Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Silver Wing Creations: Commissions

 Are you looking for a unique cosplay prop that will complete your costume? You've come to the right place. I specialize in larger props that many fear to tackle, but also do ones of absolutely any size. No matter the difficulity or impossibility, I'll take on a commission.

I spend many hours a month learning methods of prop creation when I'm not working on a prop, including testing new products, new techniques, and new tools. Every prop commission I get is done with excitement, as I adore the challenge of design, and made with a careful hand. I am a stickler for detail and photographs (oh, and how I do so love to photograph the entire creation process) and contacting my clients with constant updates. I'm usually as or more excited about each step than they are of the creation process!

 Each prop is hand designed, carefully done in proportion to the client's body to match their measurements. I create each prop from scratch without any templates, done in raw materials. Each prop takes many hours to create, and I am working a full time job along with my prop creations. All props require at least a month of time before the date they need to be shippped out, so keep that in mind.

Prices are based on the materials required to produce the prop, the level of difficulty of the prop, and the amount of time required to finish the prop. Please remember that what you are paying for is not just materials (which may cost more than you expect in some cases), but someone's knowledge, mastery of technique, and time. Also please note that the price of the prop never includes shipping.

Payment is always the same - [(half of the prop's price)+(3.9%+.30cents)] up front, and (second half of the prop's price+shipping)+(3.9%+.30cents)] before the prop is shipped. The 3.9%+.30 is the fee that paypal charges to use their services. Shipping is always done with a tracking number and insurance equal to the prop's price. I will ship anywhere in the world, no matter the size of the prop. Be forewarned that shipping for a prop can be pricey - if you provide a zip code in your asking of the price of the prop, I can give you a general idea of the shipping price.

If you want a prop commissioned, just let me know in the comments below!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Harry Potter-style Magischola Wands

For a change, I was involved in a Harry Potter-esque (but not that world) LARP in which everyone needed a wand to play, so I made my own and two of my friends wands. I received the two sketches below for their wands and decided this should be do-able. I haven't done too much lathe work, but I felt confident I could manage! :3

So my first problem was a frustrating one. The wood that was chosen for B's wand was Olive Wood and this is AWFUL to work with. It was so dense that it took hours and hours to lathe and sand. Below you can see the beginning test of the lathe on the olive wood. I will have nightmares about it for years to come, I'm sure.

Here is the finished lathe on the olive wood wand. Considering that this started out as a 2x2 piece of wood, I'm pleased with the diameter I got on the final cut. The bulb at the end fit nicely in my hand, as requested by B. It was light and a little flexible, very nice. 
The second wand ended up being apple wood and this was a DREAM to work with. It was very easy to lathe and while B's wand took roughly 10 hours to lathe and sand, J's wand took 3 in total plus the whole shop smelled vaguely of apple vinegar as I cut the wood. I don't have any in-the-middle shots of the apple wood wand because once I got down to business I just went at it, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Originally, the wand was supposed to also have a bulb at the end but we had an issue. J ordered the blank in the exact length she wanted her wand, but since you need some dead-space on either side of the blank for the lathe to grip into, it was going to hurt the final length. I had an idea to go out and buy a wooden ball and attach it separately to keep the length, which J approved of. However! While at Lowes to pick up screws, I noticed drawer handles and got an idea. I sent her several that I thought matched her character concept and BAM - she fell in love with the blue glass flower. This ended up becoming the new end to her wand and fit her character perfectly.

While looking at the wands, I had an idea for both of them which ended up working out for all three wands, funny enough. J's original design had the spiral cut into the wood of the handle but I have yet to discover how to successfully do this, so I offered an alternative. If you remember my last prop, I did a silver wrap on the hilt for Javert's sword and I thought it would work really well. I used silver cord I had to  wrap the length of the handle, then went back over it with gold cord on top to re-create not only that look, but tie together the gold cuffs she wanted. What I will note, specifically, is that it took several layers of varnish directly onto the hilt to 1) make sure it wouldn't fray with use and 2) that gold cord wouldn't move.

For B's wand, he wanted gold cuffs on either end of the hilt, but it seemed to blend in so much with the wood that it didn't pop as you can see in the first two below. After a bit of a thought, I suggested a similar wrap to J's wand to make the whole thing have a little more unf, and when he saw the third picture of a test wrap, he ended up liking it quite a bit. Several layers of varnish made sure that thread wasn't going anywhere.


Here is the final picture of the olive wood wand with the wood oiled which brought out the lovely color of the olive wood, which made an even more striking contrast on the gold cuffs and hilt.

I suggested that coloring the ball in the middle of J's wand might bring the whole thing together, tying the blue of the pommel into the rest of the wand  In the end, the whole thing really works well for her character and I'm pleased with how it ended up. A good solid grip of a wand with a bit of weight to it!

My own wand ended up being a bit of a hysterical thing. A few weeks before this, I had done some yard work and ended up with several thick holly branches from the bush in my front yard after a heavy cut back. I had left them to dry in my basement and didn't think anything else on it until I realized I had no idea what I wanted to do for my wand. My character was a werewolf, and I wanted to reflect that in a more 'natural' style of wand. I spotted the dried holly branches and an idea was born!

After a few failed attempts, I realized that all of the branches were curved too much to lathe, so I did what I do best - improvise! I discovered quickly that with my belt sander, the holly wood was very easy to sand and removing the bark with the sander created a very neat effect of coloring. Even better when the wood beneath was bone white! So I decided the whole thing would look very bone-like, kept the natural curve and made it look a bit like bone or a fang. With a leather wrap, it kept the whole thing very wand-like despite its natural state and gave me a good grip on otherwise surprisingly smooth wood.

For a bit of additional fun, I went and had my neighbors dog bite down hard on the wand once it was sanded, but before I varnished it, giving it the impression that a canine had carried the wand in its teeth at some point. :3

Here are all three wands put together after their last varnishing. I'm really happy with how the lot of these turned out. They proved to handle four days of running around like idiots very well, and the each very much reflect the character it was built for. A magical toy maker, a werewolf who studies animals, and a professor of ethics - going left to right.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Javert's Sword - Les Mis 2012 Movie

Hello! It's been quite some time since I've posted. There's a lot that's happened between my last update and this one, but hey, here's something new! Javert's sword from the 2012 Les Mis Movie! This presented an interesting challenge as to get the level of detail, wood seemed the easiest option, but it was a chance to finally get into lathe work!

Here are the initial drawing from the imagery I was given to start with. I found soft but knot-free wood to work with, doodled, my usual beginnings!

This was my very first attempt to create the hilt with the lathe. I ended up thinning down the handle itself quite a bit over time, but for a first attempt at all with a lathe, I was pleased!

This was my 'pattern' to carve out the detail in the pommel of the sword.

 You can see my idea which is to use the bottom of the hilt to sit in the center of the guard to give everything support. My other idea was to have a metal shaft go through up into the hilt, through the guard, and into the sword.

Detail of the carving of the pommel.
 Carved out the hand-guard! This... took at least six tries to get the shape and the carve correct and that bit at the top! So frustrating, that bit! It had to sit against the pommel and neatly curve down to the bottom.

Which you can see here! I leveled it out with the band that would sit on top of the guard at the base of the hilt.

Now the guard is carved out along with the base of the guard...

Let me tell you - that blade. It proved to be a bigger challenge than expected. I originally wanted to make it out of plastic (Sintra) but the attempts were... terrible. So it ended up being out of wood as well. Cut a square wooden dowel at an angle and ground forever until it was properly sized, then sanded the whole thing down to a point and so the edges weren't sharp (or ugly).

So this wire! Well, cord. It's metallic cord. It took some serious hunting to find this. There's two ways the sword itself could be wrapped and from all available photos, it could be either - silver wire wrapped or silver cord wrapped. I went with cord as it's easier on the hand in the end and this particularly one looked so wire like I was quite pleased!

So this is a dual picture... it shows the very carefully done hilt wrapping process - glue smeared over the wood then very slowly and carefully wind it up, pushing down to keep the pressure and tension up. My hands were super sore by the end but I'm super pleased with the result!

...The 'dual' part is that this spray paint. Let me tell you something - there was nothing on the cap that indicated this would be a sparkly spray paint. NOTHING. It wasn't sparkly when wet, either. ...It's now jokingly called 'Cullen Killer' because it sparkles like a twilight vampire. Grumble. So... everything required a second coat of spray paint. Why spray paint? Because it's a more even coating and there's no brush strokes left behind.

Another mention is that I used a two part epoxy for this glueing and I'm REALLY pleased with the results. It dries painfully quickly but the bond is solid as a rock in only about two minutes! I shall be using in the future!


Here is the final product. Please ignore the disaster my basement is - I snapped the final pictures after staring to rip everything apart to clean from all the wood dust! I'm quite pleased with the end of it all. I wish I could have found a different color of spray paint (again) but nothing seemed to be the white-silver shade of silver I needed, and I should have weathered it properly, but still, pleased. Always feel like there's something left at the very end I wanted to do more of but I think no matter what it would always be like that.

Thanks for checking this out!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Travis' Beam Katana: Part 2

When we last left off, I had several pieces put together and crafted and... not much looking like a katana.

You can see the sides of the trigger-box I made. I wish I had more shots than just this one because this little box was hell. To get it to that incredibly strange shape of the curved smooth edge of the metal cup, along the flat of the metal piece under it, then along the ridges of the part that should screw into something else was insane. It took many, many hours of carefully carving, recarving, some clay, baking it in the oven, recarving, then more clay and it was just insane. It turned out beautiful though in my opinion - you'll see it better later.

I realized that I had to put a notch in the metal cup or the wires to the trigger couldn't get into the box for the trigger. Little work with a dremel later (and managing not to set anything on fire with all the sparks) I had this notch. Very sharp edged though - I had to use heat shrink rubber to protect the wires so they didn't get cut through over time.

Here where all of the pieces after being painted for a first layer. I found a white-pearl-metallic paint that replicated what I was seeing in the picture of the prop, and I was quite pleased. What sucked was that in the end every piece needed MANY coats of this stuff to get them properly coated and matching each other.

Here is the entire lot of 'stuff' that it took to make the katana. You can see the battery pack (now with longer wires to make it up through the hilt), the rods that go along the outside, and some internal pieces that blocked the original saber from going up or down further than it should.

Here was the hilt being put together - just after all of the electronics were, with incredible difficultly, managed to be put in the small part of the hilt between the bottom of the lower metal cup and the thinnest part in the middle of the hilt. It wasn't easy. It just BARELY fits. Very, very barely.

The top and bottom of the katana - attached, finished, and painted... and here are the whole pictures.

This was after a bit more paint touching up - making sure the paint was as perfect as possible. Specially the red circles around the top of the katana - they were tough! I finally went at them with a paintbrush only a few hairs wide!

As always - I give a wrap up. Honestly? I'm super pleased with this prop. The only small faults I have are that it isn't smooth everywhere as metal should be but considering this is all hand cut, somehow managed together, and painted up as it never should have been?  I think it turned out very well. It can be waved around quite successfully even though it looks very delicate. I mean it isn't going to survive hitting someone, but it can survive a con I'm fairly sure.

The client - who lives close enough to have watched it all come together - is incredibly happy with it. I'll be posting a shot of her with the katana soon - in fact I have two other clients who were kind enough to send me shots of them and their props while they were in full costume! I'll do a little non-tutorial post for them.