Friday, June 7

Kid’s Quick, Dirty (and Cheap) Blaster Tutorial

Ok, my last few posts were pretty heavy. I thought I’d get off my soapbox for a bit and show you guys some last minute steampunk blasters I made for my kids.

We live near two great Renaissance Faires and were given some tickets. We had already gone to this faire opening weekend, so Hunny and I decided to take the kids for Steampunk & Time Traveler Weekend. I have been working on my gear for over two years but didn’t have near enough to outfit myself, my Hunny (who decided to wear her medieval garb with just a blaster) and our five hoodlums.

More accessories would be needed.

We only got the tickets a few days ahead, and our budget for anything is always tight, so the day before we went I took a break from the kids and hit the local dollar stores. A few hours (and $15) later I headed home with what I hoped would be enough supplies to give everyone that steampunk touch.

Kid's Steampunk Accessories photo DSCF1702.jpg

These are the pieces I put together for the kids to wear. The eagle pouch and belt set were for Elroy (he wore a frontier Doctor Who inspired look), the green blaster was for Bam-Bam (he went as a futuristic Indiana Jones type character), and the girls wore their pirate dresses from Halloween (without the jewelry) with one of the small blasters each.

Now, on to the tutorial . . .

Repainted Retro Water Gun Blasters photo smallspaceblasters.jpg

I got these mini squirt guns in a three pack on Target’s dollar aisle last summer. They were transparent colored plastic that showed none of the fun (Hunny says Duck Dodgers -esque) detailing. Since paint doesn’t always stick to plastic (and I didn’t want to be constantly repainting them) I wiped each one down with acetone nail polish remover to rough up the surface. These were cheap enough plastic (three for a dollar) that the plastic got cloudy and the paint has stuck no problem. I tried using the acetone on the other squirt guns (both transparent and opaque plastic), but as they were a dollar each, the plastic was of better quality and the acetone didn’t rough up the surface (the paint on these has not stuck near as well and they are already in need of touch ups).

First Stage of Repaint photo DSCF1692.jpg

I used my enamel paints for this (because I already had them), but if I had had more time (or a larger budget) I would have probably done a base coat of plastic friendly spray paint and then used the enamel paints for the detail work. The yellow tube gun and muzzle are actually from a ‘ninja blow gun’ I picked up at Dollar Tree (the paint does not like this plastic; these pieces came home from the faire almost entirely yellow again).

Base Coat and Beginning Details photo DSCF1693.jpg

Once the base coat was on you can really see how much detail was put into these molds, which I found fairly depressing. Someone had spent a good deal of time on each of these designs; not only are they being sold for next to nothing, they’re being molded in a plastic that makes all that detail invisible. *sigh*

After the base coat, it is simply a matter of deciding which details to use each specific color for (I try not to use more than 3 or 4 colors for any one piece, I prefer a more streamlined look) and painting (and repainting . . . and repainting . . . and touching up) until I liked the look of each one.

Finished Repaint photo DSCF1698.jpg

But what about the adults, you might ask . . . Hunny decided to be my ‘Companion’ (think Doctor Who, not Firefly) and carried the long muzzled blaster in a holster made out of a piece of cheap belt and a shoe lace (sorry about the focus, this one didn’t want to photograph nicely).
Long Muzzle Blaster and Holster photo DSCF1704.jpg

 I carried my ray-gun, wore my goggles, and wore this great pouch (found at Harbor Freight for under $20!) filled with dollar store bits.
Steampunk Hip Pouch with Accessories photo 73a12026-0722-45bf-91f6-8fb0d1cad8f3.jpg

In my kit were the painted out blow gun (2/3 of it anyway), a magnifying glass (I painted the rim copper with brass details), a pair of copper rimmed reading glasses (I got lucky with those, I got a pair for Elroy and just popped the lenses out so he could see, and painted 3 coats of iridescent nail polish on the inside of my pair so they looked like the lenses were made of mica), a plastic caliper from the same tool set as Elroy’s hammer (I repainted the handle, it used to be blue) and screwdriver. I also took a small wooden toy spoon, stained it using dark furniture scratch cover and glued some decorative plastic trim onto it. The trim was actually part of an old ‘viking’ helmet that I had used for another costume a few years ago and hadn’t survived the boys’ closet. I also got all of the decorations on Elroy’s belt pouch from this same helmet trim (I just painted out the pieces for the pouch). I even used one of the horns to make an alien tooth necklace for Bam-Bam’s costume.

Everything else was something we already owned (we keep an extensive set of dress up clothes for the boys as well as the girls, it comes in really handy and since I clearance shop after holidays, I’ve been able to pick most of the pieces up for next to nothing).

We had a good time at the faire. There were some really great steampunk outfits and weapons (one guy had a nerf rifle he had modified onto a 5 foot long bazooka, it still fired). We even got pictures with a guy doing a great 10th Doctor cosplay (staying in the character you’re dressed as). Since Elroy and I are both fans of the series (since the 2005 reboot), that was a definite highlight. Totally worth the late night putting all the props together the night before.

Anyone else do any cosplay? Feel free to share any tips and tricks in the comments.

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