky here, but oh well. More paint and assembly! It's seeing red (yeah... that was pretty bad...)!

Time to make things look shiny! Electronics and wiring! For these I typically go with a 9v battery. You don't necessarily need that much power for the LEDs, but I like the 9v battery because of its size and being able to position it inside of the goggles. I wire the bulbs in parallel with the appropriate sized resistor to keep everything in check. I always pull up a led calculator for the proper math.

This is where I'm missing some steps. I chopped out a section of the bottom of the goggles in order to slide the switch in and then I wired the unit up. The first pass used electrical tape, but as you can see it will need to be secured with something a bit more heavy duty so it doesn't peel off. I used small bits of black duct tape to secure the brown electrical tape. A common question I get asked is "Are you able to see out of the?" I think this picture does well answering that. The right eye is the best example (the left side needs to be secured more). You can see around the bulb and, depending on the plastic, you can see vaguely out of the eye pieces. When the LEDs are on, you can't see much at all. On my personal pair I can see the shadows of the people in front of me and movement. So be advised that these are more for posing when on, not running around and maneuvering around ledges to avoid being detected by the enemy. At least if you want LEDs in them. 

All lit up! You'll notice some light leaking around the base of the eye pieces. I later patched those up so nothing escapes except through the front. Time to give these things a final clean up and then off they go!

I learned a lot from this build. I also became more familiar with the Apoxie sculpt and more about what its limits are, how to better form it, and how much sanding is actually needed to get a smooth surface. I expect each iteration will go easier than the last. I debated for awhile about attempted to mold and cast anything from these goggles, and so far I think I prefer the hand crafted method. There are just a lot of odd shapes and different parts that wouldn't really make sense to go through the time of making molds and casts. Plus, all things considered, each pair goes quicker every time I make them. However, for some of my other upcoming projects molding and casting will be a standard practice. Well, that's it for now! Next up I'll be posting the Splinter Cell: Blacklist goggles, as well as a set from Chaos Theory and Kestrel's goggles from Conviction. I also have some other projects (both commissioned and personal) coming up as well! Cheers!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Under Construction!

Moving into the new site soon! I figured my other pages were not the best place to give longer, more detailed, steps on my prop builds. I wanted to be able to post pictures with my reasoning and thoughts behind each step in a kind of list format. Unfortunately, a place like Facebook will just group all the pictures at the bottom of the post and then you have to wade through a text wall. No one really wants to do that... Sometimes you just want to look through the pictures! I'll still run all of the other sites, but those will be more of  "post larger milestone and final product pictures" sites. This one will bring all of the good, bad, and ugly, steps that come with making props. Trust me, there are a lot of all three of those! So sit back, enjoy the posts, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions!


Edit: I'm also going to try and add past builds to see if anything I've made previously has enough step by step pictures to add here. So stay tuned for that!