Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hellboy Corpse Locator Tutorial - Part 1

It's been pointed out to me that I never finished the tutorial I was putting together, seeing as the previous one (posted in my build thread over at theRPF) was fragmented with various bits of development, I decided to put it all up here instead and hopefully finish it this time.

If you've somehow found this without me pointing you to it then you might want to read about me creating the original compass.
If you'd like to buy a kit then you can contact me on theRPF or just comment on here and I'll point you in the right direction.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Time to get started.

This is one full kit of parts.

First off lets decide on some names for clarity.

1. Bearing Plate

2. Main Body
3. Lid
4. Dome
5. Bearing Disc*
6. Centre Dial
7. Brass Hinges & Screws
8. Bearing
* If you ordered a kit with lights you should have a composite disc with a clear top.

First up is pretty standard clean up, removing flash and filling in lil' bubbles.

Occasionally one or two of the tiny thorns won't be properly formed, so they'll need fixing. You can use bondo, but given how small they are I prefer to use milliput, which is how I sculpted the original.

Also when cleaning up the seam on the lid don't go overboard sanding it completely smooth, there is supposed to be a linear texture running round the edge, so don't go taking it all off.
The same can be said for building this up in general. Don't go OTT trying to smooth things out like you might on other builds. Any texture you leave looks great when you dry brush it with gold, and just looks a bit off and fake if you try to smooth it out too much.

There is some additional detailing you can do to the lid if you want. Check it out before cleaning up the lid too much. (scroll to last sub heading)
The side of the main body, at the top of the mould, is prone to sub surface bubbles, you can just paint over them but, for a long lasting paint job, I prefer to open them up and fill them with bondo. 

The rest of the pieces are easy.

Bearing Plate - Just remove the spouts then a very quick sanding to remove the little skirt of flash. The base is already flat so don't sand too much or your bearing won't sit level.

Centre Dial - Remove the spouts and sand the back smooth. You never see the back so just sit it on some rough paper and sand it back. it should be roughly 5mm thick when you're done.
Optional - The sides of the dial are relatively smooth, in my builds I've often added more detail. Several vertical grooves (made with a small file) to mirror the surface markings and then some scalpel cuts. You can't really see the sides of the dial once it's installed so this is up to you.

Bearing Disc - Just remove the spout, if you have a 2 part disc then you can rough up the top clear part to help diffuse light (the 2 part disc needs some more modification, but I'll cover that later).

Fitting the Hinges

There is no good reference material for the hinge area of the compass so I just put a slot in the side of the main body, that way it can accomodate lots of different hardware.

If you are going to use the supplied hinges (not 100% screen accurate but pretty close) then you will need to make a small shim out of 1mm styrene.

I cut it to length then used a piece of scrap card to wedge it against the inner wall while it glued in place.

Once it had dried I took out the card and trimmed it to the right height.
Then using the hinges as a template I marked some holes.

The holes should be as close to the top edge as possible (those above are slightly too low)

Then you need to carefully drill and countersink those holes. It's important the screws sit as flush as possible with the side otherwise they'll scrape the centre dial as it spins.

Then do a quick test fitting of the hinges. The barrel of the hinge should face inward

Be careful with the little brass screws, small screws are always a bit hit and miss in quality. I tend to use the worst looking screws for the body, because those hinges are mostly glued in anyway.

Now you can use the position of your installed hinges to mark up your lid (either transfer the measurements onto a bit of paper or try to hold the lid in place whilst marking the holes)

If you're wondering why my lid looks different, see below

Optional Lid Detailing

As I said before there isn't any good reference for the hinge area of the compass so this is up to you how you build it up. Whilst your hinges are still screwed into the body, have a play around with the lid and get an idea of where it will sit. If you bend the hinges with a pair of pliers you can get the lid to open without any modification.

From what I can tell, the screen used lid is precisely as I've cast it. But for all my builds I've done the following (entirely fabricated) detailing.

Firstly I cut off the side where the hinge will be at an angle, this allows the lid to open fully.
(Note: the hinge side is the side with the pour spout)

Using a file, I make the ends of the beading more defined, and then I cut a little groove that I'm going to fill with putty (this is probably overkill, you can just put a thin layer of putty on top if you want)

I fill the groove with epoxy putty and smooth  the edges. Then after it's a bit stiffer I detail it using a steel pin. A few drag / cut marks to match the rest of the lid edge and then lots of tiny pricks to look like wormwood.

That's the first part over with.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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