So as with making all my things, the first thing to do is draw up plans, to make sure its as close to the proper used one for size as it can be. Luckily in the book about the making of the creatures in the film, it has a really good picture of a guy holding one and working on it. From him holding it, measuring a cross section of peoples hands in that position you get an average hand size, and from that the measurements can be taken. While its not 100 percent guaranteed, its close enough for most people.
My master copy of this will be made in a selection of materials as I need to work out as I go the placement of the LEDís and battery holder.
With everything at hand, I use my plans as 1:1 templates, and then glue them with a low tack adhesive to styrene sheet and start cutting the bits out. Placement of the bits is not only important so it looks right, but also for placement of the LEDís and battery box. Unlike most predator related stuff these seem quite small, so fitting everything in was quite a challenge.
This is my attempt at a claymore as they called it from the new film AVP-R. In this film we see the main predator more heavily armed than previous outings, and this is one of his new bits of kit.
I decided to make this and not another bio, as itís these smaller detail bits that really finish a costume off and make it individual to the wearer.
Next job to do was the corner posts. These are again quite small, but I turned the basic shape on my lathe, then machined a concave recess in one end, then drilled out a small hole and glued a piece of styrene rod to look like the film used one. As with most things perhaps I am just getting lazy in my old age, but instead of making three of them I just made a mould of that one and cast three more. This does have its advantages over making three from scratch as they are all identical and if one gets damaged a few minutes later a new one is cast and ready for use.
With three corner bits made, I set about gluing them on. So they were all in the same place I propped the main body up so each one could be glued in place at a set height. This made sure the claymore sits flat when on a flat surface. This is also important as it will have magnets in the feet so it can be stuck to metal surfaces.
I then added a bit of filler to the joints to reinforce the sides so I could push the LEDís in place to see they all fitted without fear of it breaking at this stage.
I then used polyurethane foam to bulk out the side bits which will be covered in filler later and dented to match the screen used one.
With the foam set I sanded the sides roughly to shape, and then made a Y shaped capping from styrene and cut slots in it for the LEDís to go through. I then pushed some styrene strips into the holes the LEDís will go in then set about adding filler to the sides and top.
The next job was to build up the sides in filler, then shape them to match the screen used one. The good thing about using filler is its quick setting and can be sander easily, allowing for very quick shaping that can be handled.
Once I had built up the side bits, I sanded them smooth then set about adding the lip that runs round the base of the claymore wrapping round the foot posts as well. While this will be smoothed out and the lip won't be seen when finished itís easier when working with filler to have a prominent line or ridge to work from. This allows for the even build up of filler round all three sides so they match when finished.
Finally when the sides were nice and smooth and even, using a dremel I added the dents or pits to the side sections. As this will be a working costume accessory, I added a magnet in each foot post, so it can stick to any metal surface.
With the shaping complete, it was time to start on the electronics.
Now onto the elcctrics. With something like this where you need to make several of one part itís much easier to spend a few moments and make a very simple jig, to arrange the bits in, and this saves far more time in the long run than what it took to make. In this case a simple strip of clear plastic with a few holes drilled in line for placement.
This makes placing the LEDís fast and simple, then slide the strip board over them, and solder them all in place. Then trim off the unwanted end bits, and add a resister to correct the voltage.
With three LED strips made they just need wiring together and connecting up to a battery box. While this all sounds quite simple, its surprisingly time consuming, as get just one connection wrong and it doesn't work, which means even more time to re-check all the connections for the duff one. Also LED's only work one way so you need to make sure they are all the right way before soldering them in place on the strip board.
The battery box is a simple 2 AAA type with built in switch, this saves having to have a separate switch as in something like this space is at a premium, so the more compact the better.
Finally put the LED unit in place and switch it on. If all was done right, it should light up.
So with all the bits made and checked to see they fit where they are supposed to its time to mould the main body. The mould for this is a closed two part mould. As you can see there are lots of fill and air spouts in the cast, this is because it is pressure cast to make sure it comes out nice and clean and air bubble free as much as it can. Many people are under the illusion if pressure casting in resin the silicon mould has to set under the same pressure, this is not true. if you pressure cast silicon as its so soft the air at the time of curing will be compressed, but as soon as the pressure pot is opened the air expands as the silicon is not strong enough to hold it compressed unlike resin. This means the finished silicon mould might have larger bubblers in it, which show in the finished cast as they never compress quite the same when the resin is poured in. When making a silicon mould the best thing to do is degas the silicon which removes as much air as is possible, meaning you get an almost solid mould free of tiny air bubbles.
if you don't have access to a degassing set-up, (see my 'How to' section to make a cheap simple but effective degassing chamber) add a small amount of silicon oil to the silicon, and add slightly less hardener, as this will prolong the setting time and let more air rise to the surface and dissipate. Beware when adding less hardener it can take several days to cure properly.
Anyway with the first cast out the mould, the LED's are added and itís turned on. Next job to paint one.
While I had reference pictures to go by painting it exactly still poses a challenge. While the main light up section was sort of a metallic grey, the other bits were a sort of tarnished dirty looking copper colour.
To start with I sprayed the metallic grey masking off the rest of it, and then set about painting the other sections by hand. A base coat of copper was applied first, then it was dirtied up a bit with darker greys and black, then to give it the slightly shiny appearance, it was wiped with a silver paint wash to give the impression it was shiny.
Last off a couple of shots of it finished and working :)