Psycho Pass had barely hit the airwaves in Japan when I got a request to build the signature gun carried by many of the major characters. The Dominator is a visually striking energy weapon with the ability to transform into an expanded “lethal” mode. Making one of these guns wouldn’t be hard, but the client needed six. Six of them. That meant a highly detailed master and resin casting. I started with a scale prototype in cardboard to make sure I understood all the parts and their linkages.
I was in Japan with an extremely limited set of tools at the time, so I took a simple approach to most of the build. I built up the gun’s different components with a combination of 1mm, 2mm, and 3mm Forex plastic and 6mm MDF (all chosen due to their ready availability at Japanese hardware stores). I cut, glued, and sanded until each piece was right.
This build was long but not terribly complicated. The same basic techniques were applied over and over. When I began a new component, I laid the existing pieces on my scanner to adjust my plans in Illustrator to more precisely match the reality of my output. A millimeter here or there made a huge difference in the final fit.
While many of the surface details of the Dominator were simple to scribe into the soft Forex, I wanted the impressions of the > D O M I N A T O R < text and SIBYL logos to be perfect. After testing some scrap pieces of Forex for impression clarity, I prepared all the logos I wanted to scale in Illustrator and sent away to Letterpress Plates by Elum for a letterpress plate. I chose their 152SB deep relief, steel backed plate to get the deepest, clearest impression in the plastic. To stamp into the plastic, I affixed the plate to one plane of a vise and tightened it on an uncut piece of Forex. After I had my impression, I cut the plastic and glued it into place.
With bondo and time, the master was finished. I created a 2-part mold with Smooth-On Oomo 30 but instead of solid casting, I slush cast each half of the mold to use less Smoothcast 300 on each gun and keep them light. After I had enough copies (and a few extra, just in case), I boxed them all up and mailed them to Taylor to be glued together and painted.
Once Toadvine shipped me the casts, it was time to start gilding the lily.
I used a combination of hot glue (because it’s capable of filling the large gaps between the halves) and a two part sandable epoxy to join the parts into a single double-sided gun, followed by sanding by hand and Dremel to smooth out the seams. Then it was time for a black primer/first coat (Rustoleum, in this case — always make sure whatever you choose is something that is meant for plastics).
…..and now the fun bit! Finishing.
Deciding how much you’re going to tape off areas before you paint is a highly individual choice. But I for one have never said, at the conclusion of a project, “Man, I wish I’d spent less time prepping and very carefully taping off areas before I painted.”
I needed a few different paint finishes on the guns.
The orange safety tip took one coat of white paint and two of a really obnoxious neon orange.
For the light-up parts, I used two coats of a metallic silver, then overlaid that with a clear gel medium that had been mixed with just a touch of blue paint. This gives it a certain depth, and the reflectivity helps it look as though it is actually lit from within. (We’re hoping to light future models with LEDs.)
The wood stock of the handle was carefully taped off, then brushed with white to make the colours on top show. Two coats of dark brown, then multiple dry-brushed layers of slightly varying browns (lighter browns, darker browns, reds and yellows and unbleached titanium white mixed in, etc etc) on top, all in the direction of the ‘grain.’
Once that was all dry, it was time to take off the tape and spray the whole thing with a clear protective sealant.
….and then do it five more times!
It’s actually easier to do multiples when painting a project like this, as it encourages me to slow down and let things dry between layers and it wastes/uses less paint.