Monday, July 8, 2013

DIY Pressure Pot tutorial

So my pressure pot died. And I have to construct a new one. Since my first one was given to me, this will be my first time doing something like this. I kind of feel like a Jedi going through his trials and needing to construct my first lightsaber. And it seems like building a pressure pot incorrectly could take my hand off just as easily. But I figured since I have to start over, from the beginning, why not record the entire process and make some tutorial videos? I'm going to start with constructing the pressure pot, then we'll get into prepping the pieces for molding and building mold boxes, then molding, casting, and everything else. Should be fun!

Part 1:

 Part 2:
Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Like the sands on Tatooine, these are the Days of SWG's life...

Time for another SWG update - and unfortunately it's another not-so-good one. Maybe I need to change my blog name to something like a  good soap opera.

"Like the sands on Tatooine, these are the Days of SWG's life... "

Anyway, I know that I have a ton of people still waiting on me for stuff. I know I have at least 5 commission projects that people are waiting on updates for. I have the Death Star Consoles project still in the works as well as several other private casting commissions, and none of them have been completed yet.

For the past few weeks, I've been getting some slight dizzy spells at random, various times. Earlier this week, I had one of these spells - while walking down the stairs from my office. I took a spill, knocked a frame off the wall and broke the glass and banged myself up. My girlfriend finally forced me to go see the doctor. He asked some questions, took some blood (waiting for those results still) and gave a script for a CT Scan which I need to set up to take a peek inside my noggin and see what's going on. 

So yeah, my life sounds like a soap opera, with one problem just going into the next. But just bear with me, and I'll get everything figured out and get all the work done that's owed to everyone. I didn't want to leave people hanging without knowing what's going on with items they have paid for and whatnot.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I have a bad feeling about this...

Did you ever have an idea that you thought was fantastic, but when you went through with your idea you discovered it wasn't really all that great of one? Yeah, that happened to me yesterday.

While walking through Lowes I walked down the painting accessories aisle, and something caught my eye - a paint mixer attachment that works with your cordless drill. It was like $7, but I thought that I could use it to stir and mix my mold rubber, since it's very thick when I mix it up to pour molds.

I got home and later that night, decided to put it to the test. Now... in hindsight, I can see that I did several things wrong right from the start...

1) I had too much material in my mixing container. The container that I use to mix the rubber holds about 1Kg. I had about 850 grams of rubber in there, and that didn't leave a lot of room for mixing.

2) I didn't pre-mix the parts. Part A is a very watery substance, and Part B is the body of the rubber. Since the mix is 1A:10B, the Part B goes into the container first, and then the Part A is poured on top.

3) I didn't hold on to the container. This was just pure stupidity on my part.

So... I poured my 850g of Part B - the thick, rubbery part - into my mixing container and poured 8.5g of Part A - the watery part, the catalyst - on top of that. I placed the mixer attachment into the container, making sure to submerge it into the material, and pull the trigger on the cordless drill - and I have liquid rubber EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere. I don't wear anything on my face when I do this, and that was unfortunate for me. Luckily I had on a long sleeve sweatshirt (which is now ruined, along with a pair of jeans and my sneakers).

So.... yeah. Bad idea. The mixer attachment says that it's for a 1 gallon bucket of paint for a reason, I guess. The container I used was way too small to handle the power that the cordless drill put out, and I made a huge mess.

Happy time.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My addiction...

I'm addicted... to paint brushes. I must have at least 250 paint brushes in my studio. And I'm constantly buying more. I can't pass up a sale at Michael's or any other art supply store without walking out with at least half a dozen. I know I shouldn't. I know I don't need them. But it's just... so... hard... to say no.

I do use a lot of brushes when I paint, tho, in my defense. On a typical day, I may use 30 or more. I have this OCD thing about using a brush to paint one color, and then cleaning it and putting it to the side to dry. Then, for the next color to paint, I'll grab a new, clean brush and follow the same pattern. Paint, clean, dry, next brush. Even if I have to go back to a color that I've already used - clean brush.

Not sure why, or where, I picked up this habit. But it's something that I've been doing for as long as I can remember. I guess it's not the worst habit in the world (at least, it's not when you have so many brushes at your disposal) but it can be a little annoying. If I don't have any brushes left in the correct size, for instance, I get kind of mad. But regardless, I won't let myself take any 'wet' brushes out of the Rancor's mouth to reuse them, until the next day (see pic below for explanation on that one).

This is basically how I start my day, every day... taking all the brushes out of the Rancor's mouth, and putting them in my brush caddy where they belong. They are all separated by size and brand. After I use each one, I clean it with water until all the paint is gone. Then, I use "The Master's Brush Cleaner and Conditioner" on each one, get the tip back to a nice fine point, but the small clear plastic guard on the end, and put them in the Rancor's mouth, bristle side down (this allows water to run out of the brush, and prevents water from going down into the ferrule, which can break down the glue that holds the bristles together).

I prefer natural hair brushes over synthetics, because the natural hair brushes will hold their points better, and longer. I seem to get that little tip curl on all of my synthetic brushes after a month or so. My natural hair brushes, preferably red sable, will last forever. I've got some brushes in my caddy that are at least 10 years old, maybe even older than that. Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you.

I prefer well made (which often equals more expensive) brushes over cheaper ones. My all time favorites are probably the Winsor and Newton Series 7 brushes. I have quite a plethora of these in assorted sizes. They are always the first ones to get used daily.

This is what my current "daily" rotation looks like... these are the most common, and most used, of my brushes. Sadly, I have 2 or 3 small containers that contain brushes sitting on my shelves and I often need to dive into those to get more brushes of certain sizes, depending on what I'm painting that day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Enjoy what you do, and you'll never work a day in your life..."

I don't recall where I heard that. Perhaps my high school guidance counselor. Maybe my parents. Could have been one of my college advisers. Regardless, it's definitely a very good quote, and should be some serious words to live by, for everyone.

Right now - I love what I do. L. O. V. E. LOVE it. I spend my days sitting in my home studio, creating action figures of characters that I love from film and comic books. Sometimes I get commissions for characters I've never heard of, so it expands my library of information. Sometimes, I just get a crazy idea for an original character. Sometimes I just sit and sift through books (and books... and books...) of reference material getting ideas for something to make. But whatever I'm working on, it's not 'work'.

Sure, I get paid to do it. But it's not 'work' for me. It's a labor of love. I know that sounds corny, but it's true in every sense of the word. There are days that I step into my workshop at 8am, and before I know it, my wife is calling me to come upstairs because she's going to sleep and it's 11pm. Sure, I stop for lunch and dinner, and maybe an extra drink here and there, but... I just get lost in what I'm doing, and time passes without me even registering it half the time. When was the last time you stayed in your office or job for 14+ hours because you wanted to? Because you were enjoying it?

Over the years, I've had several jobs. And some of them were jobs that I thought I wanted to do. Right out of high school, I got a job working in the World Trade Center. I lived in Hoboken, NJ, just a quick 20 minute PATH train ride across the river. I was just a messenger, but the job was good. It was fun. I would spend almost the entire day traveling around NYC delivering mail to our sister offices. Along  the way, I would 'find time' to stop at comic shops, record shops, and the like, so it was a fun job to do. Then, they 'promoted' me to the print shop, where I would sit in the shop all day, printing up thousands of pages of meeting notes from each day's business meetings. BORING.

After that I did several retail jobs, bouncing from one store to another. Never really loved any of those, but they paid the bills.

Then, I discovered the INTERNET and decided that I wanted to do that. I'd always been interested in art, drawing, and was already halfway decent with Photoshop so I went to school and got 'certified' as a New Media Designer.

Took a while to find a job where I could put those skills to work, probably because the market was so over-saturated with 'designers'. But I did, eventually, land a job. Pay was good. Job was good... at first. Then, the commute started to take it's toll on me. Almost an hour each way, down the turnpike. Gas prices were rising, toll costs were rising, and my boss turned out to be a crazy person who worked crazy hours and thought everyone else should too, even though they weren't getting paid for it... now that I think about it, she probably just loved her job as much as I do now, because it was almost the same way with her. She would be at her desk when I got there in the morning, and she would be at her desk when I left... for all I know, she may have actually lived at that office...

But I digress.

Back on point - find out what you love to do. What you enjoy doing with your time. What makes the hours fly past, and makes you never feel like you need to watch the clock so you can get the hell out of there. Discover what does that for you, and then figure out a way to get paid doing it. And do it. You won't regret it.

First completed works - and first eBay auctions - of 2013!

So, I have my first completed projects of 2013 ready to go, and they have already been posted up to eBay.

First up, my Gears of War Cog Soldier... 3.75" / 1:18 scale.

Next, my GI Joe/Transformers crossover Shockwave, driver of the SDCC HISSTank.

Both are currently up for sale, and both listings will end on Sunday, 1.19.2013. Happy bidding and good luck!! Thanks for checking out my items!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's on the bench? 01-09-2013

So, here's a few projects on my bench right now... First up, the Marvel Universe Gargoyle. I put this head with him, but I'm undecided about it. One day it looks good, next day it looks too small. What do you think?

Next up, I started this Pythona figure. I want to do something a little more non-traditional, and this was a decent torso that I found in my fodder boxes. Interesting thing I tried was to use magnets to keep the torso together instead of the normal torso pin...

And lastly, I have this early paint progress on a Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel figure - her newest costume and title.

That, along with my SDCC Shockwave HISSTank driver and GoW guy are what's on my bench right now...

That's it for now, look for another update at the end of the week!