This page shows how I made my Babylon 5 Psi Corps badge. It was another one those asked to make on the spur of the moment, as I knew someone who wanted to go to a fancy dress as a Psi Cop, as the costume is really very simple to make. (Suit and gloves.)Luckily there is a really good picture at the end of the episode 'A Race Through Dark Places.í Where at the end Ms Winters goes to see Commander Ivanova with bottle of drink in hand, and Ivanova asks her to take the badge off as it offends her. The closing scenes zoom in on the badge, and thatís where we got the design from.
     So this time instead of a resin base, I used a piece of clear acrylic plastic as itís nice and flat and easy to work with. No fancy machines needed, this was a made by hand job all the way from start to finish. Just proving you don't need lots of machines to make nice stuff,
     The shape was taken from the screen shots and the size a guessetimate based on lots of paper cut outs and looking in a mirror with them tapped to out chests to see which looked right. The template was then stuck to the plastic sheet, and cut out with a normal hand saw, then sanded smooth using a piece of fine grade sandpaper on a sheet of glass.
     With the back made, it was time to start the logo on the front which would be a bit more of a challenge. The shape was traced from a screen shot, and scaled to fit the badge back. To make it I used part of the deck of an old model aircraft carrier kit which was cannibalised years ago for other bits. The template was stuck to the front, and then using a hack saw, I cut the various straight edges I could get to.
     To finish it off and for the curved edges mini chisels were used, as this was the easiest way to do it. Then with a set of mini files, I cleaned up the edges and smoothed them off.

     Now with both the back and the logo finished, its time to stick them together. I find super glue is by far the best for this sort of thing, as it sticks nice and quickly, but has no mass to it, unlike epoxy two pack, which I find either ooze out round the edges and need cleaning up, or when you press on it, it slides around. Neither is very useful, so superglue does just fine.

     With the badge finished, its time to make a mould of it.  To start with I made a silicon mould, but the metal heavy resin didnít set properly against it, so the surface never polished up as I wanted.  To cure this I made a simple mould by heating up a piece of plastic sheet, and forming it over the prototype base.  By suing plastic the resin set properly against it, and polishes up just fine.

     So with the base sorted out I turned my attention to the Psi Corps logo.  In the first attempt the logo was cast in resin in with the main badge, but as mentioned it never polished up as well I would have liked.  So now I have ventured in to pewter casting, I decided to make the logo out of pewter so it would be shiny.

     A mould was made, and unlike resin it needs to be a sealed mould of the pewter just pools in the middle.  One half was made, then the Psi logo left in place and the second half cast.  When set, a fill hole was added and a few air escape holes.

    Then is just a case of melting a bit of pewter, for which I use the best jewellery grade which is lead free, as this is going to be worn, and we all know how nasty lead can be.  Then just a small amount is poured into the mould and the mould tapped lightly to fill properly.  Pewter unlike lead holds its temperature for quite a long while, so flows much better, giving a far superior cast.

     Once cool enough to handle, which only takes a few minutes once solid the pewter cast is removed form the mould and placed to cool.  A small amount of clean up work is required, and a bit of polishing, and its ready to stick on the main badge.

     I kept the old silicon mould so the pewter logo could be placed in the old mould, and epoxy glue applied to the back, then the badge back is placed on top in the mould this way the logo is glued in the right place.  I then place a bit of hardboard against the back of the silicon mould, and using a clamp make sure the badge and logo are pressed firmly together.

     The finished item comes out much better than the first all resin attempt.  The main badge is much shiner, and the logo looks muck nicer as well.

     At the time I hadnít ventured into pewter casting, but the advantages of casting small bits in metal instead of resin means I can make things previously unthought-of as they would have been to weak in resin.

 

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