Now for the fun part- the hero props! As if building and sculpting the bed wasn’t fun enough.
As any sane person would, we started with Iron Man and his iconic Arc Reactor. I don’t wanna say it was easy, but it was little more than layered acrylic that was laser cut with some details and an LED ring sandwiched within. Here are the layers.
It’s hard to get a good picture of it with an unprofessional camera. And our camera is so unprofessional. Always wearing ripped jeans and picking its nose… Anyway, here it is all lit up.
Hawkeye was next. For him we wanted to do an explosive tip arrow. We started with a profile to follow with our lathe duplicator and we turned the arrowhead out of RenShape. Lathing with RenShape is such a breeze. If you’ve never done it, add it to your bucket list. Maybe even replace skinny dipping in the Dead Sea.
Nice and smooth explosive arrowhead.
I wet sanded and painted it with gloss yellow before adding a few details. Now it’s ready to go into mold. The gloss paint gives it a good smooth surface so the mold is perfect and releases easy.
There’s a casting we made by slush casting some urethane in the mold. Then I painted it with gloss black and dusted it with a chrome spray. We bought a training arrow from a hunting store and attached the arrowhead. Training arrows are a bit shorter than regular ones and this made it fit perfectly into the showcase we built. The final touch was adding a bit of purple airbrushing to the feathers. Hard to see, even in person, but we have so much light in the showcases that you can catch a glimpse. It’s all about those details.
Next up was Captain America’s mask. We wanted to do the shield but size limitations would’ve meant the shield was going to be half sized and we thought that would be goofy looking.
We got a head form that fit the display case really well, so we made the mask to form fit it. The template was made with a layer of stretch wrap with some masking tape on top. I drew some lines and shapes based on a few reference images from the movie. Alignment marks and labeling is super important because you lose track of the pieces really fast when it’s all taken apart.
I used my old low-tech trick of putting my template pieces into the scanner and tracing them in Adobe Illustrator. Then I went through everything and made the straight lines perfectly straight and the pieces perfectly symmetrical. Then the file was prepared for the laser cutter and a test mask was cut and assembled in 2mm Craft Foam.
The form wasn’t snazzy enough so I gave it a gloss black paint job.
After making a few changes to my Illustrator files based on adjustments to the test mask, I then cut the real version in more 2mm Craft Foam and hand cut some blue vinyl. The vinyl was glued to the foam then sewn on our upholstery sewing machine. The white paint was done with vinyl paint after laser cutting some custom stencils. Here’s the finished mask just sitting there waiting to be donned by our mannequin head.
Thor was fairly easy, but somehow probably the coolest prop in the collection. We started with a hand carved block of insulation foam. I made a few laser files for the ornamentation and the little top piece (it’s got an inscription you can kinda see in the pics).
It took some dark gray primer then some neat metallic car paint, followed by detailing with an airbrush to get the desired look. Here’s the primer coat.
This is before airbrushing. The wooden handle was glued into place and has leather strapping and some “metal” details made of foam.
That’s me looking really really cool with Thor’s hammer. Right?
I didn’t get any good pics of Black Widow’s gauntlets because those were made under severe time constraints. But just imagine something awesome.
That’s almost all there was to making this really cool bed. When it was all done we followed tradition by taking it to Scott Bourdon Studios to get some really awesome photos taken.
Check out the Big Bits Website for the final photos of this project and more!