Thursday, 12 August 2010

Buses, that's what I'm like... successfully avoid me for a month and then two posts in two days.

Sometimes I think I spoil you.

Don't hit me.

Anyway, I mentioned that a lot of my time had been spent making a prop for Mrs RS over the last month or so. This isn't something I normally do - I used to do some modelling in my early teens (that's making models rather than having my picture taken obviously) for those little lead-figure 'Warhammer' type games (not that I ever actually played, I just liked making things) - but Mrs RS wanted 'help' with it and I said I'd chip in here and there.

Mrs RS loves three thing in life (if you don't count cake, wine, vodka, ice cream or chicken); Me (goes without saying), Heurelho Gomes (goalkeeper for Spurs) and Bioshock. Bioshock, if you don't already know, was a huge PC/console game a few years back. Bioshock 2 came out last year. Mrs RS most emphatically doesn't love Bioshock 2. As part of her massive love-in of all Bioshock she's going to some sort of comic/game convention on the west coast of the US later in the month and she wanted to go in costume, specifically as a 'Little Sister'.

A Little Sister is a kind of brainwashed ten year-old girl who walks around the undersea city where the game is set collecting 'Adam' (a genetic substance you need to give yourself abilities throughout the game) from corpses using a fuck-off syringe. The Little Sisters are protected by Big Daddies who are the more recognisable face of the game as they're basically a huge 20's diving suit with a massive drill in one hand. Let me find a picture....ah yes, you may recognise it:

Mrs RS is sorting out her dress for the costume and I agreed to 'assist' (i.e. practically do it all) with the syringe. This isn't the first time this has been done at all - this guy did a brilliant one, but then he does it professionally - but I wanted to do it in such a way that;

a) we did it on the cheap using whatever we could find lying around if possible
b) we did it without using anything other than the usual DIY tools I have somewhere
c) the trigger turned the light on and off (not something I'd seen done yet).

This is what we were trying to make:

We knew it was based around a 20's/30's US-style brass petrol pump nozzle, and we promptly missed out on a really cheap one on ebay (they normally go for well over a hundred dollars). Instead we had to settle for a modern replica. This was the only part we really needed to buy.

So to start with, here's our pile of parts:

A petrol pump nozzle, an empty lemsip bottle, some assorted bits of plumbing plastic parts I found in my DIY cupboard, a length of wooden dowel rod, some milliput epoxy putty to sculpt edges and joins and some assorted electrical components I picked up for a couple of quid from Maplins.

It was obvious that our switch would need to go in the neck of the bottle, so to be operated by the trigger handle (inside the nozzle) we'd need to drill a hole through the middle of the top cap. At the same time, I stripped off the labels from the bottle and filed down the thread so that it would fit inside the plumbing part. As you can see here:

The next step was to sort out the wiring as the battery pack would need to sit in the end cap but everything else would be in the bottle. To do this some precision drilling had to be done to get the wires through the nozzle without disturbing the spring inside the nozzle or our trigger mechanism. I also attached some of the dowel rod to the trigger so that when pulled it would project from the top cap - as shown in these two pics:

Unlike other versions I'd seen, I wanted the light to be coming from inside the middle of the bottle. How to do this? Well I figured I'd use a glue pen casing (cut in half) inserted inside the bottle to create an airtight seal, and then have my LED inside that. More progress made in this pic as the bottle cap was broken apart to use in the end cap and switch mount:

So, next up was the light. I mounted the switch at the correct distance from the top cap for the dowel to switch it both on and off (achieved using part of the bottle top, filed down) and fixed it inside the hexagonal plumbing part using superglue. I soldered the LED onto the switch and the battery wires and then sealed the whole shebang into place with milliput:

When the battery pack was manually connected, you can see that the low-voltage, high-brightness LED was the correct choice (and note how I've marked the negative wire either end with black electrical tape. Such a geek.):

I'd pretty much been winging it here - after all I'd not done anything like this for over 20 years, and certainly no soldering for the same amount of time - but I felt the principle had been proved here so I cracked on with the other parts. The end cap I made with a piece of plastic pipe, the end of the bottle lid and some filed down milliput. I also tried out the 'brass' spray paint which looked more like 'whore's gold' to me. The bottle was filled with a mixture of half-set strawberry jelly mixed with the glue from the glue pen. I'd hoped this would make it quite viscous but unless it gets to 2-3C in the conference hall then it'll be quite liquid! The glue pen casing you can see superglued into place in the neck of the bottle:

The bottle was then fixed into place (and the original milliput sanded down to be flush to the plastic:

The next step was to seal it in with a watertight seal, which I did with sculpted milliput (amazing useful stuff as it's heat and water resistant once set):

The battery pack was soldered in and fitted inside the end cap which was glued and milliputted into place. Also, the teat from a baby's bottle was added to the top of the bottle (in the game the little sisters drink from this after harvesting the adam which is rather disgusting):

The needle we made (Mrs RS helped with this bit) from a piece of dowel sealed within half a cork from a wine bottle, then sprayed a dull silver:

The rest of the nozzle needed painting now, so after swaddling the other bits with masking tape I sprayed the nozzle and added parts pseudo-brass and the ring holding the teat in place a dull silver to make it look metallic:

The base-coat done, it now needed weathering which we did with an initial mix of acrylic black paint and turps to give a streaky black mark look:

The needle was then decorated by Mrs RS with dark-red nail varnish to give it proper 'splattered with blood' look (although it's a bit hard to tell from this pic):

The final step was then to give it a couple of 'washes' with enamel black paint mixed with enamel thinner to give it a grimy look, before a layer of matt varnish. Here it is finished, with light on and off:

Just to show that I really did get the trigger to work, here's Mrs RS showing it working (complete with her new mid-Atlantic accent) :) :

You can why it took some time! :)


Anonymous said...

Shut the front door, that is freaking awesome!!!

You guys rock~

My hubby loved Bioshock too...I'm not telling him about this...I mean it! (Just Kidding...)

Red Squirrel said...

Sweet Cheeks - thank you! I was starting to think that people thought I was weird for making that.... :)

Anonymous said...

Mate, those early photos look like some sort of bombmakers guide. Finished article looks good though.


Red Squirrel said...

Alfamale - I'm sure it doesn't look at all dodgy in the customs x-ray either....

Caroline said...

This year for Halloween, I'm going to be a Little Sister... What you did is is completely brilliant! :D

Red Squirrel said...

Thanks Caroline! :)

And now you can make one yourself!