Here’s a project of ours that’s super in every way. Personally, we are big comic and movie fans and The Avengers are definitely some of our favorite on-screen heroes ever, so this was an awesome project to do.
I came up with this concept, based on the idea of having a museum-style showcasing of hero props. I thought having a cool sci-fi biometric security touch panel that turns on all the lights would be a nice touch.
The idea is to have six mirrored showcases each with a custom made hero prop inside. The heroes featured would be Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Black Widow. I made the CAD drawings and started cutting the plywood for the bed frame.
For the stone look, we decided to carve insulation foam with our hot wire tool and give it a hard coating to protect it against damage. Here we’ve got the panels glued into place and ready to carve.
Carving the foam was slow, but it was a very relaxing Zen process. Put on those headphones, play the Movie Scores channel on Pandora, and get in the zone.
When all the carving was done we hard coated the foam and took it to the spray booth for a coat of primer. Now it’s easier to see those carved details in the rocky surface…and easier to see spots we missed that need fixed.
A couple different shades of gray are applied with an airbrush before going in with fine shading details. I cranked the air and choked my paint flow to get a speckled look in the rock.
We thought it would be really awesome to add each hero’s emblem to the back walls of their respective showcases so we put together a test to see how well we could edge light them. As you can see by the expression on Owen’s face, the test went well.
After etching the emblems with our laser, we found we could clean them up really well with an old electric toothbrush and some H2O.
Putting the cases together was tedious and delicate. We knew the cases would eventually get all scratched up if we removed the protective masking so we just peeled it up a bit around the edges to weld the pieces together. Surprisingly, all the cases went together perfectly without any F-ups.
Only in a perfect world do pieces actually fit the way they were supposed to. The cases that fit together so well ended up being about an eigth inch too big to fit into their plywood holes. This was disheartening. This meant we had to carefully bore out the cubby holes to be just ever so slightly bigger and we had to cut away a lot of foam that’s already been hard-coated and painted. Then we had to go back and hard-coat and paint all over again. You’re probably wondering why we didn’t test fit before we got so far. Well, we didn’t want those delicate showcases sitting around in the shop for too long because we knew they’d get in the way and get damaged. Also, even if we test fit before hard coating, the hard coat process would have added some thickness anyway so there was still a chance of things being off. We rolled the dice and lost on this step.
Now that the bed is together, let’s talk about doing the coolest part of this build… making superhero props! Stay put for Part 2: Building the Props!