Saturday, May 28, 2016

Got my Comm Pad Finished

I've been slowly working on a second Star Wars costume for the Rebel Legion. There are probably about 10-12 of us, scattered throughout the Virginias working on X-Wing pilot costumes. This cosplay stuff gets kind of addicting! I'm still trying to finish up a new set of tabbards for my Jedi costume, for God's sake!

I ordered a comm pad (and helmet) from Darth Hair on Etsy. I believe this is cast in resin, and it has Velcro on the backside. I'm not sure of the purpose of the comm pad. There were a number of different, but similar, designs for the Rebel comm pads.
I followed the paint scheme for the "Rebel" on the far left. I bought Testor's silver instead of primer grey, because I needed silver for another project.
This goes in the left sleeve, in a cutout pocket for the comm pad. The small top red button on the left seems to have two small white dots on it. That is actually just the flash from my phone's camera.
I actually had a hard time getting started on this. I found out the craft paints I had weren't working for this piece. I had to go back and prime it, and those craft paints still didn't want to take. So, I headed out to Michael's to get some model car paints from Testors. I bought flat white paint in a spray can, painted the whole thing in white, and then went back in with the paints in the small jars for the rest.

I thought about trying to weather or age this piece when I was done with the detailing (I'm almost done with my chest box, which will be another post here in a day or two), but because this is such a small piece with small gaps between the "buttons," I decided to stop while I was ahead. Instead, I sprayed it with two coats of some satin poly and call it done.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Surprise Comment at Wawa Today

So I stopped at Wawa this morning to get something for breakfast on my way to work. I was wearing a pink button down shirt, khakis and a necklace I made.


This is actually three different sets of beads that I picked up a AC Moore about a year ago and strung them on some waxed string. No big deal, right?

Well, the cashier liked the necklace and wanted to know where she could get one in blue. When I told her I made it, she actually wanted to know how much I'd charge her for one in blue. When I told her the beads were about $8 a package and I used 3 packages, it didn't phase her! :)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Recap of Tidewater Comicon

Well, Tidewater Comicon has ended for the year. And it seemed busier and fuller than last year's event!

I was there at the Rebel Legion table again this year (leave a comment if you happened to stop by!). We had a ton of people come by and talk with us, as well as with the 501st Legion. We are typically paired up together at most events.

My blaster seemed to be a big hit with the kids. Most of them that had it in their picture took it and immediately got into a "badass" stance in front of our backdrop. The kids just know what they are doing...sometimes, the adults, not so much. They sometimes have to be prompted. :)

There was only one couple that surprised me. They stopped by with two little kids, maybe 1 year and 4 years old. The older of the two wanted his picture taken with my lightsaber. The younger kid was being held by his dad, and I realized he was too young to be able to hold my saber. In all honesty, I didn't want him dropping it, because it was too heavy for his little hands. So I put the blaster into his hands because it's so much lighter.

Mom just about freaked out! She whisper yelled at me, "Oh, no no no...NO GUNS!" She whipped it out of his little hands faster than you could say  "smelly tauntaun" and they took off down the aisle.

Really, Mom? If you don't want your kids to be exposed to "weapons," when what are you doing at a comicon? And why did you stop at a Star Wars table? There were people walking around with guns, blasters, swords, and Deadpool's with katanas as far as the eye can see.

On Saturday, I went to Ernie Hudson's Q & A panel. I also went to get a picture with him afterwards. He comes across as the nicest, most genuine guy you could ever meet. Fun fact: out of all the celebrities and artists there at the con, Ernie always had the longest line of fans, waiting to meet him.  

I always like Winston Zeddmore in Ghostbusters because he was just a regular dude, looking for a job, and he ends up working with, and holding his own, with three kind of out there scientists. Winston is everyman, and he's got the best line in the movie.



I met, and bought an autographed print from, Arthur Suydam. He painted the Marvel Zombies graphic novel series, so I bought a print of a zombified Spidey. I'm going to have to frame that one for my crafting room.

And among all the crowds of people, I actually saw two people I know (one was the medical director of the hospice I used to work at, and the other was my neighbor), but didn't see the family of people I was actually looking for. :)


The costumes of the attendees were also on point something SERIOUS this year. There were some impressive showings, and I was chasing people down for photos!

Major geek points from me for picking this version of the Joker, from Batman 1989. "Hello, Vinny. It's your Uncle Bingo. Time to pay the check!" With her color palette, she almost looks like she's in a black and white photo!

This young Deadpool wanted me to know that she isn't really blind in real life. :) She just looked at him and said, "Really? You had to tell her that? I think she knows that." :)

I am not going to lie. I chased this man down to get a picture with him, and then handed my camera off to a slightly confused looking elf or something to take said picture. And it was hot and sweaty in that hall, but it was worth it. :)

I busted out laughing pretty hard when I saw Louis Tully here. One of his daughters was nice enough to make sure he turned around for me to talk to him. He said he made that hat about three years ago, because everyone had been telling him how much he looks like Rick Moranis. I thought this was brilliant!

Bob and Louise Belcher from "Bob's Burgers." I think Louise there appreciated my compliment on her bunny ears. :)

Kylo Ren (this guy looked better than any other Kylo!) and Matt the Radar Technician, who I believe is actually a member of the 501st Legion.
Almost everyone that came by the 501st table when Matt the Radar Technician was there, knew who he was. But just in case you don't know him:



Kip, from Napoleon Dynamite. "Well, things are getting pretty serious right now. I mean, we chat online for, like, two hours every day so I guess you could say things are gettin' pretty serious."He did tell me that he's working on a Luke costume from Episode 6, Return of the Jedi, because he wants to join the Rebel Legion. :)

Oogie Boogie from A Nightmare Before Christmas was giving out handfuls of rubber worms.
And a life long wish has been fulfilled...I got to meet R2-D2! His builder is a member of the Droid Builders and it took him two years to build this little guy. I had heard from another exhibitor that he was staying in the hotel next door, so I was on the lookout for him. :) His builder was running R2 around with a wireless Playstation-looking controller, and the sounds were just fantastic! He said he had just dropped in a new sound system.

I guess it's just natural to put your hand on R2's dome when you meet him. I mean, we've all grown up, seeing C3PO standing in a similar stance with him. :) I was just over the moon when the wife of the builder said she'd take my picture with him like this. If it hadn't been so crowded, I would have gotten another picture taken where I was standing in front of him, like Princess Leia when she was recording her message for Obi-Wan. But this just made my entire weekend!! :)

And just two more pictures to cap off the weekend...the steampunk group from Ravencon was back at this con too. They had their TARDIS and there was a second, more traditional TARDIS, on the other side of the hall. However, I'd heard through the nerd grapevine that the second TARDIS was locked. This group actually remembered me, and they were a little surprised when I didn't get a picture taken in their TARDIS last month. I said I had wanted to, but there was a baby sleeping inside of it and I didn't want to disturb the Doctor as he was regenerating. :) But this time, I was able to get my TARDIS picture!

The only bummer about this picture is that I thought they got the light on top of the TARDIS in the picture too. It looks different from the traditional TARDIS. I wanted my picture taken like I'm stepping out of the TARDIS on some strange planet.

And a little Photoshopping later (with a traditional top added to the TARDIS), here I am on Dagobah. Funny, this doesn't look like Tatooine! I wonder if I had the parking break on again.
The only bummer of this year's con was that the Batmobiles didn't show up. There was a Jurassic Park Jeep and a '66 Batmobile (the same one from last year), but it was supposed to be the '66 (West), the '89 Batmobile (Keaton--I really wanted to see this one), the '95 (Kilmer) and the '05 Tumbler (Bale--probably would have waited to sit in this one).

I found some friends who where volunteering at the con and asked them where the other cars where. The owner of the four scheduled cars was either sick or injured from the previous week (possibly from an accident while he was driving the '66) and was in the hospital. He's expected to return next year (along with John Wesley Shipp, who I wanted to see), but as an almost last minute replacement, the con staff found another '66 and the Jeep to display instead.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Han Solo's Blaster, Just in Time For Tidewater Comicon!

Wow, nothing like really dragging out the projects! Tomorrow, Tidewater Comicon starts and I'm still trying to get ready for it!

As usual, the Rebel Legion will be there, and I decided to show off the newest prop I finished: Han Solo's blaster from "The Empire Strikes Back." I actually made this to go along with the X-Wing pilot costume I'm working on, because as an adult...I need another costume and I just wanted a blaster to go along with it. Seems totally reasonable, doesn't it? But I'm taking it this weekend as another prop to use if anyone wants their picture taken in front of our Tantive IV backdrop.

Anyhoo, I started with an orange and white toy from Amazon. It was a whole $15 and uses 2 AA batteries to make blaster sounds.

I used OB1Al's tute on turning it into something a little more screen accurate. I actually had everything I needed to make this.

"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid..."
Natural light here. Had the flash on in the first picture.


I tried to make the barrel look a little tarnished, like lots of use and heat had altered the metal color. This was actually a flat grey and a silver paint brushed on the end of the barrel, and pulled down to the brown part. You can't see it in the pictures here, but I left the end of the barrel bright (original) orange. It's unpainted to ensure it stays con-friendly and obviously a toy prop.

I even did a really simple wash on the grip, wiping on some black crafting paint and then wiping it off right away. Getting that little bit of black paint in those grooves really makes a huge difference in appearance.

If you were to hold it in your hand, pointed at something, and looked down on the back end of the scope, you'd see that the dark walnut spray paint I used didn't totally cover up the primer. Normally, that would drive me bat-shit crazy and I'd have to keep repainting it until it was all covered. But in this case, I think it adds a little something to the weathering.

I rubbed some of the paint off with a little bit of sandpaper, to work a little more on that aged look. I hit some of the places that stuck up higher on the blaster.

The only thing I forgot to do was to actually open up the battery compartment, before I clear coated it with a little bit of polyurethane....d'oh!!! I can get the screws out but I can't open the compartment to put batteries in! But I am really liking how it turned out!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spent Part of the Day at RavenCon

Some people love spring because it's a sign of rebirth, and everything turns green and fresh again. Me...I realize it's the beginning of the con season! :) This weekend's con was RavenCon.

RavenCon is a 3-day event that covers everything you love about science fiction, fantasy, and horror.I spent part of the day up there yesterday at the Rebel Legion table. It was a good day, with some fun pictures to be a part of at the RL backdrop of the Tantive IV. But this time, I only took a few pictures myself of the other displays and cosplayers.

There was some group selling birds (dodos?) dressed as various Batman family characters. One of the girls there was giving out ribbons to various cosplayers that said, "Dodo Approved Costume." I ended up getting one but I'm not sure what it meant. She said something about supporting women in cosplay.

After arriving, this dalek was actually controlled from the inside by an adult woman.

Female Klingon.

Steampunk R2-D2: I really wanted to jump in front and have someone take my picture with it, a la Princess Leia, but it was super crowded over here. Maybe they'll be at Tidewater ComicCon and I can do it then.

This TARDIS belonged with the steampunk group. I was going to ask if I could get my picture taken, coming out of it, but there was actually a baby napping inside. I should have yelled, "The Doctor has regenerated again, and this time, he's even younger!"
I also met the guy behind "The Adventures of Baby Skeletor": I am eeevil! Newly reborn and stuck in baby form! But that won't stop me from exerting my treachery everywhere I go until I rule all! This is funny as shit! And BTW, I want that damn Baby Skeletor toy for myself now and they are impossible to find!

I also met Michael A. Ventrella, author of Bloodsucker: A Vampire Runs for President. This sounded like a fun book so I had to pick up a copy of it. Michael even autographed it for me. :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Galacticon in Virginia Beach

Galacticon is a science fiction and fantasy convention held in Virginia Beach at the Virginia Beach Central Library, also known as the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library. It was held today and the Rebel Legion had a table there. Since everyone else was busy that day, I was the person who staffed the table...my first (Han) Solo event...see whut I did there? :)

It was a very small area for the vendors, but there seemed to be good foot traffic in here.


Star Lord was there with Rocket. He actually showed up with Captain America (I'd actually first seen him at Tidewater Comicon last year) and Spider-Man.

There were two Star Trek fan groups there: one that seemed more original series-based, and one that was more Klingon-based. (I got a photo with the two Klingons there but it's a printed photo and I need to scan it.)
I liked this: "Deactivated Borg tribble sentry drone."

I brought my laptop to bring up some Star Wars videos on  You Tube, but the table to the left was the Star Trek table, and they were showing DVD's, so it would have been a little too noisy.
It's a super goofy picture of me, but it was crowded and quick, but I had to get a picture with Spidey. :)
And damn it. I really need to work on adjusting that belt and my left tabbard!





This has some potential to turn into something kind of fun, over time and with some serious work. It's a free event to attend, but there wasn't enough marketing put out about it: no Facebook, nothing on the library's online calendar. The only reason I knew about it was because the Rebel Legion had it posted on it's own calendar for our area.

The next con will be RavenCon in Williamsburg next week.

Friday, April 22, 2016

RIP, Prince

I originally wrote this post in February 2011. With the passing of Prince, I felt compelled to repost this.

RIP, you glorious purple wonder.



When I was in college in 1996, the first car I ever bought was a 1988 red Plymouth Horizon. This began my love affair with hatchbacks. I loved that car until I killed it in 2001.

A few days ago when I was on that mad tear looking for my diploma, I came across something I had written several years ago. There had been a NASCAR commercial with Richard Petty, where he was talking about Mustangs and how no one ever writes about their hatchback. Challenge accepted!

Okay, so it's not completely original, since it's meant to be sung to the tune of "Little Red Corvette" by Prince, but I'm not a song writer. And just so you know, my car wasn't the POS that I made it sound like below. And the car lot was not nearly as shady. My mom has bought other cars from them since.


I guess I should have known by the way
They parked your body sideways
That it wouldn't last.
See you're in the kinda lot
That believes in pullin' 'em in once.
Show 'em and screw 'em fast.
I guess I must be dumb,
'Cuz U had an engine full of problems,
Leaks, bad belts and some of them used.
But you were sitting on sale,
And your paint wasn't too pale,
And U say what have I got to lose?
And honey I say

Little red hatchback,
Baby you're not too fast.
Little red hatchback,
U need some tires that are gonna last.

I guess I should have closed my purse
When he took us to the place
Where my money ran free.
And I felt a little ill
When I saw all the work
Of the mechanics that were there before me.
Believe it or not,
I started to worry.
I wondered if I had enough cash.
But it was Saturday noon,
A guess that made you past ruin.
And U say, Baby have we got enough gas?
Oh yeah.

Little red hatchback,
Baby you're much too slow, yes U r.
Little red hatchback,
I need to find a battery that's gonna last, oh-oh.

A body like your's (A body like your's)
Ought to be in the shop (Ought to be in the shop)
'Cuz it's on the verge of bein' obscene ('Cuz it's on the verge of bein' obscene)
Move over salesman, gimme the key. (Move over salesman, gimme the key.)
This thing is buzzin' like a little sick bumblebee. (This thing is buzzin' like a little sick bumblebee.)

Little red hatchback,
Baby you're not too fast.
Little red hatchback,
I need to find a battery that's gonna last.
Little red hatchback,
Honey, U can't slow down. (Can't slow down.)

Little red hatchback,
'Cuz if you don't, u gonna run, little red hatchback, right in the ground. (little red hatchback)

Right down 2 the ground (Honey U can't slow down)
U -- U -- U can't slow down (little red hatchback)
You're not movin' 2 fast (2 fast)
I need to find a battery that's gonna last.

Car, U got a bugscreen like I never seen,
And the ride...I say, the ride ain't so smooth,
And the paint, it ain't too clean.
Baby, you're not 2 fast.
Little red hatchback,
I need a battery, U need a battery that's
That's gonna last, oh
(Little red hatchback)
U can't slow down (U can't slow down)
Little red hatchback
'Cuz if U do, 'cuz if U do,
U gonna run your body right into the ground (right into the ground)
Right into the ground (right into the ground)
Right into the ground (right into the ground)
Little red hatchback, baby, oh.