Saturday, October 22, 2016

I Can't Leave Well Enough Alone

A few days ago, I was lurking in YouTube and I started watching videos by Cosplay Chris, a guy in Australia. I found out he had a video on redoing the prop Han Solo DL-44 blaster. And as it turns out, it's the same blaster I bought and did earlier this year, for my almost done X-Wing pilot costume.

So after watching Chris's video, I figured it was time to tweak my paint job a bit. The one thing I didn't do as paint the inside of the barrel. I kept that orange, because I will be taking this to cons and other public events so I want to be able to quickly show that it's just a toy.

My blaster isn't as weathered as Chris's and I painted my grips a little less than he did, but that's okay. I wasn't going for a Han Solo blaster replica. But that is also part of the beauty of the matter what you're working on, someone else has already done it and you can learn from them. Because of his video, I finally learned how to dry brush something.

However, I did have to do this quick comparison...

Friday, October 21, 2016

We All Float Down Here, Georgie

A few months ago, I was at Spirit Halloween and I saw some of their clowns. It was a 5' tall hanging clown. The main difference is that the one I got actually says about five different phrases.

He wasn't anything fancy, but I thought he had good bones and could fairly easily be turned into a clown reminiscent of Pennywise from It, at least the movie version, anyway. With my coupon and another special discount, I got him for $31 and change. Normally, he's $39.99 plus tax.

This is what he looked like when I got him home.

From the product page:
"This Hanging Clown animated decoration is quite the lively jokester! At 59" tall, this clown features light-up eyes, sound and kicking legs. There's mot much creepier than a well placed hanging clown!"

Fun note, a few years ago, Spirit Halloween released a 6' tall  animatronic Pennywise, but Lord almighty, that thing was UGLY! Not that mine is going to be much better, but at least I don't recoil in horror from it.

So, to get started on my lil'Pennywise, I ripped off the tuffs of green hair, the suspenders and the one lone pom-pom. There was residue of the glue from the suspenders and pom-pom left on his shirt, so I treated the glue like it was melted candle wax that I wanted to get rid of. I was able to heat it up with our iron and got rid of almost all of it, letting it absorb into a paper towel.

My inspiration...Pennywise as portrayed by Tim Curry.
I masked his eyes and mouth, and then primed and painted his entire face with new white paint. I liked his jacked up teeth and gums the way they are. Then I painted his clown face on. I would have liked to do his clown paint much finer than I did, but his lips and eyelids are raised (there's a lot of texture in this face). I thought it would look odd if the eyes and lips weren't filled in all the way.

Pennywise has a blue and purple stripped top and sleeves. I went to Joann Fabric to get remnant fabric and added some more neck ruffles and a little shrug. I tried to make him some new sleeves from the blue and green dotted fabric I got, but I just wasn't getting them right. I also made him three new pom-poms, although his are pink and the real version had orange (I used what I had here already).

I also got him some new yellow satiny-type fabric and made him some new pants. I had to remove the striped pants he was wearing, because the new yellow is sheer enough that you could see the stripes through it. It's not a complete match to his yellow top, but it's close enough. I also added a bit of elastic to the bottom to make them flare just a little.

The clown, in it's original form, was completely floppy. There was nothing to him. So I went in and stuffed his body with some Fiber-Fill from two old pillows I had here.

But something still seemed like it was missing. I didn't like how the clown didn't have feet. Pennywise wore black shoes. I got some scrap wood from the garage and traced around a pair of my Converse. I didn't down-size the shoes, because clowns wear big shoes anyway. I primed them and painted them the same color as my Han Solo blaster from earlier this year, not really black but more of a dark walnut, I think. I used two eye hooks,screwed in at an angle, in the heel area, to attach them to his legs. I think those eye hooks will create some good movement once he (hopefully) starts kicking his legs (he's motion activate).

The red hair was the hardest to come across. I called two different locations of Joann Fabrics, because the website said they each had red faux fur in stock. Turns out their website was wrong. I tracked this stuff down to Amazon. I hot glued it to his head in strips. As he's pictured below, I'm actually thinking about removing the last section I put on, to move his hairline back a little more.

The downside to all this is that he really doesn't kick so good anymore. His legs are hooked to a mechanism in his hips. The legs are just wire rods, about as thick as wire hangers, inside a foam tube. I keep having to adjust his legs like I'm some kind of weird chiropractor.

All in all, I think I spend, or used what I already had, about as much on him in supplies as I actually spent on him. But he'll be a welcome addition to my Halloween decorations.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Homemade Crackers/44 and 45 Recipes Down

Tonight, I decided to make some crackers, based on recipes from Sam the Cooking Guy. Both recipes come from Awesome Recipes & Kitchen Shortcuts.

One recipe is for Simple Won Ton Crackers and the other is for Sesame Won Ton Crackers. I had been wanting to make these for some time, but I couldn't find won ton wrappers, so I substituted egg roll wrappers.

What did I learn from this recipe? 
To be able to make homemade crackers like these is wickedly easy and they are wildly thin and crispy.

I learned, that at least in my oven, the recommended 15 minute bake time is a touch too long and the crackers come out a little too dark. I shortened the time to 13 minutes and was much happier with it.

However, the sesame seeds didn't stick to the wrappers after baking. I used some vegetable oil, as I was out of of sesame oil, but the sesame seeds don't stay on the crackers after they come out of the oven. As soon as I transferred them to a container, the seeds came sliding off.