Glie-44 Nerf Blaster Repaint

When a bunch of new toys for Star Wars: The Last Jedi were released on Force Friday last year, one of the items I picked up was Poe Dameron’s Glie-44 Nerf blaster. I knew I’d likely use it for making a “Last Jedi” Poe costume or some other use.

I decided to repaint it in April, and the first thing I did was take it completely apart. There were a few reasons for this: 1) I wanted to spray paint the different parts separately to give them a cleaner look and 2) I wanted to remove the mechanism that fires Nerf darts so that the prop would be allowed into conventions, since many conventions don’t permit weapons that fire any projectiles (even Nerf darts). But, I also didn’t want to remove any of the parts that would allow the blaster to make “PEW PEW” noises or light up.

The part I removed was the part outlined in blue:

Glie-44-Detail

Basically, it’s the piece with the giant spring in it. When the blaster is unaltered, there’s a mechanism you pull backwards to prepare the blaster to fire a dart when the trigger is pulled. By removing the part with the giant spring in it, the mechanism still triggers the barrel to light up, but no longer fires a dart. The mechanism needs to be manually pushed back into the blaster, but that’s fine by me. And, the trigger still makes “PEW PEW” noises, and that was the most important part for me.

Once everything was disassembled, I sanded off the logos and warning messages embossed on both sides of the blaster. I used painter’s tape to tape off the small areas where the light shines through when the blaster fires. Then, I took all pieces that would be external-facing and sprayed them with several coats of primer. I didn’t use Filler Primer this time, because unlike 3D printed props, I didn’t need to fill in any small ridges.

Once the primer was dried, I re-assembled the blaster (minus the part I wanted to remove) and filled in the holes where the screws went in with wood filler – except for the one screw that attached the battery plate to the blaster (that needed to be left alone so I could change the battery when needed). I used wood filler and a little Bondo to fill in the seams where the two sides of the blaster met, and once everything was dry I sanded it down. Then, I took the blaster outside for a couple more coats of primer.

Once the primer was dry, I painted the entire blaster in a coat of DecoArt Dazzling Metallics acrylic paint in Shimmering Silver. Then, I painted everything but the barrel in a coat of DecoArt Americana Gloss Enamels in Rich Espresso. I then painted the handle of the blaster in a mix of DecoArt Americana Gloss Enamel in Zinc and Plaid Folk Art Metallics in Black. I used a mix of the Rich Espresso and Black to add the darker areas of weathering in the areas where more dirt and grime would typically settle.

Once all the paint was dry, I sealed everything with a couple of coats of Mod Podge Hard Coat. Then, I took off the blue painter’s tape, and called it done!

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Zara Fenn (Twi’lek) Makeup

Putting together my Zara Fenn costume was my first foray into body paint and wearing silicone noodles on top of my head. If you’re going to try something new, might as well go all out, right?

The incredibly talented TwilekPam ran a sale on her pre-colored silicone Lekku, and I jumped at the chance to buy a set (Is that the term? Set? Pair??) in my second favorite color, pink! (Favorite color is pumpkin orange, but I digress.) When they arrived, I was so smitten! Putting them on the first time was…weird. It’s a weird feeling having wobbly noodles coming off the top of your head. I scared the bajeezus out of my cats. My boyfriend said they looked like a weird sex toy. That aside, the construction was absolutely perfect, and the color was vivid and consistent.

My only concern was the fit. I have a small head (21″ circumference, if that) and the Lekku just started slipping off my head. I have very short, thin hair so there’s just nothing for the Lekku to grip onto. I put on a wig cap, and that didn’t make much of a difference. I took out some of the expanding foam, and that didn’t do the trick, either.

I made a headband out of two layers of thick muslin fabric and some elastic to give the Lekku something to grip onto (and, it also helps with sweating – gross, I know, but what do you expect when your head is encased in silicone?) as well as adding another layer under the Lekku. That helped, but not quite enough. Then, one of the other Twi’leks in the Minnesota Force suggested using Nexcare Absolute Waterproof Tape to help grip the Lekku. I gave it a try and it works really, really well. I just stuck a 3″ (or so) length of tape on my forehead and the Lekku gripped onto the tape. Because the tape is waterproof, it didn’t budge at all while I was wearing it for several hours. Adding the head wrap and goggles over the Lekku helped fully secure the Lekku to my head.

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When I finally got the Lekku sorted out, it was time to tackle the body paint.

The best part of buying pre-colored Lekku from Pam is that she lists the exact paint she used to dye the silicone. In my case, the corresponding paint was European Body Art’s Endura alcohol-based paint in Pink. Applying it with an airbrush is best, but I don’t have an airbrush and I didn’t really want to invest in one just yet. Someone told me about the Preval Spray System, which is essentially a glass jar that you attach a spray can to, and it turns any paint into spray paint. It’s inexpensive, so I thought I could at least try it and see how it worked. The results were really, really good. I was able to apply an even coat of paint to my face, neck, and a little around my lower neck and shoulders without any major issues. The only difficult part was trying to get the paint around my eyes, certain parts of my nose, and around my mouth. I ended up ordering European Body Art’s Vibe water-based paint in Pink and I’m hoping that is a close enough match. I’m going to try using a cosmetic sponge to apply that in the hard-to-paint areas since it won’t dry as quickly as the alcohol-based paint. (Check back in a couple weeks when I give this a go and I’ll let you know how it worked.) I used NYX SFX Setting Powder to seal everything (although I probably didn’t need to).

I added some contouring by using the pinks from the NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette in Brights. I used the glittery red color on my eyelids. I also used some of the shimmery white eyeshadow from the NYX Avant Pop! Eyeshadow Palette to highlight my brow bones. I used a black felt-tip eyeliner and black mascara as well.

For my lips, I used NYX Suede Matte Lip Liner in Stone Fox, and NYX Wicked Lippies in Cold Hearted.

For my eyebrows, I used NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Black and NYX Build ‘Em Up Brow Powder in Black.

I didn’t realize until I started putting this post together that I used so many NYX products! What can I say? They’re affordable and good quality, and most of their products come in a wide range of colors.

Star Studio @ Children’s Hospital

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Costumers: Michael Tangen, August O’Meara, Kris Heding, Anna Sawyer, and Erich Schwab.

On April 26th, I got to appear on “Kid’s Clubhouse” at Children’s Hospital for the third time. This is one of my all-time favorite troops to do because we get to be silly, and the patients, families, and staff are always so excited to see us. And, as always, it’s a fun time to hang out with The Dude.

I’m (Finally) a 501st Legion Member!

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When I first started my foray into Star Wars costumes a couple of years ago, the thought of joining the 501st Legion or Rebel Legion was just unfathomable. I know my limits as a costumer, and I have a LOT to learn and a lot of room to grow. That said, I really wanted to do more with my costumes than just attend conventions…but I knew none of my costumes would fit the strict standards of the Legions.

I was then told about the Minnesota Force, which is a Minnesota-based Star Wars fan club that has multiple facets: gaming, a book club, a collector’s club, a makers group, and an art and illustration group. The makers group (which consists of people who make Star Wars costumes) does a lot of charity events in costume in conjunction with the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion. There’s a lot of crossover with the Star Wars costuming groups in Minnesota: the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion get along and do events together, and the majority of the events those groups are invited to are also extended to the Minnesota Force. I joined the Minnesota Force at the end of 2016, and I started volunteering in costume. Things picked up momentum pretty fast. I was doing at least two events per month (usually more), I started working on more Star Wars costumes, and I became friends with so many of the members of the group. A lot of the members are also members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion. As I got to know everyone better, I started thinking that maybe I could make joining the Legions one of my goals.

I decided that my first Legion costume goal would be to get General Hux approved in the 501st Legion. I had my temporary costume (Version 1 that I wore for almost a year) and ended up commissioning a proper costume because I knew my skill level was not at the caliber I needed to make a screen-accurate costume myself. I received my costume a couple of weeks ago and submitted my application last week. Last night, I received a response that said I was accepted to the 501st Legion as the Central Garrison‘s very first General Hux. I’m incredibly happy to be part of a great volunteer organization, and I’m so excited to continue trooping with them, the Rebel Legion, and the Minnesota Force.

When you join the 501st Legion, you choose a member number that stays with you forever. When I chose mine, I decided to honor my mum by choosing 40138 – her birthdate was April 1, 1938. My mum was always so supportive of my creative endeavors and put up with my silliness as a child when I would wear my Halloween costumes months after Halloween was over, or when I would take old clothes and come up with some ridiculous “monster” costume and try to scare everyone, or when I’d make her wear whatever Halloween costume I wanted to put her in (like the Statue of Liberty, or a punk rocker). And, in recent years, she would ask to see photos from my volunteering events, and of my progress photos, and hear about whatever project I was working on. Last summer when she was in her last few weeks of life, she told me to keep volunteering at events (even though I told her I would cancel and spend time with her, if she wanted me to). She thought what I did was “so cool” (her words) and so I promised I’d keep volunteering and I’d keep making costumes. She knew how much I wanted to be part of the Legions, and so I wanted to honor her by choosing a number that would always make me think of her.

My next goal is to join the Rebel Legion (hopefully with Admiral Ackbar, or maybe Poe Dameron if I finish up a few things in my costume), and eventually make a costume to submit for 501st approval. But, for now, I’m just going to bounce around my house with excitement for achieving one of my goals.

General Hux – Star Wars: The Force Awakens/The Last Jedi

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My first version of my costume was from CosplaySky, and I had to do a lot of tailoring to the tunic. The trousers were fine. The belt was not good at all. I later upgraded my costume (details below) and was accepted into the 501st Legion with this version of the costume.

Tunic: I commissioned the tunic from Vanya Yount.

Trousers: I commissioned the trousers from Vanya Yount.

Greatcoat: I’m using the greatcoat that was part of the set I bought from CosplaySky until I can commission a nicer one.

Belt: I commissioned a belt from Vanya Yount.

Hat: I commissioned a hat from Katie Keith. I purchased a First Order pin from Short Supply.

Boots: The boots I was approved with were a pair of Lauren Ralph Lauren Stara boots, and I took the tabs off of the shaft of the boots. But, I later upgraded my boots to a pair from CrowProps.

Gloves: I bought a pair of women’s black leather gloves from Kohl’s, but they unfortunately no longer sell them.

Blaster: I painted a 3D printed version of Hux’s blaster. (Photos can be seen here.)

Holster: I commissioned a Hux blaster holster from Mad Props Cosplay.

Sideburns: I use my reusable sideburns method. I replace my sideburns whenever they start to look a little shabby.

General Hux’s Blaster (3D Printed)

As I do with practically all of my costumes, I go through each part and upgrade it when I can. General Hux’s blaster was no exception!

A friend printed off a First Order SE-44C blaster pistol for me that is much more accurate than the Nerf repaint I was using – both in size, and in details. This is how it looked after it was printed and assembled:

Blaster-Before

I received this back in January 2018, but I couldn’t really work on finishing it until the temperatures warmed up (downside to living in Minnesota, I guess). I did do a little filling with Bondo, but not much because I couldn’t really open the windows to ventilate the room, so I used some modeling paste medium to fill in the larger seams. When we had some warmer temperatures in February (35 degrees!) I took the blaster outside and applied several coats of Rustoleum Filler Primer. I then used more modeling paste medium on any parts that still needed to be filled in. Then, I sanded everything and got it all ready for painting. Here’s what it looked like all primed and prepped:

Blaster-Primed

I used Liquitex Basics acrylic paint in Mars Black to paint the entire blaster. It took two coats. Then, I used my trusty DecoArt Dazzling Metallics acrylic paint in Shimmering Silver to paint the silver area. After that, I sealed the matte finish areas with matte Mod Podge and sealed the glossy areas with glossy Mod Podge. For the screws/bolts details, I used various sizes of scrapbooking/paper crafting brads and glued them on with super glue and E-6000.

Here it is all finished!

I think I’m going to do a little bit of touch-up work to it to try and get a smoother finish, but for now it’s at least decent.

Campaign Against Cancer

CAC-2018

Costumers: Nick Hickmann, Jennifer McNitt, Madeline Anderson, Chuck Visger, Alex Hall, Pari Elizabeth, Trevor Bailey, Amanda Fineran, Paul Haga, Kris Heding, and Eric Hanson.

On April 7, we attended the Campaign Against Cancer event at Fantasy Flight Games Center. Those who wanted to compete in the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures gaming campaign would pay an admission fee, and the fee was donated to the American Cancer Society. Pretty cool!