9/15/2010

SciFi Blaster 02

This work in progress started out as a light gun.  After stripping out the interior of unnecessary parts I came back through and added electronics to add a level of realism to the project.  The barrel uses a blinkM programmable light, which allows me to set both the color of the LED and the pattern that it flashes when the trigger is pulled.  I also added a toggle switch to act as a safety switch, flipping it turns the gun on and lights the green LED on the side, flipping it the opposite way arms the gun, lights the red LED along with the green and enables the trigger light. On the outside I've added a scope, flash hider, maglite, and a laser scope. Right now it has been painted with black paint to make it all one uniform color as I add details and work to hide seams and screw holes.  I hope to finish this soon!

Chronicles of Riddick Ulack Knife

One of my favorite props, the Ulaks from The Chronicles of Riddick Movie and The Assault on Dark Athena video game were fairly easy to build.  The X-ACTO Ergo and a fantasy knife called the Swing Blade are the two main components in the build.  The handle of the Ergo knife was heavily modified on the inside to fit around the handle of the Swing Blade knife.  Once bolted together the seams were filled with bondo and painted.  The knife was detailed with multiple layers of flat black paint, coated in Plasti-Dip for a rubberized texture and finally weathered with pastel chalk.  The blade itself was weathered with acrylic "mud and blood," and rough spots were created with steel wool to facilitate the growth of a bit of rust.  

The knife was very sharp so it needed some sort of display.  In the movie, the knife was used on the volcano planet Crematoria, so I designed the display to emulate the surface of the planet.  Pillows of hardened lava were created with expanding foam on a steel backing. I added an image from the DVD cover as a name plate and attached the knife to the steel backing with magnets.  


9/02/2010

Landing the Space Shuttle


Spent thirty minutes today shooting landings in the space shuttle... a perk of having an in at NASA I guess!  

The vertical motion simulator at NASA Ames is used for testing and simulation. With an interchangeable cab, the VMS can suit many different simulation and training needs;  moon landers, the space shuttle, helicopters, and standard aircraft cabs can be switched out as needed for the various engineering and training tasks that NASA carries out on a day to day basis.  Most recently the VMS was outfitted with the space shuttle cab for use in astronaut training, which was completed a few weeks ago.  

As the cab is ready to be switched out for another test in a week or so, I was given the chance to come in and fly the cab in a series of demos that illustrated its capabilities.  Set up as a landing simulation, I was able to bring the space shuttle in under various conditions including cloud cover, high cross winds, a night landing, and one with a wheel blow out.  The cab is outfitted with actual space shuttle control sticks and other various parts that are needed for the landing simulations, the VMS, being a full motion simulator, can giver accurate feedback to the pilots and provide a compelling simulation for someone like me, who will never get the chance to fly the real thing. After the jump you'll find a few pics and two videos, one of my first landing, the second of what the cab looks like from the outside as it is underway.  Thanks to the techs and engineers at NASA who made this possible.  You can check out more on the VMS here