While I have a pretty vast collection of rayguns, most of them are either static piece of welded steel or ultimately fragile works of glass. All of them are really too large or heavy to say, lug around a convention or costume party. I wanted something that was simultaneously lightweight but sturdy, small but visually striking
I also wanted a raygun that would work with my anime-inspired costume based on Tears of the Machine, my retro-space hero Guardians of the Galaxy jacket, and my grunge-future Bulldogs! outfit. I figured, if it could work for those three, then it could work for any other raygun need I might have.
A tall order, too be sure. But I do adore a challenge.
The base of the raygun is a Nerf Nite Finder. I decided to only use the back half, mimicking the style of the shortened pistols in Ghost In The Shell and Witch Hunter Robin. The existing design of the Nerf gun actually lends itself to this style.
As it turns out, when you cut one of those Nite Finders in half, the LED “sight,” normally at the bottom of the gun in front of the trigger, can easily be moved to the barrel position without damaging the electronics. This means that the trigger is pulled, a bright red light comes out of the barrel, with me having to do barely anything at all.
The body already has those grooves in the sides, which are just wide enough for a piece of left-over EL tape I have from my Ghost Host coat. After several attempts to hide the battery pack for the EL tape—should I shove it inside the gun? Solder it to the existing LED? Have it jut out the back?—I decided to put it in front of the trigger guard as a faux clip. This gives the gun a bit more presence without making it unwieldy.
I scraped the “Nerf” off the discs on the side, but they still looked like they needed something, so I attached wing charms.
After everything was screwed back together and glued into place, I gave it a couple coats of “hammered metal” spray paint and then covered the grip in flat black. A little weathering, and the gun was done.
The result is exactly what I wanted: light, sturdy, compact and striking. While it does require four AA batteries, that adds a small amount of heft that makes it feel more than a toy.
The only issue is that this raygun will work with so many costumes, I now have less of a reason to make another!
Though I’m sure I will find one…
Aleksis Kaidonovsky & Mako Mori
Photo by JR. Blackwell.
Models: Jared Axelrod & Avalon Batory Waegel
From the giant wig photoshoot.
Model: Jared Axelrod
Wig from The Five Wits: http://thefivewits.net/
From the Ghost party at my house last night, where we told ghost stories, drank wine, and took a few photos.
Costume Retrospective, 2013
Troll King v3, Luchadore Project: Wolverine, D-Man and Professor Xenagogue masks, “Classic” Wolverine, Shining Armor, Bat-Punk, Aleksis Kaidonovsky, TARDIS, Gaurdian of the Galaxy
I wanted to focus on craftmanship last year. The costumes are all smaller projects, either customized store-bought elements or simply masks. Wolverine is the only one was sewn head-to-toe. The rest are me playing around. Expect more of that this year.
New vest for the Troll King, to give him a Doug Mahnke Frankenstein vibe for JR Blackwell’s Heroine shoot. I’m always happy to wear this prosthetic, and it felt nice to channel a more romantic-hero troll king, rather than the cyberpunk bruiser I’ve done in the past.
The Luchador Project is a learning experience disguised as a larger artwork, as I figure out the best mask-pattern to fit my face. These photos aren’t a part of the final art—these are just the masks. I’m quite pleased with them, and while Wolverine and D-Man are a little uncomfortable, I may have cracked the code with Professor Xenagogue. There’s 4 more masks to go before the Luchador Project is complete, so hopefully it will see the light of day in 2014.
My good friend Ruth Lampi of The Five Wits asked for help selling cosplay wigs at a handful of conventions, and JR and I were more than happy to oblige. Naturally, this meant new costumes. Wolverine was the first one I thought of, due to his magnificent hair, and I set about making a brightly-colored “Classic” costume. I’m really pleased with how it came out. Despite coming the various paints and materials, all the blues and yellows match, and the boots are spectacular.
The Five Wits have an impressive line of wigs based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, so naturally we costumes of two our favorite characters, Princess Cadence and Shining Armor (just beating out Flim & Flam!). Everything for Shining Armor was store-bought, even down to the wicked unicorn track jacket. Easily the most comfortable costume of the year.
I really need more pictures of the Bat-Punk vest. Or maybe a complete overhaul of it. It’s not quite right, though it was fun to wear.
I did an exhaustive amount of research trying to replicate the costume seen in maybe 30 seconds of PACIFIC RIM, but I love it all the same. This bad boy deserves a proper photoshoot. Close second for “Most Comfortable Costume of the Year.”
I’ve dressed as the Doctor before, but I wanted to do something different, something classy. Hence the vest with the TARDIS interior printed on it and the subtle accessories. The result is something that most people don’t understand until they get close, giving an “Oh, you’re the TARDIS!” exclamation of joy once they do. I wonder if it might still need a few tweaks, but I’m scared to ruining it’s elegant simplicity.
Probably my favorite costume of the year is this one, my Guardians of the Galaxy uniform. I’m about four feet too tall to be my favorite character, Rocket Raccoon, so I just made the uniform. The whole thing, from the quilted shoulders to the light-reflective patches work so well, I can’t help but be proud of it. It evokes both STAR TREK and pulp space-opera, and is generic enough not to be tied to a specific work. It’s a space jacket. I should really find more places to wear it.