Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Turn To The Geek Side For A Moment

All right, I’m actually going to get away from the exercise for a bit to focus on something that I’ve been a fan of for years: the replication of movie props and costumes. I know, that makes it sound all professional, but I prefer it over “cosplay” because, to steal a bit from comedians, that just sounds like you’re dressing in ugly sweaters and trying to sell pudding. I know I have touched on this a bit before, but today I want to get into detail on what I have done, and move into a weekend of where I want to go.

The entire idea that costumes could come into play on times other than late October came into my mind when I was entering High School. I had started getting into Star Trek, and went to a convention in Cincinnati with a fellow counselor from Scout Camp at the end of the summer of ‘92. That is what helped me realize that I could actually make and own items I had seen in movies, or on television.

Through high school, I would save my money and attend local conventions like Starbase Indy, and pick up kits from vendors in the dealers room. Looking back, these weren’t the best kits in the world. In fact, I still have a Star Trek V/VI Assault Phaser kit from those days that I now know had the two halves of the mold mis-aligned by an eighth of an inch. It is a pretty fugly choad, but I’m still going to hold on to it, just probably never going to finish it. Same with my Star Trek: The Next Generation Phaser Rifle. Compared to the screen used prop, it’s huge, but I remember how much I loved it, how much I wanted it, and how hard I saved up to buy it. That one I AM going to strip and refinish and I’m going to keep. All in all, during those years I acquired, if I remember correctly, those two items, a Star Trek III Phaser kit, a Star Trek: The Next Generation Science Tricorder, a Star Trek: The Next Generation Phaser 1, and a Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 Costume top. Sadly, most of these items I no longer own, and I have even fewer pictures of them.

No, I did not get a senior picture in the Next Generation uniform. No offense to those of you that did.

Moving out of High School to my brief stint in college and the job market, I started fading out of Star Trek and into Star Wars, and then other sci-fi properties. I also discovered licensed replicas, because they were just starting to really come out into popular culture. Thanks to a lottery ticket, I ended up with a pair of Icons lightsabers, one for Luke Skywalker and one for Darth Vader. I was still picking up garage kits, though. At one con, I found a rough looking blaster similar to what Rebel Fleet Troopers carry for cheap, and I still have that for my costumes. Through the early days of the Replica Prop Forum, I picked up an Obi-Wan Kenobi Lightsaber from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and a replica of Han Solo’s Blaster Pistol built off a Denix Broomhandled Mauser replica.

Moving into the new millennium, I moved to California and started dating the woman who is now my wife. For some people, this ends the “toys” and foolishness, but since I met her on the Replica Prop Forum, it just enhanced it. This really brought on a lot towards my hobby, not only with collecting and building, but also with learning the craft. I spent time working in an FX Studio in Burbank, learning a bit about casting and cleaning resin pieces, along with working with expanding polyurethane foam, vacuforming, and foam latex. I also spent time in a friend’s garage, working on my resin casting skills as well as learning how to run fiberglass, rotocast resin pieces, and honing my finishing skills a bit more. This time in Cali got me hardcore into Star Wars costuming, starting with an X-Wing Pilot costume from A New Hope, and leading me to help form The Rebel Legion costuming group, a group that I am no longer affiliated with. My wife was more the Imperial type, going out as a TIE Fighter Pilot and a Scout Trooper. Since that time, she hasn’t done much costuming, and I’ve assembled a Rebel Fleet Trooper, also from A New Hope.

While working in that garage, I also helped other friends out with their projects, so I have a lot of half-finished pieces sitting in storage. Items like a Proton Pack and PKE Meter from Ghostbusters, a Boba Fett helmet from Star Wars, and numerous small pieces from Star Trek, Buckaroo Banzai, and other series that are just sitting in cases in a storage unit in California, just waiting to be built.

I’ve bounce around a bit since then, but I haven’t acquired much lately, mainly collectible pieces. I have picked up small things here and there, like a replica Batarang from Batman Begins, or a toy Sonic Screwdriver from Doctor Who, but nothing real hardcore. However, this is the year. This is the year where I’ll be building again, I just know it.

Now, what will I build? Feel free to comment! Tony

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