Saturday, March 1, 2014

Holocron Hold

My desk -- and place -- is getting awful cluttered and I was hoping to finish a few projects and put away the parts, materials and tools peculiar to each. No such luck.

I was going to start the final assembly of the holocron using the acrylic pieces that came with the kit, but I just had to do one last lighting test with one of the laser experiments:

No, that's too lovely not to do. So I've changed my mind once again, and scheduled a couple of hours on the laser for Thursday next week. Which means I probably won't be able to box that project up until sometime the week after.

This is three layers here; the outer acrylic shell is now painted with hammered copper and distressed gently with acrylics. The inner-most layer is a "Millennium Falcon Panel Lines" abstract shape in dark blue acrylic, and the middle layer is laser-engraved at 300 dpi to make the frosted diffusor, with gaps in the engraving forming the lettering and other graphics. The light for this test is a single neopixel (the mostly-completed holocron circuit running my capacitance sensor test software, in fact).

Meanwhile on the grenade front, the spring-loaded button is inserted (and if this was a real M40 it would have gone off dozens of times by now.) With two-show days all weekend, it will have to wait until Monday to finish machining. The prototype is getting a little battered traveling back and forth with me, plus I managed to drop it once on a concrete floor (made a gorgeous sound, though!)

I'm thinking about the cap, and some of the other details. There's a concept over at the Replica Props Forum called "Idealized." In general, the attitude with replica props is to get as close as possible to screen-used, which means including the compromises and even errors of execution of the original.

The idea of idealizing is coming as close as possible to how the prop would have been built if the prop department had the time, and how the prop would have looked before it got all beat up during filming. Things like machining in aluminium for props that were originally painted wood is part of this, in my mind.

Plus, I suspect Aliens had a much greater consistency than many movies, but it is still quite possible that several variations appeared on screen; one or two "hero" grenades actually cut from solid-body aluminium snap-caps, and others resin-cast or cut from wood and painted to use as scene dressing and costume parts. So there may not be a single standard to hew to in the first place.

It is definite that the illustrations in the "manual" (the role-playing game) and the various fan-made grenades over the years have had a lot of variation. So in my mind there is wriggle room to pick and chose the best dimensions and shapes. And I think I've managed to come up with a set of plans that has a good line, a good aesthetic, and matches closely to what was seen on screen as well as being straight-forward to make more of.

The purists may argue, though. Or it may be that some ideas -- like making the cap flush with the sides (as it appears to be in some scenes) is a defensible choice, even if there is evidence that some of the original props had a cap that was smaller in diameter.

The drawing needs a lot of cleaning up in any case (even aside from changes I've made and not annotated yet).

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