10/19/08

Paper Magic

Since mid summer, I have been playing around with a program called Pepakura Designer, by Tamasoft. This program allows you to unwrap 3d models, and print all the various polygons that make up the design. Each edge is numbered, and tabs are automatically added on half of the edges, so you can glue or tape the models together. Several nights I have stayed awake until the crack of dawn, till the sun shooed me to bed, working on these models. The first model I attempted was 343 Guilty Spark, the floating guardian of Installation 04 in the videogame Halo.
The model was outragously complicated for a first try - Not to mention I attempted to print it on normal printer paper - Most veteran builders suggest using heavyweight cardstock, as I now know. This is how it turned out:
Due to the paper construction, it's prone to deforming. The model design is also a bit weak, seeing as it has thee parts that are supposed to magically float in space.

But it gets more interesting than that - Model can be reinforced with fiberglass. That is an exciting prospect. Any, any model from a game, or a movie, or anything you can get a copy of could be made in real life, a physical model with real weight to it. The members of The 405th, (Of which I am a member) have used this technique to make life size Mjolnir armor, or as you probably know it - "The Halo guy" armor.

Halo was, in my opinion, a better than average game. No, it wasn't the best game ever, but it certainly was better than average. I have started making models from it for the simple reason that they are widely available, not to mention most of it is pretty cool. With 343 Guilty Spark under my belt, I decided to move on to other things.

For several months I have intended to make the M6D pistol from Halo as an airsoft spring pistol. Ideally it would have been a Gas Blowback Pistol (Gas Blowback Pistols, or "GBBS", are generally regarded as the most realistic airsoft replicas available, retaining many of the functions of a real pistol). The base was a Walther P99 replica. Any extra parts that needed to be fabricated would be cut from wood and glued into place. After I discovered Pepakura Designer, wood began to seem an inferior choice. Using sheet metal and Pepakura designer, I built the bulge on top of the pistol out of metal. I used a method I learned in Tech Ed (Technology Education, Wood Shop, etc), to create this. Take whatever your material is, and put one layer of clear packing tape over it. Then, spray some "Spray Adhesive" onto the tape, and affix a printed paper template on top. Cut out, peel the tape off, and you're done. Regrettably, packing tape does not come off of sheet metal as well as it comes off of wood, so it left a sticky residue behind.

In addition to the top buldge, I have intended to build the extended magwell out of metal too, for a more solid, realistic feel. "Great Stuff" expanding foam is intended to fill the empty space within the metal parts, to make sure they do not collapse inward if someone decides to manhandle the pistol. Unfortunately, scaling issues make the magwell either too small but the right width, or the right width but too large. A new 3d model will be created to finish the job, but for the time being this is a project that remains unfinished. A thin section of sheet metal will be used to replace the triggerguard and elongate it, just like the game.

You can see all the progress pictures in the gallery.

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