I thought long and hard about how I was going to do Soldier 76’s Rifle. I mocked up materials and drawings using stuff I could get my hands on and just could not find anything that would turn out really clean. I really wanted this prop to be weighty, clean, and recognizable. So after some thought I ran across this really fun shop on Etsy (Creative Lab Studio) that offers 3D printed props. From there I had 2 thoughts:
- Oh man that looks awesome! I bet I could finish it, and paint it up, and it is going to look awesome!
- Is it cheating to buy a 3D printed prop?
I have always made my props by hand using whatever I had to to get them to look right. This means I have spent hours upon hours gluing together insulation board, sanding, priming, painting, waiting for epoxy/glue to dry, trying different adhesives to get something to stay attached. It’s satisfying work, but it is also a massive pain in the butt when you cannot find something that is going to work just so so the prop looks accurate. I documented the whole process in making a Staff for Lelei from Gate (check the Facebook for the photos unless I can pin them here…..LeLei’s Build Out Album) , which looks pretty good for being made out of insulation foam and a lamp from Target. Saber’s Sword, Gut’s sword, and the original Monster Hunter Sword and Shield were also all made by hand. It just felt like buying a pre-made prop was……cheating? I don’t know.
So I went ahead and bought it. It’s a rough 3D print and will need a ton of sanding, Bondo-ing (I have never used Bondo, I don’t even know what it is.), priming, painting, and weathering. I haven’t worked with a 3D print before and now that I have it in my hands it is a little daunting. How do I glue the bits together? How do I get rid of the striations? How do I keep it from falling apart? If anyone has any tips I am all ears. I am planning on working on this over the next few weeks now that life is settling back down and the weather is getting nice again.
Keep an eye here, and on my Facebook/Instagram to see progress!