In an attempt to try and be a somewhat contributing member of the internet when it comes to sharing knowledge, I’m going to make a conscious effort to chronicle the construction of this LeBlanc staff I’m making with some actual descriptions, instead of simply taking pictures and posting up a blurb like I had done with the Mafia Graves gun throughout the time before Dragon*Con last year.
“02,” you say? Where’s “01?” Although this is the first post I’ll have made about the staff, the first progress photo would have been this here. This was the staff’s initial pieces cut out, and nothing more. The above picture is the second progress picture, also with a reference shot so that anyone viewing might have an idea of what the heck I’m making.
As for the process, I’ll spare the gory details for after a jump.
Okay, if you’re reading this, you’re genuinely interested in how I’m making this. I guess thanks for your interest? I’m still pretty amateurish in regards to this myself, and I’ve gotten endless guidance from Jen, but since my plate is never as full as hers, I’ve actually got the time to explain my process from time to time.
The pink stuff: that’s insulation foam. We (Jen and I) purchase them from Home Depot, and they come in gigantic 2″ thick sheets like this. It’s $35 but a single sheet goes a long way with small-ish projects like mine. In fact, all the components of this staff so far were able to be made out of scrap pieces from prior projects.
The shapes: I take reference art, in this case it’s LeBlanc, from League of Legends, and I take a boatload of screengrabs and reference pictures. I then scale them up to a more proportionate size of an actual human being, scaling up the staff to what it should realistically be, in proportion with a person. I then trace the shapes in Illustrator, print them out, make stencils, and outline the stencils onto the pink foam. I use a mini hacksaw to cut out rough general shapes around my outlines, and then I use a series of files, hand sanding and power sanding to refine the shapes to more accurate interpretations.
Detailing: As for the fine details of the staff segments, I had to go back to the reference artwork and then trace the details. I then made stencils of those and put them onto my shapes. This is where it gets kind of tricky, because doing any sort of boring isn’t ever easy. It requires a great deal of focus, concentration and steady hands with a Dremel. It helped, only a little bit, going over my outlines with an Xacto blade prior, so that when I got close enough with the Dremel’s sanding tip, once it reached a pre-cut edge, it would kind of shoot the shavings off and leave me somewhat of a clean-ish edge if I were careful enough.
What’s planned next? In this case, it will be probably the most nerve-wracking part of this whole process. Slicing the shapes in half longways, and tracing and boring out a tiny channel for the base rod (the gold ring in the picture) to go in. This process has a massive margin of error, and I could realistically have to remake a shape or three if I’m not careful. Thankfully, I kept all my stencils to this point. And when I’m finally successful, then I will have to adhere them back together, mounted on the rod, and from there, I can proceed to coat my shapes with Shell Shock liquid plastic, which should hopefully seal everything from there, and become ready for painting and fine detailing.
gg easy, right????