Monday, February 20, 2012

Sakura Wand Photo Shoot!

Thanks to my friends over at Fang Fox Props and Saihawkeye Photography, we were able to get an amazing photo shoot of my client in her Sakura Outfit with the wand I made for her and all. here are a bunch of my personal favorites from the shoot!

If you liked these, and are interested in others or having your own photo shoot done, please check out Fang Fox Props or Saihawkeye photography by clicking the name, or clicking *here* or *here* for their Face book Pages.

To check out how the wand was made, check out my Sakura Wand post!

Thanks for tuning in!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sakura Wand

So many girls who grew up in the 90's watching anime may remember the T.V. show Cardcaptor Sakura. It's very female friendly show centering around romance, friendship, over coming adversity, and filled with all things magical, including the magical staff that the lead character, Sakura, brandishes in the picture above.

Being as this is both a popular series, and a popular costume for conventions, it was only a matter of time before being requested to make this. Thankfully for me, i didn't have to do much research or planning before jumping straight into this project. Blind Squirrel A fellow and brilliant prop maker had already made one, with easy to follow steps and photo's. Borrowing from his process, i began to make my own, with a few very minor modifications.

starting off with the head of the wand, i glued two very thick pieces of balsa wood together, traced on the basic shape and set about carving out the shape.

from here i gave it a quick spray with some primer and then started patching up the uneven spots with bondo. i spent a fair bit of time trying to get the symmetry right, which was a major pain in my butt.

from here i started on the outer shell of the wand head, using apoxie sculpt. if you are a beginner prop maker and you have no idea what this is, it's a two part putty that turns rock hard when dry. it is one of the best things for sculpting and prop making. has a interesting consistency between that of clay and putty. great for fine details but really malleable and easy to use. plus it comes in a small variety of colours. I'm using the natural colour but it also comes in white and red i believe. 

anyways, so after sculpting out the apoxie sculpt i attatched the head to a dowel and began to taper the neck.
the apoxie sculpt worked great but i ran into a rather interesting problem. I couldn't get the damn head to stay on the dowel. i tried using wood glue, super glue, contact cement, a dowel screw, and combinations of the previously stated.  i thought this was really strange but i eventually found that epoxy glue used in model airplane construction seemed to do the trick.

once this was all touched up, i began construction of the wing-a-lings. I originally wanted to create a layered look with balsa wood, but it ended up being too thick so i decided that one strip of balsa wood with apoxie sculpt on it would suffice.
On reason i kept to balsa wood, is that you can actually shape and curve the wood. Many model airplane makers would know this trick, but by soaking the wood in water, then holding it in the desired shape would make the wood take that shape when dry.
i had to do this a couple of times to get the desired effect

from here i gave each wing a coat of bondo to strengthen it up while i applied the apoxie sculpt. 
once this was dried and sanded down, i punched a couple holes for some screws that would attach the wing-a-lings to the head. they screws would be covered by the red eye gems, which i made by taking some styrofoam balls, cutting them in half and vacuum forming them to create negative molds to pour clear resin in.

in the end, the backs of the eye gems would get painted red, to give them the proper colour and a bit of depth. I had some trouble getting the tiny air bubbles out of the first couple of eye gems. i wouldn't have minded so much but they cast shadows on the back of the eyes, which looked neat, but wasn't what i was going for. 
although i was really happy with how the wings turned out, they were still too thick for my liking, so i decided to mold them and make thinner resin casts.
at the other end of the wand, i lathed some balsa wood to the make end ornament, then applying apoxie sculpt, i created it's outer shell thing. then attached it to the wand via wood dowel and the epoxy glue i mentioned earlier.

then, with some bondo, i tapered the neck and fixed up a lot of major imperfections.  once that was all said and done, i added the little cuff with apoxie sculpt. 

The next step was painting, which was a step that i was dreading very much. I had attempted to paint the head of the wand a couple of times over the build with mixed results. the gold i was using was absolutely beautiful. even when i messed up terribly (which i did several times) it looked beautiful. the red however, although seemed to be as close as i could get was a massive pain in the butt. first off i was using spray cans (namely cause it's the best thing i know how to use, and i don't have an airbrush anymore). the over spray with the red was absolutely ridiculous. sure the paint was really fine and was super smooth, but it covered everything in area with a thin coat of red. Secondly, it was a massive pain in the ass to get off. i ended up having to drop down to my 40 grit sandpaper to get that stuff off. I ended up having to make several large and frustrating touch ups to the bondo because of it. finially, the acrylic clear coat i put on was really disappointing. it changed gold from a highly polished gold to a dull, just pulled from the earth gold colour, and i was told that it shouldn't smudge or anything once dried but sadly i was deceived, and it did smudge in several places. 

but once that was all corrected i began the whole process again. this time using a automotive clear coat. this still resulted in dulling of the gold, but it made it far less prone to smudging. 

happy that this was finally finished, i thought i'd have some fun with the wand before i ship it off. nothing quite says bad ass like a moe magical girl's staff. 

Later i'll be molding this and making more for others. Anyways, i'll hopefully editing this post later, with some actually magical girls, but enjoy this for now. Thanks for tuning in blargaroos! 

Here are a couple of pictures of Sakura (and friends) with her wand :)